If we side-step sentiment, what was the aftermath of the closure? As a physical presence it was soon forgotten; there were fewer places available for students to access a full-time course of study in dance and related theatre arts; LEAs tightened their financial belts; criteria for public support were more demanding, and the fewer places were more prized and 'outstanding talent' properly assessed.
Both Noreen and Marjorie had died during the 'dance boom' in the '60s and '70s, a period that had been sustained by an extraordinary level of public support and which continued well into the '80s. All this had derived largely from their long-term vision, and, with Victor, their energy and hard work for over five decades. The whole concept of publicly funded special schools was teetering and needed reform. The days of indulging fantasies were over. The school had become a behemoth. In her typically pragmatic way, Noreen would have been likely to respond, "Vic, I think we should get out, don't you? "
On a practical level it was a serious blow to some 120 members of staff:
they accounted for almost 80% of the school's annual turnover. Some of the most respected vocational teachers in the country had to find new positions: many, of course, were peripatetic or part-time but, the core body suffered unwelcome disruption in their lives. However, most were successful in repositioning themselves and continued to enhance the lives of their students wherever they went. Thousands of hopeful and ambitious young people passed through the school's portals. Most, including those who suffered disappointment, were forever touched and motivated, their lives enriched by the experience. Whatever they may have done, an ingredient from their Bush Davies encounter will always remain. We feel proud to have been part of it.
We hope you have found this historical journey interesting, even enlightening and amusing. We have tried to be open and show the human side to the story; other tales may be added as time goes by. Heaven knows what Arthur Bush thought, almost one-hundred years ago, when his wife decided to open a dance school in Nottingham. It may seem slightly surreal, but all Bush-Davians should feel indebted to the utilitarian card-board box!**
** See Chapter: Mr & Mrs HVL Kimm
Happy Days! Noreen and Victor: their
final holiday, 1976. 'Cheers to all'.
Written by John Harrison.
I intend to complete the history section by the end of the year.
Please come back.