‘Tom’ Tuby was not the only member of the family to serve his adopted town as a local councillor. Nor was he the sole member to receive the honour of becoming chief citizen. It is appropriate that the man who has carried on that civic tradition is another George Thomas Tuby, Harry’s son.
And G.T. as family members refer to him, has had the unique distinction of being town Mayor of his adopted Whitby in 1978, and then Mayor of Scarborough in 1986. But it must have seemed at one time that George Thomas Tuby would not live in Whitby. As we have seen he worked with his father Harry but was then called up for National Service, just as Arthur had been. But these were the days when coal mining was an essential job and miners were as necessary as fighting troops. So it was that G.T. found himself a ‘Bevin Boy’ so named after Ernest Bevin who suggested conscripts be used in mining and be selected by ballot. For six and a half years, he was underground, working at the Cadeby and Manvers pits helping to keep the so essential supplies of coal coming out for industry and the home fires, in a period when most homes had their coal burning grates. But if anyone asks him what it was like spending all those years down a coal mine, he is likely to say, “like anything else, you’ve got a job to do and you get on with it”. When his underground service was over, he returned to the fairs and as we have seen travelled with the dodgems and the Caterpillar, working with his father, Harry Tuby until he retired. G.T. remained with the Tuby fairs, travelling with Arthur Tuby until 1968. His arrival at Whitby, and the move from travelling showman to the owner of a static amusement park, could be described as belonging to ‘the hand of fate’. For he and his wife Anne were at the Pickering Traction engine in 1968. They decided to take their children to Whitby for the day. They both liked the town but forgot it until they were having another day out, this time at Bridlington. Even before he was honoured as Scarborough’s First Citizen, he was vice chairman of the Leisure and Amenities Committee, a member of the Policy and Resources, Development Services and Whitby Harbour Committee, and he also sat on the National Parks Committee. Whereas George Rhodes and son Roger married flatties, the same cannot be said of G.T. For the fairground was as much in Annie Pullen’s blood as his own. Her father was President of the Showman’s Guild of Great Britain, and his son in law was to serve the Yorkshire Section as its Chairman from 1977 to 1979 and presented the section with its chairman’s chain of office. For G.T. like other members of the family is a keen Guild supporter and there could have been no better moment during 1989, the Guild’s centenary year, when Ex-Mayor was there at the opening of King’s Lynn Mart, just as it had been at those fairs so many years before. George Thomas Tuby and Anne Pullen were married in Sheffield Cathedral in 1953, uniting two famous families of Yorkshire travellers. Nor could any one doubt the patriotism of the couple. For during their year as Mayor and Mayoress, they visited many different town halls. And in each of them they found a portrait of the Queen, something absent from their own town hall. So, in the following year they commissioned a painting of the Queen and presented it to Scarborough Town Hall. The painting was done from a colour transparency supplied by Buckingham Palace for this purpose. As well as Princess Margaret, the showman mayor, G.T. Tuby was there as Mayor of Whitby for the visit of Prince Charles for the 250th anniversary of the birth of Captain Cook. And despite the advice from Scarborough officials that it was out of order for the Town Mayor to present the royal visitor with a set of Whitby jet cuff links, Prince Charles received the gift of the town.
In the course of a conversation with John Ling who had an amusement part at the resort they were told that Sammy Deakes was selling ‘Pleasureland’ at Whitby. George Thomas, Anne and the children drove over to Whitby, a place he had only visited once before, and ‘G.T.’ introduced himself to Sammy Deakes.
