Melusine Wood

Miss Melusine Wood


In 1933 and 1934 we hear about a woman called Miss Melusine Wood.  Melusine is not a name I have come across before and according to Wikipedia it is a French word from European folklore, meaning ‘a female spirit of fresh water in a holy well or river’.  A sort of freshwater mermaid, with the top half of a human being, and the lower half being like a snake or a fish!  What a wonderful name, I wonder if she given that name by her parents, or whether she chose it herself?


The first mention of Melusine that I have found is from The Link, April 1933, p.61 when Melusine was the guest of honour at the Annual Dinner, Dance and Cabaret held annually by the Z Club.  This was a group for graduates of the Ginner-Mawer School, and it was run by the girls/women themselves, with Ruby Ginner as the President, and Irene Mawer as Vice President – and the pair were known as The Chiefs.  The article doesn’t say why Melusine was invited to be the guest of honour, but the event was excellently attended.


On this occasion, the Dinner Dance was held on Saturday, January 14th 1933, at Pinolet’s Restaurant, on Wardour Street in Central London – in the Little Italy area of the Soho district.  According to Wikipedia, Pinoli’s was known for good food at low prices and was popular with celebrities of the day, journalists, and politicians.  It is best remembered today for being the place where the Magic circle was founded, in 1905.


The second mention of Melusine was the following year, also in The Link (July 1934, p.244).  This was a notice of the date of the forthcoming AGM (presumably of the Ginner-Mawer School?) on Sunday, July 8th, to be held at 27c Redcliffe Gardens, in London SW5.  “The meeting will be preceded by a lecture-demonstration on historical and period movement, to be given by Miss Melusine Wood.”


As far as I can work out from web searches, Melusine Wood later went on to write books about historical dancing in the 1960s and 1970s, which were published by ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing).  Was she a Ginner-Mawer?  I don’t know.


Author: Janet Fizz Curtis

Janet Fizz Curtis is trained in the Irene Mawer Method of Mime and Movement and is now writing a book about the life of Irene Mawer.

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