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Alex Woodcock

Alex Woodcock was born in 1922 in Alnwick, Northumberland. His father worked in a nearby pit at Shilbottle, where, at that time, Cuthbert May also worked. Cuthbert was the son of Eddie May, a clog dancer from Ashington who had established quite a reputation as a performer and had 'travelled the halls'. Eddie was partly responsible for teaching another dancer, Sam Bell, from whom a number of steps, including several in waltz tempo, have also been collected. Although Cuthbert was really more interested in music, being a piano accordion player, Alex's father arranged for him to give Alex lessons in clog dancing.

Alex would go every week to Cuthbert's house at the top of Pottergate in Alnwick for a lesson. The repertoire which he acquired included clog routines in waltz, hornpipe and schottische tempi, as well as tap routines. In fact he was encouraged to purchase shoes with ebonite soles rather than clogs, although other pupils apparently wore more normal clogs.

After several years tuition and many performances at his tutor's behest, Alex eventually began to teach his own account and ran classes in Alnwick for several years. Indeed some of his pupils entered for one of Johnson Ellwood's clog dance competitions in November 1959.

In the mid-1970s, after living for many years in South Shields, Alex moved to Petworth, Sussex where he ran regular classes in clog and tap.

On this film we see Alex dancing for Chris Metherell, who filmed him at Midhurst in 1997.

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Text reproduced by kind permission of Chris Metherell.



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