Dance halls: towards an architectural and spatial history, c.1918-65

James Nott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The dance hall was a symbol of social, cultural and political change. From the mid-1920s until the mid-1960s, the dance hall occupied a pivotal place in the culture of working- and lower-middle-class communities in Britain. Its emergence and popularity following the First World War reflected improvements in the social and economic well-being of the working and lower middle classes. The architecture of dance halls reflected these modernising trends, as well as a democratisation of pleasure. The very name adopted by the modern dance hall, 'palais de danse', emphasises this ambition. Affordable luxury was a key part of their attraction. This article examines how the architecture of dance halls represented moments of optimism, escapism and 'modernity' in British history in the period 1918-65. It provides the first overview of dance halls from an architectural and spatial history perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-233
Number of pages29
JournalArchitectural History
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sept 2018


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