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Recollections

Edinburgh

Dance Halls

 

Recollections

1.

Frank Ferri
Newhaven, Edinburgh

The Eldorado

The Assembly Rooms

YMCA

The Lansberry

The Palace Ballroom

Stella Maris

Private Functions

Juke Box Cafés

Stewart's Ballroom

The Palais

    -  Americans

    -  Revolving Stage

Fashions

The Manhatten Café

Other Venues

Sundays

Entertainment

Leith

2.

Frank Ferri
Newhaven, Edinburgh

Rules of Dancing

    -  No Jiving

    -  Ladies Ejected

3.

Jean Macaulay
(
née Westwood)

Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland

Dickson's

Morningside

Palais de Danse

Plaza

Tollcross

Eldorado

4.

Ian Taylor
Glasgow, Scotland

Morningside

The Cavendish

5.

Frank Ferri
Newhaven, Edinburgh

Live Music in early-1950s

1960s

Falling Attendances

Beat Clubs

1970s

Today

6.

Ron Suttie
Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia

Palais de Danse

The Cavendish

7.

Trisha McDonald
Livingston / Portobello, Scotland

Palais de Danse

The Cavendish

8.

Anne Blisset (née Meikle)

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Victor Silvester Dance Studio

9.

Bob Sinclair
Queensland, Australia

Dance Halls

-  Cavendish

-  Palais de Danse

-  Plaza

-  Fairleys

-  Eldorado

-  Assembly Rooms

-  Marine Gardens

Schools of Dancing

-  Edina

-  Central

-  Afton

10.

Alistair Rankine
Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

Jiving

-  The Westfield Hall

-  The Locarno (Paulena's)

11.

Betty Wallace (née Baxter)
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

The Eldo

The Palais

12.

Jim Flynn
Oxgangs, Edinburgh

The Plaza

13.

Ian M Malcolm
St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

The Palais

14.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Central School of Ballroom Dancing

15.

Martin Kielty
Glasgow, Scotland

Dance Hall Memories

16.

Bob Sinclair
Queensland, Australia

The Edina and The Central

17.

Lyndsay Montgomery
Old Town, Edinburgh

Fairleys

Imperial Hotel

18.

Andy Duff
Maryborough, Queensland, Australia

Memories

The Edina

The Afton

19.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Memories

20.

Martin Kielty
Glasgow, Scotland

Dance Hall Memories

21.

Archie Young
Moredun, Edinburgh

The Cavendish

-  Doorman

-  TV Broadcast

-  Management and Staff

-  Glasgow Fortnight

-  Doorman's Duty

-  Entertainment

-  Trouble

-  Patrons

-  The Palais

22.

Jack Todd
Lake Munmorah, New South Wales, Australia

The Cavendish

23.

Allan Dodds
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

The Plaza

24.

Allan Dodds
Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Madam Ada's School of Dancing

The Greenhill and The Cavendish

25.

Joyce Lamont Messer
Whanganui, North Island, New Zealand

The Silver Slipper

Glendinning's

26.

Bob Sinclair
Queensland, Australia

The Central School of Dancing

27.

Ian Thomson
Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

The Central School of Dancing

Quickstep or Waltz

Latin American

28.

Ian Thomson
Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Dancing Steps

29.

Jimmy Inglis
London

Request for Memories

30.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Schools

Dancing

Clan House

Paulina's

Palais

31.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Westfields

Palais

32.

Avril Finlayson Smith
Australia

Palais

33.

John Dickson
Silverknowes, Edinburgh

Westfield Halls

34.

June Wood (née Robertson)
California, USA

The Palais

35.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

The Palais  -  Fight

36.

June Wood (née Robertson)
California, USA

The Palais  -  Fight

37.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Clan House

38.

Alex Baillie
Falkirk, West Lothian, Scotland

The Palais  -  Band

39.

Alex Baillie
Falkirk, West Lothian, Scotland

The Palais

40.

Margaret Cooper
Colindale, North London, England

Dalkeith on a Sunday

41.

Bob Henderson
Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Midlothian Dance Halls

42.

Stuart Lyon
Blackford, Edinburgh

Tony's Dance Hall

Edinburgh Dance Halls

43.

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

Edinburgh Dance Halls

44.

Gordon Covey

Adelle Dance Studio

Ross Bandstand

The Paul Young Band

Pipers

45.

Frank Ferri
Newhaven, Edinburgh

Tony's Dance Hall

Leith Assembly Rooms

46.

Colin Campbell
Hampshire, Edinburgh

Toni's Dance Hall

Paulena's

Orchestras

47.

Stuart Lyon
Blackford, Edinburgh

Toni's Dance Hall

Paulena's

Orchestras

48.

Gus Coutts
Duddingston, Edinburgh

Toni's Dance Hall

Paulena's

Orchestras

49.

Dave Ferguson
Blairgowrie, Perth & Kinross, Scotland

Stewart's Dance Hall

50.

Jim Little
Winnipeg,, Manitoba, Canada

Old Toll Bar then The Cavendish

50.

Reply 1

Peter Stubbs
Edinburgh

Old Toll Bar and Auld Toll Bar

51.

Tony Henderson
Canada

Portobello Dance Hall

51.

Reply 1

Archie Foley
Joppa, Edinburgh

Inchview

51.

Reply 2

Gus Coutts
Duddingston, Edinburgh

Inchview

52.

Alister McFarquhar
Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

Port Seton

Jiving

New Cavendish

Eldorado

53.

Danny Callaghan
Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

The Corner of Little King Street

Fairleys

Imperial Hotel

54.

Ron Hetherington

The Plaza

The Locarno

Dance Band Event

The Lanark Palais

55.

Walford Richards

Dance Halls

Bands

56.

Bob Leslie

New Cavendish Ballroom

-  Pink Floyd

57.

Walford Richards

The Eldorado

-  Bandleader

58.

Tony Henderson

The Eldorado

-  Bandleaders

59.

Tom Hunter

Victor Silvester Dance Studio

-  Opening Ceremony

-  The Principal

-  Tape Recording

60.

Terry Jack
Bali, Indonesia

Bouncers

61.

John Fraser
Inch, Edinburgh

Victory Ballroom

62.

Alistair Rankine
Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

The Palais

63.

Martin Rowena

Jeff Rowena

64.

Dave O'Reilly
Edinburgh

Anchor Ballroom

-  Anchor Ballroom

-  Ballroom Dancing

-  Highland & Tap Dancing

-  Memories

65.

Carol Bradley (née Kay)
Taupo, New Zealand

Afton Dance Club

Dancin Medals

The Palais

Jimmy Harper

-  Highland & Tap Dancing

-  Memories

66.

Michael Grant
Edinburgh

Excelsior Ballroom

-  Seeking Help with our Research

-  To Jog the Memory

-  Life in the 1940s

 

Recollections

1.

Frank Ferri

Newhaven, Edinburgh

Thank you to Frank Ferri, now living in Newhaven, Edinburgh, for sending me these memories of living in Leith.  Frank adds that Leith had plenty of places for dancing.

Frank wrote:

The Eldorado

"The Eldorado in Mill Lane had two halls, one for Tuesday night Wrestling, with such names as:

-   The Goul

-   Le Masque Rouge

-   Kendo

-   Les Kellet

 Shirley Crabtree and even

 Jimmy Savile of 'Top of the Pops' fame'

The dance hall featured the big bands of the time:

- Ken Mackintosh

- Harry Gold and his Pieces of Eight,

- Renaldo

- Johnny Dankworth

- Ted Heath with his Singers

- Lita Rosa

- Dick Valentine

- Dennis Lotus.

On some Saturday nights they would have a twelve A.M. to Four AM. Dance session. So you could go to the Palais de Danse at Fountainbridge until 11.00 P.M. then make your way down to Leith for the 'Eldo'."

The Assembly Rooms

      Assembly Rooms, Constitution Street, Leith  -  Railings removed 1910 ©

"The Assembly Rooms, or 'the 'Rooms' as we called them, at the foot of Constitution Street, were a very popular venue with Alexander’s resident band.

Most kids learned the basics of dancing before graduating to the  Assembly Rooms.  I went there about three nights a week."

YMCA

"There was also the Y.M.C.A for the very young in Junction place  (Fire Brigade Street to a Leither)."

The Lansberry

"Then there were the Lansberry halls for more mature people.

This was former Labour Party offices where Lord Hoy first started as an M.P., on the corner of Duke Street. and Academy Street  (old name, Morton Street)

As a boy of fourteen, I joined the Labour League of Youth here and canvassed etc. for the Labour Party and met Lord Hoy many times."

The Palace Ballroom

"The Palace Ballroom was above Woolworth’s and had a small entrance in Constitution Street.  I remember this is where, at the age of fourteen, I heard my first live band, 'Archie Semple and his Dixieland Band'.

On Sundays, there was little for teenagers to do.  My friends and I, hearing the music, crept up the stairs towards it.  A man appeared.  We turned and were about to run, then plucked up the courage to ask if we could get in.

Surprisingly, he said 'Certainly'. There was no dancing, just listening to the music, and our first experience of live music.

I thought the noise was ear-splitting. But it was like chamber music to to-days standards.

For one shilling and nine pence (1/9d ) they  threw in a cup of coffee and a couple of cakes.  We felt so grown up.  I’ve been hooked on New Orleans jazz ever since."

Stella Maris

"The 'St. Mary’s Star of the Sea' church  (Stella Maris) had a Sunday night Youth Club.  This was for members of the parish only.

To get my non-denominational friends in, I had to tell them what the colour of the priest's vestments were on that Sunday because old father Fitz (Fitzpatrick) would be at the door to pose the question."

Private Functions

"Other private function venues for weddings etc were:

-  The Bakers Halls:  North Fort Street.

