PHOENIX MORRIS HISTORY

The history of Phoenix Morris goes back to 1952 when a Morris side was formed in Finchley in North London at the Phoenix Folk Club.

The Side was formed from members of the folk club (we understand from the members of at least one Side which had ceased to exist but we have no information on this) and carried on until 1957 when it, in turn, merged with another group which subsequently over the years moved and finally settled in Watford. Here it prospered and grew until 1981, when a series of meetings were held between the members of the side concerning the direction the side should be taking in the light of modern developments within Morris.

During these many meetings, there was full and frank exchange of views resulting in no useful conclusions and finally many members left the side, some to join a new North West side which was being formed in Enfield and other to reform a new side.

(The Enfield side, dancing North West, moved back to the Watford are but disbanded in 1991 and the reformed side is still dancing in Watford and we now try to dance with them once a year as we do with most of the other sides in the area).

The existing Side was, therefore, disbanded and a new Side was formed by the officers called Phoenix Morris (Phoenix taking the name of the original side and rising from the ashes!) The side continued happily, although short of men, for a few years and an attempt was made to set up a parallel women's side to dance Cotswold in the area. However, unfortunately, this failed and most of its members left to join Lord Paget's Morris in Uxbridge.

During this period (late in 1983) we relocated our practice hall to Rickmansworth.

Our kit, at this stage, was black shoes, red socks, black breeches with red belts, grey shirts, red and yellow armbands and bell pads and brown bowler hats decorated with flowers with red and yellow ribbon arm bands and bell pads.

 

 

PHOENIX GROWS

A year later, another attempt was made to set up a parallel women's side, this time more successfully. However, due to a shortage of dances for the women's side, it was agreed that the side should dance mixed for a year to enable the women's side, to recruit sufficient numbers to dance separately.

The intended split never occurred and today Phoenix Morris is still a mixed side and, indeed, the men are outnumbered four to one by the women!

The intention of returning to a joint side has now been abandoned, although we do dance some dances single sex from time to time.

In 1992, we had grown to over thirty members in the Side.

As 1993 marked the side's 10th year of dancing in Rickmansworth, we celebrated the event with a weekend of dance combined with the Rickmansworth Canal Festival which was celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the granting of the Act which enabled the Grand Junction Canal (now part of the Grand Union Canal) to be built.

By 1995 the Side reached the largest size of 45 members.

In 1998 another merger took place when Halfcut Morris, a canal Side from Uxbridge, joined Phoenix and bought its dancers and dances to strengthen the Phoenix repertoire.

Our kit has evolved and the brown bowlers have been replaced by black half hats and the shirts are now red and white striped. We have added a black waistcoat with a very fine phoenix badge on the back and have red belts. It has now stayed this way for over 15 years.

The kit is decorated with flowers on the hats and badges on the waistcoats and red, yellow and orange ribbons on the arms and hats. We perform the dances with sticks and red hankies.

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