The Holland Family

Reginald Holland   1906-1995

Researching his particular subject concerning local musical theatre and cinema entertainers is how Trevor Lee managed to discover this very talented Huthwaite born organist featured in the 1961 press archives.

Free Press 1961

Radio Times confirms BBC schedule lasting 31 mins., dated on Friday morning 6th October 1961

Huthwaite organist broadcasts

  HUTHWAITE-BORN REG HOLLAND broadcasts at 10 a.m. to-day from the organ console of the Odeon Cinema Blackpool.
  Mr. Holland is the youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. Howitt Holland, and was born at King Street, Huthwaite. He began playing the piano when he was nine, and played the organ at All Saints' Parish Church, Huthwaite, at an early age. He was later pianist at Madame Roscoe's ballroom, Mansfield, and there met his wife.
  On moving to Blackpool Mr. Holland played at the Tower Ballroom and the Winter Gardens, and is now organist at the Odeon.
  The broadcast can be heard on the Light Programme.

Reginald Holland lived out the majority of his life in the Lancashire holiday resort of Blackpool. A BBC live radio performance playing the extravagant Odeon organ must surely mark peak of his successful musical career, and Huthwaite relatives may well have very proudly informed our local press of this event. But we surprisingly find little other evidence yet to truly assert full career, or even Reg's family connections.

Robert Holland may now prove to be the eldest living relative to know of Reginald, whom he loosely relates to be one of his fathers cousins. Being also raised later among the six family homes built in King Street by grandfather Hezekiah from 1908, Robert doubts if Reg was actually born there, and justifiably so according to the given two year difference. There's no doubt Reginald was born in Huthwaite and his father Howitt is related to another branch of the same migrant family. They potentially stem from either one of the following coal mining brothers who first found Huthwaite homes on Main Street and Newcastle Street.

Reginald was simply identified as the youngest son, and we're given no clue to any of the families christian names, or if his parents were responsible for next relocating them all to Mansfield. Finding a few Internet forum entries adds a little more knowledge following Reginalds musical career, and suggests there are grandchildren who may hopefully wish to share any further information updating their Holland genealogy.

Reginald Holland was my grandfather and lived in blackpool lancs till his death in 1995 aged 89, he moved from mansfield to blackpool as leader of a five piece dance band in 1932, he worked with the Larry Brennan band and bertinis orchestra at winter gardens and tower and as a RAF sergeant ran a wartime band. Hugh Hemsley

Andy Howard - Cannock Chase Organ Club
Reginald Holland was born in 1906 in the small village of Huthwaite near Mansfield in Nottinghamshire. He was taught to play the piano from an early age and his first experience playing the organ was on the small Compton organ in his local church. His first experience of playing for dancing was at the Palais de Danse in Mansfield.
By 1932 he was offered summer season work in Blackpool, taking a five piece band to the Old Casino, during that summer he was approached by Bob Johnson of Feldmans Varieties and after a short spell at the Trocadero he returned to Feldmans where he was spotted by Larry Brennan, leader of the Winter Gardens Dance Band who invited Reg over to the Tower to take part in a recording of Tiger Rag. Larry was so impressed with Reg that by Whitsuntide of 1934 he became a regular member of the band. During this time Reg played piano at the Tower and Winter Gardens and when the new "Wonder Wurlitzer" was installed in 1935 Reg was eager to try his hand.
Having plucked up courage to approach Mr Jepson the Tower's general manager, Reg was told there would be no harm in him practicing on the organ so he could be used to deputise for Reginald Dixon and Horace Finch.
When Horace Finch contracted diphtheria, Reg Holland took over for a six week spell. With Reginald Dixon being away on tour during the winter months Reginald Holland was often called upon to cover all three Wurlitzer's in the Empress Ballroom, The New Opera House and the Tower, although it was the Tower which remain his favourite, "The beauty and the power of the that organ seemed to get you inside" he once said.
Along with Dance Band piano duties with Larry Brennan Reg was in great demand right up until War broke out. Like Reginald Dixon and Horace Finch before him Reg Holland was drafted into the RAF musical section at Uxbridge, playing various venues with a five piece band until the end of hostilities.
At the end of the War Reg returned to the Dance Band at the Tower now until the leadership of Charlie Powell, for whom he was soon deputising with the Batten. A chance meeting the Station Hotel, in Blackpool, with Odeon manager Roy Broad saw Reg getting back on the console of the Odeon Conicher which was getting little use at that time. Reg went on to broadcast from Odeon, and throughout the 1960's and 70's Reg was a popular personality on the concert circuit.

Although better known as Reg, his photo playing the Empress Ballroom Wurlitzer bears signature Reginald Holland. Winter Gardens A christian name coincidentally shared by a trio of organists from that era, when shown standing between Reginald Foorte seated and Reginald Dixon.Winter Gardens

 Blackpool Odeon

Written 28 Oct 14 Revised 31 Oct 14 © by Gary Elliott