Bedford coat of arms 1

 ~ Bedford Morris Men ~

" Founded 1932....Part of England's living heritage "

Bedford coat of arms 2
 
 

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Bedford Morris - 80th Anniversary - 2012

Bedford Morris Men were founded in 1932 and celebrated their 80th anniversary on Saturday, 6 October with dancing in Bedford and at the Bedford Beer festival.

Bedford Morris Men were formed, in part, from a ex-pupils of Clapham Road (now Livingstone) School, who wanted to carry on with the Morris dancing that they were taught at school, by their Headmaster, Tommy Northern.  Later, one of the staff at the school was Fred Hamer, who gave up football for Morris dancing, and would later become Squire of Bedford Morris Men and also of The Morris Ring.

Clapham Road School - Morris Side - 1935 Bedford Morris Men - 1967 - Rapper Sword Dance
Clapham Road School, Empire Day, 1935. 
Centre front, teacher, Fred Hamer, later Squire of BMM and the Morris Ring.  Nearest camera, Horace Hoole, a fine dancer who would also later be a Squire of BMM.
  Bedford Morris Men in 1967 dancing Rapper Sword dance at Broadstairs Festival

 

Various kit has been worn over the years. Today, the Bedford Morris Men are distinctive in blue britches and baldrics with orange trimming. Their blue pilgrim hats, acknowledge John Bunyan, and bear two badges with the Arms of the Borough of Bedford. The Council granted the Bedford Morris Men the use of the older town arms in 1947, but almost uniquely, the Borough Council is licensed to use two sets of arms, and for their 50th anniversary, in 1982, the Bedford Morris Men were given permission to use the “Eagle and Castle” arms on their kit.

Bedford Morris Men - 80th Anniversary - BMM near M&S   Bedford Morris Men in Bedford
Bedford Morris Men - dancing in Bedford for their 80th Anniversary   Bedford Morris Men dance outside the Swan Hotel

 

The Bedford Morris Men were joined by guest Morris Sides: Anker Morris Men from Nuneaton; East Surrey Morris Men, Letchworth Morris Men and Manchester Morris Men.

 

East Surrey Morris Men dancing in Harpur Square   Anker Morris Men dancing in Harpur Square at Bedford Morris Men's 80th Anniversary  
East Surrey Morris Men dancing in Harpur Square, Bedford, during Bedford Morris Men's 80th Anniversary celebrations   Anker Morris Men dancing in Bedford, during Bedford Morris Men's 80th Anniversary celebrations  

There was dancing in Bedford until Noon [photographs above]; at the Beer Festival over the lunch period [with a break for lunch - and to sample the beer!][photographs below]; and then in town again in the afternoon.

 

Bedford Morris Men at Bedford Beer Festival     Bedford Morris Men at Bedford Beer Festival 2
Bedford Morris Men dancing at the Bedford Beer Festival     Bedford Morris Men dancing at the Bedford Beer Festival

 

In the evening a formal Feast was held at the Bedford Guild House to celebrate the occasion, attended, as principal guest, by Councillor Sylvia Gillard, the Speaker of Bedford Borough Council.  Many former members of the Bedford Side attended to meet up with the current Bedford Morris Men and old friends

Bedford Morris Men 80th Anniversary at the Wellington Arms   Bedford Morris Men 80th Anniversary - the Feast  
Bedford Morris Men, 80th Anniversary, a drink and sing at the Wellington Arms before the Feast   The 80th Anniversary Feast: John Frearson - principal guest, Clr. Sylvia Gillard, the Speaker of Bedford Borough Council - Ian Daye, Squire of Bedford Morris Men  

Bedford Morris Feast - the Guests   Bedford Morris Men 80th - Dancing after Feast
The Feast - and some of the Guests, with the Loving Cup passed in background   Bedford Morris Men 80th - Dancing after Feast at the Bedford Guild House

 

Further details can be obtained from:- John Frearson - johnphfrearson@btinternet.com