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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Lambeth Walk
doing the Lambeth Walk
Lambeth Walk Title

           The Lambeth Walk is a favorite historic street location in England. This location was originally called the "Three Coney Walk" and later Lambeth Wells. In the early 18th Century, entertainment started arriving in the forms of music and dancing as well as food and taverns. Later many businesses would spring up from Mills, lodging to finally becoming a market place. The dance was also hailed as England's dance to challenge the U.S.A.'s Big Apple (and it did).

   The metropolitan Lambeth Walk dance was originally said to be from the Limehouse district of London called Lambeth and a historic street known as Lambeth Walk (Lambeth Walk is across the Thames, diagonally southeast from the British House of Parliament) and tailored after the jaunty walk that was taken from the "Cockney - Barra Boys" (Barrow) of said street by way of walking with their thumbs tucked into the sleeves of their waistcoats which Lupino said he copied. In London, the dance of the Lambeth Walk immediately became the third great Dance Craze of inter-war Europe.


   
Miss England
is said to have created the dance in England in 1938 while others say it was the London comedian Lupino Lane in England's stage production of 'For Me and My Gal'. Supposedly the dance was changed and brought to America by Arthur Murray although Prince Serge Obolensky might argue (and did) with him about that. However the 1938 Harvest Moon Ball program stated that Joseph Rines introduced the dance to the U.S.

    The Lambeth Walk was basically a "Social-Mixer" type dance that is best done in a group as couples dance side by side forming a line but can be done solo a well. When done it is a walking dance done in a jaunty, swaggering, strutting, knee slapping style and occasionally you would here a dancer shout, raise their arms, snap a finger and cry out "Oi or Oy" (the Oy! being similar to the old Farandole.) This was supposedly Cafe-Society at its best and the second in group participation dances, the first being the Big Apple.

     The earliest date of the Lambeth Walk that I have found is 1937. Also, the Champion Strut was a mixture of the Lambeth Walk, Cakewalk and Swing. The Lambeth Walk was also a featured dance in 1938 Harlem mainly at the Plantation Club where it was renamed the Lambeth Shuffle. The Palais Glide was an offshoot of the Lambeth Walk in 1939. During the war this song is said to have really pissed off (made angry) many a Nazi and its leaders especially when in 1941 - Schichlegruber doing the Lambeth Walk was made. The Lambeth Walk is known in German as: "In Lamberts Nachtlokal." ... "While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Some pattern names are the Hitch Hike, The Slap and the Walk Around.

 

Birth Place

Creation Date

Dance Creator

Dance Type

England 1936 Miss England or Lupino Lane (1938) Social - Mixer
 

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

$ Lambeth Walk Art Poster Print Lambeth Walk
   
           
 
Music preview clip

Music Titles

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In Lamberts Nachtlokal (Hans Rehmstedt)
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Lambeth Walk (Dalida) 1984
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Lambeth Walk (Mills Bros) mp3
Clip not available at this time Lambeth Stroll
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Lambeth Walk (Donahue, Al) 1938
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Lambeth Walk (Robert Lindsey)
Clip not available at this time Lambeth Walk (1985) mp3
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Lambeth Walk (Ellington. Duke) mp3
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Lambeth Walk (Shaw, Artie) mp3
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Lambeth Walk (Ambrose, Bert)
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Lambeth Walk (Fields, Gracie) 1938
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Lambeth Walk (Sylvestor, Victor) 1938
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Lambeth Walk (Annalisa Ericson 1949 German)
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Lambeth Walk (Flome, Michael) 1938
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Lambeth Walk (Ventura, Ray) French
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Lambeth Walk (Cantor, Eddie) 1938 Clip not available at this time Lambeth Walk (Furber) 1978
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Lambeth Walk (Vera Gran) 1938 Polish
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Lambeth Walk (Chas and Dave)
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Lambeth Walk (Ludwik Sempoliński) 1960 Polish
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Swinging the Lambeth Walk (Django Reinhardt)
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Lambeth Walk (Cotton, Billy 1938)        
           
