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History Of The Anglo In England, Pre-1920


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#1 Dan Worrall

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Posted 08 May 2008 - 11:59 PM

I've been researching the history of the Anglo concertina in England, focusing on the period before 1920, and am working toward an eventual article to join others of mine (on the anglo in the US, Ireland, and at sea, all available at www.angloconcertina.org). Using various sources, digital and otherwise, I seem to be finding quite a lot of interesting material on its use in Victorian and Edwardian England---in street music, country dances, Salvation army rallies, street playing of music hall tunes, use in minstrel groups, and the like. There are two areas where I am having particular difficulty, however, and wonder if those hardy souls amongst you with an interest in history might have some information to help me:

1. Use of the Anglo in morris and 'folk-ritual' dances (mummers, etc.), prior to the time of Sharp's first English folk revival. As you can imagine, I can find many more references to urban life than to country life, so things like morris and mummers and the like go rather unreported. Keith Chandler, in his excellent book on the morris, thought that Anglo playing for morris was quite rare, but I've been finding a fair number of references (including the three photos Howard Mitchell kindly posted on this forum a few years back). Attached below is a list of what I have been able to find. Does anyone have anything that could be added? The more the list grows, the more it seems as if the Anglo might have been used more in the morris than some people think, during the Anglo's peak years at the end of the 19th century....but I'd need to see some more references to be able to state that with any confidence.

Groups with Anglo players for Morris or other ‘Ritual’ Dance, pre-Sharp revival

• William Kimber Jr., 1872-1961, Headington Quarry morris side, Oxfordshire
• William Kimber Sr. (1849-1931, Headington Quarry morris side, Oxfordshire
• Wheatley morris side, Oxfordshire, 1870s
• Winchcombe morris side, Gloucestershire, 1880s
• Shrewsbury, Shropshire morris side, 1878-79
• Glossop, Derbyshire morris side, 1927 photo recreating earlier activity
• Mossley, Lancashire morris side, 1903 photo
• Oldham, Lancashire morris side, ca. 1909 photo
• Sherborne, Gloucestershire mummers group had concertina, along with Thomas Pitts (b. 1855) on pipe and tabor
• Bradford, blackfaced mummer ‘Bletherhead Bands’, 1896

2. Remnant Anglo players in England after its popularity crashed following WWI. Even after the widespread Anglo craze in Ireland came to an abrupt end in the early 20th century, there was still a fair number of living players scattered around Ireland, and not just in Clare (see my Table 1 in that article). Six years ago, Roger Digby addressed the matter of surviving, active English players of the Anglo in the same period, and came up with only three: Tester, Kimber, and Fred Kilroy (Roger's article is at http://www.concertin...gby/anglo-file/ ). I can push it to six, just barely). I find this list too small to be credible. Certainly there were folks that must have been playing...your great-uncle Henry, perhaps? I'm interested in ANY Anglo players that can be documented during the period from 1920 to 1960 (in other words, before the concertina and folk revival happened). Do any of you know any others?

Known Anglo Players in England, active during the period 1920-1960

• William Kimber Jr., 1872-1961, Headington Quarry brickmason, morris and country dance
• Scan Tester (1887-1982) Sussex musician, various styles
• Will Tester, Scan’s brother, Sussex brickmaker
• Fred Kilroy, Oldham Lancashire, morris and dance tunes
• Rev. Kenneth Loveless
• David Jacob Blazer, London music halls in 1920s

Any help on these questions would be very gratefully received! Likewise, any other information you might wish to share on early Anglo playing in England would be very useful.

Kind regards,
Dan

Edited by Dan Worrall, 09 May 2008 - 12:17 AM.


