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This England - Cornwall: Helston Furry Dance and Villages

The town of Helston comes out dancing in this charming amateur film of a unique springtime custom.

Amateur film 1934 6 mins Silent


The 8th of May is 'Furry Day' in Helston, Cornwall, a springtime festival of floral decoration and dancing, captured beautifully in this charming amateur film. White dresses abound as townsfolk young and old dance their way in and out of shops and around the town. Filmmaker John Wilson shot several other 'This England' films in the 1930s - an ambitious project to document life and landscape.

The tune accompanying the Flora (or Faddy) Dance, performed by the town's silver and brass band, is a key component of the festival. While this film is silent, the intertitles refer to the lyrics of a popular song version, 'The Floral Dance', composed by London concert singer Katie Moss in 1911. Moss' version helped to promote the event outside of Cornwall, though it differs from the traditional tune.