     
Holst; Grainer; Walton & Coates: for 2 Pianos [CD] Lambeth Walk-War Show [mp3] 1985 - For Me and My Girl [Cast Recording CD]
Lambeth Walk: [mp3] Arcadi Restaurant 1938 Me And My Girl: [CD Soundtrack] Variations on "Lambeth Walk [CD]
     
 

Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

Glass Hat (Murray) 1937 Victoria Palace - Lupino Lane (Clip) Nearby: Spring Gardens (later Vauxhall Gardens)
Hotel Commodore (N.Y.)       Walnut Tree Walk
Plantation Club (Harlem)        
St. Regis Roof (Carol Lawrence)        
         
 
Video Clips (pop-up)

Films / Movies

Television

Ballets / Stage

Video Clip not available at this time 1940 - Lambeth Walk, The* 1938 - Lakerol Commercial - Lambeth Walk (Clip) 1937 - For Me and My Gal (Lupino)
Video Clip not available at this time 1940 - Swinging the Lambeth Walk 1960s - Lawrence Welk Show (top clip) 1939 - Hotel Commodore - 'Butlers Ball'
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1941 - Schichlegruber doing the Lambeth Walk       1985 - For Me and My Girl (Clip)
Video Clip not available at this time 1942 - For Me and My Girl* [DVD | VHS]       1987 - For Me and My Girl (Clip 1) | (Clip 2)
Video Clip not available at this time 1949 - Greven från gränden       2003 - Me and My Girl - Doin' the Lambeth Walk
Video Clip not available at this time          
Video Clip not available at this time Order "Dances thru time DVD Video"      

Publications

          8/29/1938 - Life Magazine
          9/2/1938 - Olean Times-Herald (Lambeth in Harlem)
          9/16/1938 - Olean Times-Herald (Many Claim Creation)
          9/19/1938 - Olean Times-Herald (Steps Described)
          9/21/1938 - Lowell Sun (London's Walk Vs. Big Apple)
          10/1938 - NY Times (Dictators rage)
          10/6/1938 - Appleton Post Crescent (Murray-Prince)
          10/11/1938 - Look Magazine (Lambeth Walk)
          10/21/1938 - Helena Daily Independent (Munn)
          11/7/1938 - Van Nuys News (The Leslie's demo)
          12/21/1938 - Olean Times-Herald (Lupino Lane)
          3/27/1939 - Stevens Point Daily Journal (Palais Glide)
          4/10/1939 - Gettysburg Times (Nazi's do Lambeth)
          6/30/1939 - Chronicle-Telegram (African Church declares it a sin)
           
 

Other Related Dances of the time...

Arizona Hike Doin' The Chamberlain Pigeon Walk Worlds Fair Walk
Boomps-a-Daisy Fish Walk Slow Drag Yankee Prance
Bunny Hop Flirtation Walk Sugar Foot Tennessee Wig Walk
Cakewalk Floogie Walk The Stroll  
Camel Walk Footloose Strut Tickle-Toe  
Canter, the Gaby Glide The Toddle  
Castle Walk Hokey-Pokey Truckin'  
Champion Strut Little Foot Walk Around  
Clifford Walk Lovers Walk Walkin' The Dog  
Collegiate Glide Military Glide Washington Post March  
Conga Line (La Conga) Palais Glide    
 

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

9/1938 - Arthur Murray 10/1938 - Kenneth Morrison (Munn) Prince Serge Obolensky.
10/1938 - Betty Baker (Cidney Munn dancers) 1937/1938 - Lupino Lane Rev. D. G. Vander Merwe
8/1938 - Carol Lawrence 1937/1938 - Miss England  
10/1938 - Charles Linderman (Munn) 10/1938 - Nancy Moore (Munn)  
11/1938 - Corrine and Ray Leslie (Van Nuys, Ca) 10/1938 - Raynor Roberts (Munn)  
1938 - Eleanor Brown and Walter Biggerstaff 10/1938 - Vivian Linderman (Munn)  
1938 - Joseph Rines 1960's - Bobby Burgess and Barbara Boylan  
1938 - Kate Carney (England) 1987 - Tim Curry  
 