#2 Alan Day

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:13 AM

Dan first of all ,well done for taking on such a project and I look forward to the final article.
As you know I have been doing extensive work on the recordings of the three systems and if it is looked at in a commercial way ,in that a record company would not have issued a record unless they thought it was a viable proposition and I offer you the following points for consideration and discussion.
I recently posted on this site that I had a pre first World War photo of the Ashton under Lyne Concertina Band that clearly showed that they were playing Anglo's
they clearly switched instruments after the War to English System (or possible a mixture).From just after the War to the high point of concertina recordings in about 1935 certain artists were recording the popular music of that time and most were either English System players or Duet players or Bands.
The most prolific were
English System from about 1917 to 1935

Walter Dale his son Tommy,Frank Olloms, Gregori Matusewitch,Raphael,Fayre Four Sisters,J. Hume, The Heywood and Ashton under Lyne Concertina Bands (All of these artist are featured on English International).

Duet System

Perci Honri,Ernest Rutterford, Brig Archie Burgess,Alexander Prince etc

If you compare recordings of the Anglo during that time apart from William Kimber and that for a specialist market, there was virtually nothing.
Although the First World War was obviously responsible for a the sad loss of many Concertina players from just a commercial point of view it would appear that for the popular music of the day, from after the war to the mid thirties ,the English System and the Duet systems were the most popular and replaced the Anglo during that period.
I would be interested if the manufacturers details of that period matched this theory.
Al

Edited by Alan Day, 09 May 2008 - 05:47 AM.


#3 Dan Worrall

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 08:40 AM

Alan,

Thanks for the reply!

I didn't mention concertina bands, but they fall under the category of areas where I am finding some data (thanks in no small part to your post on the Ashton under Lyme band photo!). Your photo is very useful there, because it shows what kind of concertina they were using; usually we assume they were all English system. By the way, I have a Salvation Army journal from the time of their 'switch' where they state that, going forward, they wished their folks would use the English sytem over the anglo. Part of that is because the times were changing---the anglo was losing favor amongst the population as a whole---and partly because they were changing their mission. Early on they used small groups of street musicians, and were quite rough, edgy, and in-your-face with their methods....more than a few were arrested in those days. Anglo was perfect, especially since so many of their down-and-out poor converts also played them in the streets and bars. By the early 20th century, they were morphing into something more like today....higher class disaster relief and the like. They needed to present a more respectable front to get the larger quantity of donations necessary for this newer activity. The English system filled that bill!

As you mention, the SA's switch paralelled that of the general public, although in truth the surviving EC and duet players you mention were professional musicians....I think the general populace were probably pretty lean in EC and duet players too after WWI...not sure. They certainly were a much smaller part of the concertina-playing public in the late 19th century...the anglo ruled in numbers.

Roger Digby emailed me that he was going to have a think on this; maybe he'll come up with some more anglo players during the lean years ( already, he mentioned several that Scan Tester knew....Reg Hall has them in his book on Scan). He also corrected me on Rev. Loveless....the Rev was an early 'folkie', not an indigenous player of the sort I am looking for for the 1920-1960 period. If you look at the Irish situation, there were still a fair number of aging anglo players all over Ireland that just played at home and within their communities. I only learned of them because their grandchildren mentioned it one way or another. I'm hoping somehow to tap into similar English memories of that time. I find it difficult, though not impossible, to believe that the anglo was down to just a handful of English players during that period.

Cheers,
Dan

Edited by Dan Worrall, 09 May 2008 - 08:50 AM.


#4 Dan Worrall

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:34 AM

Wes Williams just emailed me to remind me of the player Eric Holland from Dorset, who fits the 1920-1960 'gap' period perfectly. As Wes pointed out, that was discussed in that interesting thread Alan Day started on the "English" way of playing the anglo, from back in 2005. Mark Davies posted a picture of Mr Holland there (and mentioned that he has a cassette of him!), and Wes pulled the attached out of some old ICA newsletters. So....there were several anglo players of a high standard bouncing around during that period. That means there were likely many more of more normal standard. Thinking caps, please! And thanks...

Dan

From Wes' 2005 post, quoting ICA:

"Nov 1966
Tommy Williams tells us that he has a recording of Mr. Holland, of Crows Nest, Dorset, and has never in his life time of experience heard such excellent anglo playing. Hr. Holland is reported to have a perfect legato phrasing, quite devoid of the
jerky accents which are a characteristic of anglos. Tommy says the sound is indistinguishable from that of a good "English" player. Hr. Holland plays a 40 key Anglo and does not read music.


