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How Poplar went back to the 1951 Festival of Britain with Nelson's Swing East time machine

PUBLISHED: 14:00 25 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:25 25 July 2019

Swing East turns the Poplar clock back nearly seven decades. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar Harca

Swing East turns the Poplar clock back nearly seven decades. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar Harca

Harca

Thousands of boppers turned up for the Swing East festival which took Poplar back six decades to see how granny and grandpa rocked around the clock.

King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys... taking the biscuit performing at Chrisp Street Market. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar HarcaKing Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys... taking the biscuit performing at Chrisp Street Market. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar Harca

The fifth annual dance shindig that still thinks it's the 1950s attracted 4,000 swingers down to Chrisp Street Market on Sunday for a day of Blues, Swing and Rock'n'Roll.

Poplar showed off its nostalgia for the way granny and grandpa used to bop in the old days.

But all generations enjoyed the family day out at the East End's 'jump and jive' jamboree that was dreamed up by a Poplar housing estate caretaker, as the market with its famous Festival of Britain clocktower slid back in time to its 1951 roots.

Kids who didn't know what jitterbugging was had face painting and ice cream instead, before they also joined in the boogieing.

Revellers 'swing east' at Poplar's Chrisp Street Market. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar HarcaRevellers 'swing east' at Poplar's Chrisp Street Market. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar Harca

Their mums and dads and even granny dusted off their dancing shoes and shimmied onto the dance floor, jiving and rocking from noon to the evening.

The annual Swing East hellraiser came with a vintage market with retro clothes and vintage cars, real ale, food stalls and children's activities, all laid on by Poplar Harca housing organisation.

The idea for Swing East came from caretaker Nelson Piperides, who is a swing era fan himself.

He suggested the idea to the housing organisation and they, in turn, suggested he goes ahead and does it himself with a little help from them.

Enjoying an ice-cream in the heatwave in your best glad rags at Swing East retro festival. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar HarcaEnjoying an ice-cream in the heatwave in your best glad rags at Swing East retro festival. Picture: Bree Sims/Poplar Harca

Now, five years on, Nelson travels up and down the country following swing festivals and booking the acts he likes to appear at Swing East.

This year the bands included King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys, The Metrotones, Lynette Morgan & the Backwater Valley Boys and Natty Congeroo & the Flames of Rhythm.

But it wasn't just music from six decades back.

DJs also kept the party pace pumping into the 1970s and 80s and into the evening, including Nel Raiser, VooDoo Doll and Mr Jinx.

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