Vol 2 Issue
1 March 2005 Online
The Tea Dance
- A potted history
Tea has been at the very heart of people's lives ever since it first became
affordable to the masses, whether for comfort during wartime, or as a
simple sign of hospitality offered in homes throughout the country to
signify a warm welcome.
Between the two World Wars, tea could be enjoyed in your seat during the
interval at the afternoon picture show. As part of the afternoon thé
dansant, tea was a popular ice-breaker in hotels (and Lyons Corner Houses)
up and down the country, where it was an unmissable fixture for singles
or groups looking for a pleasantly innocuous way to engage the attention
of the opposite sex.
Although these tea dances owe their initial popularity to the 'scandalous'
Argentine tango, their wider promotion in exclusive venues like Bond Street's
Four Hundred Club paved the way for acceptance by a broader section of
'Society'. It wasn't long before people flocked to The Savoy hotel in
search of the ultimate in good taste, style and sophistication. Participants
dined at tables beautifully set with the hotel's hallmark pink tablecloths
and le thé Russe was elegantly presented by a Russian expert -
with menus printed in French to ensure that the appropriate tone was maintained.
As a nation, we began to see the consumption of tea decline in the 70s
when novelty and aggressive marketing saw coffee staking a claim to become
Britain's most popular hot beverage. So, who would have thought that tea-dancing
could still draw the crowds in such a `sophisticated' era? Yet nostalgia
- combined with a yearning for a more leisurely past - is beginning to
see a revival of the pastime. Today, its renaissance can be enjoyed from
the grandest of London hotels to a humble community centre in South Wales,
where the dance music is lovingly recreated on a magnificent 'Christie'
Wurlitzer organ rescued from a 1930s cinema and tea is made by local ladies.
One lump or two?
Get on those
We all know that we don't do enough exercise. We always find an excuse
to avoid that breath of fresh air, because its too cold or it might rain
or Emmerdale is coming on the box. This becomes an increasing problem
as we reach our middle or later years when sadly the sedentary lifestyle
sets in big time! Indeed it may happen a lot sooner - there are wives
in Drumbeg who insist it happened to their husbands shortly after they
were wed! Well salvation is at hand. The community association cannot
sit idly by and watch its citizens turn into couch potatoes. Instead we
have come up with a grand plan. Community dances and Tea dances were once
a centerpiece of community life and unmissable events in the social calendar.
So we are giving you all the chance to strut your stuff and rediscover
those toes you haven't seen for a year or three.
The Tea Dance will take place this Saturday (2nd April) starting at 2.00pm.
It is being held in the Parochial Hall. We have been fortunate indeed
to have Elsie Vance to compere the event and music will be provided by
In tandem with the dancing the event is intended to promote healthy eating
and steps to a better quality of life for everyone. We hope to have a
few experts on hand to advise anyone interested on everything from nutrition
and exercise, through safety in the home, home security, to stress relief.
The event is free to all and refreshments, including of course a nice
wee cup of tea, will be provided. Everyone is welcome but we would like
to particularly encourage those in the community who are less able to
get out as much as they would like. It is an opportunity for everyone
to meet old friends and have a chat - even if they are not Fred Astaire
or Ginger Rogers. The Association can provide transport for anyone who
may have difficulty getting to and from the event. Come and join us for
dancing, renewal of old friendships and a lot of fun. Don't miss this
social occasion and a chance to keep fit to enjoyable music. All Welcome.
It now looks unlikely that the Fast Food outlet that threatened
the peace and quiet of Drum Bridge will get planning permission. However
there is a salutary warning in this affair. Despite all the vocal complaints
to the Association the Planning Service actually only received about thirty
letters of opposition. Can we remind everyone that we remain a watchdog
and facilitator for local concerns about planning but at the end of the
day it is stiII those individual representations which are the main weapon
in staving off such ill considered or opportunist threats to the identity
of the area.
I think everyone recognizes the wonderful job the Rivers Authority have
done in the remodeling of the Car Park. It would have shameful to see
it covered in chip papers!
Buried? Dead Wrong! by
Following the publication of the Draft BMAP proposals in November 2004
this community showed its opposition to the planned siting of a cemetery/crematorium
at Drumbeg. Nearly one thousand letters of objection were lodged.
The action group set up to fight this proposal have intensively lobbied
Lisburn City Council who have since withdrawn from a proposed joint venture
with Belfast City Council for cemetery provision and have lodged an official
objection to the planned Drumbeg cemetery site.
