Colour photograph of a young child holding up a star made of traditional rapper swordsCanning Town Folk

Maud Karpeles, Daisy Caroline Daking, Elsie J. Oxenham and the Canning Town folk dancers

A national touring exhibition by Ju Gosling aka ju90

27 September 2010 - 28 February 2011 @ The Hub, 123 Star Lane, Canning Town, London E16 4PZ.

27 September 2011 - 5 December 2011 @ the English Folk Dance and Song Society, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY.

22-30 June 2020 virtual exhibition for Newham Heritage Month.

Click here to view the animation Canning Town Trio, made for the English Folk Dance and Song Society to celebrate their centenary in 2011.

This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Daphne Green neé Cox (1928-1987), a lifelong member of and worker for the English Folk Dance and Song Society, & to the members of the Elsie J. Oxenham Appreciation Society.

Welcome to the online version of the Canning Town Folk exhibition, first installed at The Hub in Canning Town from September 2010 to February 2011. The exhibition looks at the work of three remarkable women from the English folk dance movement: Maud Karpeles, Elsie J. Oxenham and Daisy Caroline Daking, and their links with Canning Town in East London between 1909 and the 1920s; along with the young Canning Town folk dancers of the same period and their extraordinary achievements.

The exhibition was originally developed as part of Folk Formula, an East London Dance and Well London project inspired by Canning Town's history of folk dance. In summer 2010, East London Dance delivered new folk dance classes to under-16s, adults and parent/carer and toddlers groups at Ascot Hall, The Hub and the Keir Hardie Children's Centre in Canning Town, combining English folk dance with contemporary, African, Polish, Indian and Caribbean dance forms. All of the classes were inspired by the research carried out at the English Folk Dance and Song Society and the Newham Archives by lead artist Ju Gosling aka ju90 for this exhibition, with the current folk dancers of Canning Town dancing in the footsteps of the early twentieth-century dancers. In October 2010, The Hub also hosted a conference about Canning Town's folk dance history.

Colour photograph of a mixed group of ten adults, dressed in white tops and black trousers or skirts, and all wearing brightly coloured sashes over their shoulders embroidered with the names of folk dances.
Canning Town folk dancers at the launch of the exhibition on 27 September 2010. Photo: Tim Hoy



1. Setting the Scene

2. Social Reform & the Settlements

3. Maud Karpeles & the birth of the English Folk Dance Society

4. The Canning Town Dancers

5. Elsie J. Oxenham & the Abbey Girls

6. Daisy Caroline Daking - 'the Pixie' - & the Plaistow Y.M.C.A.

7. The New Dancers

8. The Canning Town Folk Dance Legacy

Artist Talk

Further Resources

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© Ju Gosling aka ju90 2010

Supported by Arts Council England, Well London, East London Dance, English Folk Dance and Song Society, London Borough of Newham, Newham NDP. Lottery funded.