Posts Tagged ‘troupe of performers’

The Queen’s Ballroom Pontypool

May 10, 2011

In a recent telephone conversation I had with my friend, Eric Smith, he was telling me that a lot of people do not know where The Queen’s Ballroom was in Pontypool. This is quite understandable because it is now known, and has been for very many years, as The Palais de Dance.

I remember it by that name way back in the early 1940s when dances and other forms of entertainment were held there. At that time it was the only dance hall in Wales with a sprung floor; in fact there was only one other such place in the whole country with such a floor and that was in the Blackpool Tower. You might remember that, a year or so ago, some of the Strictly Come Dancing programmes were held there.

One of the regular events at the Palais de Dance was the annual NSPCC Children’s Ball, an event to raise money for the charity. Eric attended these and, on one occasion, all the children were taken along to Turner’s Fish and chip shop in George Street and were provided with a meal of fish and chips. When Eric asked me to go along to the ball with him I agreed. We were about 12 years old at the time so it was during the war. Sadly there were no fish and chips on that occasion but I do remember going upstairs to have refreshments on the small balcony. I remember it being very crowded with several hundred children in attendance and quite a number of adults.

The entrance to the Palais de Dance, usually referred to by Pontypool folk simply as “The Palais” (usually pronounced “pally”), was directly opposite the top entrance to the market in Crane Street. I don’t have a photograph of the whole building but I do remember it had a fairly large foyer leading to the inside doors. There were a few steps down to the pavement. I do, however, have a photograph of a troupe of performers in their costumes sitting on those steps. If anyone has a better photograph of The Palais, please let me have a copy and I’ll include it in a future blog post.

A troupe of performers sitting on the steps of The Palais de Dance