A response from the BMAP team, in relation to this matter is not expected
until the end of April as it is but one of a myriad of objections returned
to BMAP after the publication of the draft proposals. Regarding the cemetery
proposal itself BMAP will contact Belfast City Council and ask them for
their comments following the overwhelming level of local objection to
the proposal. There could then be a further period of eight weeks before
any decision will be taken whether the matter should be progressed to
a Public Enquiry. However it is ominous that Belfast City Council show
no signs of voluntarily withdrawing the proposal of Drumbeg as the cemetery
site at this stage. The community association is currently working on
the scenario that we will fight the issue through a Public Enquiry.
Since late January we have been engaged in gathering details of Council
Meetings and other information in preparation for developing a case for
submission to an Enquiry should it take place. We have also sought some
preliminary professional advice.
All the members of Lisburn Council have been contacted and requested to
sign an unequivocal letter of support of our objection to the cemetery
proposal. Mr. Jeffrey Donaldson and his potential challenger in the next
General Election Basil McCrea have also been approached. The letter reads:
"I confirm that, should I be elected on 5th May 2005, I will give
unambiguous, sustained and timely support to the Drumbeg/Lagan Valley
Campaign against the Draft Belfast Metropolitan Area Plan proposal to
zone land for Belfast City Council Cemetery/Crematorium at the designated
site at Drumbeg."
As soon as we have more information about the progress of the BMAP deliberations
this will be communicated to the community. We also intend to elaborate
in some detail a number of important issues including possible costs and
funding options if we must fight a Public Enquiry. An information night
is planned to gather local opinion and views and chart a way forward.
Make no mistake we may have gained the upper hand in the first battle
to protect our community from what can only be described as a violation.
But the war is far from won. This is a community fight and it is only
with the wholehearted support and commitment of the community we have
any hope of succeeding.
The Association wishes to record its appreciation for all those unsung
heroes who have committed so much time and effort on all our behalves
to moving this objection forward.
Renowned Local Architect Adds Voice To Drumbeg Protest
Everest conqueror and conservationist Dawson Stelfox has added his voice
to the overwhelming opposition to the "supercemetery" proposed
for the village of Drumbeg. In an interview with Andrea Clements of the
Belfast Telegraph on Friday the award-winning architect said, "The
site, which has been proposed for inclusion in the Lagan Valley Regional
Park, should be preserved for the recreational use of local people. It
would be a change of use from agricultural land to built form and a move
away from recreational use. Also, with the volume of traffic it will generate,
the roads will change from rural to urban."
He added that the Lagan Valley Regional Park, part of the green belt,
has been very well preserved since it was set up in 1967. He feels it
should continue to be used for quiet country activities, including walking,
cycling, canoeing and fishing. "It will do irreversible damage to
the character of the landscape. We very rarely see areas like this. It's
one of the best protected and controlled landscapes in Northern Ireland
and should remain that way. It's the tightest area in which to get planning
permission, which is good, in order to protect the Lagan corridor for
Group by Alison Keith
Spring is now upon us and it is nice to see the fruits of our Autumn labours
poking their heads above the soil and giving a lovely show of yellow and
purple, brightening up the grassy areas around the village. Most of the
daffodils and crocuses that we planted are now coming into bloom and hopefully
these will greet us each spring for many years to come.
Sadly our bluebell planting along the bank at St. Patrick's Church met
an untimely end having been strimmed down too early last year. We can
but try again! And we are doing our best to keep the relevant agencies
involved in maintaining our green spaces informed about planting that
has been undertaken. Because a lot of this work is contracted out it is
not always easy to get the message through! If anyone has any thoughts
about areas around Drumbeg that would benefit from bulb or tree planting
or would simply like to join in please let me know.
Waste disposal costs hundreds of thousands of pounds each year and uses
up acres of space in landfill sites, and it is the duty of each and everyone
of us to try and reduce the waste that we produce, to help keep our environment
clean and safe for future generations.
Each household disposes and average of 122 kg. of paper every year, and
Lisburn City Council aim to recycle as much of this as possible, and have
taken an important step by providing all households in the village with
green recycling bins as they try to improve their recycling rate and reduce
costs. We encourage all members of the community to make the effort to
recycle all they can.
Items that can be recycled in these bins include newspapers, magazines,
paper, junk mail and computer paper. It is envisaged that further recycling
bins will soon be available for other waste, such as glass, plastics and
aluminium cans. Until then please do your best to recycle these yourself.
This only takes an extra few minutes when doing the shopping, or when
out and about, as the recycling centre at The Cutts in Dunmurry is very
For more information on recycling telephone the Lisburn Recycling Hotline
0800 092 0246 or visit the Council's website at www.lisburncity.gov.uk
Whilst on the subject of waste disposal a Litter Bust is planned for Saturday
9th of April to give the village a Spring Clean and remove all the rubbish
that has accumulated over the winter months. All those interested please
meet at the Drum Bridge Car Park at 10.00 am, pickers, gloves and collection
bags will be provided. A warming cup of tea and scones will be provided
in Bob Stewarts afterwards for all those who come along,
We’re keen to hear your views and suggestions about improving Drumbeg.
