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Rushen Abbey Strawberries and Cream Tea Dance Photograph Appeal 10 July 2006

Do you remember tea dancing at Rushen Abbey? On Sunday 6th August 2006, a revival of this once popular activity will take place in the grounds of Rushen Abbey, when the Friends of Manx National Heritage invite you to join them for a Strawberries and Cream Tea Dance.

In preparation for the event, Manx National Heritage is appealing for the public to come forward with photographs of the former Rushen Abbey strawberry and cream tea dances. Photographs will be copied and used on the event day to help bring back memories to those who remember the original tea dances at Rushen Abbey.

The gardens at Rushen Abbey had been used to grow fruit since the 1870s, with strawberries being a speciality. The fruit was either bottled or turned into jam, which was distributed around the Island in large stoneware jars. The jam factory and fruit gardens were major employers in Ballasalla.

Visitors to Rushen Abbey could indulge in a legendary strawberry and cream tea served in the tea garden, which was run by Mrs Mizen of Ballsalla throughout the 1950s.

Rushen Abbey’s wooden dance floor was an additional attraction for tourists and locals alike. Many young men and women learned to dance at Rushen Abbey, with a number of them meeting their future husband or wife whilst dancing the night away.

Nicola Pemberton, Admin & Development Officer for the Friends of Manx National Heritage, said:

“We are hugely indebted to those wonderful Life Members of the Friends of Manx National Heritage who have been so generous in backing this event, and also for some of the lovely letters they have sent. We hope to be able to do their happy memories justice and that lots of people come along and join in the fun”.

A marquee will be erected within the grounds of Rushen Abbey with a dance floor on which the dancing will take place. Tuition will be available and strawberries, cakes and tea will be served throughout the afternoon.

The Strawberries and Cream Tea Dance will begin at 12 noon and finish at 4:30pm. Rushen Abbey is part of the award-winning Story of Mann, and is open from 10am to 5pm daily, until 31st October 2006.

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