However, it seemed that they were too late. They arrived to find that it had already been sold. Then, three months later when they had almost forgotten their disappointment, completely out of the blue, they received a message from G.T’s mother, asking him to phone Sammy Deakes. They had just pulled onto the fair at Bentley so G.T. found a convenient telephone kiosk and called Sammy Deakes. It appeared the original deal for the arcade had fallen through and Sammy Deakes invited George Thomas to go over to Whitby to see him. G.T. said he would be over the following morning and #Anne went to see their accountant at Doncaster to see if he would go with them. Although they did not buy there and then, there were certain things they wanted to check, the outcome was that shortly afterwards, the family stopped travelling and settled down at Whitby. And it was similar quixotic move that brought George Thomas into local politics. For, as he explains, there had never originally been any idea of getting onto the council. He was in the snack bar at his arcade when a chap came in and asked him to put his signature on a form. He told George Thomas in the same local Yorkshire accent that ‘Tom’ Tuby used, that he was ‘putting up t’ council’. G.T. was far from impressed as to the suitability of this particular candidate to represent the voters. He felt that if people like that put up for election, he should have a go himself. He put the idea to his wife “Yes, you should”, was her reply.
It was then eleven o’clock, a telephone call to the council officers to find out the procedure, revealed that nomination papers had to be in by noon that day. Needless to say, that nomination paper, properly completed was in by mid-day.
There was to be no fairy tale ending, however, like his grandfather at his first election, G.T. was narrowly beaten, by six votes, but not by the candidate who had caused such alarm in G.T.’s mind and caused him to submit himself to public vote. However, defeat has never daunted a Tuby. Again, following in his grandfather’s footsteps, he stood at a by-election and just like ‘Tom’ Tuby on his second attempt, was elected to the council. His local government interest had taken root and was to grow into that ‘mighty oak’ when he was elected Mayor of Whitby. On the re-organisation of the local government areas, Whitby retained its right to have a town mayor from its elected town councillors, and in 1978 that honour cam to Councillor George Thomas Tuby. And it could be said that his arrival on Scarborough District council was rather unusual. He became ill shortly before election day and was taken to Scarborough Hospital for an operation. The family knew that if G.T. was not elected to represent Whitby’s Mayfield Ward, on Scarborough Borough Council, which consists of the areas of Scarborough, Whitby and Filey, the blame would almost be bound to fall on them. So they rallied round the hospitalised candidate and ensured his canvassing was not neglected.
When the results were announced there was a hurried telephone call to the hospital by Anne, and it was the surgeon who leaned over G.T. to tell him of his success. A bottle of champagne was opened, but to the patient’s disgust, it was the surgeon and nurses who toasted his success.
Possibly one incident more than any other sums up this particular member of the Tuby family and shows he is indeed ‘Tom’s’ grandson. For during his year as Town Mayor of Whitby H.R.H. Princess Margaret came to the town to open the new hospital. G.T. was invited to meet her. After the formalities were over, George Thomas turned to the royal visitor and said, “Ma’am, can you tell me how you came to get a gin and tonic while I have to drink sherry?” “Don’t you like sherry?” asked the royal visitor. “No ma’am” replied the Mayor of Whitby. “Then we must get you a gin and tonic”, said the Princess. And she did. And it was said in Whitby that their councillor and mayor was a man who had a knack of winning any raffles he entered. The story circulated that after winning the same television set three times and giving it back to a worthy cause, G.T. , when his ticket was pulled out the last time, gave the television set to the Lifeboat Raffle and made sure that he did not buy any tickets on that occasion. Possible Councillor Mrs Jean Greenan, summed up the Tuby family philosophy and this particular member of it, when, in her speech proposing Scarborough G.T. as the next mayor of the borough, she said, “For many years I hardly knew him. We sat on different committees and our paths rarely crossed. I thought of him as ‘the big fellow from Whitby’. Then one I attended a function at Whitby and he introduced me to his wife, Anne. ‘Anne I want you to meet Jean Greenan. I used to think she was a bit toffee notes, but she isn’t really, she’s all right,”. As the councillor added, that summed George Tuby, straightforward, honest and with no fancy talk. And that also sums up this remarkable fairground family.