-  The Corner Rooms:   on the  corner of North Junction Street and Ferry Road

-  The Unionist Halls:  at the foot of Leith Walk

-  The Eagle Rooms:  at Tower Street, along the Shore,

No 5 Masonic Club Rooms:  at Queen Charlotte Street, off Constitution Street.

Coop Halls:  the old school / church on the corner of Cables Wynd and Great Junction Street.

 Leith Town Hall:  Ferry Road.

 -  Market Halls:  in Market Street, off St Andrew Street, Leith.  This later  became The Crossroads Club, run by the late Eric Gardner.  There, they had five-a-side football among other things.  At half time, you paid two pence and got a jam piece and a cup of tea."

Juke Box Cafés

"Michael’s Café (early 1950s) in Tollbooth Wynd was the first to have a jukebox.

This was another gathering point, listening to:

-   Frankie Laine (High Noon Theme)

-  Johnny Ray (Cry)

 -  Rosemary Clooney (Cammona My House)

-  Doris Day (Canadian Capers)

-  Billy Eckstine (If)

-  Mario Lanza (Be My Love)

-  Nat King Cole (Unforgettable)

- Tennessee Ernie Ford (Shot Gun Boogie fame)

   and many others.

Johnny’s Café, next to the State Cinema and the Cabin Café next to Leith Central Railway Station at the foot of Leith Walk, (now the Job Center) were other juvenile hangouts, and also Albert’s Chippy at the top of the Kirkgate and Lannie's Café in Henderson Street."

Stewart's Ballroom

"I went to Stewart's Ballroom at Abbeymount on a Saturday morning, aged about fourteen or fifteen.  This is where you went, to make you feel grown up.

Stewart or his wife would give a couple of whirls around the floor to demonstrate, then grab you by the hand introduce you to some wee girl  and insist you got on with it, a bit like learning to swim by just being thrown in."

The Palais

"After going to Stuart's Ballroom and the 'Rooms' (the Assembly Rooms) you graduated to the Palais in Fountainbridge (the haunt of Sean Connery.

You had arrived, big-time:

-  Fights with the Valdor Gang

Jealousies with the Yanks from Kirknewton Air Base

-  Dancing to Basil Kirchen Orchestra

-  The revolving stage with the Jeff Rowena Quartet on the other side.

The Palais was an enormous dance hall, capacity probably 3000, oblong in shape, with a surrounding balcony, where we would sit, eye up the talent, spot someone you fancied and make a beeline downstairs to get them up to dance.

No booze was sold there in there in those days, just coffees, tea and soft drinks in the wee Cafés:

-  Cupid's Bar

-  Knights' Corner

-  The Spanish decorated upstairs snack areas."

The Palais

Americans

"Usherettes were positioned to give you directions.  On the right-hand side of the Palais stage was considered the Yankee Corner.  This was the area the Americans from Kirknewton Airbase would congregate and attract the bottled blonds looking to marry a Yank for a better life in the States, much to the envy and anger of the local lads.

Generally speaking if a local lad asked these girls to dance, they got a knock back.  I remember having returned from a 12-month trip to the United states during my Merchant Navy days (1954).  I had developed an American accent that I could slip into quite comfortably, dress in appropriate clothes that I’d bought in America, and I could pull the birds in this disguise easily.

But if I let my guard down, I was dropped.  I didn't care though, it was their loss.  Such was my arrogance in those days. I'd been around the world and seen it all.  I was 'Jack the Lad'.  So who care about the yanks?"

The Palais

Revolving Stage

"The Palais had a revolving stage.  When one band went off for a break playing their signature tune, the other band would revolve round playing theirs, and I thought this was wonderful.

In the 60s when I played there with the 'Jokers' band, I was amazed to see the mechanism that activated the revolving stage was none other than a big wheel that you hand operated like your mothers old mangle for wringing clothes. I thought it would be a sophisticated electronic device.

When I saw this, you would have thought I’d just been told John Wayne was a poof!"

Fashions

"Drape suits were the order of the day, made to measure by Jackson’s the tailors Leith Street, paid for in cash, no credit in these days and it took six to eight weeks to have one made.

The jacket had a one piece back, single-breasted with one link button.  The length of the jacket had to be at least thumb length, or the extreme fingertip. Tight legged trousers, measuring sixteen or fourteen inches at the turn-ups, were the fashion of the day.

We wore:

-  white shirts with a black knitted ties. (The Teddyboys wore the longest jackets with velvet trim collar and cuffs on the sleeves and broad waist-banded very narrow trousers.)

-  black gabardine raincoats with patch pockets (murder to clean off  the tan Pancake makeup from your collar after a nights snogging in the back stair) with mandatory yellow scarf or the 'Packamac', a very thin black plastic raincoat, that you folded up neatly and placed in a pouch

-  crepe soled shoes.

-  Cussons Imperial Leather after shave, or Old Spice if you could get it.

-  Tony Curtis haircuts with the (DA) score down the back of your head and kiss curl at front, by Bob's gents hairdressers of the West Port.  He was a Polish guy who then moved to Brougham Place, Tollcross.  He was the only gents hair stylist in town, expensive, but worth it for the best styles.

In the late 1950s, the fashion was:

- 'Munrospun' (a wool company at Kemps Corner, Loganlee area) woollen ties, generally mustard, red or bright yellow in colour

-  a red or mustard waistcoat, worn with a charcoal grey suit

- Perry Como haircuts.  We were getting a bit more sophisticated."

In the early 1960s, the fashion was:

-   longer hair, Beatles style.

-  high collard button-down shirts

-  narrow ties

-  boots with pointed toes and high Cuban heels

-  mohair shiny suits

-  Italian style three-button, narrow lapels

-  bum-freezer short jacket, with cloth covered buttons

-  tight-bottom trousers with no turn-ups."

The Manhatten Café

"We were very impressed with everything American in those days, perhaps influenced by the movies and the attention the Kirknewton American airmen got from the local girls.

There used to be a Café near the west end of Princes Street named the Manhattan.  It was next to the old Jacey cinema.

It was a long narrow premises, furnished like a mini American Diner, with boothed seating and swivel stools at the counter and displaying mirrors with etched scenes of New York, like the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge.  My friend Billy Harper and I would pose in there for ages until asked to vacate our booth."

Other Venues

Other venues were:

-  Tony’s, Picardy Place or

-  Fairleys, Leith Street.

if you had no taste.

-  The Cavendish, Tollcross

-  The Plaza, Morningside, for the nurses who frequented it.

-  The Excelsior, Blackfriars Street

and many more.

On our way home from the Palais in the 1950s, we stopped at the bakers near the old Alhambra Cinema for a hot mince pie.

Sundays

"On Sundays, cinemas and dance halls were all closed.  All you had were:

 Milk Bars and the West End Café in  Shandwick Place

- Listening to Jazz and at Victoria Halls Victoria Street, George IV Bridge, and

- The Oddfellows Halls in Forrest Rd, listening to Sandy Brown and his Dixieland Band."

Entertainment

"In the early 1960s, dancing was at beat clubs:

Gamp and The Place, Victoria Terrace

Top Story, Leith Street

 -  International, Princes Street

 Casablanca, Rose Street Lane

Luna Park, Tollcross Street

Magoos, High Street

Bungees, Fleshmarket Close, High Street

Walkers, Shandwick Place

Tiffanys, Stockbridge

-  The Gonk, High Riggs.

Bands of the time were:

Saracens

Embers

Boston Dexters

Jokers, Rhythm and Blues band

The Crusaders

Hunters

Cult, Images

Hipple People

Fayne & The Cruisers

Phil & The Flintstones

Tam Paton Show Band

Athenians

   and many more."

Leith

"We had all this entertainment and a couple of dozen more picture houses at our fingertips.  Spoiled rotten, we were!

However if you were a Leither, you never really had to leave the area."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Edinburgh:  June 12, 2008

 

Recollections

2.

Frank Ferri

Newhaven, Edinburgh

Frank Ferri has already sent his recollections of pubs, snooker halls and men's fashions in Leith in the 1950s and 1960s to the EdinPhoto web site.

Here, below, he writes about the Rules of Dancing in the 1950s.

Frank wrote:

Rules of Dancing  -  1950s

No Jiving!

"There was a time when you were not allowed to Jive.  It was seriously frowned upon.  (Allegedly, it spoiled the progress of proper dancers.) 

Those good at it would stop at a corner of the dance floor and do their thing, attracting a crowd of admirers and others who dared to Jive, stopping only when the caught sight of the bouncers.  If they caught you, you got thrown out.

I was barred from the Assembly Rooms Leith for three months, only did it the once to, it broke my heart."

Ladies Ejected

"Pre 1950s and for a period after, if  you asked a lady to dance and she refused, she had to sit that dance out.  If she ignored that rule and got up with someone else right after her refusal, you could report her to a bouncer and she would be asked to leave  -  a bit sever!

Refusals often happened, and for the male, it could be quite humiliating and a blow to the ego. However, I don’t know of anyone applying the rule and having the lady thrown out.  The women’s libbers will be outraged to read this today!"

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  October 29, 2008

 

Recollections

3.

Jean Macaulay (née Westwood)

Bonnyrigg, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Jean Macaulay, from Leith, now living in Bonnyrigg who wrote:

Dickson's

"I loved dancing and  used to go to Dickson's, a dance club off Broughton Street.  They had two clubs, one on the left of the street and one on the right which Wilma and I went to."

Morningside

"We also went to a dance club at Morningside.  It was up a lane off Holy Corner, and was very popular with usually the same people there each week.

I remember Ben Cheetham who lived near the Commonwealth Pool and Jacky from Kirkcaldy."

Palais de Danse

"We went to the Palais de Danse in Fountainbridge, only during the week, as it wasn't so crowded then.  It had a great sprung dance floor.

As a child, I used to go there on Saturday afternoons for the Children's Dance.  We loved it.  It was a miniature of the Adults Dance at night, with the glass roof ball.

