Linlithgow Scottish Country Dance Club
affiliated to The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society


He dances best that dances fast,
And loups at ilka reesing o’t,
And claps his hands free'hough to hough’,
And furls about the freezings o’t.”

Alexander Ross (1699-1784)

With the knowledge that the cost of the advertisement was coming from my own pocket, its wording no doubt pandered to brevity. Yet, over 20 souls turned up to the meeting in the ground-floor room in the Burgh Halls to declare their commitment to the formation of a Scottish Country Dance Club in Linlithgow. Office-bearers were appointed, Chalmers Hall was hired, an old record player en-route to a charity shop was given a polish and attics were scoured for 78s irrespective of condition. The Club was in business. I have one positive recollection of these early days, and that was that we were determined to establish a social dancing club and anyone referring to the Club as a class was swiftly corrected.

Of course there were new dances to be walked through and learned. But much onus was put on individuals to learn the dances so that the maximum amount of time could be spent doing what we were there for, to dance and enjoy ourselves. The fact that the membership quickly trebled, and we could afford live music once a month in a very short time, suggested we were not wrong in our approach.
Looking back over the years one inevitably thinks fondly of individuals and incidents. The first Hogmany Jig, the Burns Supper, the first Ball, the night when the Lancers went down like a lead balloon.

I remember the night Margo Powers, who so beautifully at that time led out the Edinburgh Branch Demonstration Team, came to Linlithgow at my request to give us a few dancing hints. Margo insisted on everyone starting with plies to get their legs supple. I can still hear the moans and groans uttered by the older members. The gentleman in me has long erased the memory of the thighs that were on display.

So the memories come flooding back; Christmas parties, having the temerity to demonstrate dances in Edinburgh, John Carswell’s magic choreography of “Doon the Watter”, (not to mention his own elegant dancing), the making of friendships with people who journeyed from and beyond Edinburgh, Airdrie and Kirkcaldy to attend our dances. And especially, the building of the Club’s reputation as a warm friendly place where strangers are welcomed.  And of course, I remember too, that the music group Quern which occupies so much of my time, was formed by five members of the Club while chatting over their tea one Friday night and the Club provided Quern’s first engagements.

I have always regarded it as a shared tribute to the Club when John Bowie Dickson, creator of such marvellous dances as ‘Luckenbooth Brooch’ and ‘Wind on Loch Fyne’ dedicated his dance ‘The Quern’ to my wife and I at a Club function in the Burgh Halls in 1990. He was tremendously impressed by what the Club had achieved in the short space of 10 years.

Wallace Lockhart Founder member and first President (extract from the Club’s book produced in 1998)

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Last updated: June 2, 2015