As G.T. recalls, the Mayor of Scarborough should have been on the steps of the Town Hall to meet him.. However, while G.T. and Anne took one route, the car carrying the royal visitor came over the swing bridge in the town. Prince Charles got over, then someone slightly opened the swing bridge stopping the following cars containing the Mayor Scarborough and other officials.
So it was the Mayor of Whitby who met the royal visitor and, of course, presented the cuff links. And while there were those who blamed George Thomas for the hold up, he denies this. But, as he will say, they could have been right if he had thought about it. Then the Duchess of Kent visited Scarborough to open a new wing at Scarborough Hospital, when G.T. was to the Mayor and to mark the re-furbishment work at the Spa. His year in office saw Max Jaffa and Scarborough’s own playwright, Alan Ayckbourn given the freedom of Scarborough, the first such honours since 1974. Such is the concern of both George Thomas and Anne with the youth of the area that he launched a personal anti drugs campaign at schools and youth clubs. A governor of five schools in the Whitby area, both the mayor and Mayoress said they believed that drugs were the number one problem facing the young in modern society and they began distributing and putting up three hundred posters warning youngsters of the dangers of drugs. There was one break from civic duties however, when one of the roughest summer seas on record had created havoc along the coast including ‘Luna Park’, the Scarborough sea front amusement park they lease from the council. With the roof of the dodgem hall caved in by the weight of water, a children’s roundabout roof destroyed and a side show of fur fabric dogs with kennels with rather limp animals, G.T. found that he could face different problems on the coast from those he faced when travelling, particularly with the old ex-W.D.Matador. G.T. was driving with his father’s van and his own behind when a policeman stopped him as he was driving to Conisborough from Doncaster. The policeman got a tape out and measured everything up, and G.T. says his van was twice as big as it should have been. The policeman was soon saying that it wanted cutting down, wetting his finger and showing where the shortening should be. The Harry Tuby arrived and tried to talk to the policeman. However, the officer of the law just did not want to know. Then Harry asked if he was going to summon his son. The answer was yes, at which Harry told George Thomas to get on his way. And as he remembers today if his father told him to do something, he did it. The summons duly arrived and the fine was paid, but more important, that shortening never took place and they were never stopped again. And, again in the steps of ‘Tom’ Tuby there was an invitation to a garden Party at Buckingham Palace in July 1986, although George Thomas and Anne had also attended one when they were travelling. But there was no need on these occasions for Anne Tuby to ask permission of a housewife to use her toilet a few days later.
It was also fitting that in Scarborough, a conference resort out of season, that the first conference this ex-Bevin Boy Mayor had to address was that of the National Union of Mineworkers.G.T. has indeed that priceless gift of being able to ‘walk with kings’ and keep the ‘common touch’.
For who else would respond, during an election address to the question, “Now what are you going to do for us?” with the answer, “Nothing. Today I want you to do something for me”, which brought the truthful response, “Well, lad, at th’art honest”. And while as his proposer as Mayor of Whitby said, whilst G.T. is unlikely to be photographed in sepia taking inmates from the workhouse to Cleethorpes for the day as his grandfather was, but the elderly in Whitby have enjoyed many a tea and sing song with him and he has livened up their Christmas parties with a bottle of gin and whisky to make the old songs sound better. During his year as Mayor of Whitby George and Anne were invited to Westminster Abbey for a special service in honour of Captain Cook. But to the delight of the people of Whitby, when mayor of the resort and he discovered that the borough mayor Scarborough had been invited to open Whitby’s regatta, George Thomas refused to follow tradition and introduce this out of town mayor. For he rightly considered that it was the Mayor of Whitby who should perform the ceremony at the ton’s own annual regatta. And the response from the townsfolk showed that once again he had responded to the mood of the people and his council backed him to the hilt. If he walked into a local pub, it was a case of drinks on the drinkers for a mayor who stood up for their town of Whitby. As one elderly voter put it, “thank goodness you are not a YES man. Stick by Whitby for Whitby agrees with what you did”. But surely, no Tuby could be accused of even remotely resembling a ‘Yes man’.