When you were old enough we went at night with Jeff Rowena playing."

Plaza

"The Plaza  at Morningside was our place at the weekend.  We always had a great night there."

Tollcross

"Occasionally,  we would go to the the Dance Hall at Tollcross I can't remember the name, but it had so many pillars, you couldn't get off the dance floor."

Eldorado

"The Eldorado was in Leith.  Wilma and I used to go to private dances there.   They also held wrestling matches there.

My Sister Eva, sang a couple of times with Geraldo and his Orchestra there."

Jean Macaulay (née Westwood), Bonnyrigg Midlothian, Scotland:  February 8, 2009

 

Recollections

4.

Ian Taylor

Glasgow, Scotland

Thank you to Ian Thomson who added a little more information to that provided by Jean McCaulay in 3 above.

Ian wrote:

Morningside

"Jean McCauley mentions a dancing club near Holy Corner. This would be Greenhill Dance Club, up a lane, in a Masonic Hall.  Dancing with that eye looking at you, and winking in the flashing lights, was a bit eerie!

I seem to remember one of the groups who played there quite often was called 'The Roadsters', although there has been no mention of them in other memories about Edinburgh bands.

Talking of which, what about 'Old Bailey and the Jazz Advocates', at The Place up to early 1964.

The Cavendish

"The pillared dance hall at Tollcross must have been 'The Cavendish'. I admit to finding its sprung floor a tad too much sometimes; occasional feelings of nausea, and the sprung mirrors didn't help!"

Ian Taylor, Glasgow, Scotland:  February 19, 2009

 

Recollections

5.

Frank Ferri

Newhaven, Edinburgh

Thank you to Frank Ferri who wrote again with more memories of the old dance halls.

Frank wrote about the demise of the 'Big Band' era and of live music:

Live Music in early-1950s

"In the early 1950s, when I started to go to the dancing (as it was referred to then) there were many public dance halls throughout the city.

All had live music, played by orchestras ranging from 7- pieces in the small venues to 14-pieces in the big venues such as the Eldorado in Leith and the Palais de Danse in Fountainbridge.

These bands played to large crowds, at least twice a week, on Fridays and Saturdays.  There was no Sunday entertainment whatsoever then.

I think the Palais capacity was about 2,500.  Many of the nationally-know orchestras of the time (which you can imagine were very expensive to hire) worked brief residencies in these big halls".

1960s

"By the late 60s, tastes in popular music changed dramatically. Along came:

-  Skiffle

Trad Dad (Traditional Dixieland Music) by Ken Colyer, Aker Bilk, Kenny Ball, Chris Barber etc,

progressing to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Kinks and many others."

Falling Attendances

"Crowds at traditional dance venues diminished, putting pressure on the affordability of Big Bands that people no longer wanted to hear.

In an attempt to rescue their threatened dance halls, local up- and-coming pop bands emulating the aforementioned groups. They were hired, but failed to attract the crowds to cover the costs of such large premises, so they all went to the wall, to be replaced by the birth of smaller places called Beat Clubs, that sprang up all over the country."

Beat Clubs

"In Edinburgh it started with the Gamp club and the Place.  Gaining popularity, many other clubs appeared such as are already mentioned on this site. Local pop bands were smaller and cheaper."

1970s

"Come the early 1970s, Tamala Motown had taken a hold and disco mania began to replace the traditional Beat Clubs, so they all had to evolve.

Discos were even cheaper to use than pop bands. The whole music scene changed again.  Some bigger places opened up:

-  The Baron Suite at Chesser Ave

-  The Pentland (Cinderella’s) in Stockbridge

-  The  Maybury, offering cabaret as well."

Today

"Disco still survives.  Many places have change hands and names.  Very few premises other than social clubs offer live music to dance to now  -  maybe a guitar duo or a keyboard player in the pubs, which is sad.

Even when you go on vacation to places like Spain and Greece it’s the same.  They used to have live music right up until the late-1980s, but even there, they are now few and far between."

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  April 17, 2009

 

Recollections

6.

Ron Suttie

Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ron for leaving a message in the EdinPhoto guest book.

Ron wrote:

Palais de Danse

and

The Cavendish

"I frequented the Palais de Danse in Fountainbridge and the Cavendish on the weekends during the 1960s.  They were fantastic dance venues - real friendly social centres for all."

Ron Suttie, Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia.
Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  July 31, 2009

 

  Recollections

7.

Trisha McDonald

Livingston / Portobello, Scotland

Thank you to Trisha McDonald for leaving a message in the EdinPhoto guest book in response to Ron Suttie's message (6 above).

Trisha wrote:

Palais de Danse

and

The Cavendish

"I to went to the Palais and the Cavendish in the 1960s.  They were fantastic times

The Palais every Friday night

The Cavendish on Tuesday nights.

The Cavendish had a good floor for dancing on, but on a Friday it had to be the Palais as it had better 'talent' as we use to call it in those days.   Oh, the memories!"

Trisha, Livingston / Portobello, Scotland:
 Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  July 31, 2009

 

  Recollections

8.

Anne Blisset (née Meikle)

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Anne Blissett (who attended Preston Street Primary School then Moray House Secondary School asks:

Victor Silvester Dance Studio

"Does anyone remember the 'Victor Silvester Dance Studio'?   It was a nice little ballroom dance hall."

Anne Blissett (née Meikle), Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada:  August 25, 2009.

 

  Recollections

9.

Bob Sinclair

Queensland, Australia

Bob Sinclair, now living in Queensland, Australia, remembers some of Edinburgh's dance halls and schools of dancing

Bob wrote:

Dance Halls

The Cavendish

"The Cavendish at Tollcross was a 'middle of the road' hall where the local gentry and ladies of various ethnic varieties could go to view 'the talent'.

I think it had two halls.  It had a wide variety of dancing talent."

The Palais de Danse

"The Palais de Danse was normally referred to as the Palais.  It  had a similar though, in the eyes of the public, not as good a reputation as the Cavendish.

Sean Connery was at one time  a bouncer or orderly there."

The Plaza

"The Plaza was located in the Dominion Cinema at Morningside." *

Ian Taylor added.

"In fact the Plaza Ballroom wasn't in the Dominion Cinema.  It was one street to the south, on the corner of Morningside Road and Falcon Avenue.  There is s supermarket there now."

Ian Taylor:  Glasgow, Scotland:  November 30, 2009

"It was rated as one of the more sedate dace halls and again, I think, it had two dance floors. It was probably one of the establishments you might permit your daughter to go to."

Fairleys

"Fairleys was in Leith Street (though for the sake of old sailors who might get confused - for it was known worldwide by them - we might say Leith Walk).

Fairleys had a reputation for frequent differences of opinion between clients and was apt to have the odd visit from the local plod. However, in their defence they did also hold Dance Championships"

Eldorado

"The Eldo, as we knew it had dances and other functions, I think wrestling in more recent times.  Maybe one of your other correspondents could fill in on this one."

Yes.  See 'Recollections 1' above

Assembly Rooms

"The Assembly Rooms, in both Edinburgh and Leith were used from time to time for dances, though most of these were works outings or civic dances run by the town council."

Marine Gardens

"Down Portobello way, and before my time.  I heard about Marine Gardens from my mother."

Schools of Dancing

The Edina

"The Edina School of Dancing was in Nicolson Square.  It was run by Reggie Harkins and Marjorie Murray."

The Central

"The Central School of Dancing was at 1 Drummond Street.  I really felt sorry for the girls there. They were not allowed to refuse anybody who asked for a dance.  And our lot still had two left feet.

But as time progressed so did we, and the chocolate biscuits and tea half way through were brilliant.

By the finish of our time there you were supposed to be ready to sit your bronze medal test.  You were then supposed to go on to the Afton."

The Afton School of Ballroom Dancing

"This was a bit more formal.  You went up to either silver or gold medal standard.  They also got together a formation dance team, which we were part of.  It won the medal in Glasgow.

One of the couples went in for the Bronze Medal and the Open Championships and won both events dancing only Bronze Medal steps.  His name was Jimmy Harper and his partner was Margo.

"All three of these schools were considered to be safe places."

Bob Sinclair, Queensland, Australia:  November 29, 2009

Recollections

10.

Alistair Rankine

Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Alistair for writing again with recollections of jiving in Edinburgh Dance Halls.

Alistair wrote:

Jiving

Westfield Hall

"I'm surprised, regarding Dance Halls, that there is no mention of 'The Westfield Hall' which was near Murrayfield at the foot of Westfield Ave.

Davie Mann's band played there, and they allowed you to jive there.  It was great to Jive thereI went there from 1951 till 1953 when I joined the RAF. "

The Locarno

"The Locarno (Paulenas) in Slateford Road had a 'Jivers Only Night' on Mondays when you would jive all night and end up going home with your shirt all damp from sweating.  It was great.

There was a couple at the Westfield, Jimmy & Esther, who were the best jivers.  Everyone stopped to watch them.  I wonder if anyone remembers them.

Alistair Rankine, Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia:  November 30, 2009

 

 Recollections

11.

Betty Wallace (née Baxter)

Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Betty Wallace, née Baxter, who wrote:

The Eldo

Our favourite dancehall was The Eldo.  You had to walk past the boxing arena to get to the dancehall.  It had a huge dance floor and good bands.  Sadly it is gone.

The Palais

The Palais was also great.  During the war there servicemen of all nations there,  and they couldn't dance like the Scots lads.  Good old Days, and good to look back on.

Betty Wallace (née Baxter), Hamilton, Ontario, Canada:  January 18, 2010

 

 Recollections

12.

Jim Flynn

Oxgangs, Edinburgh

Thank you to Jim Flynn who wrote:

The Plaza

"The Plaza Dance Hall in Morningside was situated above the Jones' Motor House, a car showroom and garage on the corner of Falcon Avenue and Morningside Road.