May 1968
Yet another Sound of Music came from Eric Holland, who proved to be an ANGLO-player extraordinary. His playing is characterised by a strong melody line, with a true legato rarely heard on an Anglo, and a background of delicate accompanying figures. While we had some reservations in respect of his almost continuous forte in the selection and a waltz encore, his subsequent folk dances had excellent piano effects. As a concertina player we rate him high; as an Anglo player very high indeed.

Sept 1977
Mr. Holland, of Swanage, Dorset, died on July 15th of a heart attack. Jim Harvey writes: He joined the I.C.A. in January of 1964, but I knew him long before. He was a great friend, and won the 'Ear' Players class at the 1975 Festival. He played the Anglo in his own style and produced music more like a Duet Concertina. We mourn the loss of a great player and friend.
---------------
Since many players of non-English nationality describe the 'style' as 'more like a duet', its interesting to imagine what Eric Holland could have sounded like."

#5 Alan Day

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 02:28 PM

I quote an article in Free Reed Sept/Oct 1973 No14

Irish Traditional Concertina Music - A discographical note

Reg Hall the well known melodion playing discographer writes

The following material is probably of interest as a follow up to Sean O'Dwyer's article in Irish Traditional Music
William.J. Mullaby recorded Reels The Green Groves of Erin/The Ivy Leaf (issued in Britain on HMV B2556)and probably at least one other side in New York or Camden New Jersey towards the end of November 1926 for Victor. The Pianist was Eddie Lee from Philadelphia (actually born in Bayswater and Brother of Frank Lee of the Tara Ceilidh Band).
On June 1926 at the Victor Camden Studio they recorded a further four sides "Little House under the Hill and The Tony Island Reel (issued in Victor 20814)and Miss Monroe's Jig and Reels. The Salamanca/Peter Street on Victor 20763.
Mullaby together with a different pianist recorded reels Lady Carbury/The Races of Athlone and jig: "Jackson's Thought" , in New York around 1926 for Columbia and these were issued in Britain on Regal G 8939.
The only other Irish Concertina 78s I know of were also made in New York around 1926 under the name of Frank Quinn and were deceptively described on the labels as "Violin with Accordion" Frank Quinn marvellous old fashioned melodeon player plays the fiddle and shouts all sorts of encouragement like "Up Mayo" while his unnamed partner is clearly playing Anglo Concertina.
It goes on to list these tracks and record labels.
Signed Reg Hall

If I find any more of these snippets I will post them
Al

#6 Dan Worrall

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:07 PM

I quote an article in Free Reed Sept/Oct 1973 No14

Irish Traditional Concertina Music - A discographical note

Reg Hall the well known melodion playing discographer writes

The following material is probably of interest as a follow up to Sean O'Dwyer's article in Irish Traditional Music
William.J. Mullaby recorded Reels The Green Groves of Erin/The Ivy Leaf (issued in Britain on HMV B2556)and probably at least one other side in New York or Camden New Jersey towards the end of November 1926 for Victor. The Pianist was Eddie Lee from Philadelphia (actually born in Bayswater and Brother of Frank Lee of the Tara Ceilidh Band).
On June 1926 at the Victor Camden Studio they recorded a further four sides "Little House under the Hill and The Tony Island Reel (issued in Victor 20814)and Miss Monroe's Jig and Reels. The Salamanca/Peter Street on Victor 20763.
Mullaby together with a different pianist recorded reels Lady Carbury/The Races of Athlone and jig: "Jackson's Thought" , in New York around 1926 for Columbia and these were issued in Britain on Regal G 8939.
The only other Irish Concertina 78s I know of were also made in New York around 1926 under the name of Frank Quinn and were deceptively described on the labels as "Violin with Accordion" Frank Quinn marvellous old fashioned melodeon player plays the fiddle and shouts all sorts of encouragement like "Up Mayo" while his unnamed partner is clearly playing Anglo Concertina.
It goes on to list these tracks and record labels.
Signed Reg Hall

If I find any more of these snippets I will post them
Al


Thanks, Alan. Mullaly was a Mulingar, Co Louth emigrant to New Jersey...unfortunately I can't use him!

