Ipswich dance class at the Arlington Ballroom and Gaumont Theater

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Strictly Come Dancing draws millions of viewers every Saturday night to the BBC and the show has breathed new life into what has been a popular pastime in Ipswich for decades.


The dancers staged a colorful demonstration of Save Our School in Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989 when their school was threatened with closure. Did you participate? Photo: RICHARD SNASDELL

– Credit: RICHARD SNASDELL

Until the mid-1960s, most young people attended classes at local ballrooms, as it was a way for couples to meet.

One of the largest schools in Ipswich was held at the Arlington Ballroom on Museum Street.

The school has held competitions locally and won numerous nationwide awards under the watchful eye of Olga Wilmot.


The dancers provided a colorful ?? Save Our School ??  demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, January 19

The dancers staged a colorful demonstration of Save Our School in Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989 when their school was threatened with closure. Did you participate? Photo: RICHARD SNASDELL

– Credit: RICHARD SNASDELL

The Arlington Ballroom was taken over by Olga around 1948 and it operated from there until the company moved to Bond Street in 1991 and became the Ipswich School of Dancing.


You can also watch:


Here we feature photographs from this newspaper’s archive of events at the Arlington Ballroom and a protest on Cornhill when the school was threatened with closure.

Did you learn to dance at the Arlington or at the Victor Silvester Ballroom of the Gaumont Theater, now Regent? We want to hear your memories, send an email here.


The dancers provided a colorful ?? Save Our School ??  demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, January 19

The dancers staged a colorful demonstration of Save Our School in Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989 when their school was threatened with closure. Did you participate? Photo: RICHARD SNASDELL
– Credit: RICHARD SNASDELL


Young dancers from the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, organized a Save Our School.  demonstration on the Co

Young dancers from the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, held a Save Our School demonstration on Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989.
– Credit: Archant


A competition at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Photo: IAN MCGRATH

A competition at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Photo: IAN MCGRATH
– Credit: IAN MCGRATH


Do you know anyone in the photo taken at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in November 1971?  old

Do you know anyone in the photo taken at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in November 1971? Olga Wilmot is in the center of the first row. Photo: DAVID KINDRED
– Credit: DAVID KINDRED


Seventies Styles at the Arlington Ballroom in July 1972. Olga Wilmot is front center r

1970s styles at the Arlington Ballroom in July 1972. Olga Wilmot is in the center of the front row. Photo: DAVID KINDRED
– Credit: DAVID KINDRED


An awards ceremony at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Photo: IAN MCGRATH

An awards ceremony at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Photo: IAN MCGRATH
– Credit: IAN MCGRATH


Olga Wilmot (front third row left) with the award-winning Latin American team at the Arlington Ballr

Olga Wilmot (third row front left) with the award-winning Latin American team at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1967. Photo: IAN MCGRATH
– Credit: IAN MCGRATH


Winners of the Open Fours competition at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1968. Photo: IAN

Winners of the Open Fours competition at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1968. Photo: IAN MCGRATH
– Credit: IAN MCGRATH


Winners of the Open Fours competition at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1968. Photo: IAN

Winners of the Open Fours competition at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1968. Photo: IAN MCGRATH
– Credit: IAN MCGRATH


Dancers at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Photo: IVAN SMITH

Dancers at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Photo: IVAN SMITH

– Credit: IVAN SMITH


Olga Wilmot (center) with members of the School of Dance at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 197

Olga Wilmot (center) with members of the School of Dance at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1972. Photo: IVAN SMITH

– Credit: IVAN SMITH


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