The site is now the Waitrose food store.  The car park above the store is where the Plaza was.

It had two dance halls, one for modern dance and the other for old time.  Dick McTaggart, a Commonwealth games medalist, was one of the doormen who kept order when I used to go to the Plaza around 1963.

Jim Flynn, Oxgangs, Edinburgh:  January 20, 2010

 

 Recollections

13.

Ian M Malcolm

St Andrews, Fife, Scotland

Thank you to Ian M Malcolm for telling me of some of his experiences in and around Edinburgh while he was studying at Leith Nautical College in 1947-48.

Ian wrote:

The New Cavendish

"When Jim Dunkley and I went to the New Cavendish on the evening of Saturday February 7 1948, we found the atmosphere priggish and most of the girls 'stuck up'.

But I had the last dance with a girl I got on with, and asked her if she’d like to go to the Edinburgh Palais where Eric Winston and His Orchestra were appearing on the Wednesday evening and to bring a pal for Tom Mitchell, another student.

We all met at 5.45pm on the Wednesday and took them, first, to Austin's Café at the top of Leith Street

The Palais

"The Palais was much more lively and friendly than the New Cavendish and we all enjoyed the evening.  The entrance charge was only 2/6d (12½p) each.

After the resident band had played for some time, the revolving platform took it out of sight and when it turned again, Eric Winston & His Orchestra had replaced it.

A rather poor display was given by girls from Butlin's Holiday Camps, but, led by a man, they did an excellent Conga.

Ian M Malcolm:  St Andrews, Fife, Scotland:  January 24, 2010

 

 Recollections

14

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bob Henderson who wrote:

Central School of Ballroom Dancing

"The Empire Bar ('The Rat Trap') was on the corner of Nicolson Square opposite the Surgeons' Hall.  Above it was the room where the first-timers to the Central School of Ballroom Dancing were introduced to their first '123, 123'.

Once you had mastered the first steps, you progressed to the hall over Clydesdales.  Access to this hall was gained by way of the staircase which ran up the left-hand side of Rutherford's Bar in Drummond Street,

After you had passed the 'Bronze' in Ballroom Dancing, you progressed to the Afton in Niddry Street.  You really felt you had achieved something then."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh  April 6, 2010

See also Recollections 16 below

 

 Recollections

15

Martin Kielty

Glasgow, Scotland

Eddie Tobin and Martin Kielty have written a new book:

 "Are Ye Dancin'?"

The story of Scotland's dance halls, rock 'n' roll
... and how yer maw met yer da'.

Martin wrote:

Dance Hall Memories

"I'm a Glasgow-based writer and radio presenter. 

"I'd be really interested in gathering stories and pictures of dance halls.  I'd love to hear not just from people who went to the dancin', but  also from those who worked or performed there -  anything that brings those  memories back to life!"

Martin Kielty, Glasgow, Scotland:  April 13, 2010

Reply?

If you would like to send a reply to Martin, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.        Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  April 13, 2010

 

 Recollections

16

Bob Sinclair

Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Bob Sinclair who wrote:

The Edina and The Central

"Bob Henderson (14 above) wrote about the Central School of Ballroom dancing being above the Empire Bar.  In fact the dance school there was The Edina.  It was run by Reggie and Marjorie. The one who taught me there, mainly, was Betty.

 The Central was at 1 Drummond Street. They had a teacher called Lorna aged 14, who was still attending Leith Academy.

I never knew what happened to either Betty Slater or Lorna Sands."

Bob Sinclair, Queensland, Australia:  April 13, 2010

Recollections

17.

Lyndsay (formerly Linda) Montgomery

Old Town, Edinburgh

Lyndsay wrote:

Fairleys

"The first dance hall on the right, going down Leith Street, was Fairley's

Imperial Hotel

"The second one on the same side, but further down, was the Imperial Hotel or Bar, famous for foreign sailors of various kinds.

I remember a time when a pal took me along one night.  I was approached by a very good looking guy, and asked in a terrible English accent, (he was the expert with the language apparently) if I would fancy going out for a meal with his superior,.

He was from a Swedish merchant ship, and the other guy was very good looking as well, but spoke no English, and unhappily was very much 'I'm the boss here.'   He expected me to fall at his feet and worship him, so that was a 'no no' right away,

However, I did go out with the other one.  He told me, that that was his chance of promotion gone now, since his superior had lost face in front of his inferior shipmates.  Such is life, eh !!"

Linda (now Lyndsay) Montgomery, Old Town, Edinburgh:  April 14, 2010

Recollections

18.

Andy Duff

Maryborough, Queensland,Australia

Thank you to Andy Duff who wrote:

Memories

"I've just read the comments from Bob Henderson (14 above) and Bob Sinclair (16 above).  Boy, did this bring back some memories!"

The Edina

"I first went to the Edina, but was kicked out about half way through for taking the mickey out of the dance teacher.  Her name was Nancy.  My mate, Jimmy, stayed on.

However, as i knew the instructress, I was invited back on the assurance that I behaved myself, which I did.  My next stop was The Central."

The Afton

"One of my better memories of the Afton was meeting my future wife, Jean Dalgleish, there

That's where a lot of couples met and married.  My cousin and my  my best mate met their future wives there.

It would be good to know what year your correspondents were there.  Our lot attended about 1954-55.  Great times were had by one and all.

Andy Duff, Maryborough, Queensland, Australia:  April 18, 2010

 Recollections

19

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bob Henderson who wrote in response to Andy Duff's comments above

Bob wrote:

Memories

"I started at The Edina in late-1955 and progressed to The Central where I met my wife-to-be.

We have been married for 53 years now.  We last went to the Afton in 1958 when my first born came along and put a stop to the frivolities."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh  April 20, 2010

 Recollections

20

Martin Kielty

Glasgow, Scotland

Martin Kielty wrote again to follow up his comments in 'Recollections 15'.

Martin wrote:

Dance Hall Memories

"I thought I'd drop you another line because I haven't heard from any  of the fascinating people who've shared some of their dance call and  club memories on your site.

For some reason I have the same problem , time and time again, when I do a book like this.  Folk from Edinburgh  just don't get involved, and result is the documents which eventually  become reference points seem to suggest that the city didn't have a  sprawling nightlife, when we all know it did, and still does!

But I'd love to hear from some of these  great people who obviously have stories to share.

I've  also put up a wee quiz on my own website where people  can tell me a few bits'n'bobs."

Martin Kielty, Glasgow, Scotland:  May 3, 2010

Reply?

If you'd like to send a reply to Martin, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.        Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  May 3, 2010

 

 Recollections

20

Update

Thank you to Martin Kielty who emailed me again almost six months after sending the message above.  Martin wrote:

Book Published

"I thought I'd let you know that 'Are Ye Dancin?' was published this morning

If you'd like to know more, you can find details on the Martin Kielty website."

Martin Kielty, Glasgow, Scotland:  October 17, 2010

 

Recollections

21.

Archie Young

Moredun, Edinburgh

Thank you to Archie Young for telling me a little about Duddingston Curling Club.

Archie wrote:

The Cavendish

Doorman

"I started at The Cavendish Ballroom (Dance Hall) from 1964 until 1966 as a Doorman (Bouncer)I hate the latter word as it could mean that all Bouncers are hard men.  To the contrary, at the Cavendish we were there to try and stop trouble before it started by using diplomacy. We never went looking for fights.

There were three areas in the Cavendish:

-  The main dance floor

The Café on the middle floor -

The smaller top dance floor

If there was any trouble brewing, we would get one bell for the bottom, 2 bells for the Café and three bells for the top floor.

TV Broadcast

"There was a national dance competition televised from there to England long before Scotland had TVs  -  I think in the region of the 1930s when the TV was born.  There used to be a photo hanging on the wall commemorating it.  Among the patrons that night were members of the Royal Family - unheard of today."

Management and Staff

I have no idea when the Cavendish first opened but I am sure when I worked there it was owned by the Mitchell family.  I remember Mrs. Mitchell and her daughter who was a real doll

I remember:

-  Old Jimmy, the Manager.  I have no idea what his last name was but he was a nice old man."

Jimmy Gillon, the Head Doorman

The other doormen were:

-  Big Gus

Tam Hook

Bob Weston

Nicky

Ian Knowles

Jimmy Gillon's son John

Donald Millar

myself."

Glasgow Fortnight

"The only real trouble we had was during the 'Glasgow Fortnight' annual holidaysOne night, we were told that the 'Glasgow Tongs' gang were coming through to cause trouble.  Sure enough, they did, there were armed to the teeth with razors, bayonets and knives.  Some had butchers' knives. 

We were ready for them.  The fighting started inside the Cavendish main floor, then we eventually managed to get them outside where it started again.  We hammered them, then they were arrested.  Whether they were the Tongs or not, I do not know, but they were shouting out the name 'Up the Tongs.' "

Doorman's Duty

"The Doormen wore maroon blazers with the initials 'CD' on the breast pocket.  We could pick what nights we wanted to work.

I chose Monday, Wednesday Friday and Saturday, the latter two were compulsoryMonday was from 7pm till 10pm Friday 7pm till 11pm.  For that we were paid a mere £5.00 a week.

There was a late night bus put on by the Cavendish at sixpence (6d) per headI think there were three busses going to various parts of Edinburgh.

If we used the bus we got on for free, but had to protect the driver until we got tour our own destination

Entertainment

"Monday nights were for the younger ones, dancing to the local Pop Group. Wednesday was Ballroom dancing for the older members of the public. Friday and Saturday the Cavendish Dance Band played downstairs and the Pop Group played in the smaller dance floor on the top floor.

I don't remember the chap who had the big dance band, but his first name was Jimmy.  One night, the lads said, 'Jimmy has had a good drink tonight'  then Jimmy, playing his Violin, teetered forward towards the edge of the stage and fell off.  Yes, he was blind drunk."