But the list is growing. Theo is running to ground an old player near Newcastle (more hopefully in coming days, and with the other suggestions emailed in the list for the 1920-1960 'gap' period is now 15 persons strong and growing.....nearing the same size range as I could put together in Ireland, and a testament to the power of networking in the concertina community. No new old time morris players, yet. I hope folks keep looking!

Cheers,
Dan

Known Anglo Players in England, active during the period 1920-1960

• William Kimber Jr., 1872-1961, Headington Quarry brickmason, morris and country dance
• Scan Tester (1887-1982) Sussex musician, various styles
• Will Tester, Scan’s brother, Sussex brickmaker
• Fred Kilroy, Oldham Lancashire, morris and dance tunes
• David Jacob Blazer, London music halls in 1920s
• Eric Holland (d. 1977), Dorset, 40 button Wheatstone player
• Yet unnamed player, Sunderland, Tyne and Ware (more coming)
• Joe Marten (1870-1959), Chelwood Gate, Sussex, taught Trayton Tester anglo
• Harry 'Bogie' Woolgar, Horsted Keynes, Sussex, played only one side of the anglo; Tester friend
• Albert Browning, Horsted Keynes, Sussex. Marten, Woolgar and Browning were a generation older than Tester.
• Punch Browning, Sussex, Tester friend.
• Tommy Stephenson and Martha Stephenson, Nutley, Sussex, of Nutley Inn Band; same general age as Tester.
• Tom Bridger and Fred West played Anglos in B flat, 'jolly good players' and regular buskers on Brighton beach, after WWI.

#7 David S

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 04:20 PM

Hi Dan,

My Grandfather Wal Savage played anglo concertina for Abingdon Morris before the Great War; according to my father the side did not dance again after the Great war, but he returned to Abingdon and continued to play in the pubs and was 'Mayor of Ock Street' onat least one occasion. I can just remember him playing at his home in the mid 50's but he was in poor health and died soon afterwards. My father taught me the Abingdon version of Princess Royal, but unfortunately he was always somewhat ashamed of his father's bibulous ways and music and so information on Grandad and the Morris are somewhat sketchy. However, I did meet two elderly men at a ring meeting in Thame in 1973 who remembered my Grandad; one of them was I think called Jack Hyde and played a harmonica.

Look forward to reading your article - by the way, I found your trancriptions of Kimber's tunes fascinating and enlightening. Thank you.

#8 Dan Worrall

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 08:07 PM

Hi Dan,

My Grandfather Wal Savage played anglo concertina for Abingdon Morris before the Great War; according to my father the side did not dance again after the Great war, but he returned to Abingdon and continued to play in the pubs and was 'Mayor of Ock Street' onat least one occasion. I can just remember him playing at his home in the mid 50's but he was in poor health and died soon afterwards. My father taught me the Abingdon version of Princess Royal, but unfortunately he was always somewhat ashamed of his father's bibulous ways and music and so information on Grandad and the Morris are somewhat sketchy. However, I did meet two elderly men at a ring meeting in Thame in 1973 who remembered my Grandad; one of them was I think called Jack Hyde and played a harmonica.

Look forward to reading your article - by the way, I found your trancriptions of Kimber's tunes fascinating and enlightening. Thank you.


Hi David,

Many thanks; that is fascinating! I have a question or two for you on filling in a detail or two on your grandfather, but will save them for an email offline. Your grandfather's Abingdon side now makes eight morris sides, pre-revival, that used concertina....which begins to look like a pattern to me; anglo may have been more commonly used in pre-Sharp morris than I have heretofore assumed or read. And your grandfather makes a 16th English anglo player of the 'gap' period...the list continues to grow.

