The Golden Year

Fifty Golden Years button badge 

Grimsby Morris Men were formed back in the dark ages (1967) and, after a bit of practice, made their first appearance in public at the Lifeboat Hotel on 21st December 1967. The Lifeboat is, alas, no longer with us but Grimsby Morris Men are still here and still dancing (and boaring!). As this is our fiftieth year we intend to do lots of celebrating.

 

The celebrations will start on the 49th anniversary of the first dance-out, 21st December 2016 and will continue through to the 50th anniversary on 21st December 2017. There'll be lots going on between those dates, including dance-outs with friends from around the region, celebrations at the Cleethorpes Folk and Cider Festival, a (proposed) weekend of dance in July and lots of other stuff. Our website manager is posting the events, at least in outline form, on the site. This job should be completed by the end of the first week in December and the listing will be updated as the details roll in.

 

We want lots of folk to help us celebrate and hope to be joined by other sides, former members or friends of the side and the general public wether you've seen us before or not. Come along and join in the merry-making.

Welcome to the website of the Grimsby Morris Men

We are a Morris side based in the Lincolnshire town of Great Grimsby and have been dancing since 1967. No wonder we're tired. 

Grimsby Morris Men in 1967

   Grimsby Morris Men in 2015

The website is a portal for all things GMM. It includes some information about us and our activites, some picture galleries, various views of our forthcoming events and a join us page for anyone out there who likes beer ( no, I mean dancing) and fresh air. There is also a link to our online museum, a (slowly) growing collection of items from the archives of Grimsby Morris Men.

If you have any queries about the side or the website there is a contact us link on the main menu.

 

Calling Former Grimsby Morris Men

 

                                                Grimsby Morris Men in 1967

 

If you have danced or played with Grimsby Morris Men any time in the last half a century we want to hear from you. We like to keep in touch with former members anyway but 2017 is a big year for us as it is our fiftieth anniversary. We are planning lots of special events and celebrations including an extra special members and former members feast. We'd love you to join us for that or for any of the other events during the year, or at any other time of course.

 

You can get in touch via the Contact Us menu item or by emailing our bagman, Nick, at bagman@grimsbymorrismen.org.uk or you can phone Nick on 07925 327020.

Join Us

Grimsby Morris Men are looking for new dancers.

 

Darcey Bussell en pointeFred and GingerBojangles

 

If you are male, aged between 5 and 105 and have two feet, even if you think they're both left feet, we can teach you to morris dance. Morris dancing is great exercise and great fun and gets you out in the open air or inside some great pubs (soft drinks only for under 18s).

If you're even vaguely interested in having a go come along to practice, have a chat with us and we'll get you capering in no time. Practice takes place most Mondays between 8 pm and 10 pm at Park Congregational Church Hall.

Alternatively, come along to a dance-out, have a chat and pick up one of our leaflets or send our bagman, Nick, an email through our Contact Us page.

Plough Plays and Wassails

During December and January some members of GMM put down their sticks and hankies and put on some different costumes; its Plough Play season!

The Lincolnshire plough plays are a tradition dating back centuries and are similar in structure to the mummer's plays performed throughout the country. Farm workers were laid off and un-paid between Christmas Eve and Plough Monday, the first Monday in January, and the men, referred to as "Plough Jags", would go out round the big houses and pubs in their locality and perform their own mummer's play in order to earn food, beer and some extra money. The arrival of the Plough Jags became an essential part of the Christmas and New Year celebrations. Each village in Lincolnshire had its own play and many of these still exist today.

Grimsby Morris Men are helping to keep this tradition alive. Each year, around Christmas, we perform a different Lincolnshire plough play in pubs and other places around Lincolnshire. Instead of collecting money to supplement our meagre wages, we collect for local charities. If we enter your hostelry this year, enjoy the play and then dig deep into your pockets. Think of it as paying to make us go away!

    
    

   

January is also wassail season.

Like the plough plays, wassailing is a traditional activity, but is much more ancient, probably pre-dating the arrival of Christianity in England. The purpose of wassailing is to awake the cider apple trees and to scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the Autumn.

We usually do a couple of wassails at places where apple trees are growing. We dance, sing, recite "poetry", perform our plough play and toast the apple tries to encourage Pomona, the godess of fruit trees, gardens and orchards, to bring a bumper crop of apples at harvest time. Although reluctant, we usually consume small quantities of cider to further encourage the godess.

Have a look at our events listing to catch up with a plough play performance or a wassail.

 

GMM News



Friday 20th October 2017

“Boarder Morris” workshop

 Heritage Lottery Fund Logo

The Monday evenings of 9th and 16th October saw the second pair of workshop/open evenings, this time dedicated to our winter dance style of “Boarder Morris”. The name caused some confusion on social media – clearly some people have not read about the derivation of the name which is explained in our website!

All together we had seven visitors , all of whom danced really well, participated brilliantly and worked really hard – some were unable to participate in both events because of work commitments or illness but everyone seems to have had fun (judging by the entries in out visitor’s book and post on Facebook)!

