Clog dancer from Shiremoor, Northumberland.

Elsie Willis 1986

Daughter of  Jack Harrison, who although originally from Flimby, Cumberland had left the area to live at Shiremoor near Newcastle.  Her father taught her to dance and also taught her cousin Robbie who came to stay with them when aged 9 in about 1928.

She performed with her cousin as a duet and also with her father. She recalled wearing a blue velvet waistcoat and trousers.

When interviewed by the IRT over a period of about a year she was able to remember a number of routines taught to he by her father, who additionally taught some waltz steps.  These have subsequently been published as:

C. Metherell and A. Crane, Mrs Willis. The First Hornpipe, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, [1986].

C. Metherell, A. Crane and I. Craigs, Mrs Willis. The Double Hornpipe, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (1987).

C. Metherell, A. Crane and I. Craigs, Mrs Willis. The Rag Routine, Newcastle: Newcastle Series, (1989).

Information derived from interviews with Robbie Harrison on 5/2/1983 and with Elsie Willis on 8/10/1986, 10/11/1986 and 1/12/1986.

Films of the process of collecting material from Elsie are available as follows:

  1. Single and Double Hornpipe steps filmed  22/10/1986
  2. Double Hornpipe steps filmed 1/12/1986
  3. Double Hornpipe and Ragtime steps filmed 5/10/1987