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Docks switch from tea clippers to tea dances at St Katharine's by Tower of London

PUBLISHED: 10:00 22 April 2019

Springtime tea dance display by Ragroof Players at St Katharine's. Picture: Polly Braden

Springtime tea dance display by Ragroof Players at St Katharine's. Picture: Polly Braden

Polly Braden

Another tea dance on the old dock quayside is on the cards at the historic St Katharine's-by-The-Tower where once famous tea clippers from the Orient dropped anchor.

Tripping the light fantastic at St Kathaerine Docks. Picture: Polly BradenTripping the light fantastic at St Kathaerine Docks. Picture: Polly Braden

Invitations are open to put on gladrags and trip the light fantastic—even those who think they've got two left feet.

The marina, just a hop and a skip from the ancient Tower of London, is putting its annual springtime dance next Friday for anyone with a spring in their step with authentic vintage music of the 1920s to the 1950s and displays in glamour period costumes by the Ragroof Players.

The afternoon dance on April 26 includes Ragroof's dance lessons between 12 and 2pm for anyone from beginners to advance.

Scene set for tea dance at historic St Katharine's. Picture: Mike BrookeScene set for tea dance at historic St Katharine's. Picture: Mike Brooke

The docks had historic links with the 19th century tea industry when they were at the centre of Britain's global commercial trade, handling cargoes from the Continent, the West Indies, Africa and the Orient.

The trade included sugar, molasses, rum and spices as well as the nation's favourite leafy beverage.

St Katharine's opened as docks in 1828, but its history goes back to the 12th century when Queen Matilda granted the land by The Tower for a monastery with a pilgrims' hostel.

Quayside by Tower Bridge set for springtime tea dance at St Katharine's. Picture: Mike BrookeQuayside by Tower Bridge set for springtime tea dance at St Katharine's. Picture: Mike Brooke

The docks next to Tower Bridge eventually closed in the 1970s after 150 years, but were reborn as central London's thriving boating marina of today.

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