History

Cardiff Ladies Morris were formed in 1973 and were one of the founder members of the Women’s Morris Federation, now the Morris Federation.

Interest in starting the side came from two Cardiff organisations - the Folk Club and the Mountaineering Club. Initially the dances were taught by two members of Cardiff Morris Men; then a couple came from Bath, and also the early “Ladies” learned by attending workshops.

The side developed by becoming an Adult Education class - this brought income and numbers and also provided a place to dance at no extra cost. It was considered normal for there to be 25 - 30 ladies and the average age was mid 20s. Some of the original members still attend our annual Anniversary Meal.

The final kit consisted of a red skirt with white petticoat, white shirt and black waistcoat sporting the dragon badge, hankies with dragons on, with black sweatshirts for cold weather!

Originally there were two kits - a day and an evening one. The evening kit was a long red skirt and white blouse, with the addition of a bowler hat and a frill on the skirt to provide “swing”; this was based on ceilidh dress of the time. 

The day kit was red and white gingham mini dresses with grey tights, garter, a black waistcoat and bowler. Our banner, created by Leni Massie and Jill Wright (nee Murphy), shows this kit in action. The idea for the outfit came from traditional Welsh costume from an earlier century such as would have been worn by a merchant’s wife, although being the 70s, skirt length was a little shorter!

With the change in fashions (and for decency’s sake), a frill was added to the dress in May 1977. We finally tired of Italian restaurant tablecloth jokes, and changed to the red skirts in May 1990. We always danced in shoes with a strap fastening, which allowed us to wear bells on elastic fitting round the middle of the foot.

The side started off dancing in the Cotswold Morris traditions of Wheatley and Ilmington, and at various times throughout its history has also danced Bidford, Stanton Harcourt, Lichfield, Bampton, Ducklington and a few North West and Border dances.

We also have our own tradition of Llareggub (à la Dylan Thomas), these being dances in a Cotswold style developed by members of the side over the past 40 years. They can be seen on Youtube and notation obtained from the Federation.

Due to decreasing numbers and increasing age - and associated aches and pains - we regretfully decided to finish dancing in 2016.

Corrections and additions to this 'potted history' would be gratefully received by Anne, still reachable at ~ secretary@cardiff-ladies-morris.co.uk

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