Joan Marion King

Joan Marion ʻGrammaʼ King was as eccentric as she was elegant. An understated lady, she started her life in the Essex town of Loughton after her pregnant mother returned from Malta where her husband served on HMS Marion in the war. Along with the baby in her belly, she carried a yellow canary in a wicker cage, a gift from her husband to keep her company until his safe return. But it was not to be, he was killed by a mine explosion in the Mediterranean.

Joan grew up in the grey, dark years of East London as the shadows of the war drew to a close. Amidst those hard years she discovered dance, imagine her peach slippers running through the shell pockmarked houses of Bloomsbury Square on the way to ballet class, white wool wrap over her shoulders, a leather bag bursting with feather soft tulle petticoats. This love of satin ribbons, the smell of the resin box, the opening bars of the piano accompaniment inspired her to open her own ballet school where she taught her daughters and granddaughters to dance later in life.