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 ~ Bedford Morris Men ~

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

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Bedford Morris - The Archive

Bedford Morris Men have maintained an Archive of material related to their activities since the earliest days.  The main documents were the Log Books and the Scrapbooks that were kept by most Morris Sides.  However, the Archive also contains Minutes, Accounts, Secretary's Files and Diaries of the Bedford Morris Men and information from sundry other sources, including the Archives of The Morris Ring. 

Based on these documents, a summary "Record of Activities" has been created.   It includes a list of dancing and other events from 1932 when the Side was formed to the present day.  The events list also includes some activities from as early as 1928 undertaken by those groups of Morris Dancers who later came together as Bedford Morris Men.

The first edition of the Record of Activities was compiled to celebrate BMM's Diamond Jubilee.  It was produced as a coherent listing of events undertaken from their various beginnings, but principally at Clapham Road Lower School in 1928, through formation as Bedford Morris Men in 1932, up to the end of their 60th Anniversary Year in 1992.  It has been continuously updated since then, as further information and material have become available.

Those who require more general review of the history of the side are referred to the Golden Jubilee publication "The First Fifty Years  1932 - 1982",  produced by BMM, and written by Arthur Guppy, Len Arnold, David Welti and Ted Carter.

The BMM Archive Scrapbooks and Photograph Albums

These presently comprise 36 volumes in total:

* Three are completely original scrapbooks and include the earliest volume with material from 1930 to 1966, and two later volumes with material from 1972 to 1975, and 1978 to 1981. 

* Seven further volumes (1928-1949; 1950-1955; 1956-1959; 1960 - 1966; 1967-1972; 1973-1977; 1978-1982) duplicate these earlier volumes in small part and include the very considerable volume of additional material that has become available since that time.  Some items, in particular newspaper cuttings which had been taped between pages of the earlier scrapbook volumes and which were deteriorating badly, have been transferred to these newer volumes after restoration and mounting on acid free paper.     

* Twenty six volumes bring the record up to the present (1983/4; 1985/6; 1987/8; 1989; 1990; 1991; 1992 [two volumes]; 1993; 1994; 1995; 1996; 1997 [two volumes]; 1998; 1999; 2000; 2001; 2002; 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007-2008, 2009 and 2010).  The first of these also contains elements of earlier scrapbook keepers' material which, having been loose-leafed, could be readily and better protected in the present format. 

The Archive Albums and the "Record" have been supplemented by material copied or donated from various Personal Collections.  Those collections consulted for the Record include:

·         The Morris files of the late Fred Hamer, sometime squire of BMM and of The Morris Ring, and now held by his son, Hugh Hamer.   

·         The scrapbooks and photograph albums of David Welti, sometimes Squire of BMM and Squire of The Morris Ring from 1976 to 1978. 

·         Three albums, belonging to the late Roy Horton, for many years Fool of BMM.

·         Albums of photographs and a cuttings belonging to Peter Rollason, who danced with BMM in the period 1947 to 1961.

·         The scrapbook of the late Mrs Freda Abbott (née Ginn); a copy, with commentary, is available as BMM Archive Report No. 2. 

·         The log books and photograph albums of the Luton Longstraw Morris Men which are on permanent loan to, and in the care of, BMM from Bill French, the last Squire of the Longstraw Men.  A summary of these is available as BMM Archive Report No. 3.

·         The scrapbook of the late Jim Marsden [formerly of Rugby Morris Men and then founder member and Squire of the first Cardiff Morris Men].  This came into the BMM Archive's care on his death.  A copy with commentary is available as BMM Archive Report No. 4.

·         The logbook of the Rugby Morris Men, donated via BMM to the Morris Ring by Pat Robbins, a musician member of that side, and held for the present by BMM.  A Booklet on the History of Rugby Morris Men has been published, based on these documents and other archive material. 

·         The scrapbooks [some thirty in number] belonging to Gordon Ridgewell [formerly of Standon Morris Men].

 Details of other Archival material --  Rugby Morris Men  --  Rugby Morris Archive

                    For details of the Bedford Morris Archive

Contact John Frearson - Email: johnphfrearson@btinternet.com