Loading...

This 60-year-old recording of a Sunderland stage group has just been uncovered: Listen to the Rosslyn Babes on stage in the 1960s

A rare recording of a famous Sunderland stage act has been discovered – 40 years after it was last heard.

Sunday, 3rd January 2021, 7:00 am

Sign up to our Wearside Echoes Newsletters. A monthly round-up of our retro best bits

Take a listen to the Rosslyn Babes as they perform some of the numbers which made them famous on stages all over the North East.

It has been shared with the Sunderland Echo by Richard Geere, the man who was the Babes’ accompanist and arranger from 1974 to 1980.

It all started for the troupe when they were formed by Sunderland-born Mary Harbord of Rosslyn Street who was Richard’s aunt.

The Rosslyn Babes. A rare recording has been found of them performing in the 1960s and 1970s.

Sign up to our Wearside Echoes Newsletters. A monthly round-up of our retro best bits

The high-kicking Babes had been a big part of the Wearside entertainment scene from the late 1940s, all through the 1960s and 1970s and well into the 1980s.

Their first professional appearance was in Bernard Delfont’s production of Dick Whittington at the Lewisham Hippodrome in 1944.

In 1957, they featured in Hop O My Thumb, at the Palace Theatre, Newcastle. That same year, they were in Cinderella at the Sunderland Empire Theatre.

In 1967, the Babes second in the Hughie Green TV programme Opportunity Knocks.

The Rosslyn Babes in 1967. Were you one of the members?

In 1980, the Rosslyn Babes had two troupes made up of teams of 12. By 1982, the Babes were performing in the Sunderland Empire production of Cinderella.

The Babes eventually folded in the late 1980s.

Richard told us: “These tapes were recorded in 1969-79 by Mary's sister Norah who also made all the costumes. They were kept in the family archives all this time, so they haven't been heard for 40 years!

"Although the audio is lo-fi, I hope you can still hear the energy, passion and joy of the Babes performing. Not only were they bold, talented performers, but they also had an excellent reputation off-stage too.

The Rosslyn Babes raised £465.00 for the Echo Laser Appeal in 1980.

"That's why theatrical producers across the country relied on the Rosslyn Babes for their pantomimes for almost 40 years.”

As television became more widespread, the Rosslyn Babes also appeared on TV numerous times, said Richard.

But what are your memories of the Babes and does this recording bring back happy memories? Or maybe you have an old video tape or audio recording from years ago and would like to share it.

Tell us more by emailing [email protected]

The Rosslyn Babes at the Sunderland Empire in 1979.

Read More

Read More
Nine great pictures remembering happy times at Joplings - including the annual C...

Support your Echo and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest on SAFC and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.

The Babes in 1982 when they had performed at the Sunderland Empire production of Cinderella.