Gladys Grooms school of dancing

The History of Sydenham from Cippenham to present day. Links to photos especially welcome!

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nannyjanet
Posts: 1
Joined: 30 Aug 2008 14:25
Location: Burgess Hill, West Sussex

Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by nannyjanet » 3 Nov 2010 00:33

Can anyone help me with anything regarding Gladys Grooms dancing school. I went to the Sydenham class that was held in the church hall at All Saints, handy for the ice cream parlour!
I was there on Saturdays about 1957 to maybe about 1959, I had several certificates but they have long gone, I was part of one of the shows " Ballet and variety" which I think were at Lewisham town hall ( I was in the chorus not one of the leading girls) and remember singing and dancing to " Nellie the elephant".
I no longer live in Sydenham but I was born in Tredown Road went to South Hill college in Mayow road, St Barts (left there in 1960) then went to Sydenham County in Dartmouth road.

Wendy Ann simon
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Joined: 29 Nov 2010 14:45
Location: frinton on sea

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by Wendy Ann simon » 29 Nov 2010 15:14

I too attended the Gladys Groom School of dancing , from about 1953 till 1960 when my family moved away from Sydenham.I went to the classes in All Saints Church Hall as we lived in Trewsbury Road. We sometimes went to Miss Grooms house in Forest Hill for extra lessons, usually just before Exam times.Once a year the Miss Groomes( they were two sisters) would hold a garden party in the back garden and we would perform on a make shift stage of rolled out special wooden boards laid out on the lawn.
We also did special concerts I remember one at a hall at Norwood , near Norwood Junction.One dance I remember was a ballet dance holding a hand mirror.Another was an exam piece danced to the music of Coppalia. My father( Reg O'Neil) managed to buy a recording of the piece of music so that I could practice the dance at home. I remember playing the record over and over again much to the amusment(?) of my long suffering aunt and Uncle who lived below us.
I believe the cost of the Saturday morning lesson was two shillings and I was given a half a crown pocket money so the extra sixpence would buy a delicious ice cream sundae in the ice cream parlour on the corner opposite.
I wonder if anyone can remember the name of Miss Gladys sister? I think we all just called her Miss Groom. Miss Gladys had many photographs on the wall of the dance studio in Forest Hill, of herself when she was a Tiller Girl ,the famous dance troupe that danced at The London Palladium, she must have been one of the Tiller girls during the twenties and thirties.
Exam time was very exiting although we were all very nervous, we had to wear white tutus and pink ballet shoes, hair tied back and be on our best behaviour. We had to curtsy to the examiner who had come from the Royal Acadamy of Dance. For tap we wore black tunics and red tap shoes.Lovely memories.

regoneil
Posts: 73
Joined: 27 Nov 2007 12:35
Location: walton on the naze

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by regoneil » 30 Nov 2010 09:37

Yes. I well remember going into a newly opened record shop in Sydenham Road and asking the young assistant if she had a recording of "Copallia"! She looked troubled and after browsing through several catalogues, she turned to me and asked,"what band does she sing with"?.
I left the shop and went into "Peggy Spencers" where I was supplied with my record.
Yes. I well remember the "Elephant Dance" on a Saturday morning, each week as Wendy tried to convert a "Brownie" group into a "Tiller" team.
But that is another story.

Veejay
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 20:29
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by Veejay » 22 Sep 2011 20:37

Hello
I now live in West Sussex but I grew up in East Dulwich and attended Sydenham High School. I learned dancing with Miss Gladys Groom from 1947 to 1961, when she died. I then took over the teaching for a while to get the students ready for their dancing exams but gave it up after that to go to university. Miss Ruby Groom taught elocution and they held many garden parties at their house in Taymount Rise, where we performed. I also performed every year in their shows at the Lewisham Town Hall, where I was "discovered" by Carroll Levis and then appeared in his talent show on TV. There were two other sisters living at the house - one was blind and was called Millie. I can't remember the name of the other sister but I know there were four of them.

millersford
Posts: 1
Joined: 5 Oct 2011 09:27
Location: UK

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by millersford » 5 Oct 2011 09:42