Trouble

"One night, I had to stand outside to control the queue of patrons. A a fight had started inside and the lad was thrown out, he tried to get back in and I stepped in and threw him back out

There was a man standing in the corner of the doorway.  As I threw the lad out, the man stepped forward and shouted, 'Hey you.'  As he walked towards me, quite fast, he put his hand inside his coat, I thought he was going for a knife so I slugged him on the chin and he went down and out cold.

It turned out that he was a plain clothes Policeman going for his warrant card. I was not charged with assault as he was in the wrong."

Patrons

"Many of the patrons became good friends. Around 98% were out for a good time, to get a date and go home.

The others were those who were drunk and could not control themselves.  Somee did not fight but spoiled the others enjoyment by being sick or just being annoying.

I enjoyed my time there meeting the public and talking or laughing with them."

The Palais

"We always said we treated the public better than the Doormen did at the Palais de Danse at Fountainbridge,

The Palais was the main Dancehall in Edinburgh.  You always heard people talking more of it than that of the Cavendish, and of course we always got the overspill from the Palais."

Archie Young:  Moredun, Edinburgh:  May 27, 2010

 

Recollections

22.

Jack Todd

Lake Munmorah, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Jack Todd who wrote:

The Cavendish

"I've been living in Australia for many years now but I enjoy reminiscing on the computer about the 'good old days' in my home town of Edinburgh.

I had many great nights of dancing in the 'Cavendish' at Tollcross.  If I recall correctly, they had an 'over thirties' (age wise) dance night on a Tuesday and Thursday when all the music played was foxtrot, quickstep and other dances of that ilk.

I was a keen dancer, and still am, and although not over thirty at that time I was guaranteed a fabulous evening of good dancing with plenty of room to hopefully impress my partner. I'm not sure if that always worked.

There was the main dance area next to which was a smaller room, separated by two archways, which had several couches against the walls. No alcohol was permitted, although there was always a large influx of would-be dancers after 10pm when the pubs closed.

Those were the days!"

Jack Todd, Lake Munmorah, New South Wales, Australia:  May 23, 2010

 

Recollections

23.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Thank you to Allan Dodds who wrote:

The Plaza

"As a regular Saturday night frequenter of the Plaza dancehall, I noticed a new female face there one evening.

I asked her for a dance and she agreed.  Forty-six years on, I am still married to her!"

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  June 1, 12010

 

Recollections

24.

Allan Dodds

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England

Allan Dodds wrote again:

Madam Ada's School of Dancing

"From somewhat dim recollections, I recall that I learned to dance at Madam Ada's School of Dancing, situated in Morningside somewhere near Napier College.

Other contributors might be able to flesh out the details.

The Greenhill and The Cavendish

"We then progressed to the Greenhill and the Cavendish where we sought to impress young women with our newly acquired skills at the waltz, the quickstep, the cha and -  horror of horrors -  the jive!"

Allan Dodds, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England:  June 7, 12010

Recollections

25.

Joyce Messer

Whanganui, North Island, New Zealand

Thank you to Joyce Messer who wrote:

Silver Slipper

"I've suddenly remembered The Silver Slipper Dance Hall.  It was somewhere down an alley off Morningside Road.  As a schoolgirl I thought it sounded very glamorous.  The reality was probably somewhat different."

Glendinnings

"Much later, a  friend and I went to 'learn dancing' at Glendinning's Dance Studio,  somewhere between Newington and Morningside, I think.

Classes were, taken by a bit of a 'grande dame' for whom ballroom dancing was a serious business.  After about 3 lessons, we launched ourselves at the various varsity Saturday night dances.  Later still, we hit the big time at the Plaza - but the varsity dances were much more fun."

Joyce Messer, Whanganui, North Island, New Zealand

Recollections

26.

Bob Sinclair

Queensland, Australia

Thank you to Joyce who read Bob Sinclair who wrote:

Afton - Central School of Dancing

"Here is a photo, taken around 1958.  I am 3rd from the right-hand end of the second row:

   Afton, Central School of Ballroom Dancing, Edinbburgh - Around 1958 ©

The teachers on the night that this photo was taken were Reggie Harkins and Marjorie Murray."

Bob Sinclair, Queensland, Australia:  July 12, 2010

Recollections

27.

Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ian Thomson who replied to Bob Sinclair's comments (26 above).  Ian wrote:

Central School of Dancing

"Thanks for the pic. of the Central School of Dancing.

   Afton, Central School of Ballroom Dancing, Edinbburgh - Around 1958 ©

"Like Bob, I'm now living in Aussie.  We could share memories of the Dance Halls in Edinburgh."

Quickstep or Waltz

"My era was the early-1950s.  The Central School of Dancing was going then.  It was at the corner of Drummond Street and The Bridges

The dance teachers tried to teach us too. My pal and I would line up opposite the girls.  We were encouraged to pick a partner for the Quickstep or Tennessee Waltz."

Latin American

"The Foxtrot was played on the gram. records, so we would journey over the road to do Latin American.

I never quite got the hang of all the dancing, but the girls were great.  I did manage a Bronze Medal at Paulinas,  but with size 10 feet, it was always difficult."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  July 14, 2010

Recollections

28.

Ian Thomson

Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia

Thank you to Ian Thomson who added:

Dancing Steps

"I remember 'Three Little Words'. It was a great upbeat tune for the Quickstep or Tennessee Waltz.  Harkins and Murray used these 78 records to teach us the dancing steps.

Afton, Central School of Ballroom Dancing, Edinbburgh - Around 1958 ©

There was another lady who taught Latin American dancing over the road.  I can't remember her name.

There was no alcohol in these days, just a cup of tea and biccy at half time."

Ian Thomson, Lake Maquarie, New South Wales, Australia:  July 18, 2010

Recollections

29.

Jimmy Inglis

London

Jimmy Inglis wrote

Request for Memories

"I'm devising a play on Edinburgh Music Halls & Variety Theatres from the 1930s.  I'm hoping to present it at the Edinburgh & London Fringes next year.

I'm devising this play as part of my course work at Drama School.  I hope to  be able to include playbills, programmes, and artist headshots, which I am in possession of.

I'm interested in:

-  the Palais de Danse & Palladium.

-  people's memories of the music, the inside of the venue and the  atmosphere.

-  the venues through the ages - e.g. the emergence of Rock n Roll and Jiving.

-  the kind of people who frequented these venues.

-  memories of shows and evenings spent there.

-  the cost of an evening there.

-  any stories and anecdotes that you'd like to share.

Jimmy Inglis, London:  August 26, 2010

Reply to Jimmy?

If you'd like to contact Jimmy, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.  Thank you.

Peter Stubbs:  September 2, 2010

Recollections

30.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.  Margaret wrote:

Schools

"I went to All Saints School in Glen Street, then on to Darroch Intermediate."

Dancing

"I loved the dancing from the Clan House in Grove Street to Paulena's where it was OK to jive, to the Palais where for a while I was an usherette.

I was always on the door punching tickets in my red outfit thick pan stick and the stilettos.  The only fishnet now is my grandson's minnow net."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, May 7, 2011

Recollections

31.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.  Margaret wrote:

Schools

"Alistair Rankine was surprised ('Recollections 10' above) to see no mention of Westfields Hall.

My pal, Mitzi and I would go there sometimes on a Friday night.  We always put a bit more effort into what we wore as Mitzi thought it was a bit more up-market than Paulinas."

The Palais

"Back to The Palais, again.  Does anybody remember when Kenny Ball played here?"

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, May 25, 2011

Recollections

32.

Avril Finlayson Smith

Australia

Thank you to Avril Finlayson Smith for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guest book, in response to Margaret Cooper's question in 'Recollections 31' above.

Avril wrote

The Palais

Kenny Ball

"My husband and I and my brother went to see Kenny Ball at The Palais that night.

My husband and I had never been in the Palais before, but as we really were keen on Kenny Ball, we went along.  We really enjoyed that evening very much.

Thanks for jogging the memory once again. That was such a very long time ago  -  another Lifetime, it seems, now that we are here in Australia."

Avril Finlayson Smith, Australia.
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, May 25, 2011

Recollections

33.

John Dickson

Silverknowes, Edinburgh

Thank you to John Dickson who wrote

Westfield Halls

"I remember playing in the band at the Westfield Halls in the early-1970s.  The name of the band was 'Sounds Nice' - everybody said so.  The band was:

-  Bob Marr:  organ

-  Jim Drummond:  drums

-  John Dickson:  guitar

Tommy Young was the owner of Westfield Halls at the time.  They were being used for private functions; weddings, bowling club dances, etc.

Tommy retired and sold the halls on to Joe Findley who owned a Café in Dalry Road, he renamed it the Westfield Function Suite. Name of the band " Sounds Nice" everybody said so. Bob Marr organ, Jim Drummond drums, John Dickson."

John Dickson, Silverknowes, Edinburgh:  May 26, 2011

Recollections

34

June Wood (née Robertson)

California, USA

Thank you to June Wood for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook in response to Margaret Cooper's comments in 'Recollections 30' above.

June wrote

The Palais

"Ah Margaret, I bet you punched my ticket at the Palais.  The Kirchen Band and Jeff Rowena were the bands back then.

I remember the gal wearing long black hose.  I believe she was the greeter.  Boy, I thought she was smashing, even sitting up on the balcony was fun.

I believe my brother John Robertson and his wife were called the King and Queen of Jive.  Boy, they could dance."

June Wood (née Robertson), California, USA:  Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  May 19, 2011

Recollections

35

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper who wrote

The Palais

Fight

"I remember the night when there was a near-riot in the Palais, back in 1951-52.  I can't remember the month.  A fight broke out between some Teds in the middle of the dance floor, spreading quickly over to Yankee Corner (an area always occupied by the airmen from Kirknewton Base).

