The Roscoe Family
Many Mansfield people relate the name ROSCOE to dancing and the Palais de Dance however a little delving into the census and newspapers has revealed more information about this family.
The 1891 census for Little Hulton, Lancashire reveals that this was the birthplace of Henry G Roscoe who in later years moved to Mansfield. He was the son of Jas.[James] and Hannah Roscoe, James occupation was that of a bricklayer. The couple are shown as having seven children, Emma (20), Henry G (18), John RH (9) Edwin (7), James (6) Mary Ann (4), Eliz (2). All of the family were born in Little Hulton. In 1891 Henrys occupation is that of ‘Engine Fitters Apprentice.’
By 1901 Henry now called Harry G is married, he is aged 28 and living in Chester Green Derby, with his wife Annie, daughters Elsie(4) and Edith [ Edith Adele](3). They have a servant Ada Marshall. His occupation is ‘Engine Fitter.’
Ten years later in 1911 Harry G and Annie are to be found living in Mansfield at 24 Clerkson Street. The house is large with 10 rooms. Their living children are Edith Adele (13) and Edna (1), it is noted they had 4 children and two have died. Both Edith and Edna were born in Derby so it appears the family had only just moved to Mansfield when the 1911 census was taken. Harry has now changed his occupation and is listed as a ‘Professor of Dancing.’ Living with them at 24 Clerkson Street are nephew Bertram Martin (16) and brother in law Arthur Martin (23) who is a pianist. Two female servants Gladys Else, and Alice Busk complete the household.
The War Years
In May 1915 the Mansfield Reporter newspaper revealed that ‘Harry Rosco a dancing professor on Station Street, Mansfield has left his home and flourishing business “The Mansfield School of Dancing” to make shells.’ He is a qualified engineer and felt it his duty to apply for a post at Sir Robert Hadfield’s Sheffield where he is now at work on high explosives. He is working 90 hours a week. During his absence Mrs and Miss Roscoe are carrying on the Mansfield business. No fewer than 15 – of Roscoe’s patrons have joined the forces.
New Dance Hall
In September 1929 the Nottingham Evening Post told its readers :
The Victoria Hall Becomes the Palais de Dance
‘The Victoria Hall, Leeming Street, Mansfield which has been converted into a dance hall on modern lines, is to be opened on Monday 30th inst., as the Palais de Dance. It will be conducted by Mr & Mrs H G Roscoe, who are well known throughout the district as dance organisers.
A maple floor has been laid and the band platform constructed in the form of a shell is decorated in varying shades of orange and illuminated by 40 footlights. Limelights are projected from each corner and a mirror-ball hangs from the ceiling operated by electricity, with the latest installation for snow dances, confetti and balloons. With the idea of consulting all tastes, Mr & Mrs Roscoe have decided to devote Monday evenings to old style dancing. On Tuesday evening the Palais will be available for private dances, and on Wednesday ordinary dances are to be held. A dance club is formed to hold dances every Thursday evening while Friday and Saturday will be “popular nights.”
The dansants [what are dansants? Ed] are to be held each Wednesday and Saturday afternoons with a children’s dance on Saturday mornings. At frequent intervals late night dances and carnivals are to be arranged.
On the opening of the Palais de Dance, a dansant and mannequin parade will be staged with a demonstration by Adele Roscoe and her partner of the new dance the ‘Six Eight’ [what was the Six Eight? Ed]. A carnival dance will be held at night.
The Roscoe girls marry
In April 1931 when their daughter Adele gets marred Harry and his wife are living at 3 Layton Avenue Mansfield. Adele married -Cyril M Farmer of Sadler Street, Mansfield. He had been her dancing partner of the last two years and they had won many championships all over the country and they are noted for introducing the well known “tapper2” [what was the tapper? Ed]. The wedding reception was held at the Palais de Dance in Mansfield.
In 1936 when Edna Roscoe married Archibald MacMillan a Hucknall Doctor her parents were now living at Rufford House, Mansfield.
Old Folks Tea
In January 1937 the Palais de Dance hosted the annual Old Folks Tea arranged by the Free Church Sunday Schools. This was a Golden Jubilee Celebration as it was 50 years since the first party had been given for 400 guests [there is no indication of where this was held] The guests now numbered 550 and entailed three sittings at the Palais de Dance, where the dance hall was converted into a concert room and the tea was served in the lower hall. While tea was being served the waiting guests were entertained by a cabaret show of songs and dances given by Mrs H G Roscoe and six of her pupils – Misses Edith Hirst, Gladys Thorpe, M Thomas, Joyce Hayward, Peggy Johnson and Betty Donaldson. A further entertainment arranged by Mr H Childs was given by Miss Hilda Hindley (soprano), Messrs J & A Lee (comedians), Mr H Strong (illusionist) and Master Eric Whylde (boy entertainer).
Adele Roscoe was British Ballroom Champion in 1937 and 1938, a Nottingham Evening Post newspaper advert in March 1944 lists her as having a studio at 19 Bridlesmith Gate.
While nothing more has been found about the Roscoe family themselves, I am sure readers will be able to add to this information with their own memories.
For more information on the Palais de Dance in Mansfield see the page ‘Palais de Dance’ under Entertainment.