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The Polka craze swept Britain and the rest of Europe around 1843-4. According to P J S Richardson in The Social Dances of the 19th Century it was instrumental, along with the Waltz and the Quadrille, in sweeping the Country Dance off the dance floors of England and elsewhere.

Characterised by a '1,2,3, hop' rhythm and usually in a musical time signature of 2/4, hundreds of polkas were published in the latter half of the 19th century.

Some polkas played in sessions today

...and where they are written or recorded.

  • Herbert Smith's Published in Hardcore English, and on Old Swan Band CD 'Still Swanning' as Dan Leno's Boat
  • Leeds found in The South Yorkshire Tune Book, Hardcore English,
  • Opera found in Hardcore English, The Fiddler of Helperby,
  • P & O collected from Caleb Walker, musician for Manley Morris - recorded by Pete & Chris Coe
  • Primrose found in Hardcore English
  • Redowa found in Hardcore English