Bedford Morris Men were founded in 1932 and
celebrated their 80th anniversary on
Saturday, 6th October 2012.
the origins of Morris dancing are lost in the mists of
time, it is very much alive in Bedfordshire.
Bedford Morris Men were formed in 1932, in part from a
number of ex pupils of
Clapham Road [now
Livingstone] School, who wanted to carry on with the
Morris Dancing that they had been taught at school.
In 1932 the side was
known as "Old Mole". This was changed to "Bedford
Morris Men" two years later. Whilst that original side
was built around a nucleus of former pupils from Clapham
Road School, they were joined by other men, who had
learned their dancing either with the English Folk Dance
Society or with the Rover Scouts.
Although the side was not well enough established to be
one of the six sides which founded the Morris Ring in
1934, we joined the Ring soon after, in 1936. Soon
afterwards, in 1939, war brought dancing to a temporary
halt. Fortunately, the Side lost none of its
members and reformed after the war.
The side is proud of its good relationship with the
Borough. In 1947, we were given permission to use
the Borough coat-of-arms and this can be seen
represented on the front of the men's baldricks
(cross-braces) and on the lower of the two hat-badges.
The Men felt especially honoured when, in their golden
jubilee year (1982), the Council gave permission to use
the "Eagle and Castle" coat-of -arms. This is worn
as the upper hat-badge as well as on the North-West
Morris sashes. The "puritan" hat we wear is an
unusual departure from the more common straw hat used by
morris sides. It was chosen because of the strong
links in Bedford's history with John Bunyan. The
have become almost irreplaceable now, so any contacts
from suitable manufacturers would be very welcome!!
Nowadays the Men dance at
pubs on Wednesday evenings in Summer; at Fetes and other
events; visit other Morris Sides around the country; and
in Winter, dance on Apple Day, Boxing Day and on Plough
|Bedford Morris Men at
the end of a Cotswold Morris dance at Letchworth
Morris Men's Ring Meeting in 2012
||Bedford Morris Men dancing at the Three
Cranes, Turvey in 2012
Bedford Morris Men were founded in 1932 and celebrated
their 80th anniversary on Saturday, 6th
October 2012, with dancing in Bedford and at Bedford Beer festival.
They were joined by guest Morris Sides:
Anker Morris Men from Nuneaton; East Surrey Morris Men, Letchworth Morris Men
and Manchester Morris Men.
There was dancing in town in the morning; at the Beer
Festival over lunchtime [with a break for lunch - and to
sample the beer!]; then in town again in the afternoon.
In the evening a Feast was held to celebrate the
occasion, attended by the Speaker of Bedford Borough
Council, Councillor Sylvia Gillard.
Many former members of the Bedford Morris Men
will be attending to meet up with fellow dancers.
For further details of our normal Winter programme, visit the website:
Morris Men dance the Cotswold Morris in the Summer
[this is the better known "handkerchief" and "stick"
Morris]; we also occasionally dance the North-West
Morris from Lancashire
[wearing clogs and flower covered bowler hats].
[see also: "Summer
Programme"] In Winter - see images on
the Winter Programme
page - we dance
blacked up to disguise ourselves, and also perform a
Mummers Play - the
Branston Plough Play.
-- Practice Details
Bedford Morris Men need to recruit new members who want
to keep fit, enjoy themselves and keep the Morris
tradition alive in
The practice season is now under way, and if you
are interested come to Ravenden Village Hall on
Wednesday evenings at 8.15pm - or contact the Bagman,
Ian Daye or visit the website at:
Trips - Northern Ireland
[and to the Republic of Ireland] as guests of the
Aughakillymaude Mummers [see also:
|Bedford Morris Men
pause for a group photograph in Enniskillen
dance at threshing event
Trips abroad - Bedford's Twin Town - BAMBERG
|Bedford Morris Men by the Fountain,
Bamberg. Clive Haste [Squire 2010/2011];
Ian Daye; Angus Darling; John Frearson; Ray
Horner; Antony Heywood (Helmond MM &
||Bedford Morris Men: “Bonny Green”. At
the end of the Saturday show in Bamberg.