Again thanks,
Dan

Edited by Dan Worrall, 10 May 2008 - 02:53 PM.


#9 malcolm clapp

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Posted 09 May 2008 - 11:51 PM

The late Bob Cann from Dartmoor, better known as a melodeon player, owned and played several anglos during the late 1960s. Not sure how long prior to that he had been playing, and whether you would describe him as a folk revival player, though I believe he would have described himself as part of an ongoing tradition of players. I recall him once saying he had an uncle that played too. Might be worth contacting his grandson, Mark Bazeley, who I believe now has Bob's instruments.
A nice photo of Bob playing concertina (and some other interesting Dartmoor music stuff) here

The late Eric Ilott, shantyman from Bristol, played a Wheatstone anglo. I first saw him play in about 1966; again, not sure how long prior to that he was playing, or again whether he should be considered a folk revival player. Those who heard him would possibly describe his style as...um...interesting... um...unusual...um...(Roger? Any comment?)

Unlike most other Salvation Army bands, the Bristol Citadel Salvation Army Band played anglos from their inception in 1882 up until they ceased to play in 1971. Also the Weston-super-Mare Salvation Army band used soley anglos. Not sure of their dates, but certainly they were active during the 1920s and 30s.

Hope this info is of use, Dan, and possibly of interest to other readers too....

MC

#10 Alan Day

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 03:08 AM

When I started playing the Anglo in 1960 there were several players of the Anglo at that time firstly the well known singer at that time Brian Blanchard who played a Jeffries Anglo for the Broadwood Morris Men,it was he that first attracted me to playing the Anglo (it is his fault),sadly Brian was involved in a very serious car crash that left him in a wheelchair. The Squire Harry Mousdel also played Anglo. Two regular member in the very early days of The Black Horse Nuthurst were Tony Elphick now a member of The Maypoles to Mistletoe band.One of the most naturally gifted Anglo players I know and a regular guest was John Rodd who appeared on Son of Morris On with The Albion Band.A wonderful player who played with precision. John Watcham (on Anglo International) was then playing in the Duo "Mr Gladsons Bag" and reading the booklet of A.I he says that he detailed his style on the playing of Phil Ham who I think played for Hammersmith Morris.
Al

#11 malcolm clapp

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 09:36 AM

Phil Ham who I think played for Hammersmith Morris.


And later Newcastle Morris Men (?)

MC

#12 wes williams

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 11:13 AM

I think Dan's upper limit of 1960 may confuse things slightly, as all of the people Al mentions are what I would describe as coming from the 'Folk Revival'. This started in the 1950s decade, although much of the morris had been reactived from C# times, but came to the fore as part of this revival. John Rodd, for instance, was a talented multi instrumentalist in the group Dunedain, who started off on an English system (~1969?), but quickly swapped to anglo.

Personally, I believe its very difficult to separate the anglo from the button accordion/melodion in the inter-war period, and the two need to be considered together. Bob Cann is a good example.

Edited by wes williams, 10 May 2008 - 11:24 AM.


#13 Dan Worrall

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Posted 10 May 2008 - 02:43 PM

Malcolm, Alan, Wes,

Thanks for the thoughts and more references!

I think Wes has a good point. I was trying to avoid the free reed/concertina revival of the 1960s and later by my upper limit of 1960....thinking thereby to exclude more modern players like John Kirkpatrick, who joined Hammersmith morris in 1959, but then learned melodeon and, later, Anglo as part of that side. But as Wes mentions, the English folk music revival started in the 1950s (some say as early as 1950, when Lomax met Bert Lloyd and Ewan MacColl), and clearly some players started messing about with Anglos that decade, as a result. Most can be filtered out on a case by case basis, I guess....arbitrary limits always need exceptioning. Might be better to knock the limit down to 1950 or so. The purpose of the search is to find the last elements of the old Anglo-playing breed, once so common in the late 19th century.

I have no problem with including combined melodeon and Anglo players like Bob Cann (I note that he played more anglo as he aged; with age comes wisdom!). But I'm focusing on Anglo players, of course.

