Syd Kerr’s Plaza Orchestra was the key to the success of Stirling’s Plaza Ballroom. The Plaza was created in 1946 from the former cinema, situated between Lower Craigs and Goosecroft, and had a balcony café above the dance floor. For a generation, it was the great romantic meeting place. Observer reports on Golden Wedding anniversaries today often begin by saying that “they met in the Plaza Ballroom….” The Plaza advertised itself as “The Dancing Centre of the Centre of Scotland.” Dancing took place six nights a week, 7.45 – 10.45 (Friday late nights ran to 1am, Saturdays to 11pm.)
Good ballroom dancing depended on good music and Syd Kerr’s Plaza Orchestra was the resident Band. They played in many other venues. This photograph shows them in the Albert Hall, 1948. Syd Kerr led the Metronomes, 1933-1940, and many of the Metronomes moved into the Orchestra.
As dancing was a necessary social skill, the Plaza also hosted a dance school, led by James Mowat.
The Swinging Sixties killed ballroom dancing. The Plaza became a bingo hall and was demolished. Although Strictly Come Dancing has made ballroom popular again, Stirling, like most other places, no longer has a dedicated ballroom.