It carried on up the stairs to the balcony.  Soon, it involved the whole dance hall.  The bouncers did their best but the police had to be called in to restore order.

Through all this Jeff Rowena, bless him, kept on playing.  I remember the song was 'Poor little lambs who have gone astray baa, baa, baa'.

Edinburgh papers were full of it the next day, one MP calling for the Palais to be closed, perish the thought!  No one was shot, stabbed, or suffered brain damage; it was all fisticuffs.

The only casualties were the drape suits torn and ripped which had been worn with such pride and swagger and saved for with such dedication."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  July 27, 2011

Recollections

36

June Wood (née Robertson)

California, USA

Thank you to June Wood who replied to Margaret Cooper's comments above.

June wrote:

The Palais

Fight

"I was there on the night of the fire at The Palais.  I remember these guys jumping off the balcony where I was sitting.

It never happened before, and I believe it never happened again. I believe some of them had chains.  Oh, the excitement!

My chum was working at the snack bar.  I believe she told me the Kerchin band crammed into the kitchen.  I went with one of the trumpet players, way, way back. Were we ever that young?

Thanx for the memory."

June Wood (née Robertson), California, USA:  Reply posted in EdinPhoto guestbook:  July 29, 2011

Recollections

37

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.

Margaret wrote:

Clan House Dance Hall

"Does anyone remember the Clan House dance hall in Grove Street.  I learned to jive there."

Barber

"I also remember, across the road from the Clanny was a barber's shop.  I think it was called something like Dino's.  Lots of us Teds used to go there to get our DAs done."

Jeweller

"For us girls, we went to Weittz, the jewellers at Tollcross, for

-  our ropes of pearls.

-  our tan pancake make up which ruined many a drape jacket.

-  our  black tadpole eyebrows, a force to be reckoned with.

Ahah!  The good old '50s."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guest book:  August 11, 2011.

Recollections

38

Alex Baillie

Falkirk, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Alex Baillie who wrote:

The Palais

Johnny Campbell and the Clansmen

"I  recall a band who played at Fountainbridge Palais De Danse in the early-1960s, called 'Johnny Campbell and the Clansmen' -Fantastic group, they were.

I hope somebody remembers this great wee band Any info about them or pics of them would be nice.

I recall the drummer jumping down to the microphone and doing a fantastic version of 'Bony Moronie'."

Alex Baillie, Falkirk, West Lothian, Scotland, August 16 + September 1, 2011

Recollections

39

Alex Baillie

Falkirk, West Lothian, Scotland

Thank you to Alex Baillie who wrote again, adding:

The Palais

"We used to go to Edinburgh Palais every weekend, in the early-1960s.  We hired a bus and it was always full.

I met a girl from Rosewell called Isa Shanks.  We drifted apart when I joined the Army in 1965, but I always remember the Palais and the revolving stage when the Orchestra gave way to the rock band.  Happy memories, indeed."

Alex Baillie, Falkirk, West Lothian, Scotland, August 24

Recollections

40.

Margaret Cooper

Colindale, North London, England

Thank you to Margaret Cooper for posting a message in the EdinPhoto guestbook.  Margaret wrote:

Dalkeith on a Sunday

"A Sunday in Edinburgh, back in the 1950s, was so boring.  Except for the West End Café, everything closed. So a crowd of us used to meet up at George Street and get the bus to Dalkeith to what I think was called either the Empire or the Empress ballroom.    (See also 41 below.)

You could jive till your heart's content.  Ah!  Such bliss.  I think the band was called Cam Robbie.  The sheer delight we had in showing the yokels (as we unkindly called them) how it was done,double timing to the Woodchoppers Ball, etc.  Boy, it kept us fit and slim."

Margaret Cooper, Colindale, North London, England:
Message posted in EdinPhoto guestbook, September 7, 2011

 

Recollections

41.

Bob Henderson

Burdiehouse, Edinburgh

Thank you to Bob Henderson who wrote:

Midlothian Dance Halls

"Just to clear things up for Margaret, it was the Empress ballroom at Dalkeith.  As I've said before on EdinPhoto, this name conjures up great memories.

Reading about it this morning brought some more back to mind. We used to travel all over Midlothian for the dancing. There was of course:

the Empress in Dalkeith,

the Regal in Bonnyrigg,

the Vogrie in Gorebridge

the small but wonderful Masonic hall in Newtongrange

and a host of others, lost in the mists of time.

I hope someone else out there picks up the baton and continues to fill in the spaces."

Bob Henderson, Burdiehouse, Edinburgh:  September 11, 2011

 

Recollections

42.

Stuart Lyon

Blackford, Edinburgh

Thank you to Stuart Lyon who wrote:

Tony's Dance Hall

"I have been looking for some information on Tony's Dance Hall, Picardy Place, but I've not been able to find anything, other than a brief mention on the EdinPhoto web site."

Dante Lanni

"A few people on the EdinPhoto web site have mentioned Dante Lanni.  I found his name in the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directories circa 1952-54.

He is listed in the directories as being at 20 Bristo Street, under Dance Orchestras, along with Tim Wright whose address is given as 53 George Street."

Edinburgh Dance Halls

"I've looked through some of the old Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directories and have found reference to some of the other dance halls that people have mentioned on the EdinPhoto web site."    (See also 'Recollections 43' below)

Stuart Lyon, Blackford, Edinburgh:  November 9, 2011

Questions

Stuart would like to hear from anybody:

 who has any more information about Tony's Dance Band, including its address in Picardy Place, or

-   who has any mor information about Dante Lanni's dance orchestra.

If you'd like to contact Stuart, please email me, then I'll pass on your message to him.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 15, 2011

 

Recollections

43.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

List of Edinburgh Dance Halls

Thank you to Stuart Lyon for sending me a list of the names, addresses and dates of Edinburgh Dance Halls, compiled from 14 of the Edinburgh & Leith Post Office Directories published between 1931 and 1974.

I've now extended this list to include information from all the Post Office Directories published during this period, and have added the list to the EdinPhoto web site.

Please click the link below to see the list.  It may be slow to load, and you will probably need to scroll across and down to see the whole list.

Edinburgh Dance Halls.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  November 15, 2011

Recollections

44.

Gordon Covey

Glencoe, Western Highlands, Scotland

Thank you to Gordon Covey who wrote to add  few names to the dance scene in Edinburgh.

Gordon wrote:

Adelle Dance Studio

"The Adelle Dance studio was run by Johnny and Elenor Banks.  Johnny was a past president of the British Ballroom Dance Association."

Ross Bandstand

"Johnny and Elenor Banks. also ran dancing in the Ross Bandstand in the summer.

The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society ran the Scottish Country Dance events there, weekly."

The Paul Young Band

"In the Paul Young Band, there were:

-  Jo Rosenheim,  keyboards

-  Jimmy Grosset,  drums

-  Vic Covey,  Bass

Pipers

"Pipers started of as a Scottish Cabaret Night, before becoming a disco. The compere there was  Scott Paul Young.  -  a bit like a poor man's Jack Alexander from the Alexander Brothers.

The backing band had no name.  It was owned by Peter Williamson who is now in his 80s.  The players in the band were the same as in the Paul Young Band above.

Jimmy Grosset was probably the best known of Edinburgh's drummers, after Toto.  Jimmy ran the Musicians' Union Big Band."

Gordon Covey, Glencoe, Western Highlands, Scotland:  November 12+16+16, 2011

 

Recollections

45.

Frank Ferri

Newhaven, Edinburgh

Thank you to Frank Ferri for responding to Stuart Lyon's question about Toni's Dance Hall (Recollections 42) and for adding another dance hall (Leith Assembly Rooms to this page.

Frank wrote:

Toni's Dance Hall

"Tony's Dance Hall was in Picardy Place.  It was the former Trades Councils' offices and  Council Social Club for a while.  It is  now a casino.

Until the 1960s, it was run by Tony Fusco."

Leith Assembly Rooms

"Leith Assembly Rooms at 43 Constitution Street were Leith's  2nd most popular dance venue.  They were open 6 days a week up until the early-1960s

After the early-1960s, they were used for private functions only, and now they have become housing"

Frank Ferri, Newhaven, Leith:  November 17, 2011

 

Recollections

46.

Colin Campbell

Hampshire, England

Thank you to Colin Campbell wrote:

Toni's Dance Hall

"That's fascinating material about the Edinburgh Dance Halls.  I played  in most of them."

Paulena's

I don’t know whether or not Paulena’s in Slateford Road has been mentioned.**   It was run by Paul and Ena Collins.

The band there was Roy Lambert on Alto/clarinet.  He emigrated to Canada.  He had a good trumpet player named George Roy.

I used to work the lights at Paulena’s.

**  Paulena's is included in this table of Dance Hall Names, Dates and Addresses

Orchestras

I played in 1960-1964, with:

The Nat Allen Orchestra

Johnny Kildare Orchestra and

The Ray McVay Orchestra.

I left Edinburgh in 1964 to join The Jack Hawkins Orchestra, Portsmouth.

I returned, back and forth, until 1969.  During that period, I also played in the Kings Theatre Orchestra in Edinburgh.

I sailed on the maiden voyage of the Q.E.2 from Southampton May 3rd 1969.

Being domiciled in Hampshire, I'm still playing with no lesser band than The Royal Marine Association Concert Orchestramainly ex-Royal Marine musicians."

Coin Campbell (Sax, Clarinet, Flute, Arranging), Hampshire, England:  January 15, 2012

Contacting Colin

Colin tells me that if anybody wishes to contact him, he will answer immediately.

If you'd like to contact Colin, please email me to let me know then I'll pass on his email address to you.

Thank you.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh,: January 16, 2012

 

Recollections

47.

Stuart Lyon

Blackford, Edinburgh

Thank you to Stuart Lyon for writing again with more information about the old Edinburgh Dance Halls.

