Dancing master and clog dancer. Active c. 1900-1930.  Known as Alf, born 1882. Sometimes known by a “stage name” of “Cock of the North” when performing as a clog dancer.

He lived variously at Windermere (where he was at one time licensee of the Lakeland Hotel), Ambleside (from c. 1902), Bowness, Millom, Lancaster (in c.1914)  and Morecambe from 1919 when he earned most of his living by driving a landau along the promenade in the summer months.

Alf was the brother of Joseph Robinson (Young Jos) and Stainton Robinson and thus the son of Joseph William Robinson (Old Jos).  He taught dancing until 1930 in places such as Dolphinholme, Hutton Roof, Carnforth, Ingleton, Beetham, Clapham, Settle, Giggleswick and Milnthorpe.  Always taught in a checked suit. Travelled with his fiddle to classes by bike. Taught children followed by adults.

He ran weekly classes costing 6d. through the winter concluding with a Gala night. However he seems to have had several other occupations – licensee, boarding-house owner (at Morecambe) and landau driver.  He stopped teaching in about 1928-9 as the classes were so poorly attended.

His pupils included:

Theodore Cannon
Fred Clifton (Jnr)

Alf taught the following dances:

Barn Dance
Garland Dance
Heel and Toe polka,
Hoop Dance
Horse to Newmarket
Maypole Dance
Nigger Dance
Plaidie Dance
Sailor’s Hornpipe
Scottish Reels
Skipping Rope Dance
Skirt Dance
Sword Dance
Tambourine Dance

He also taught clog and step dancing and his daughter, Mrs. C. Riley remembered the following steps: shuffle of, treble shuffle, rolling step, knock toe and heel, crunch and was also able to provide a partial notation for the Sword Dance

Information derived from interviews by Tom Flett with Mrs C. Riley (undated), Joseph Robinson (undated) and Mrs F. Clark on the  25 August 1962 (plus original notes of the same date).

See also:

Leak, Mr Anthony, Haverthwaite, North Lancashire, 29 August 1962, interview.


Clark, Mrs F., Haverthwaite, North Lancashire, 25 August 1962 correspondence and interview.