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Dance halls in the 1950s - can you help me?

Hi there fellow silver surfers! I am making an appeal to those of you who are slightly more silver than I am!

I am writing a story and am looking for some information about what it was like to go to a dance hall in the 1950s. The actual year is 1953, but any descriptions people could share with me would be very useful.

1. What hours were they open?

2. What did you buy to eat/drink there?

3. How much did it cost to get in?

4. Did they have cloakrooms to leave your coat?

5. How much did you pay for drinks etc/leaving your coat?

Specific questions are (at the moment - though new ones crop up every half an hour of writing!)

Like I say, I keep coming up with new questions to ask, so any recollections would be gratefully received! Keep home, keep safe, keep well!

Fiona x

Created By on 23/03/2020

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5 days ago
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I used to go to the ballroom on the lower floor of the White Rock Pavilion and the one on the end of Hastings Pier. We quick -stepped to In The Mood, Waltzed, Foxtrotted and Tangoed. All Ballroom dances then My Fiance had no sense of timing, so had to dance to his time and forget the music! Sometimes we would have an Old Time Session with the Valeta etc. As these were repetitive steps he did well in those! It cost about 2/6 usually. Fish and Chips after, Had to be home by 10.30.
26th Mar 2020 06:26:39
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We had a local Palais in Swinton Nr Manchester but we had loads of places to go to in the area. We would also travel on the Train to Blackpool (the Passion Wagon) to see Ken Macintosh, Ted Heath. Didn’t do a lot of dancing to Ted Heath because when he came on every one stopped to watch Dickie Valentine, Lita Rosa, Dennis Lotis (great singers). The singer at Swinton Palais was Sheila Buxton. Prices to go in varied depending on the night we went in, it cost anything from one and six to half a crown. On Wednesday's it was free for ladies. At the interval we all disappeared to various pubs for half an hour, sometimes longer if we got the taste or we hadn’t clicked off with anyone. There was a small refreshment area but we could get a pint at fifteen in the local pub but we had to climb over the back wall if the police came in. In the dance halls there would be the odd clash if the gangs came in but not too often. To finish, I met my wife at Swinton Palais in 1957 and were still together and she will tell you I couldn’t dance then and still can’t now.
25th Mar 2020 00:27:21 (Last activity: 25th Mar 2020 10:10:19)
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I remember a few that i went to, Leyton Baths , Tottenham Mecca Dance Hall and always one at a local school hall. The posh ones cost a shilling to enter and had cloak rooms. Do not remember the cost of drinks as i could never afford one, all i know is i loved to dance and found some great girlfriends along the way. At Leyton Baths i remember seeing Johnny Kid and the pirates. Then of course there was the odd gang fight. Mostly great times.
Response from Wilf made on 25th Mar 2020 10:10:19
All I remember is discos in the late 60s and early 70s filled with ear splitting music and cigarette smoke...and we enjoyed it???
Sally - Silversurfer's Editor
23rd Mar 2020 07:59:48 (Last activity: 24th Mar 2020 22:56:55)
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Hello Fiona,

I have just posted your request on our Facebook page, so you may get some answers from our community.

Do you have a Facebook account? If you do, we did a post back in April last year about dance halls and there may be some helpful comments for you to read here -

Best of luck with your reseach 🙂

Response from fidud Original Poster made on 23rd Mar 2020 09:38:25
Thank you so much Sally! I'll go and have a look now...x
Response from Sally - Silversurfer's Editor made on 24th Mar 2020 22:56:55
Hello Fiona ... looks like you got some great response, both here and on our Facebook page 🙂
24th Mar 2020 10:54:37
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Went to dance halls Saturdays/Wednesdays. They were open 8.00 till midnight. Cost 2 shillings and 6 pence to get in. Boyfriend drank a beer I drank shandy mostly. Yes always a cloak room to leave our coats .cost 1 shilling and 6 pence to leave coat. We went on the motor cycle...Courted for 2 years all but 2 months Then we married
24th Mar 2020 09:37:23
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Went to dance halls which where open until midnight but we had to leave about 10 30 to catch the last bus home or face a very long walk. We didn't buy food but a few alcoholic drinks but very few as we didn't have much money. Either a gin and orange or a snow ball. Sometimes there would be a dance in a local Church hall ,they would finish above 10 30 and we would then walk home. My father didn't have a car so it was shanks pony.
23rd Mar 2020 16:34:12 (Last activity: 23rd Mar 2020 17:36:14)
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open 7.30pm / 12.45 out by 1.ooam Friday's on Saturday's 7'30pm/ 11.45pm out by 12 midnight
soft drinks and crisps sometimes a biscuit no alcohol. cost anything between 2 shillings(ten pence)
upto 10shillings depending on the type of band and size of venue. 3d for crisps 6d for drinks for coats if posh dance hall (ballroom ) 6d /? sometimes a donation in a jar!!
Response from WillyJohn made on 23rd Mar 2020 17:36:14
Those were the days
23rd Mar 2020 17:34:01
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I danced to Ted Heath at Blackpool Tower Ball Room in 1953. I think that it cost 2 shillings and was free to leave your coat. Drank lemonade as only 15.. Ted Heath had singers, Dickie Valentine, Dennis Lotus and Lita Rosa. Also danced at Blackpool Winter Gardens, Nottingham and Mansfield Palais that year.
23rd Mar 2020 12:38:58
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There was a series on Irish television called The Ballroom of Romance which gave a god insight into Irish Ballrooms
23rd Mar 2020 10:43:15
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I’m not posting as my user name, as Margaret Leonard.

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