Our Story starts in 1945, when Geoffrey Norman Ditchburn was still Managing Director at Rowe Brothers Ltd one of the countries largest distributors to the building trade, World War II had just finished and American troops were stationed at air force bases all over the UK and Europe, it was at this time that the famous Lancashire band Leader, Jack Hylton was touring the US Air Force bases providing entertainment to the US troops stationed in the UK and Europe. Jack was born John Greenhalgh Hilton, in Great Lever, near Bolton, Lancashire. When he became famous as Jack Hylton he changed his name by legal process. He started his working life as a twister" in a Bolton cotton mill, like his father before him. His father later left the mill and took on a small pub, the young mill hand learnt to play the piano in a back room of the pub, When he was 13 he took the plunge as an entertainer, and worked a season at the seaside as assistant pianist and boy vocalist for 15 shillings a week, At the age of 17 he had increased his wage to £4 a week when he a was appointed relief conductor for a pantomime touring company, It was not long before Hylton was waving a baton, and in a very short time he was one of the most fashionable band leaders in London. During and after the second world war Jack took his band to entertain the troops, It is believed that the first discussion with a U.S. Colonel regarding a Jukebox, happened whilst Jack was making an appearance with his band during a visit to Holland. The articles below from 1946 describe the unveiling of Jack Hylton’s British Juke Box. You can read more about Jack Hylton on the people page
Photo Ref: DB001 Courtesy of Freddy Bailey
Photo Ref: DB002 Courtesy of Freddy Bailey
Photo Ref: DB003 Courtesy of Freddy Bailey
1945 How It All Started… Jack Hylton, Band Leader, Impresario, and Entrepreneur.