Robson Booth

b.1904 d.1967

Robson Booth (b. 1904, West Foxley, Dorset; d. 1967, Seaton Snook) was an amateur actor and possibly composer who moved to Seaton Snook at some point in the mid 1920's (his autobiography states 1927, but local records show him as buying a bicycle in Seaton Snook as early as 1924). 

Standing at 4'11", he was by all accounts an eccentric, but likeable man, and a keen mimic, who found a home at the Seaton Snook Dramatic and Operatic Society.  His talent for the spoken word led him to purchase a small tape recorder, on which he recorded readings of news items, songs and poems, for the entertainment of his friends.  He was in poor health for most of his life, but nonetheless lived to the age of 63.

What the Battery Says (post-1960) - SS200
 

Attached to one reel discovered in his effects was an advert for National petroleum, which Booth appears to have read word for word:

What The Battery SaysRobson Booth
00:00 / 00:37
What The Battery Says - advertisement for National Oil

The original advert for National. (Click to Enlarge)

Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes (dates unknown) - SS001-SS019

We were alerted to the existence of some music books donated to Hartlepool Library Services possibly by Booth shortly before his death.  These are mainly anthologies of popular piano pieces, music hall songs, and operatic favourites.  At the back of three volumes, and on various loose pieces of paper, we found pencil-written manuscripts of what look to be short folk tunes relating to people, places, and events surrounding Seaton Snook.

Front cover of the a music compilation, containing the Halifax manuscript of northumbrian smallpipes tunes possibly by Robson Boot
The Halifax manuscript of northumbrian smallpipes tunes possibly by Robson Boot
Front cover of the a music compilation, containing the SongTime manuscript of northumbrian smallpipes tunes possibly by Robson Boot

These pieces are explored in more detail on the Seaton Snook Northumbrian Smallpipes Pieces page.

The Viola Loops - SS201 & SS202
Swan Vesta Match Box containing the Viola Loop tapes by Robson Booth

Found amongst Booth's effects was a Swan Vestas matchbox containing two tape loops.  On these loops were sound artefacts possibly designed to accompany some of the Smallpipes pieces.  The Viola Loops can be heard on the Viola Loops page.   

The Seaton Snook Tape Ballad - SS204 & SS204a
St Bruno's Flake tin

Found amongst Booth's effects was an Ogden's St Bruno Flake tobacco tin, containing two 1/4 inch tapes.  One is a 19 minute documentary on Childhood in Seaton Snook; the other a shorter fragment containing leftover pieces of interviews, perhaps intended for inclusion in a second documentary.  The pieces reference many aspects of Snookish life, and contain several pieces of music.  They can be heard on the Seaton Snook Tape Ballad Page.   

The tapes include a song, Blodscar Rocks; an untitled piece for tin whistle; and a new Northumbrian Smallpipes tune entitled The Crofter.

Booth, R. (1959) A Good Face For Radio: My Story. Middlesbrough: Silver Medal Press (out of print)