The Round History - the Playford Ball

Playford ball

During the winter of 1951–52 some Round members decided it would be a good idea to organise a party restricted to formal Playford dances done in evening dress rather than the usual mixture of dances done at the standard Round Parties.

Hence four members (Ian and Jennifer Browne, Keith Eickhoff and Margaret Dance) booked a room at the Golden Hind and invited people to a “Playford Ball”, a name chosen to emphasise the high class nature of the dance. Although they wanted to exclude the so-called "Rabble" dances they decided, after much deliberation as to whether it would be practicable in long frocks, to include Kentucky Running Set on the programme.

Originally this Playford Ball was arranged for Saturday February 16th 1952, but King George VI died on the 6th of February and the whole country was in mourning until after the funeral so the Ball was postponed until April 19th. This initial Playford Ball was deemed a success to be repeated the next year.

Since this was not an official Round event, being organised as a private venture by people who happened to be Round members, tickets were limited to the organisers’ friends. Over the years the Playford Ball became more of a fixture in the Round calender and in 1958, when the last of the original Playford Ball organisers had left Cambridge, the Round took over running this event. By then it had moved to the Masonic hall, and then for many years we held it in either the University Arms or the Guildhall. In 1974 we moved to Homerton Hall, where we remained until 1994 when they threw us out to rebuild the place. Since then we have used various school halls.

Music — dunno, initially a fairly informal collection of musicians led by Grace North, then a veritable orchestra led by Norman Bett, then from 1986 onwards we have used various outside bands (Alterations and Wild Thyme in particular). In 1998 and 2001 we had music from current members, playing as The Round Band.

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