Shipdham

Part 1 in the Evergreen Band series of copyable band and piano parts: 10 old Norfolk tunes from the playing of Walter Bulwer of Shipdham

Walter and Daisy Bulwer

Walter Bulwer was born in Shipdham on 4th December 1888 with a deformity in his legs which meant that though he could not march with bands he never stopped playing whenever he could. His father taught him and his brother to play violin from the age of four and the three of them regularly played for dancing in the village. There was also, from about 1895, a village 'orchestra' (2 violins, viola, cello, double-bass, cornet and flute) which played popular music of the day as well as hymns at important church and chapel festivals. Later Walter played a lot with another fiddler in pubs in the area, and also at servants' balls in some of the big houses with a pianist. Throughout his life the occasional money made from music supplemented his income from tailoring (his apprenticeship), hair-cutting on Saturday nights, running a grocers and newsagents shop and delivering the papers. He was the sort who could turn his hand to many things - a habit he applied to instruments as he is known to have played tin-whistle, banjo, melodeon, clarinet, trombone, drums and mandolin as well as the violin and viola. He was also unusual among village musicians in that he was very capable at making up second parts to tunes if someone else could hold the tune (the 'Harmony' parts in this book are probably nothing like his, but fulfil the same function) and was known to be able to make up melodies as he played them.
Daisy Hart was born in Bradenham, the next village to Shipdham, in about 1892 and was playing piano from a very early age as well as organ in church before she met Walter and married him in Dereham on 22nd December 1916 where he was working during the War in an engineering shop. Walter taught her to play banjo, but it was mostly on the piano she accompanied him over the next forty odd years.
Together they played the 'old music' - polkas, schottisches, quadrilles, waltzes, and later the fashionable dances of the time - one-steps, foxtrots, sequence dances etc. As they could both read they were also able to pick up the popular, printed tunes very quickly and they were obviously quite as happy playing Sir Arthur Sullivan's 'Ruler of the Queen's Navee' as they were the Polkas they had played all their lives.
The village orchestra was revived with the help of the vicar between 1920 and 1935 and played weekly at the Rectory and at concerts, dances and in church. There was a dance band formed in the village in the 1920's and Walter was asked to join on mandolin, later taking over as leader. Daisy joined on piano and Walter moved to drums, and then violin. This outfit continued to play for local village hops until the outbreak of war in 1939. Walter continued to play with different local bands until about 1953.
Later in life, when they became known to enthusiasts like Mervin Plunkett and Reg Hall, they still loved to play both from memory and from the music, and were only too keen to play again for fun and later for the tape-recorder. They were taped between 1959 and 1962 and thus many fine old dance tunes were brought to the attention of a new generation. Walter died in 1968 and Daisy in 1974; both are fondly remembered in the village to this day.
Lily Codling, the only surviving member of the Time And Rhythm band, who played with them as a teenager, recalls that, "We did have some good times. The best times we used to have really was at the garage where Ponder’s now got (then Riseborough’s). There was an upstairs room there; we used to go up there and play. And his favourite really was In And Out The Windows…We used to start off with a polka, The Dot Polka, and finish up with The Heel And Toe Polka. And they was his two favourites, really. And The Girl I Left Behind Me…But I did enjoy quite a lot of time down there…The name of it was Can You Dance The Polka? One, two, three, he used to bang his old foot on the floor for the hop, one, two, three and a hop, and that was what Walter used to do. And Daisy used to clap her hands…All the schottisches, and there’s another one they used to play, the Samba. Then we used to play where you used to have to go up and find a partner, then if there was someone without a partner, the one in the middle would touch someone’s shoulder and you had to let them go and they danced on. That was a popular old dance then, as a matter of fact, in Bulwer’s time. So everybody had a dance; you didn’t have to sit there, but you all started off with a partner, but if you tapped somebody on the shoulder, they’ve got to find someone. They called that Shoulder Tapping".
Lily Codling would mainly play piano accordion, but also piano on occasion: "But when Daisy didn’t do it, I would do it…I remember there used to be two mirrors (in the room above Riseborough’s garage); that weren’t a very nice place because they used to do cars up there. But that was right near Walter’s home weren’t it?...I used to go down and practice with them." On one occasion, Lily was caught out, having used the pretence to be at the Bulwers’ house for a practice to go out dancing: "Well then, one night we wanted to go out to a dance so I hung my music up in the toilet, on the back of the door. They were outside toilets. Course, who should walk from Carbrooke? Tom did. (Her fiancé). He went in the toilet; my music fell down off the door. So he said to my mother, "Where is Lily?" She said, "She’s gone down Mrs Bulwer’s; they’ve got a practice on." He said, "Next time she goes, she’d better take her music!"

Notes on Walter & Daisy taken from the sleeve-notes to English Country Music and from the newsletter of the East Anglian Traditional Music Trust, both by Reg Hall. Notes on Lily Codling from Musical Traditions website by Chris Holderness.

Download Music Files

Click on either member of the pairs of tunes below and choose to save the zip file from the menu that will appear.
Since each file consists of this pair of tunes, it doesn't matter which member of the pair you pick, as they both link to the same file.

Band Arrangements:
TitleKeyForm of tuneFrom the playing of
Walter Bulwer's Polka No 1
Walter Bulwer's Polka No 2
D
D
32 bar Polka
32 bar Polka
Walter Bulwer
Walter Bulwer
Walter Bulwer's Polka No 4
Walter Bulwer's Polka No 3
F
G
32 bar Polka
32 bar Polka
Walter Bulwer
Walter Bulwer
Old Mrs Huddledee
The Keel Row
G
G
16 bar Schottische
16 bar Schottische
Walter Bulwer
Walter Bulwer
The Notakoff Polka
When I was a Lad
F
F
32 Bar Polka
18 Bar Polka
Walter Bulwer
Walter Bulwer
The Egg Hornpipe
The Sailors' Hornpipe
G
G
32 bar Hornpipe
32 bar hornpipe
Walter Bulwer
Walter Bulwer

Piano Arrangements: Click here to download and save all the Shipdham Tunes for piano

In the downloaded files, parts for each pair of tunes are listed as follows:
In C:
01 Melody at pitch (Violin, Flute, Recorder, Melodeon)
02 Harmony at pitch
03 Simple harmony at pitch
04 Bass in bass clef (Double Bass, Bass Guitar, Cello, Tuba)
In Bb:
05 Melody for Bb instruments (Clarinet, Cornet, Trumpet)
06 Harmony for Bb instruments
07 Simple harmony for Bb instruments
08 Bass for Bb insts, treble clef (Tenor Sax, Baritone, Bb Bass)
In Eb:
09 Melody for Eb instruments (Alto Sax, Tenor Horn)
10 Harmony for Eb instruments
11 Simple harmony for Eb instruments
12 Bass for Eb instruments (Baritone Sax, Eb Bass)
Other:
13 Simple accompaniment (Piano, Organ, Accordion)
14 Chord charts (Guitar, Ukulele, Banjo, Accordion, Bass)
15+ Score