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Edinburgh Entertainers

James Brown

Melodeon Player

who set up a

Dance Hall

possibly in Picardy Place


James Brown, Melodeon Player

  Reproduced with acknowledgement to Angela Miles

James Brown

Melodeon Player

Thank you to Angela Miles, Colchester, Essex, England for sending me the photograph above of her Great Grandfather, a well-known Edinburgh Melodeon player, 1879-1919, who made a record in 1909.




Angela Miles

Colchester, Essex, England

James Brown

Melodeon Player

Angela Miles sent the following details to me.  If you have any comments in response to her message, please e-mail me so that I can pass on your comments to her.    Thank you


Dance Hall

After James Brown's death his wife was left with nine children (plus one on the way!) and started up a dance hall, which featured a band led by one of her sons, and a daughter as mascot and occasional singer and dancer.

I believe it was in Picardy Place. Do you know of anyone who could tell me the names of dance halls in that area during the 1920's please?

Angela Miles, Colchester, Essex, England,  25 July 2005


I have checked some of the Edinburgh trade directories for the 1920s and found no reference to a dance hall in Picardy Place,

However a series of articles on the history of Dance Halls in one of the Edinburgh newspapers included the following: comments:

Unfortunately, I have not been able to discover  which paper published this report or when it was published

"The casual visitor would perhaps be most inclined to visit the hall from which the band has been broadcasted.  In this case, he or she would go to the Dunedin Palais de Danse in Picardy Place.

At this dance hall novelty and originality attract large audiences, which remain undiminished even in the height of summer ...

It is enchanting to enter the ballrooms when a foxtrot is in progress;  the swift-moving white forms give a suggestion of the delightful coolness of a tennis club dance.

If, on the other hand, one enters during a twilight waltz the scene is like one from Fairyland, the multi-coloured ever-changing lights gleaming in fantastic splendour."

The article above also spoke of:

-   The dance hall's 2 balconies and mirrors round the walls

-   Recent novelties, the 'Snow Dance' and the 'Storm Dance'.

-   'The Romany Revellers' band of ten or twelve  musicians.

-    Mark Griver, the singing banjoist.

-    'The Midnight Revels' cabaret show.

-   The well-equipped instructional staff of 25 ladies and gentlemen who made a point of obtaining the latest dances from London:  the newest one appears to be the three-step waltz.

Peter Stubbs,  26 July 2005

Thank you to Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor, Florida, USA, who read the comments above then e-mailed me with further details of Edinburgh Dance Halls, telling me that her grandfather played in one of the bands in the 1920s.




John Brown


About seven years after adding Recollections 1 above to the web site, I received a message from another descendant of James Brown.  It came from John Brown who wrote:

James Brown

"I am a grandson of James Brown and I thought you might like this photo of him."

James Brown

John Brown, Japan:  October 3, 2012

The Group

In this photo James Brown is the Melodeon player on the left.  I've sent an email to John Brown, asking him if he knows who the other two musicians are in this photo, and if the group had a name.

I've also asked if he can provide a larger copy of this photo.


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