Taking dance lessons at Miss Hardy's

Readers took a quick step back to the past when we featured a photo of young dancers 'strutting their stuff' on the Gazette's Facebook page.
Isabelle Lathan, Debbie Ridley and Denise Davies, tap dancers from Miss Hardys School of Dancing, pictured 1971.Isabelle Lathan, Debbie Ridley and Denise Davies, tap dancers from Miss Hardys School of Dancing, pictured 1971.
Isabelle Lathan, Debbie Ridley and Denise Davies, tap dancers from Miss Hardys School of Dancing, pictured 1971.

The picture, taken in May 1971, showed three members of Miss Hardy’s School of Dancing, Isabelle Lathan, Debbie Ridley and Denise Davies, who tied for first place at the annual North-East Dance Festival in Bolingbroke Hall.

And it prompted many of Miss Hardy’s former pupils to get in touch with their memories.

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Wendy Hogan posted: “I went there too from the age of three in 1961 until I was 16. I did ballet, tap and modern, and danced with the girls in the photo,” while Wendy Nicholson told how “I went there from the age of two. Adrienne was our teacher”.

Gillian Kelly got in touch to say: “I went to Ethel Hardy’s from the age of three to 16. Adrienne was my teacher too, and I danced with these girls. I still go to her tap class now in South Shields, over 40 years later. Fab memories.”

Tracy Tooley also took to Facebook to tell us: “I went to Ethel Hardy’s School of Dance. I did ballet, can remember the bottles of pop she sold and also my dance to the tune of the Wombles.”

Heather Brown said: “I went to Miss Hardy, from the age four to 1958, then sadly mum died, and I grew up very quickly. My sister Wendy went there after me.”

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Denise Rawle was another former student who wrote: “I have great memories of Miss Hardy’s and all the girls I danced with. I had a duet with Debbie (centre of picture).”

Meanwhile Nadine Foster reminded Maureen Tiffin how they “were just chatting about Miss Hardy’s dance school”.

Karen Ratcliffe revealed how she “danced there – lots of happy memories and great friends made!” And Sharon Ford commented: “Ah happy memories, I went to Miss Hardy’s from the age of four, made some great friends.”

Tracey Peters said: “I recognise Denise Gikas, that’s all though! I went to Hardy’s from two to 15! Loved every minute of it, fantastic memories with gorgeous fab talented people! Got some brilliant memories,” while Andrea Mullen told how she went there “from the age of three, loved every minute”.

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A great many other people also took to social media to say how they went to Ethel Hardy’s. They included Glenda Severs who “danced here from around 1976, loved every lesson”; Lisa Rutherford; Deborah Challis (who did ballet and tap there); Gill Eagle (who went with my two sisters); Susan Davison; Valerie Halliday; Helen Embleton McKerill, Lyn Dodd and Amanda Louise Jones-Morgan.

Finally Tracey Bond contacted the Gazette to say: “I went to Stella Sheriffs in Ocean Road and used to perform in the flower show. I don’t really remember too much but my mam has tons of photo evidence. I then went to Ethel Hardy’s and then Daniels. Gave up when my son was a year old, he’s now 32. Have always missed it.”

Meanwhile another reader, Sheila Mack, got in touch following the recent articles and photographs showing Stanhope Road schools.

She wrote: “In August 1937 I started school at Stanhope Road Infants, following in the footsteps of my father George Mack who would have started circa 1910 and my sister Maureen in 1935.

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“I was in Miss Brown’s class, a wonderful teacher. We were supposed to transfer to the Junior Girls in September 1939 but the school was closed as soldiers were billeted there.

“We then had home tuition for a year, small groups in someone’s spare room. Many friends were evacuated.

“Back to school with air raid shelters in the yard and blast walls inside the school.

“On the way to school in the morning we had a competition to see who could find the most shrapnel from the air raid the night before. If the all-clear went after 10pm we didn’t have to go to school till 10am the next day.

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“In Standard Four we sat the 11-plus and 15 of us went to the Girls’ High School.

“I think we were very lucky to go to such a happy school with such a dedicated and caring staff, and Miss Bullock, the headmistress, who was an inspiration to staff and pupils.

“I would love to see any photos or hear of anyone’s memories from Stanhope Infants and Junior Girls from that era.”

If anyone can oblige, then please get in touch.