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Aberdeen Dance Halls

Julian the Tank Bank (No.113) - (top left) he was given to Aberdeen at the end of the 1st World War - sited at the Broadhill and remained there until 1940 when taken for WW2 scrap.  An area of Town around the Castlegate where Julian was stood in 1918 to sell War Bonds is still known as "the tank" site,  £2 million was raised in a week in Aberdeen by Julian over £15 per head from the ever canny and ever frugal Aberdonian Population The idea was that the City that invested in the most War Bonds got to keep Julian

Julian 'The Tank Bank' Footage

The Beach Ballroom circa 1938
The Ballroom was designed by Thomas Roberts and Hume and won Architectural prizes. The dance hall, shops and other facilities were constructed from 1927 at a cost of over £50,000.

The official opening of the New Pavilion on 23 May 1929 took the form of a Masked Ball and carnival with costumes ranging from Louis XIV's Court to Sioux Indians and Shepherdesses. During World War II, the building was commandeered by the Admiralty, and re-opened at Christmas 1946. The ballroom floor, which floats on 1400 steel springs, was originally made of maple and was replaced in 1955

Bands that appeared included -

Acker Bilk
Bobbie Hind & His London Sonora Band
Carl Barriteau
Clyde Valley Stompers
Chris Barber
Cyril Stapleton
Dr Crock and his Crackpots
Freddie Randall
Harry Gold & His Pieces of Eight
Harry Roy & His Tiger Ragamuffins
Harry Thorley
Humphrey Lyttleton
Isles Nine
Jack Parnell
Jimmy Shand
Joe Daniels & His Hotshots
Joe Loss
Johnny Dankworth
Kenny Ball
Nat Gonella & His Georgians
Nat Temple
Ray Ellington
Ronnie Scott
Syd Lawrence
Stanley Black
Ted Heath
Teddy Foster

Tito Burns
Tubby Hayes
Victor Sylvester

The former Northern Hall of c1885. Sold to APP, Cl. 1940.
Became City Ballroom, then Maxine's, then Locarno. Closed. 1955. Used as workshop. Dem. 1979 for car park.  Aberdeen the Silver City guides lists 9 dance halls, as well as 15 cinemas.  As if tiring of the sheer splendour of it all, the guide concludes that: 'By night the entertainment vista of Aberdeen is limitless' a modest slogan which one can thoroughly commend to today's City tourism promoters.

Ernest Bromberg was born in the late 19th century, although the year of his birth is unknown. He was the Proprietor of Aberdeen's 1st public Dance Hall, the Palais de Danse situated in Diamond Street, and converted from the premises of a local Taxi company.  Bromberg was an avid Cinema enthusiast, and in February 1926 he began to hold events orientated towards the Cinema at the Palais. Notable examples were the Aberdeen Cinema Ball, at which prizes were awarded for the best likeness to film stars, and the Carnival that was organised to mark the release of the Charlie Chaplin film City Lights. Bromberg sold the Palais de Dance in 1949, and moved back to London. His links with the Cinema business in Aberdeen were not completely severed, however. He still owned the News Cinema, and a number of years later, he became involved in the exhibition of continental films in the city. For a number of years, continental films had struggled to find a market, but by the 1950s were becoming commercially viable.

Reid & Pearson Ltd, drapers, of Aberdeen was founded in 1905 closed 1955.  In February 1949, it was acquired by the Scottish Drapery Corporation Ltd, a management holding company, of Edinburgh.  In September 1952, the Scottish Drapery Corporation Ltd was acquired by House of Fraser Ltd, department store retailers, of Glasgow.

Former Kings Cinema 217 George Street
Opened 1st May 1911 in former Northern Hall of c.1885. Sold to APP, August 1922. Closed 1940. Became City Ballroom, then Maxine's, then the Locarno Ballroom. Along the edge of the balcony which ran round three sides were the light sockets which held coloured light bulbs when the place was a dance hall.  Closed January 1955. Used as workshop. Demolished 1979 for car park.

The night of the Aberdeen Blitz (21st April 1943) I was on my way home to Bannermill Street after the dancing at Locarno in George Street. It was the night of the worst bombing in Aberdeen and I walked past the worst of the damage. It was where the Bon-Accord Shopping Centre is today. I lost friends who lived there that night. On VE Day we lit a bonfire on the Broadhill and walked from there up to the Harbour. It was pouring rain and freezing cold. We danced a huge Eightsome Reel at the top of Market Street where the traffic lights are today, there were 100s of us. The atmosphere was just wonderful.

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Last modified: 01/09/2013