The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.
Maureen Hawkins (nee Lincoln)
MEMORIES OF MAYPOLE DANCING
In the early 1950's Mary & Dennis Garrett kept the Fish & Chip shop in the High Street affording the young people of the village a place to meet and chat. They were very involved with young people in one way or another and one of the most exciting activities which they organised For the village was the annual 'Maypole Dancing'. This was no mean achievement, considering it involved boys and girls of varying ages. They had to be motivated to attend regular practice sessions which were held in the large yard behind the fish & chip shop, where the temporary maypole was erected. I remember very clearly that we had to curtsey very low at the beginning of each dance and the boys would bow. At first they were reluctant but as the big day came closer they would get more into the spirit of it all.
The Teddy Bear's Picnic was one tune we danced to over & over again until the ribbons were plaited correctly and similarly untangled until we all stood back in our places and the music stopped Our parents were told that we had to wear only white, the girls had pretty white dresses and white shoes. I remember my mother making my first maypole dress, and I can still remember it was a kind of honeycomb pattern and it had a high neck and made me hot.
Kathleen Taylor who used to live opposite the Church was a friend who also danced and Christine Deer and Hazel Morgan are other names that spring to mind. We would visit other villages like Silsoe with our portable maypole (it would be transported on a large lorry) and we would parade through the streets holding the ribbons while Dennis made sure the music played on cue. I must have been 10 or 11 at the time of this picture and being very tall for my age dwarfed everyone. Maybe if I had been as aware of my height as I am now I would not have participated, but I am so glad I did, it was a very enjoyable time and I can appreciate now just how much effort was required of Mr and Mrs Garrett to make it the success it was.