Stuart wrote:

Havana Dance Club

"I was in the RCAHMS today looking at some old photos of Princes Street. I found one from around 1950 of 118-120 Princes Street ** showing the Havana Dance Club above the following shops:

Sparks, Gieves, Saxone, Jaeger and Singer.

I don't recall seeing it mentioned on your web site but maybe I am wrong.

**  Photo No. ED8673 in Box No. 147/ED/8673

 Stuart Lyon, Blackford, Edinburgh: May 3, 2012

Thanks Stuart.  You are right.  That's not one of the Dance Clubs that I was aware of, so it was not on the EdinPhoto web site.  Perhaps somebody else will be able to tell us more about it.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  May 3, 2012

Recollections

48.

Gus Coutts

Duddingston, Edinburgh

Thank you to Gus Coutts who added:

Havana Dance Club

"I think Havana Dance Club, mentioned in Recollections 47 above would be the premises that later became Fuller's Restaurant."

Gus Coutts, Duddingston, Edinburgh:  May 4, 2012

 

Recollections

49.

Dave Ferguson

Blairgowrie, Perth & Kinross, Scotland

Dave Ferguson has sent me many poems about growing up in the Granton area of Edinburgh.

However, he turns to a different subject below, with his memories of Stewart's Dance Hall, Abbeymount, off Regent Road, followed by another of his poems.

Dave wrote

Stewart's Dance Hall

"How many folk out there remember Stewarts dancing.  We used to have great fun there on Saturday afternoons when big Eric Stewart and his wife taught us how to dance.

They, they would get us on the floor dance once round the hall, showing us a few steps.  Then they would introduce us to a girl to carry on dancing with till the end of the dance.  It was a, great way to meet the lassies and learn a little about dancing."

'The Confetti Ball'

"Does anyone remember the Confetti Ball ball at ChristmasI met my wife Jinty there on Christmas Eve, 1954.  We are still together today, I often wonder how many lads were lucky enough to find their little queen at Stewarts.

 We went to Stewarts until it closed, real happy days they were, and the same faces popped up all the time, including some of the 'Jubilee Boys' from Granton:

Paddy Buckley

Johnny Paget (Pago to friends)

Dumbo from Lochend

and a host of other well kent faces from Granton, Niddrie, Lochend and Leith.  There was a bit rivalry but mostly we got on well together.  Working in Leith helped you make friends and contacts -  but that’s a another story."

'The Confetti Ball'

1954

Christmas time is here

Tae the jigging we will go

Tae Stewarts Confetti Ball,

A really grand, grand show.

Dancing through till midnight

We had awe kinds o’ fun

Playin’ wi’ balloons

Till the Christmas bells rung.

At midnight there was much fun and joy

When confetti frae the roof

Poured on the girls and boys

The excitement was something tae each and everyone

Thanks tae Eric and his wife we had some Christmas fun.

 Awe the lads frae Niddrie, Granton and Lochend

Got on well the gither, a real happy blend.

That wis Christmas 54,

Where a met ma Bonnie Jean.

A lovely lass frae Niddrie,

A champion and a queen.

We’ve been the gither ever since and had a real grand life.

Thanks tae Eric Stewart and his bonnie, bonnie wife

 Fun it wis fer everyone who rallied to the call

Tae come along at Christmas tae Stewarts the Confetti Ball."

DF377

Dave Ferguson, Blairgowrie, Perth & Kinross, Scotland:  June 14, 2012

 

Recollections

50.

Jim Little

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Thank you to Jim Little who wrote from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

Jim wrote:

Question

Old Toll Bar

then

The Cavendish

"I was a regular in the Old Toll Bar in the 1960s on Friday nights.  Is it still there? **

Lots of people went there before going to the Cavendish.  A couple of my pals were big Tam Marr and Arthur Kinraid."

Jim Little, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

** See Reply 1 below

 

Recollections

50.

Reply

1.

Peter Stubbs

Edinburgh

Old Toll Bar

Jim:  I checked on Google and found only one bar in Edinburgh named the Old Toll Bar.  It is at Bonnington.  However, I assume that the one that you went to would have been at Tollcross.

So, I checked the Tollcross page on the EdinPhoto web site and found this in Recollections 20:

41 Leven Street

"My first recollections of our house in Leven Street was being sat on a square table that had 4 chairs. There was a big, black lead fireplace with gas mantles on either side and two mice running by the fireside.

Then, there were big grey blankets being put up on the windows, and seeing as we had two bedrooms, Dad put blankets on those as well. 

Many years later, when my mum was telling me about her youth and going to St Mary's school with her friends, I brought up my memories of 41 Leven Street.  Her jaw opened and she said:  'Ah cannie believe ye kin remember awe that.'

I said, 'Aye Mum.  I can remember a lot of things.'  So, there we were, going on.  We went through a lot of tea that day.

Our place was above the Old Toll Bar and, boy, was my Dad happy?   He went doon fir a pint too often, he did."

Margaret Williamson (née Hay), Moline, Illinois, USA: March 3, 2012

Auld Toll Bar

I've now checked again on Google.  The pub at 37-39 Leven Street is now called Auld Toll Bar, so I assume that will be the place that you used to frequent.

This page on the Best Pubs web site includes a photo of Ault Toll Bar.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  July 26, 2012

 

Recollections

51.

Tony Henderson

Canada

Thank you to Tony Henderson for posting a message in the EdinPhoto Guestbook.

Tony wrote:

Question

Portobello Dance Hall

"Between 1953 and 1957, my wife and I used to go to the dance hall in Portobello on the Prom.  Can anyone remember the name of it? **

On a good night you could hear the waves when they opened the doors."

Tony Henderson, Canada.  Message posted in EdinPhoto Guestbook: July 27, 2012

** See Reply 1 below

 

Recollections

51.

Reply

1

Archie Foley

Canada

Thank you to Archie Foley for replying to Tony Henderson's question in Recollections 51 above.

Archie wrote:

Inchview Dance Hall

"The dance hall on Portobello Promenade at the foot of Tower Street was Inchview Dance Hall."

Archie Foley, Joppa, Edinburgh:  August 3, 2012

 

Recollections

51.

Reply

2

Gus Coutts

Duddingston, Edinburgh

Gus Coutts added:

Inchview Dance Hall

"As far as I can remember The Inchview was owned by the Co-op and the ballroom was built above their bakery."

Gus Coutts, Duddingston, Edinburgh:  August 19, 2012

 

Recollections

52.

Alister McFarquhar

Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England

Alister McFarquhar wrote:

Port Seton

"I worked on a farm at Aberlady, East Lothian, in early 1950s. Our local was the Hall in Port Seton.  Someone might remind me of its name.  It was famous for its tango.

I remember it was about a 9 miles to walk home to Aberlady  -  or it seemed like 9 miles with all the booze and the moonlight.  We walked  in a group, singing in the moonlight."

Jiving

"For jiving, the nearest dance hall was at Dalkeith Labour Ha, I think -  but for lessons it was the Miners' Ha at Dysart."

New Cavendish

"At Fountainbridge, I was given a wide berth because of my Glasgow accent at the refined New Cavendish.

They assumed I had razor blades under the cap of my Chick Murray bunnet.  I guess I should have taken it off while dancing."

Eldorado

"The Eldorado was considered a bit rough, and Leith very down-market ."

Alister McFarquhar, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, England:  August 8+11, 2012

 Recollections

53.

Danny Callaghan

Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Memories of Fairleys Dance Hall in Leith Street continue to arrive.

Danny Callaghan wrote:

The Corner of Little King Street

"My father lived, as a kid, in the flats above pawnbroker on the corner of Little King Street and Leith Street, before the family moved to 2 Leith Street Terrace about 1917."

Fairleys Dance Hall

"Fairley's Dance Hall was across the road,  on the east side of Leith Street on the other side of the road. I have never been in there but have a great sorry told by my cousins.

Fairleys was a haunt of sailors and had a bit of a reputation. My father was a great dancer and used to go there.  One evening, two of my much older cousins Katie and Mary Dick were there and my Dad came up to them and basically frog marched them out, saying something like ‘This is no place for you.  So the question is: 'What was my Dad doing there?'

Imperial Hotel

"Just down from Fairleys was the Imperial Hotel. I used to go there to dinner/supper dances on Friday and Saturday nights in the 1960s.  It was a good venue and had good bands."

Danny Callaghan, Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland:  August 2, 2012

 Recollections

54.

Ron Hetherington

Thank you to Ron Hetherington who wrote:

The Plaza

"We've just spent hours going through all the reminiscences of the Edinburgh dance halls and bands.

In Recollections 42,  I read a comment re Dante Lanni.  As far as I remember, he had the band in the main hall of the Plaza but 'left' to be replaced by the Kentones and Stella in the late-1950s.

I believe there was also a brilliant pianist called Al Weston.  He taught piano in the studios of Methvyn Simpsons which was part of the old building of the Life Association of Scotland on Princes St. at the Mound where I worked.  My room was through the wall from the studios, which was entertaining!

In the Plaza's small hall, I think the resident band around the late-1950s and early-1960s was Joe Smith.  He was a great clarinetist."

The Locarno

"I also remember the Locarno at Slateford and it's band under Buddy Featherstonhaugh.  The highlight when going home was a visit to Malones bakery where the rolls for the morning were being baked, so the walk home with my friend was aided with a lovely bag of newly baked hot rolls."

Dance Band Event

"I wonder if anybody remember the big Dance Band event in the 1950s with Sid Phillips, Ken Mackintosh and Carl Bariteau to name but a few.  The venue was Murrayfield Ice Rink."

The Lanark Palais

"Another dance hall that I frequented around the early-1960s was the Lanark Palais at Lanark Loch.  The band there was Hugh Devine and son Melvin Devine..

Ron Hetherington:  September 10, 2012

 Recollections

55.

