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October 27, 2004

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Rapper Teams


Between 1850 and 1900 a number of teams appeared to have developed in the area. Thirteen teams are recorded as performing on a regular basis during this period at Beadnell, Boghall, Blaydon, Chopwell, Earsdon, Hebburn, Houghton, Loughhoughton, North Walbottle, Swallwell, Throckley, Widdrington, Winlaton. On this clip we see the Winlaton team performing sometime in the early 20th century.

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Rapper dancing has always been associated with pitmen and by the end of the 1800s, a large number of pit villages in Northumberland and Durham had their own teams. During the early twentieth century a number of additional teams were formed at Westerhope, Hetton le Hole, South Shields, High Spen and North Walbottle.

High Spen Blue Diamonds 1926


Although many teams fell into decline during the first and second world wars, the inter-war years saw the dance tradition thrive. Unfortunately during the 2nd half of the 20th century many teams fell into decline. As many local pits closed and traditional dance became less popular teams often experienced difficulty in finding willing or capable dancers. However, following the folk revival in the later part of the century, many new teams were formed and interest in the dance was restored in many areas. Below is a photograph of one such team, Addison Rapper, who were formed in 1977.

Addison Rapper




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FARNE Folk Archive Resource North East