5. Norwich (8 of 12)

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Elsewhere in the City (1 of 5)

While Boseley and the Christians held their Great Room other dancing masters came and went from other locations in the city. Often we have only the parish or landlord by which to locate them before 1783 when Chase’s Directory saves us the guesswork. Some of the masters were birds of passage, with the disposition of a gannet. In many cases there is nothing to prove that an advertisement raised enough pupils for a viable practice.

Mr Lax was an early bird of passage. In 1717 he was a singer/dancer with the Norwich Company of Comedians at the White Swan. He gave notice on 4 March 1721 that he was to settle in Norwich and teach dancing as from Lady Day, but that is all we know of him.

A Mr Eastland (without location) appears with Boseley in the list of subscribers to Pemberton’s book in 1711. He may or may not have been connected to two Norfolk masters ten or so years later. James Eastland put a notice in the Gazette 17 April 1724 that he was not to be confused with Edward Eastland of Lynn. James came from Bury St Edmund in 1722 and set up a dancing school in St Andrew’s (parish). His premises may have been in Little Cockey Lane, serially used as a dancing school. He moved his family and his girls’ school from Bury to Norwich on Lady Day 1723 and advertised an assembly at his rooms on 16 May. The following January his family returned to Bury but he continued to teach on Tuesday and Thursday in Norwich but by March his rooms were up for sale. On 13 April 1728 a ‘good house’ was offered for sale ‘where Eastland, dancing master lately lived’ and on 4 April 1730 a concert was advertised in his Rooms; his name persisted in his absence.

Mr Cailliault from London advertised on 30 September 1727 that he would teach dancing and French at Chapelfield House, then the disused town house of the Hobart family let for assemblies and dancing classes. He was the son of Francis Cailliaut of Isleworth, forty years a London dancing master, which gives us a glance back to 1680. He also gave classes at Mr Hutchinson’s, music master of Lower Close and at N. Walsham by 24 January 1730 but taught two days a week throughout the year at Chapelfield House. After his advertisement of 27 February 1731 he disappears. He had failed to woo pupils – or endear himself to other masters – by undercutting standard tuition fees. He protested that if more pupils came forward he could afford better premises and keep fees low. He would make concessions to pupils who stayed in his tutelage. He failed; it pays to advertise, but not like Mr Cailliaut.

On 10 June 1738 the Yarmouth dancing master William Claggett gave notice that he would teach on Tuesday and Wednesday at Chapelfield House, but that is all we know of him.

There were several members of the Burney family active in music and dance teaching in Norwich and Norfolk. Joseph Burney from London advertised on 26 June 1736 that he would teach in Norwich on Monday and Tuesday and in Yarmouth on Thursday and Saturday. In 24 March 1744 he announced the opening of his dancing school in St Andrew’s (parish, possibly Eastland’s old premises). On 19 May 1750 the Gazette noted that ‘he formerly taught in a room in Norwich Market Place.’ This must be in what was known as ‘Justice Thacker’s House’, then as ‘Mr Burney’s’, and used by a succession of dancing masters.

Mr Welch from London advertised on 7 July 1739 that ‘he has been in Norwich for three weeks and teaches twenty pupils on Tuesday and Thursday’, and he too disappears from view. His teaching location remains a mystery; a pupil would have had to enquire through the Gazette offices.

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Labec Steps 3A