Great to see that the list continues to grow, even whilst tossing out folkies left and right. Many thanks! And those two 20th century anglo-playing SA bands were news to me....I'll dig around on that some more.

Cheers,
Dan

Edited to say that I finally remembered where I had read about those bands before....Malcolm posted the information, which Chris Timson placed on his FAQ (http://www.concertin...images/salv.htm ). I'd have remembered those posts more clearly had I realized that they were playing anglos!

Edited by Dan Worrall, 10 May 2008 - 03:16 PM.


#14 wntrmute

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Posted 14 May 2008 - 06:05 PM

Will this be Anglo only, or will it delve into the development of the Anglo out of the German?

#15 Dan Worrall

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Posted 15 May 2008 - 10:01 PM

Will this be Anglo only, or will it delve into the development of the Anglo out of the German?

Most definitely the transition from German to AngloGerman to Anglo. By far, the majority such in-and-out single action concertina players in England pre-1920 played the Anglo-German.

#16 Dave Rogers

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 02:38 PM

The late Bob Cann from Dartmoor, better known as a melodeon player, owned and played several anglos during the late 1960s.


Coincidentally, I've just returned today from a week's holiday in Devon. On Thursday, I visited the Museum of Dartmoor Life at Okehampton, and spotted an anglo concertina on a high shelf next to a photo of Bob Cann playing melodeon. I couldn't identify it at a distance (it could have been an early Anglo-German import) and the curator was in a meeting so I didn't get a chance to ask about it. I was intending to email her to ask if she knew its history, and I definitely will now. I'll report back if/when I get any more information.

#17 Dan Worrall

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 04:44 PM

The late Bob Cann from Dartmoor, better known as a melodeon player, owned and played several anglos during the late 1960s.


Coincidentally, I've just returned today from a week's holiday in Devon. On Thursday, I visited the Museum of Dartmoor Life at Okehampton, and spotted an anglo concertina on a high shelf next to a photo of Bob Cann playing melodeon. I couldn't identify it at a distance (it could have been an early Anglo-German import) and the curator was in a meeting so I didn't get a chance to ask about it. I was intending to email her to ask if she knew its history, and I definitely will now. I'll report back if/when I get any more information.


Great stuff, Dave....any further information on that would be much appreciated. Bob Cann's concertina is pictured in the link on Malcolm Clapp's post #9, above....the one you saw may be it.

Also, many thanks to all those who responded either with a post or via emails to my plea for help; my list of known and named anglo players active during the period after 1920 but before the British folk revival has grown to either 20 or 21 now, from a starting point of less than half a dozen; this gives us a better look at the last of the old breed of players. I am also pleased to learn that there were at least 7 and maybe more morris sides using anglos before or during the time that Kimber first started working with Sharp (i.e., before the C# morris revival got underway), some as early as the 1870s (also some mummers and of course English country dance players). Too bad there are no recordings, but at least we can say that the Anglo-German and Anglo concertinas found their way in numbers to 'traditional' music and dance in England as quickly as they did in Ireland...and that its early use in the morris wasn't a one-off of one or only a few players . Not a surprise, of course, as Anglo-German concertinas were exceedingly common all over the country at the time, but nice to be able to pinpoint it with some supporting facts. Most surviving late 19th century documents that I am seeing which mention 'German' concertina' in England typically describe players in urban settings doing popular and music hall songs, minstrel tunes, and the like....the 'pop' and 'rock' of their time. Nothing wrong with that of course....its just that there are always more reporters and book writers in the cities than the countryside, leaving an unavoidable bias.

edited for grammar

Edited by Dan Worrall, 17 May 2008 - 08:12 PM.


#18 Alan Day

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 09:19 AM

Dan I presume you saw the Pathe Archive News Clip of the old Anglo Player playing for The Rapper Sword Dance .From memory it was a Colliery side.
Al

Edited by Alan Day, 18 May 2008 - 09:21 AM.





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