I am currently researching the life of Sven Berlin, the artist and sculptor who was born in Lower Sydenham in 1911 and lived locally until his early 20s. I would be interested to know if anyone remembers him or his first wife Phyllis Groom who changed her name to Helga and who trained at the Zelia Raye School of Dancing (or was that Gladys Groom's school I wonder?) They toured the music halls in the early 1930s as adagio dancers "Sven and Helga", sharing the bill with Nervo and Knox among many other famous stars. They finally left in 1938 for Cornwall where Sven became a leading light in the St. Ives art colony. Any input gratefully received!

Michael Viner
Posts: 57
Joined: 2 Jul 2007 18:37
Location: Sydenham

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by Michael Viner » 18 Oct 2011 21:13

Hello there-I was interested to read your memories,and thought you might like to see a photo I have of Gladys Groom and a couple of her dancing girls at a Summer Fete on 10th July 1954 held in the garden of 'Forest Holme' in Taymount Rise,Gladys' house which she used as her dancing school.I presume Gladys is one of the ladies linking arms with the Rev.Schwabacher,vicar of St.Pauls Church opposite the school.Perhaps one of you good ladies could identify her and her sisters? Gladys had a very famous ex- pupil in Dame Beryl Grey,the famous ballerina,who I believe was a relative of Gladys Groom.Forest Holme,the dancing school&Gladys'home,was demolished in 1966.A new road, Forest Holme Close,was built on the site of the house and gardens.
Image
Gladys-Groom by Michael Viner, on Flickr

Veejay
Posts: 2
Joined: 22 Sep 2011 20:29
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by Veejay » 7 Feb 2012 20:05

That's me on the far left of your photo! I and the girl on the far right of the photo were dressed as horses. Where did you get the photo? Were you there yourself? Did you take it? I remember it well. Gladys is to the right of the Rev (as we look at the photo) and Ruby, her sister, is on the left, in the hat. The other two sisters did not get involved and stayed indoors. We used to perform at the garden parties at Gladys Groom's house every year as well as at the Lewisham Town Hall. When Gladys died in 1961, I took over the teaching for a while to prepare the students for their exams but I then went off to university and gave up the dancing, although I've been a member of various amateur dramatic and musical societies ever since.

Michael Viner
Posts: 57
Joined: 2 Jul 2007 18:37
Location: Sydenham

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by Michael Viner » 16 Feb 2012 22:04

Dear Veejay,Thank You! I'm so glad you liked the photo-it must have been wonderful to see yourself;I was hoping it might be a nice surprise for someone.That's made my day.I wasn't there,I'm afraid,I was'nt even born in 54'.I'm a little bit of an amateur local historian/writer/collector,having lived all my life in Sydenham(approaching 50 years).The photo appeared in the former local paper Lewisham Borough News in July 1954.Some years ago I was able to buy copies of photos that appeared in that great paper,thanks to the Lewisham Local Studies Centre at Lewsiham Library and the recently retired(and much missed)archivist John Coulter, who had access to many of the original glass negatives.I'm not sure if you can still buy copies.My friend can do a great copy for you from my photo,if you let me have your address.Or you could copy this one- if you click on the name 'Gladys Groom' beneath the photo you'll get a bigger and even clearer image.It' s a sweet and evocative photo that captures the era as well as part of Forest Hill's history.
Thanks for identifying Gladys Groom,and thanks for a lovely post,kind regards,Michael

joanl
Posts: 1
Joined: 27 Aug 2019 09:43

Re: Gladys Grooms school of dancing

Post by joanl » 29 Aug 2019 13:37

Hi

I've only just come across this forum - I hope it's still active! I attended Gladys Groom's dance school throughout the 1950s until the deaths of Miss Groom and Miss Ruby. I have very happy memories of classes and shows. I kept most of the programmes. Sad that such a lovely house and garden were demolished. The fourth sister was Miss Frances, who kept house. Great to see a photo of you, Valerie Braybrooke. I was much in awe of you, the TV star!

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