The Roscoe Family

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).

Ballroom Champion

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.


Comments about this page

  • By Gail Davison (11/08/2022)
  • Freddie Fitzgerald was my Grandmother’s brother. His surname was originally Bates, not Brown.

    By Gail Davison (11/08/2022)
  • My late father, Herbert Wilson, was also a dance professional in the thirties and forties and Adela used to come to him so he could give her a critique before her competitions. My father was in countless amateur competitions before going professional both in Mansfield and surrounding areas, culminating in becoming the residential professional dancer and manager of Nottingham’s other popular dance hall the Victoria. He was certainly memorable for his platinum blonde hair and blue eyes but he also tanned and was often in both Nottingham and Mansfield and I have a copy where he is referred to as a blonde Adonis.

    By Susan Elaine Henshaw (22/09/2019)
  • Following my past comment I. Knew Adela and Fred as uncle and aunt, I had many happy memories of them both of anticks, of people that went, and of many who met their future partners as my parents did of course, father on police duty with Gordon Ingham who had the funeral directors at Forest Town,

    By Mark Wilson (04/08/2019)
  • As my late father and I dealt with Adela’s estate I know that some of this information is incorrect and I can also add a bit more about her family.

    Her sister was Edna Constance and she was an antique dealer in Derby. She died in around 1974 having retired to Spain.

    One of the family was a major engineer to Stephenson who build The Rocket.

    H.G Roscoe, Adela’s father, was Master of Ceremonies for a season at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. He resided at Clerkson Street Hall off Station Road.

    Adela divorced Cyril Farmer after about 10 years but they remained amicable. During the marriage they visited London, Belgium etc. and often stayed at The Ritz, as did she and her second husband, Fred Fitzgerald whom she met and married in 1946.  Up until 1953 she lived on Plains Road in Mapperley where she had a dance/ballroom before moving to Mapperley Hall Drive. She ran the Astoria Ballroom on Long Row and also another on Bridlesmith Gate, both in Nottingham.

    Fred Fitzgerald was a commercial salesman for Players (cigarettes in Nottingham). His original surname was Brown but Adela had him change it as she didn’t want to be called Mrs Brown! They acquired a large house on the corner of Watson Avenue and Rufford Avenue in Mansfield. In about 1963/4 they divided it up and retained the Watson Avenue side. The Rufford Avenue side became Regency House and was sold to a friend called Dorothy Hinton, a well-known business lady who ran the Eight Bells.

    Adela wrote The Lingering Blues, Royal Empress Tango, The Diana Tango, Breakaway Blues, the Progressive Tango and the Sunbeam Waltz.

    Adela’s birthday was 12th August. She died at home in 1983 and her husband left Mansfield to live near Exeter. He remarried a while later. He had a well-known and distinctive number plate –    FF 111.

    Adela was cremated at Markeaton and her ashes were scattered at a tree that had been bought by her father.

    By Mark Wilson (19/06/2017)
  • In or around the early fifties Adele and her second husband Freddie Fitzgerald took over the running of the Palais and employed the Hardy Smith Orchestra to replace the existing band. Eventually they were  replaced by Art Lester who employed several of the Hardy Smith Band. Amongst the musicians who played at the Palais was Lennie Moakes (trumpet ) who went on to play with Syd Lawrence and Ken Kiddier on Saxaphone with Ted Heath and his Music. Dennis Halfpenny was leading a band and Johnny Wolfe was playing in the same orchestra and played at the Sutton in Ashfield Ballroom as well as in Nottingham, they also played at The Floral Hall in Kirkby.

    The Palais then operated with Ballroom Dancing for the general public on Mondays and Saturdays. Wednesdays were strictly for dancing lessons and dancing for pupils. Fridays were for private dances Etc There was never a Bar on site except for private dances and that was provided by The Bowl in Hand next door. If you attended on a Saturday tickets were given out which allowed Two to enter for the Price of One providing they were not of the same sex. The Public found a way round that to gain entrance by arranging a method of mix and match outside the Palais. Adele still kept her dancing lessons in Nottingham at the Palais de Dance there,  and Freddie and Adele were Often approached to judge competitions in the Midlands. Adele and her Dancing partner actually won a National Award for creating the Chorography of a dance routine called I believe – Lingering Blues,  whether this was with Freddie or her previous partner who I believe was named Crowder. Adele had now returned to Mansfield to the family home on Layton Avenue property with Freddie.

    By Malcolm Raynor (28/08/2013)

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