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 Shetland material will be added in sections, beginning with access to the full volumes of the Shetland visits and further notes on the tradition. The PDFs are large, ranging from 8 MB to 52 MB.
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.
Shetland Volume 1 (40MB) 1954, 1959 (plus letter 1996).
Shetland Volume 2 (32MB) 1959
Shetland Volume 3 (52MB) 1959, 1960, 1962
Shetland Volume 3.1 (8MB) Programme of Shetland Folk Music & Dances, Lerwick, 1944.
Shetland Volume 3.2 (11 MB) The Sword Dance of Papa Stour
Shetland Volume 4 (30MB) with Frank Rhodes 1961, notes from 1962, 1963