After a conventional school education, Nicolas worked for a year at Cambridge University Botanic Garden, then trained in Horticulture at Pershore Institute of Horticulture in Worcestershire. He worked at Sunningdale Nurseries (Berkshire), a small Botanic Garden at Englefield Green (Surrey) and then as Manager of a small Garden Centre in Muswell Hill (London). Marriage in 1969 prompted another change of job, and he became Head Gardener at Crarae, Loch Fyne, on the west coast of Scotland, where he and his wife spent the next four years. In 1973 they bought Linnmill, a smallholding in Lanarkshire, keeping Goats (Toggenburgs), Sheep (Ryelands) and the Bearded Collies Nicolas had had since 1964. They also ran a Dog Boarding Kennels there until 1996.

Aidan (son) was born in 1974, and shewed early on a great aptitude for Country Dance and Morris. He learnt Piano and Violin from the age of seven, and was playing the violin for Country Dancing by the age of eleven, later going on to Conservatoire to become a professional musician. He continues to play Violin/Fiddle and Piano for Country Dancing.

Country Dancing has run through Nicolas' life since about 1950. Other interests have been singing (considered as a career at one stage), classical music (as a listener), music for dancing (as an Accordionist) and the dogs.


Nicolas, who plays accordion, is a specialist in Playford and similar dance. He learned Country Dancing, Cotswold Morris and Longsword in Surrey in the '50s, later dancing with Whirligigs demonstration team, London (working closely with Pat Shaw), and danced Cotswold Morris with Cambridge, The Travelling Morrice, London Pride, Abingdon and Glasgow.

He formed the Glasgow and Edinburgh Assembly in the early '80s, acting as teacher, musician and choreographer. He formed the Assembly Players in 1987, leading on accordion; he has led them for Balls, ceilidh dances and workshops here and abroad, and played on, directed and produced their 15 recordings of English Country Dances. He has also run several very successful musicians' workshops with his son Aidan.

He is a composer of tunes and dances (published 'The Assembly Dances') and researcher into C17th, C18th and C19th country dances (published 'Purcell's Dancing Master'). He has also proof-read and helped edit several other volumes of country dances, often supplying the harmonies for the tunes. He worked on a new edition of 'Holland as seen in the English Country Dance', which Antony Heywood edited with the help of Nicolas and Marjorie Fennessy. He is currently editing a new edition of the “Fallibroome Dances” and “A Fallibroome Garden” for publication by the EFDSS.

Nicolas has taught at Eastbourne,Whitby, Broadstairs and Marple F.F., in the Netherlands and Germany, at Berea and Pinewoods in the USA, and has run Playford Balls from Cheltenham to Edinburgh as MC and/or band leader.

photos from the annual ball at new lanark



© Copyright Nicolas Broadbridge 2013