The Globe Carnival Club has travelled to Battersea Park in London, to take part in the Easter Parade on four occasions. 1980 “Guardians of Shangri-La” 1983 “Cosmic Warriors” 1984 “Stand and Deliver” and 1990 “Dance With The Devil”.
Chosen whilst taking part at the Weston Super Mare carnival by representatives of the London Greater Council. The invites did not always reach us before work to dismantle the entry had started. In 1980 large sections had been destroyed before we had the invite, but club members worked hard to restore it ready for the long haul to London.
All four entries were transported to the parade by low loader with alterations made to the height to meet restrictions enforced to enable safe passage on the motorway network. Guardians of Shangri-La and Dance with the Devil had 3ft removed from the top of the entry whilst Cosmic Warriors had the roof removed and Stand and Deliver was reconstructed on the bed of the low loader.
The logistics seemed to be straight forward but a few problems were encountered on the way. One of the eleven pandas on Guardians of Shangri-La that were wrapped in polythene to protect them gave concern to early morning motorists when it broke free from its mounting and landed on the East bound carriage way of the M4 but was collected before any harm was done. The Metropolitan police were also concerned when the cause of traffic mayhem on the Albert Bridge over the River Thames was due to eleven pandas on an ice burg stuck half way in the park gates.
On the big day of the parade a different panda now with performer the late Sherry Dando on board became caught in a cable placed across the roadway by a local radio station. The panda broke from its mountings sending them both to the ground. Both were recovered and completed the parade no worse for their ordeal.
With more experience things got a little better during the next trips to London with only minor problems such as one entry going missing for 6hrs when the contractors driver made an early start without informing club members who had all the paper work required and should be travelling with them, travelling against the traffic in one way streets to enable us to complete the route provided and one entry being reversed along the Thames embankment against three lanes of traffic after missing a right hand turning and being to high to pass under a railway bridge.
Globe was able to use these visits to London to their advantage with sponsorship to boost club funds. As for the members and the supporters? Well, the journey started on Easter Sunday at 6am with a roll call to ensure all were aboard the two coaches. It has been said that a few tins of beer and a little agricultural champagne (cider) were consumed on route to the capital.
Once in London final work and testing of the entry was completed and only then were the cast and crew able to relax for a hard earned lunch at the Albert Inn, this was interrupted by the landlord asking us not to sing and then not to stand on his tables during the sing a long.
Every effort was made by the club to present each entry to the people of London to the same high standard expected at our own carnivals. This was difficult given that the parade was in daylight and ours is a night time illuminated carnival. It was a great honour to represent Somerset carnivals at the Easter Parade.
And now for the long journey home via a fine watering hole that was known as the Peggy Bedford on the A4 at Heathrow. Supporters and club members joined together around the piano in the bar to recreate the after carnival parties singing many favourite songs whilst enjoying a drink or two, much to the amazement and enjoyment of many a tired traveller and local who had just called in for a quite drink.
With other clubs taking part at the parades it was a little bit of Somerset meets the capital