Newnham Folk Dancers

The Newnham Folk Dancers were a group founded in 1926 that merged with the Round ten years later.

At a meeting held in Sidgwick Fiction Library on Sunday Feb 7th 1926 it was decided to form a society of those interested in English Folk Songs and Dances, to be known as the Newnham Folk Dancers.

It was decided

  1. That the Committee should consist of a President, and a representative from each hall, with the powers to co-opt other members.
    Miss L M D La Touche was elected President
    The following were chosen to represent their halls
    • Miss Farrell Old Hall
    • Miss Rickey Sidgwick Hall
    • Miss Hastings Clough Hall
    • ----- Piele Hall
    (Piele Hall was unrepresented at the meeting, Miss Flemming was afterwards elected as representative of Piele Hall)
  2. That the subscription should be 1/- per annum, and that the money collected should be spent on music, books, etc..
  3. That the activities of the society should include:-
    1. The holding of bitermly country dance parties
    2. The giving of Demonstrations
    3. The raising of money for the Cecil Sharp Memorial fund, until such time as the fund should be closed.
    4. The holding of classes in college, if such be required and if there were a teacher available.
The meeting was then adjourned.

There were 85 students and 3 members of staff recorded as members in 1926.

Committee 1926-1927
M B CliftCH
D K CookOH
F M GreenPH
E P RickeySH
A B HastingsPresident

Committee 1927-1928
Miss CliftPresident
Miss MottPH
Miss HutchinsonOH
Miss SchofieldSH
Miss WatsonCH
Miss BarberSecretary

Committee 1928-1929
D J SchofieldPresident
M J MottPH
D M HutchinsonOH
K EborralSH
K A SkinnerCH
M LloydSecretary

At a committee meeting on October 16th 1928 "it was decided that the subscription should remain at 1/- per annum in order that Newnham might be able to contribute towards the expenses of the proposed University Club for Folk Dancing."

At a committee meeting on January 18th 1929 "it was agreed that all members of the University Club should have 6d refunded from their subscription to the Newnham Folk Dancers."

After a joint demonstration with the Cambridge Morris Men on March 2nd we note that "...Miss Schoefied played for the Abbots Bromley Horn dance. The Society owes much to the kindness of Mr Kennedy who lent the costumes for the Horn Dance, and to the Zoological Museum who presented the horns, for these alone made possible the performance of the dance." (CMM still have these horns, complete with museum labels.)

At the general meeting of members and prospective members in October 1929 "The President described the activities of the Cambridge Branch of the English Folk Dance Society, of "the Round", and of Newnham Folk Dancers". (The first reference here to the Round by name.) "It was decided that Newnham Folk Dancers would meet on Tuesday evenings in the Old Lab, that there should be a beginners practice from 7:45-8:15 and general Dancing from 8:15-9pm."

Committee 1929-1930
K SkinnerPresident (CH)
D KingOH
M LaceySH
J HerklotsSecretary (PH)

In the Lent term 1930 the society bought a gramaphone, and had a team dance in the Cambridge Festival Competition.

Committee 1930-1931
E WesternPresident (SH)
P SkinnerPH
C ForbesOH
M DoncasterCH

Committee 1931-1932
K M StocksPresident (SH)
C ForbesOH
M WadamsSH
L GardinerCH
E ManifoldSecretary (PH)
E Westernco-opted (SH)

Committee 1932-1933
Margaret BurgessPresident
Miss SimpsonPH
Miss Allen-WilliamsSH
Miss BerrySecretary

On June 7th 1933 the Secretary reported to a general meeting that

"Though the meetings had been quite well attended at the beginning of the year, the attendance had fallen off badly at the end of the Michaelmas Term, largely, it was thought, because parties at which dances were taught had been started at Newnham Croft Institute and many NFDS members had been attending these as members of the Round. In the Lent term, when, owing to the absence of the President, the Secretary took over the direction of the meetings, meetings were held once a fortnight only, alternately with the parties at Newnham Croft Institute. In the Easter Term, these parties became a recognised branch of the Round's activities; many members from Newnham attended them, and no meetings were held of NFDS."

As a result NFDS decided not to organise any regular meetings, but to hold its funds available to organise any activities that seemed desirable.

Committee 1933-1934
Margaret BurgessPresident
Miss SimpsonPH
Miss J HannafordPH
Miss BatesOH
Miss BerrySecretary

On June 5th 1934 "The continued inactivity of the Society during the past year was due to the fact that the Round had run fortnightly parties, instead of only one a term as was previously the case.

Committee 1934-1935
Miss J HannafordPresident (PH)
Miss D SimpsonPH
Miss B HannafordOH
Miss M BeckSecretary (SH)

This committee decided "to recommence weekly society meetings on Friday evenings from 7:45-8:45 in the Old Lab, at which simple dances would be taught for the benefit of those interested in Folk Dancing who do not feel sufficiently proficient to join the Round."

Committee 1935-1936
Miss A B E HannafordPresident (OH)
Miss M A Kinner-WilsonSecretary (SH)

Meetings continued on Friday evenings, but numbers dropped to a hardcore of eight members so it was decided to merge the Society with the Round.

Meeting programmes

Page maintained by Hugh Stewart