Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Growing up in Eltham in the 1950s ......... stories by Eddy Newport no 10 .... night school dancing lessons and a mission accomplished

Another in the series by Eddy Newport taken from his book, History of a War Baby.

I went to a night school in Briset Road that was very near to where I lived.

The school was opened in the evenings and I enrolled to join the dance, table tennis, and radio classes.

These evenings were a good social and educational outlet. I built a valve radio and it worked much to my amazement.

The class I looked forward to was the dancing and it was held upstairs in the top hall. Our dancing teacher would teach us how to dance the quickstep, foxtrot and waltz just enough to get by at a social dance. We were not into taking medals examinations. We had a pianist who played for the dancer’s as well as a record player. The music was on old seventy-eight RPM records. Victor Sylvester and Jo Loss dance bands were the most popular.

During the breaks, some pupils had brought their own pop records to play Rock and Roll and we developed our own versions of the jive, this was much to the annoyance of the teacher who thought it was never going to catch on.

At the end of the term, we had a dance on a Saturday night. I got a ticket for Terry [Schoolmate] and off we went to the dance dressed up in our suits and ties and shiny shoes. The four piece band consisted of our regular pianist with a drummer, trumpet and saxophone player.

These guys played all the dances we had learnt and we had a great time with the girls dancing the night away.

During the evening, the band attempted to play some rock and roll and we had the opportunity to show off our new dance. I was far too shy to ask a girl out and never did, but later on, I was happy to know how to dance properly.

The photo shows the Newport's on holiday at Pegwell Bay, with me aged 15 growing up with a crew -cut haircut and thinking that I knew it all.

Mother with the box brownie camera.

© Eddy Newport 2017

Picture; from the collection of Eddy Newport

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