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Days Gone By- When Olga was town’s dancing queen

PUBLISHED: 16:30 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:02 21 November 2018

Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL

Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL

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

Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL
Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL

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

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

The school held competitions locally and won many prizes nationally under the watchful eye of Olga Wilmot.

Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL
Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL

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

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

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

Dancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELLDancers provided a colourful “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989, when their school was threatened with closure. Did you take part? Picture: RICHARD SNASDELL

Young dancers from the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, held a “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989.Young dancers from the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, held a “Save Our School” demonstration on the Cornhill, Ipswich, in January 1989.

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

Do you know anybody in the photograph taken at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in November 1971? Olga Wilmot is in the centre of the front row. Picture: DAVID KINDREDDo you know anybody in the photograph taken at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in November 1971? Olga Wilmot is in the centre of the front row. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

Seventies styles at the Arlington Ballroom in July 1972. Olga Wilmot is in the centre of the front row. Picture: DAVID KINDREDSeventies styles at the Arlington Ballroom in July 1972. Olga Wilmot is in the centre of the front row. Picture: DAVID KINDRED

A prize presentation at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Picture: IAN MCGRATHA prize presentation at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in January 1968. Picture: IAN MCGRATH

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

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

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

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

Olga Wilmot (centre) with members of the dance school at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1972. Picture: IVAN SMITH
Olga Wilmot (centre) with members of the dance school at the Arlington Ballroom, Ipswich, in May 1972. Picture: IVAN SMITH

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