Please feel free to contact us.
Lest We Forget - a Drumbeg Story by
As the 60th anniversary of the ending of World War 2 approaches with VE
celebrations all set for the 8th May, what of the men and women who were
there in the thick of it? Drumbeg may be a small townland but just wander
around its historic graveyard and see how many have served in wars over
the centuries. For example, the Montgomery family was represented at the
famous Battle of Balaclava.
However, it's the story of one unsung hero that follows. William joined
the Merchant Navy in 1937 aged l6. He could hardly wait to "see the
world" as he had hardly been outside Drumbeg at all.
But, like many, he hadn't anticipated the war and when it came he never
dreamed that the contribution of the Merchant Navy would be so enormous
and vital. But the MN was pivotal to the success of the Battle of the
Atlantic. It carried supplies in convoy and tragically, the Merchant Navy
lost more men per capita than any other of the services.
William's ship was torpedoed and in the dark of night he found himself
in a small raft with a few survivors. They floated for four days and were
eventually picked up by the Royal Navy. It's odd but the feeling which
haunts him most is the silence after the explosion, followed by the screams
of the men and the tiny tinny whistles they carried on their life jackets.
That and the cold ... that all-encompassing feeling of being freezing
from the inside out and never dry. He felt no fear where death was concerned
because he concentrated so hard on keeping warm and coping with hunger
he was discharged from hospital - he suffered hypothermia - he was recuperating
on the North coast. You must remember that the Merchant Navy had no uniform,
merely a small lapel button with the letters MN on it. Barely visible.
So when he was out walking along the beach, a woman came up, spat in his
face, called him a coward and handed him a white feather. She thought
he was making no contribution to the war at all. He didn't even bother
to enlighten her. He was 20 years old.
William remained with the Merchant Navy until retirement. He was torpedoed
a further three times, lost many of his friends and had nightmares for
many many years. But he has never thought of himself as a hero, "I
was just doing my job, the best way I knew how." One of the most
poignant things he said was that he was glad he was rescued pretty quickly
because "once you are off the ship, your pay stops, yes, even when
you are literally blown or bombed off it."
So on VE day, raise a glass to William and those of his friends who never
made it home.
More stories are available at www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ww2
LCC Belligerence Impedes New School Provision
Recently it became clear that the blame for lack of movement with regard
to the replacement of several rural schools including Charley Memorial
with a new 'state of the art' facility can be laid firmly at the feet
of the SEELB and LCC. Despite the original commitment to build the school
on Drumbeg Road, both parties are now determined that it should be sited
on HiIlhall Road. SEELB say this is because it 'satisfies the wishes of
the greater number of local people'. In fact there seems very little democratic
process about this decision. Quite rightly the Planning Service are very
concerned about road safety because of high traffic volume and high accident
rates on Hillhall Road and have so far failed to give into pressure to
grant planning permission. Despite the overwhelming logic of the Drumbeg
alternative SEELB and LCC appear to be trying to batter the Planning Service
into submission. The Association remains committed to argue the case for
Drumbeg Road and all may not yet be lost.
Last years senior citizens' outing in early June was to the Palace Stables
Heritage Centre. These are a restored 1770 Georgian stables block set
in the Palace Demesne. The weather was lovely and everyone lucky enough
to get along on this trip had a wonderful time.
This year the outing's destination is the Folk Park at Cultra.
The trip will take place on Monday the 13th of June. The busses will leave
Drumbeg at around 10.00 am and the morning will be spent doing as you
will in the Park. Lunch will be taken in the Stables Restaurant in Groomsport.
In the afternoon the trip will take in the Garden Centre at Donaghadee.
No doubt for those that like to get the sand between their toes there
will be an opportunity for a walk on a beach and of course an ice cream!
Everyone will be home for teatime. As places are likely to be limited
to around thirty; anyone wishing to go should contact a Committee member
as soon as possible.
The annual community service at St. Patrick's Church, has become an annual
and much loved event over recent years. This years service is planned
for Sunday 12th June. So why not come along and join us.
The centrepiece of the community calendar may seem a long way away but
if you're a gardener then its time you started thinking about potential
exhibits. Please remember this is not Chelsea! But a good excuse for the
community to share a social occasion and maybe the odd gardening tip.
The event is planned for Saturday 3rd September. Look out for details.
Drumbeg News Volume
2 Issue 1 March 2005