Thomas Muirhead Flett and his wife Joan were prolific collectors of traditional dance, beginning in the Western Isles in 1953, they systematically covered large parts of Scotland and subsequently also worked in the north of England. Tom’s habit was to make notes immediately following a visit to an informant, although on occasion he must have jotted down notes in their presence. These are listed as original notes below.  He followed this by writing expanded fair copy note a short time later. The following represents a straightforward listing of his collection. These are listed as written up notes below. We follow, where possible, the groupings of notes which Tom himself used.

Occasionally, for whatever reason, he never wrote up visits to some dancers, or if he did these notes do not survive.

The accession of the Flett MSS onto the website is a major project.  The Orkney material will be added in sections, beginning with access to the full volumes of the Orkney visit and further notes on the tradition. In order to facilitate research in the meantime, we have uploaded a handlist of the written up versions of the Scottish material. PDFs of the notes are available via the same page.

If you use this material for your research please use the citation specifics for the citation style you are using. Please cite both the webpage/s and the pdf volume/s you are using. Please recognise the work by Tom and Joan Flett and Frank Rhodes as appropriate.

Orkney dance information from JTF_Trad6.

Original field notes from 1955 and 1959:

Flett 1955 Sept Orkney-Burray South Ronaldsay Rousay (1.7MB)

Flett 1955 Sept Orkney-Flotta (4.1MB)

Flett 1955 Sept Orkney-North Ronaldsay South Ronaldsay etc (2.6MB)

Flett 1955 Dounby and Mainland Orkney (12MB)