Peggy Spencer’s archives to be shipped to national collection
The life of ballroom dancing legend Peggy Spencer is to live on with her entire collection of personal memorabilia being donated to a national archive centre in London.
Hundreds of photographs, videos, dozens of dance manuals, letters, press cuttings and endless documents spanning her career,have been given on permanent loan to the cultural Bishopgate Institute, close to Liverpool Street station.
The collection includes Peggy’s Big Red Book, presented to her when she was the subject of TV’s This Life is Your Life programme.
Later this month the Peggy Spencer Archive is to be given a celebration launch.
The evening, on April 11, will include ballroom dancing demonstrations and a chance for guests to take to the floor themselves for social dancing.
A spokesman for the Institute told the Lynn News it was delighted to be able to offer a home to the archive.
All those close to Peggy, including some former dance pupils, had been invited to the launch celebration.
On the night there will be an opportunity to view the archive material as well as hearing from those who knew and loved Peggy and who have been inspired by her work.
Peggy, who moved to Lynn to be near her daughter, Helena Anderson, following her retirement from professional dance teaching, was considered the unchallenged doyenne of ballroom dancing.
She was famous as a choreographer and judge on the popular BBC television series Come Dancing, a forerunner of today’s hugely popular Strictly Ballroom, for 50 years.
Peggy, who given an MBE in 1977 for her services to dancing, died in May 2016 aged 95. Almost until the end of her life, she remained active. She served as a borough deputy mayoress and president of the West Norfolk Osteoporosis Society.
After her death, her daughter, had the daunting task of sorting and cataloguing 50 boxes of material reflecting Peggy’s leading and influential role in the world of dance.
Helena said letting go had been difficult but she was pleased she did it.
“My mother would be delighted to know that her life’s work has not been wasted or forgotten,” she said.
“It means a lot to me to know that it is saved for her ex-pupils, friends and others interested in the history of dancing for research purposes.
“I have given permission for any copies of the material to be made and I am delighted at the way things have worked out.”