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title

Author

Date Published

Publisher

$ 1937 - Lambeth Walk Arthur & Furber, Douglas / Gay, Noel Rose 1/1/1937 Cinephonic Music Co.
Harvest Moon Ball Program Association, News Welfare 8/1938 Daily News
(Mata) Magazine Article 1942 Liberty Magazine
Down Memory Lane Murray, Arthur c.1954 n/a
This Fabulous Century-1930/40 Time - Life Book 1988 Time Life
       
 

Composers, Musicians etc.

Singers

Artists

Douglas Furber (1978) n/a 'Lambeth Walk' painting by unknown - 1800
Duke Ellington      
George Graves      
Lupino Lane        
Michael Flome Dance Orch. (1938)        
Noel Gay        
Skipper Kelly's orchestra        
Teddy St. Dennis        
 

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Cockney-Barrow Boys Mixers! Lambeth Wells Lambeth Palace
Limehouse District Oy! Lambeth Road    
Hoics        
 

Other...

To Paraphrase:
Lambeth Walk Sheet Music Instructions, described by Arthur Murray:
1) Partners march side by side, gentlemen on the left. Strut forward 8 steps (4 bars); swing the arms, walking jauntily in cockney fashion.
2) Link right arms, walk around in circle to right 4 steps. Quickly reverse, linking left arms, and walking 4 steps in circle to left.
3) Strut side by side again 8 steps (same as figure 1.) Partners separate, face each other, taking 4 very short steps backward. Close heels on 4th count.
4) Slap knees in time to music.
5) Ending with pointing thumb over shoulder, in hitchhike fashion; and yell loudly, "Hoy!" Repeat from beginning. It is necessary that the steps fit the music. The dancers should start on the very first beat of the chorus. Alex Moore's book:
Couples start side by side, about arms length apart; man Left Foot, lady Right Foot.
8- walks forward, turn to face partner at the end of walks.
8- walks in a circle, L arms linked. At the end, unlink arms, turn side by side and link mans R and ladies L arms.
3- walks, rock backward and forward. (Count 1, 2, 3, & 4, similar to an understated samba walk??), repeat 3 walks and rocks on other foot.
2- walks away from partner, turn and slap knees with both hands (count 1,2,3,4)
2- walks towards partner, turn to original starting position and a single jerk of the thumb, shouting "Oi". How It's Done (1938 Sun Newspaper):
Everyone gets in a big circle with each couple side by side, and arm in arm. To the tune of the Lambeth Walk they sort of strut around the floor.
At one part of the song each does a semi-circle and the arms which have hitherto been free are the ones that are linked.
This movement takes place three or four times in rapid succession. It is the difficult part of the whole dance. Doing it swiftly and gracefully (?) and yet keeping
time with the music is no small assignment, although the Big Apple addicts should find it simple, maybe even too tame.

If the song is played about as long as is the average number, there are about four times during the dance when the couple are bent over and forward, and directly facing each other. To the rhythm of the music they then clap their hand on their respective knees, and then all simultaneously throw their hands in the air and yell "Oi!" Then the strutting around the floor in circle form starts all over again.
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snippet of Song LYRICS of "Lambeth Walk" from the play: Me and My Girl.
Lambeth you've never seen,
The skies ain't blue, the grass ain't green,
It hasn't got the may fair touch, But that don't matter very much, We play the Lambeth way,
Not like you but a bit more gay; And we have a bit of fun...OH Boy!
Anytime you're Lambeth way any evening or any day,
You'll find us all ... do- in the LAMBETH WALK. (Song continues... but copyrights ya know... Look them up or go buy it... I Did!)
March 14, 2013 http://www.Streetswing.com/histmain/index.htm eMail: Streetswing.com
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