Walford Richards

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Walford Richards who wrote:

Dance Halls

"Here are just a few of the Edinburgh dance halls that I remember from my youth in the 1950s onwards:

-  Eldorado Dance Hall,  Leith

-  Locarno (Paulena's),  Slateford Road

-  Cavendish Ballroom,  Tollcross

-  Plaza Ballroom,  Morningside

-  The Palais Ballroom,  Tollcross

When one entered the Palais, one entered another world.

Bands

"I remember:

-  The Basil Kirchin Orchestra was the best swing band to grace The Palais, coming from the Belfast Palais.

-  The Maurice Sheffield Band

-  The Jeff Rowena Quintet  -  Brilliant!

-  Joe Loss

-  Geraldo

-  Ted Heath

and many others.

I hope this will unlock some peoples' memories.

Walford Richards, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  August 21, 2012

 

Recollections

56.

Bob Leslie

Glasgow, Scotland

Thank you to Bob Leslie who wrote:

Bob wrote

New Cavendish Ballroom

"I saw the Pink Floyd on their first tour at the New Cavendish Ballroom, a truly weird place!  You had to wear a tie to see the Floyd!

They weren't all that good, although I liked their first album 'Piper at the Gates of Dawn'.  They were playing on the floor, not the stage, with pretty inadequate equipment."

Bob Leslie, Glasgow, Scotland, October 20, 2012

 Recollections

57.

Walford Richards

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Walford Richards who added:

The Eldorado

Bandleader

"There was a further bandleader, the first black musician that I had ever seen, who played at the Eldorado.  He was Carl Bariteau.  He was as good as Sid Philips, if not better."

Walford Richards, Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland:  November 6, 2012, with acknowledgement to Tony (Scotty) Henderson, Canada, for providing the correct spelling of Carl Bariteau's surname

 Recollections

58.

Tony (Scotty) Henderson

Penicuik, Midlothian, Scotland

Thank you to Walford Richards who added:

The Eldorado

Bandleaders

"I cannot say that I saw Carl Bariteau (Recollections 57) in the Eldorado, but did dance to him in Wisbech when I was stationed in RAF Marham in 1951.

I did dance to Joe Loss in the Eldo though!  Both Carl Bariteauwere and Joe Loss had great bands that bring back old memories!"

Tony (Scotty) Henderson, Canada:  November 27, 2012

 Recollections

59.

Tom Hunter

Thank you to Tom Hunter for replying to a message left by Ann Bisset in 2009.

Tom wrote:

Victor Silvester Dance Studio

Edinburgh

"Anne Blisset (née Meikle) in Recollections 8 asks if anyone remembers the Victor Silvester Dance Studio.

I certainly do, for a number of reasons.

Opening Ceremony

"When the dance studio opened I was the author of the weekly “Dancers’ Diary” in the Evening Dispatch and was invited to the opening party on 31 March 1958.

As I wrote at the time:

Dancers’ Diary

“It seems hard to believe that this magnificently appointed studio with its specially–laid maple floor, was but a few short weeks ago, a cinema restaurant."

There to open this new dance studio was Mr Ballroom Dancing himself, Victor Silvester, accompanied by his son, Victor, who compared the ceremony.

After the interval, the ever popular Stan Dudley and Christine Norton gave a scintillating demonstration [of ballroom dancing]. An attractive photo-mural of Stan and Christine at the entrance to the studio commemorates the occasion.”

The Principal

"The first Principal of the studio was Peter Draper who came from Glasgow, with Miss Margaret Garner as his Assistant. When he moved on later in the year, Joffre Gundy became Principal and Johnny Banks, a well-known local amateur dancer who had turned professional in May 1958, was appointed his Assistant.

Tape Recording

In December 1958 Johnny (whom I knew well) rang to ask me to bring my tape recorder up to the studio as a tape bearing Christmas Greetings from Victor Silvester had been received and there was no recorder in the studio to play it.

I willingly agreed and duly arrived at the studio. I was surprised to find a new face in the box office, Miss Valerie Wright as I was to discover later, and I explained why I was there with a tape recorder (an extremely bulky object in those days).

During the evening Johnny introduced me to Valerie who, in September 1960, was to become my wife.

Tom Hunter, February 14, 2013

 Recollections

 60.

Terry Jack

Bali, Indonesia

Thank you to Terry Jack who wrote:

Bouncers

"I enjoyed reading the stories from the old dance halls in Edinburgh.  I think I've been in most of them back in the 1950s.

I remember the bouncers throwing me down the stairs at Fairleys.  I bounced better in those days!

On a Sunday, I used to go to Wallyford dancing.  Good old days! Terry Jack formally from Prestonpans now in Bali Indonesia."

Terry Jack, Bali, formerly Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland:
 now Bali, Indonesia:  September 12, 2012

 

Recollections

 61.

John Fraser

Inch, Edinburgh

John Fraser wrote

Victory Ballroom

"I attended Leith Academy from 1948 to 1951.  A girl in my class was called Shirley Morico.  Her father had a ballroom called the Victory Ballroom.''

There may also have been a ballroom above the Palace Picture House but all I can remember is the snooker hall that I used to play in."

John Fraser, Inch, Edinburgh.  April 14, 2013.

Recollections

62.

Alistair Rankine

Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia

Thank you to Alistair who wrote:

The Palais

“I also attended the Palais in the early 1950s, but the bands I remember from those days were:

 Basil Kirchin and

-  The Jeff Rowena Quartet.

Great days!  The guys all wore suits and ties, and they queued up to fix their Brylcreamed Hair in the Gents!

Alistair Rankine, Langwarrin, Victoria, Australia:  March 29, 2013

Recollections

63.

Martin Rowena

Several people above have remembered Jeff Rowena and his Quartet on  the revolving stage at the Palais in Edinburgh

Here is a message from his nephew, Martin

Martin wrote:

Jeff Rowena

“I am Jeff Rowena's nephew and I have started this Facebook page on him for recollections by friends, family and fans.”

Martin Rowena:  March 8, 2013

Recollections

64.

Dave O'Reilly

Edinburgh

Thank you to Dave O'Reilly who wrote:

Anchor Ballroom

Anchor Close

“Anchor Close was off the High Street.  A bit down the close, on the left-hand side, was the Anchor Ballroom.  It was run by Ena and Paul Linton.

Anchor Close

    Anchor Close  -  looking down the close towards the point where it crosses Cockburn Street ©

Ballroom Dancing

Ena used to have a Ballroom Dancing School  for children (and maybe adults too).  My dancing partner was Wilma

Highland & Tap Dancing

Betty Brandon also had her dancing school there for a while.  I did Highland and Tap Dancing there.

Memories

I have some odd memories of those days:

-  Paul, quite portly.

-  no windows.

-  lots of chairs.

-  mothers watching their kids.

-  fish and chips after lessons.

Dave O'Reilly, Edinburgh:  November 26, 2013

Recollections

65.

Carol Bradley (née Kay)

Taupo, New Zealand

Thank you to Carol Bradley who wrote:

Afton Dance Club

“It brings back many memories reading about all the old Edinburgh haunts of dancing.

"I belonged to the Afton Dance Club, introduced by my sister Irene and her partner (now husband) Danny Kaye, a well known photographer in Edinburgh."

Dancing Medals

"I went to the Afton during the late-1950s and early-1960’s, and gained my dancing medals as was expected then, and was in their Latin American dance team, competing in one of the Come Dancing programmes televised live in those days from the Palais."

The Palais

"I remember the Palais with fond memories as being very glamorous and luxurious. I remember the ladies powder rooms with so many mirrors."

Jimmy Harper

"Jimmy Harper ended up marrying Diana who was my sister’s husband’s sister and they went on to win many competitions in their time. I have lost touch with them nowadays."

Carol Bradley (née Kay), Taupo, New Zealand:  February 23, 2014

 

Recollections

66.

Michael Grant

Edinburgh

Michael Grant, a volunteer with Edinburgh University Research collections, wrote, seeking information, recollections and photos of St Celia's Hall, Niddrie Street between 1933 and 1959s, the era when it was the 'Excelsior Ballroom'

Michael wrote:

Excelsior Ballroom

St Cecilia’s Hall, just below South Bridge, on the corner of Niddry Street and the Cowgate, is owned by The University of Edinburgh.  It currently houses their Musical Instruments Museum.

In the period between 1933 and 1959 this building was known as the Excelsior BallroomIts manager/chairman was Andrew W. Moffat.  It was successful throughout the 1930s and 1940s as a ballroom.  Do you remember it?    Dance classes were taught there by Ena Linton, who was a well-known figure in the ballroom dancing world.

On the Cowgate side of the building, there was a pub called the  Bridge BarIt was owned by Miss Magdalene R Cairns."

Seeking Help with Our Research

"We're trying to find out as much as we can about the 'Excelsior Ballroom' period in the hall’s history.

We want to find people who went there and could speak to us about it.  We'd also like to track down any photos or documents that people may have or know about.  Do have any information which would help us to tell the story?

There are photographs of the building during this period on the RCAHMS  website that might help to jog a few memories."

To Jog the Memory

"There are some photos on the websites for RCAHMS and  Scotsman Publications that  might jog a few memories.  Just search for 'St Cecilia’s'."

Life in the 1940s

"This May, 2014, we'll be hosting a special range of events based around 'Life in the 1940s in Edinburgh' as part of the 'Festival of Museums'.  These events will include a ‘one off’ dance in St Cecilia’s Hall."

Carol Bradley (née Kay), Taupo, New Zealand:  February 23, 2014

Replies?

If you'd like to reply to Michael Grant's questions above, please email me, and I'll pass on to you the contact details for people involved in this project.

Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh:  March 13, 2014

 

Dance Halls  -  Names, Dates and Addresses

Dance Bands

Clubs and Discos

 

 

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