The Jack Streeter Band
 
The information and pictures here are all from the archives of John Streeter, son of Redhill band leader Jack Streeter, and I am indebted to him for making it available for inclusion on this website. It may well be that vistors to this site have memories of the Jack Streeter Band, and if so, and if they are so inclined, I would be pleased to hear from them, as any such recollections might well be worth including with the information below - AJM April 2005
 
The Band
....The band was known as 'Jack Streeter and his Band' and it was well known in the Redhill and Reigate area and beyond from the late 1920s until 1957, during which time it regularly played at well known public locations such as the Redhill Market Hall, Lakers Hotel and Warwick Hotel, the Wagon Shed at Horley, the Court School of Ballroom Dancing at Reigate, the Dorking Halls, the Orchid Ballroom at Purley and many more similar locations in Sussex and Kent, as well as for private parties and wedding receptions.
.....During its heyday the band, which was entirely amateur, played as many as four engagements each week and there was rarely any Saturday evening when they weren't performing somewhere or other.  John Streeter recalls the main musicians as being Jack Streeter, leader and saxophone; Tony Marchant, saxophone, clarinet, and rythmn guitar; Bill Barnard, piano; Tom Wales, drums; Don Thornton-Smith, trumpet and trombone; and Johnny Tree, trumpet and trombone.
The band featured a type of music still identified as 'dance band' which will be familiar to those of a 'certain age' as well as to any others, possibly younger, who enjoy harmonic and syncopated music with a melody which isn't too noisy on the ears.  Such music was made popular by the great band leaders of the 1920s onwards, even unto the time of the likes of Victor Sylvester (slow, slow, quick, quick, slow)!  The era, which was classic, came to an end with the birth of 'Rock 'n' Roll' in the 1950s when anyone with a knowledge of three simple chords played on a guitar could make their own music and become a highly paid 'artist' overnight.  Jack Streeter and his fellows in the dance band, all of whom loved the dance band style, were unable to adapt to the changing style and yielded the stage to the younger three chord wonders.
This picture from the early 1950s shows the band members in the traditional 'black tie' evening dress that they invariably wore.  From left to right the musicians are Don Thornton-Smith, Johnny Tree, Tony Marchant, Tom Wales, Jack Streeter and Bill Barnard. 
NOTE RE IDENTITIES: - In the information below supplied by Alan Thorton about his father Don Thorton-Smith Alan points out that his father is actually second from left, not on the far left. This throws all the identities into doubt but it may be that the two musicians on the left have their identities reversed.
  
More About the Band Members
...Jack Streeter was employed until his retirement in the West End of London by the now defunct North Thames Gas Board.  Educated at Reigate Grammar School he started his working life as a journalist with the Surrey Mirror Newspaper where his father, who died on active service in France at the Battle of The Somme, had earlier been a linotype operator.  He served in the Fleet Air Arm during the Second World War and lived all his married life in Rural Way, Redhill.
...Tony Marchant was a partner in the well known local photograpic business known as 'Phelps and Marchant' and lived for many years in Garlands Road Redhill.
...Bill Barnard was a radio and television engineer who spent several years in the USA.  After returning to England he rejoined the band and lived near Reffels Bridge.
...Tom Wales was a skilled bricklayer and lived in Colesmead Road, Redhill.
...Don Thornton-Smith The following information comes from from his son, Alan Thornton. --- My father was an accountant. Although passed not fit for war service due to a heart condition he continued an active life until he died aged 62 in 1981, playing his trumpet in the Redhill Society of Instrumentalists almost until his death. He was a keen cricketer, and also enjoyed tennis. He was for years an elder at the Redhill Congregational Church (later URC). He never moved away from the Redhill area, although he worked first in the City, and later in Mitcham for a large printing machine company. For about the last ten years of his life he was secretary of Redhill Bowling Club.   Dad also played in the Howard Thornton Dance Band with his two brothers (Howard and Dennis), together with the then unknown Bert Weedon and Malcolm Lockyer (later leader of a BBC radio band, I believe).   Don had three children;   Margaret, Barbara and me, Alan, also an accountant (I couldn't avoid it!).   So far as I was aware, the Howard Thornton band was based in Redhill - although how it fits in with Jack Streeter I don't know. The family moved out from East London (Ilford, I think) sometime before the war, and lived off Redstone Hill. (My sisters will probably know more!) Possibly the Howard Thornton band pre-dates his involvement with Jack Streeter and may have been based where they lived before moving the Redhill.   By the way, the identities on the photo caption are wrong; my father is the balding one, second from the left, not on the extreme left. He never played the trombone, although certainly in his brother's band he did sometimes pick up a violin. Howard played the sax, and Dennis, drums. Howard moved to Manchester and became a Station Master; Dennis became a Methodist Minister.   7 Clarence Road was where I was born . Indeed, Dad lived there until he died on 19 December 1981. Frederick William was my grandfather (both my father and I inherited the "Frederick" as a middle name), but my grandparents moved to 22 Clarence Walk, Meadvale in around 1964. My grandfather died around 1967, but my grandmother outlived my father, and died aged 96.   The Sydney Thornton-Smith in Croydon Road was, amazingly, completely unrelated to us. I know his family was known vaguely, but we had no contact. In fact, our family name was only created by my grandfather when he got married, combining his own name (Smith) with his mother's maiden name (Thornton), so we can definitely identify all of our relatives with that name.   My father's twin sister, is still living in Reigate, now approaching her 90th birthday. Thanks to Alan Thornton for this information
...Johnny Tree is believed to have lived in Brambletye Park Road, Redhill, but again, nothing else is known.
 

Jack Streeter in more casual attire, picture believed to have been taken during a rehearsal in the early 1950s.

This has been a brief outline of a band that must still live in people's memories. If you have any information that could be added to this web page please contact the author.

Many thanks to John Streeter for
providing the pictures and information
for this page.

Thanks also to Alan Thornton for comprehensive information about Don Thorton-Smith and another band he played in.

www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk