Updated 23 days ago
Market Place, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 1TL
My first experience of rapper was in 1949 when my father took me to see the students' rag in Newcastle. All I remember about it was the rhythm they beat out with their feet - same as the steam engine that pulled the trains from Durham, where we lived, to Newcastle. I vaguely remember seeing rapper teams at a distance while being tugged along at many Durham Miners' Gala days, an annual ritual for us, but didn't get a chance to absorb what was happening until 8 years later. By then a 12 year-old, we had moved to Monkseaton; I was aimlessly following my nose on my bike and came across a group of men running through a dance outside The Cannon at Earsdon. They weren't in kit, but it's very likely they were the Royal Earsdon Sword Dancers. Whoever they were, they were impressive enough that from then on I was determined to get involved somehow or other. My father explained they'd be from the pit at nearby Backworth, and he'd seen these rapper dancers before when he'd lived at Hetton-le-Hole..
Also known as: Frank Lee