Each night we were able to teach three complete dances and repeat them to reinforce the learning and get a good feel of what the dances were really about.

The handouts were well received and gave an explanation of the origins of the name and how the style of dance we have developed at Grimsby Morris Men grew from the 1970’s to the present and has become distinct from what a lot of other “Border” Morris teams dance.

 

 Boarder Morris workshop in action.          Boarder Morris workshop in action.

 

We have already had enquiries about when the next events are going to be so we must be doing something right!

 

 

 


______________________________




Friday 22nd September 2017

Fiftieth Anniversary Invitation Feast

 Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

On a rather grey Friday evening, in mid-September, current and former members and spouses of Grimsby Morris Men, along with special guests, met at the Wheatsheaf in Grimsby for a celebratory dinner to mark the 50th anniversary of Grimsby Morris Men. Guests included Eddie Worrall (Squire of the Morris Ring), Paul Cross (Morris Ring Area Representative), Melanie Onn (MP for Great Grimsby) and Martyn Vickers (MP for Cleethorpes).

The event was very convivial and was a great occasion to renew friendships with former members and old friends and to get to know our guests.

After the feasting, the evening ended with some dancing and a few songs although, sadly, neither of our local MP’s could be persuaded to dance!

 

Grimsby Morris Men and Guests
Some of Grimsby Morris Men with guests Paul Cross (4th from left), Melanie Onn (6th) and Eddie Worral (9th).

 

Martin Campbell and Melanie Onn
Our squire, Martin Campbell, with Melanie Onn, MP for Great Grimsby.

 

Martyn Vickers and Martin Campbell
Martyn Vickers, MP for Cleethorpes, with our squire, Martin Campbell.

 

 

 


______________________________




Sunday 30th July 2017

Golden Year Weekend of Dance

by Steve Fuller

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

The last weekend in July saw Grimsby Morris Men take over the Meridian Park in Cleethorpes as the base for a weekend of Dance.  Eight dance teams from England joined us over the weekend along with Spiel und Tanzkreis Seelze, a folk dance group from Seelze near Hannover in Germany.  We have been holding exchange visits with Spiel und Tanskreis Seelze for over 40 years so it was entirely appropriate for them to help us celebrate our anniversary.

Friday evening was spent socialising then on Saturday there was dancing at several locations in Grimsby town centre followed, in the afternoon, by dancing in People Park. Saturday evening activities included a barn dance at the Meridian Park.

 Sunday’s dancing saw the teams performing along the sea front in Cleethorpes at many locations ending with a massed display in the pier gardens. Visiting teams (and local ones too!) enjoyed the weekend and it was good to have dancing on the streets in our home towns. 

 

Some of the Sides at the Fishermen's Memorial                 Some more Sides at the Fishermen's Memorial

Some of the teams by the Fishermen’s Memorial in St Jame’s Square Grimsby.

You can see lots more photos on our Facebook - click here

 


______________________________




Saturday 15th July 2017

Exhibition in Lincoln

 by Steve Fuller

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

 

“It was on one April morning...” as the song goes, that several members of Grimsby Morris Men travelled to the Museum Of Lincolnshire life in Lincoln to set up an exhibition in the Gatehouse gallery. The exhibition traces the history of the current team that was started in 1967 and describes the development of the team from the first performance (originally regarded as a “one off”) through the formation of the team and up to the present day.  Hundreds of photographs of the team taken all over Britain and Europe were painstakingly mounted on the display boards and mannequins, in appropriate costume were dressed.  A range of artefacts (musical instruments, books, press cuttings, mementos from visiting teams etc.) were also displayed.

 

A view of the exhibition          Another view of the exhibition

 

The exhibition ran until early July when the same team of volunteers returned to the museum to take it down.  Staff at the museum commented on the positive response the exhibition had elicited from visitors and there were many comments and photographs posted on social media by visitors about it. 

 

Sadly, owing to our own full diary and the Museum’s busy schedule of events we were unable to dance at the museum whilst the exhibition was on but we will be dancing there in September as part of Lincoln BIG Morris.

 

Following discussions with museum staff we are not sure whether the gallery will be available in 10 years’ time for our 60th!


______________________________




Thursday 1st June 2017

Cheers Michel

  by Steve Fuller

 

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund

 

 

 

                  Michel Ducos

 

For over forty years Heather and Michel Ducos have been proprietors of the Alford Pottery and have gained a reputation for producing elegant, practical and high quality wares. During the late 1970’s Heather and Michele were also active in establishing  the Alford Craft Market (with its big weekend during the August Public Holiday) and helped to make the weekend a gathering place for Morris teams from all over the UK.  

For many years Michel was a very active member of Grimsby Morris Men. Although Heather and Michel are hoping to retire (although they still spend a lot of time in the pottery!),  Michel was happy to take on the task of designing  and making  a “loving cup” to mark our fiftieth anniversary.

Many thanks to Michel – we look forward to putting the cup to good use. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   


______________________________