It is uncertain when clog competitions for the Northumberland and Durham Championship began, however the competition itself has undergone several interegnums and revivals as set pout below.
Prior to 1949 the format seems always to have been more or less the same. The competition was held over a number of days, performances being programmed in as part of a larger music hall show. Two or three dancers would compete at each performance with a winner going through either to semi finals of finals, depending upon the number of entrants, usually on the friday or saturday evening of the week.
Music was generally provided by the pit orchestra, but perhaps later by piano. It is uncertain exactly how this worked, however we know that some dancers carries band parts for their music with them and these may have been used for at least some competitors. However pit orchestras were flexible, and would have been expected to play whatever was required without rehearsal!
Music appears always to have been 4/4 triple time hornpipes, and dancers were expected to perform 10 steps off both feet and a double shuffle.
Judging was either one judge each for time, beats, execution, originality and carriage, or, where there were fewer judges a subset of these. Stories abound of judges sitting underneath the stage listening to the beats but we have failed to find any firm evidence of this.
The earliest championships for which we have records were:
The competition for the Northumberland and Durham Championship was revived in 1935 and competitions were held annually until the outbreak of WW2 in 1939.
Details are available in respect of the following years:
During WW2 the contests were sporadic, and only one is known for certain, although the date is unclear, being held in Stanley, Co. Durham.
After WW2 the championship was revived by the English Folk Dance and Song Society at Hexham commencing in 1949.