Social dancing in the early twentieth century: A case study of Preston, Lancashire

Vickers, Peter J. (1991) Social dancing in the early twentieth century: A case study of Preston, Lancashire. Masters thesis, Lancashire Polytechnic.

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As a part-time jazz musician who has found the history of his home town intriguing for many years in was a natural choice to
combine these two interests to produce this paper. For many years the impact of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band on London in 1919 has been acknowledged by music-historians but little research had been produced about provincial towns. In an attempt to provide information that would contribute to the provision eFan answer to this question I started out by
considering the development of social dancing in Preston in the inter-war period. Even though research was limited in-the-main to local newspapers so much information was available that it became clear that an in-depth study of such a long period was beyond the scope of the proposed paper. As a result of this realisation the work was divided into three chapters covering the development of social dancing from the mid-nineteenth century upto the Armistice, 1919 and the arrival of 'jazz age' in the early 1920's. Consideration was given to the style of dancing, the venues available and in particular the musicians who provided the music. Note was also made of the varying attitudes of the authorities and the church to the new forms of social dancing and also the impact on social dancing made by the introduction of new technology such as the radio.
Three outstanding conclusions were reached; that the brass and military bands provided a previously overlooked musical bridge between the string orchestras of the pre-war period and the 'jazz bands' of the 1920's; that, unlike Rochdale which has been the subject of Paul Wild's research, the Catholic church during this period was very much to the forefront in providing leisure facilities; and finally that the impact of new technology changed the nature of social dancing considerably.

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