Stirling’s Plaza Ballroom

Syd Kerr's Plaza Orchestra playing in the Albert Hall, Stirling 1948

Syd Kerr’s Plaza Orchestra playing in the Albert Hall, Stirling 1948

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.

Comments(7)

  1. REPLY
    jonny says

    is the plaza building still standing?

    • REPLY
      smithartgalleryandmuseum says

      Hi Jonny,

      the Plaza was demolished in the late 60’s and there are now flats built in its place.

  2. REPLY
    Tom Moffat says

    Where can I obtain a photo of the Plaza Dance Hall. Either inside or outside, preferable the
    inside

    • REPLY
      smithartgalleryandmuseum says

      I’m afraid we don’t have any images of the building, you could try Stirling Archives, http://www.stirlingarchives.scot or The Old Stirling Facebook group

  3. REPLY
    Gavin Millar says

    The Plaza actually remained in existence until the late 70s, I remember it opposite my dad’s shop, it was painted a strange yellow colour and had red letters above the door. I think it was a bingo hall latterly and of course was “The Kinema” when first opened.

  4. REPLY
    David M Lowe says

    The Swinging Sixties with a variety of other factors may have “killed Ballroom Dancing” but the years that followed also provided a great deal of entertainment for many people in The Plaza, following the Syd Kerr era. It is my understanding that as Beat Music evolved the Orchestra would play long sessions for strict tempo danciang and during the break a local ‘beat/pop’ group would perform some ‘hits of the day’. Over time this balance changed and the pop group eventually took over. I believe that the first Resident Group of this era was The Trespassers from Stirling and for a time before her ‘stardom’, Lulu and The Luvvers played a regular spot during the week. Over the Decade many other local groups, like The Moonbeats and Tommy & The Apaches, played regular gigs there as support for more famous name acts like The Poets, Sounds Incorporated, The Honeycombs etc. I, along with many friends, spent some wonderful times at The Plaza during the 1960s!

  5. REPLY
    Iain says

    I remember going to see Dean Ford and the Gaylord there before they became Marmalade

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