Out taking a leak

Do you remember the old TV panel game show What’s My Line?

Sunday, 16th September 2012, 3:24 pm

It originally ran in the United States and involved celebrity panellists questioning contestants to determine their occupations.

A British version aired on BBC TV from 1951 to 1963 and the first host (called “chairman”) was Gilbert Harding, who was replaced by Eamonn Andrews for the remainder of the run.

Regular panellists included Lady Isobel Barnett, Barbara Kelly, David Nixon and Cyril Fletcher.

Revivals of the show in the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s were hosted by David Jacobs, Eamonn Andrews (again), Penelope Keith, Angela Rippon and Emma Forbes.

Which brings us on to this week’s Yesteryear photo, which appeared in the Tuesday Pictorial, a former sister paper of the Luton News, in November 1952.

It featured in a photo quiz called What’s My Line?, which was run by the newspaper at the time.

Sixty years later, we can now reveal that the two officials with the strange-looking apparatus were inspectors from Luton Water Company looking for a leak.

Although the equipment appeared similar to that used during the Second World War to detect land mines, it had been in use for more than 20 years.

The article with the picture described how it worked, like a “mechanical eye”, to find lost stop-taps and leaking pipes.The operator would hear changes in sound as the pipes were located.

According to records at Luton Museum in Wardown Park, where an estimated 1.5 million Luton News negatives are kept, the picture was actually taken in August 1950, but not published in the Pictorial for more than two years.

> Reader Janet Richardson has written to say that in one of the Yesteryear pictures of Waldeck Road, left, featured on August 15, the shop next to R. Warwick’s was Luton Model Supplies.

She said: “It sold craft kits for model aeroplanes, cars and the like as well as mouldings for picture frames and other craft items and was still there in the ‘60s at least.”