Madame Selwood’s finest, dancing down a Portsmouth street

Kay Britnor, left, and friend, celebrating the Festival of Britain on the streets of Buckland
Kay Britnor, left, and friend, celebrating the Festival of Britain on the streets of Buckland

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Ballet shoes put on show in museum

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Kay Ainsworth transports us back 64 years with the picture on the right. That’s her, on the left dancing in the street with an unnamed friend.

They were outside her grandparents’ house at 14 Moorland Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, entertaining the neighbours.

Harry and Dolly Payne with their Messerschmitt bubble car on the slopes of Portsdown Hill about 1957

Harry and Dolly Payne with their Messerschmitt bubble car on the slopes of Portsdown Hill about 1957

And the reason?

Look carefully on the window and among the Union Flags is the emblem of the Festival of Britain.

Kay (née Britnor), now of Funtley, north Fareham, says: ‘This picture must have been taken at a street tea party organised to celebrate the event.’

Kay’s grandparents Harry and Dolly Payne lived for many years at 14, Moorland Road.

Dolly always helped organise street celebrations, but unfortunately Kay has no pictures of any of these events and wonders if anyone might still have some photographic evidence.

She adds: ‘Any little girl at this time aspired to be another Shirley Temple and Dolly made sure I was not going to miss my chance of ‘‘stardom’’ and enrolled me in a dance class at the age of three.’

Later Kay joined the Madame Selwood Dance Troop that rehearsed in the Penhale Road School hall at Fratton.

‘Memories of dance routines such as Flash Bam Alakazan, Winter Wonderland and the ballet Coppelia with the whole troop dressed in daffodil yellow tutus are as clear today as they were 60 years ago,’ says Kay.

The outfits worn in the picture are from a Madame Selwood routine.

Are there any pictures of the Madame Selwood dance troop still surviving? If so I’d love to hear from you and will pass all material on to Kay.

Meanwhile, on the facing page we see Dolly and Harry with their Messerschmitt bubble car on the slopes of Portsdown Hill.

Kay says: ‘In the wet it was like being in a submarine, but it kept them dry in inclement weather.’

The Bavarian company, more famous for its Second World War fighter aircraft, built them post-1945 when it was banned from aircraft production.