Hall, Mr G
Collection date: Mar 1912
Area: Tyne & Wear
Mr G Hall of Beadnell Bay rapper dance: Beadnell village is on the Northumberland coast, 50 miles N of Newcastle. It is not in Tyne & Wear but is included in this section for thematic purposes only, so as to link with the 5 other rapper dances that Sharp collected. With apologies to the people of Beadnell.
The Beadnell rapper dance is something of an anomaly, as the dancers were fishermen rather than pitmen, and they danced on New Year’s Day rather than at Xmas. Sharp collected no particular tune to accompany the dance (any hornpipe sufficing). It's a popular dance today and can be briskly performed.
According to his field notebook (words) 1912/2 pp2-9, Sharp visited Beadnell on 23 March 1912, no doubt catching the train from Newcastle to Chathill station, a couple of miles inland from Beadnell. He failed to record the name and age of the informant in his Folk Dance Notes 2/113ff but did acknowledge the help of Mr G. Hall in the preface of his book ‘Sword Dances of Northern England’ Part II (Novello 1912).
This was probably George Hall, fisherman (own account), aged 46 when Sharp visited. He was born c1865, son of Robert Hall, fisherman of Beadnell, and his wife Hannah (née Proudlock). Robert died, aged only 24 in 1870 and Hannah brought up her 3 children on her own, working as an agricultural labourer herself (1881 census).
George Hall became a fisherman like his father and married Elizabeth Dixon, daughter of Ralph Dixon, on 27/7/1889 at Beadnell. The Dixon family were all fishermen in the village. George and Elizabeth had 9 children, 2 of whom died young. George died on 8/6/1936 aged 71.
Sharp recorded that the Beadnell team performed in blue jerseys, navy trousers and wore a pink sash over one shoulder. The team had two Bessies, one carrying a parasol. There is currently no Beadnell team but the dance is still performed today by a number of sides including Sallyport, Thrales, Gaorsach and Mabel Gubbins (see Youtubes and websites). Further information from http://www.rapper.org.uk/traditional/beadnell.php