The Foresters Morris
Men (full title "The Foresters Morris and Sword Dancing Club") is based
in Nottingham in the UK, near to Sherwood Forest, and so we have Robin
Hood as our logo. The club was formed in January 1952, and was the first
side in Nottingham. It was formed from the demise of other sides in
nearby towns, which had been in existence in the 1930s, and had been
kept going by ladies such as Frances Downing during the war years. I
think the other sides included Derby and Ripley. In 1952 the only morris
dancers in Nottingham were Wally Newall, Ted Ward and Nobby Clark. The
(lady) pianist employed for the early practices was paid 7/6 (37p)
per session, and they paid 2/0 (10p) for the school hall. The fortnightly
practices were held alternately at Nottingham and Mansfield. Men from
Leicester, Derby, Chesterfield and Worksop attended. The name "Foresters"
was chosen as combining the Sherwood, Charnwood and Peak forests.
The first Squires
were Wally Newall ('52 - '56), and then Ted Ward ('56 - '70). Ted was
the driving force of the club for many years. Later squires have included
Trevor Hull, Rex Wyer, Vic Martin, Cecil Laughlin, Frank Earp, Ken Bramman,
Eric Foxley and Stewart Thompson.
In 1956 the side
played an important part in the Southwell Minster Millennium Pageant,
and was admitted to the Morris Ring of England at their meeting in September
of that year at Abingdon. [Eric Foxley attended the Abingdon Ring Meeting
with the Thames Valley Men, and met up with the Foresters before coming
to Nottingham later that month.]
The 124th Meeting
of the Morris Ring was held in Nottingham on 24-26th July 1970, and
was hosted by the Foresters. The visiting men were accommodated in Derby
Hall, at the University of Nottingham. The meeting was attended by 96
men on the Saturday. The City of Nottingham had arranged a vast Festival
to take place from the 11th-26th of July, to include all aspects of
the arts, trade and sport; the Midland office of the EFDSS. (English
Folk Dance & Song Society) arranged a folk concert for the evening
of the 25th of July, with five invited morris teams.
assembling some historic Foresters photos. We are on some of the Nottingham Post archives.
More photos are always
welcome, please email them to Eric..