The next event on the CMM horizon is Spring Day, on Saturday April 25th 2020. We’ll be dancing in Cambridge City, starting at 10.30 at Great St Mary’s church, with other spots and times to be finalised.
Since 1952 the Cambridge Morris Men have held a Spring Day of Dancing in late April each year in the surrounding villages and towns or in the city. This year is special because we are celebrating the centenary of the formation of a separate group of Men formed to dance the Morris, initially in Trinity College led by the Junior Bursar, John Burnaby, with six other Trinity men. After a few weeks practices were moved to the music room in the Malting House opposite the Granta pub in Newnham and thrown open to any man (town or gown). Practices have continued in Cambridge ever since. In 1924 the men went on a week’s tour in the Cotswolds as the Travelling Morrice and in the November of that year the formal Club called the Cambridge Morris Men was established.
By the turn of the century many of the traditional villages in the Cotswolds had given up the Morris, but a revival led by Cecil Sharp and Mary Neale (in different ways) was started in towns elsewhere, in this region at Cambridge , Thaxted, and Letchworth. In 1911 the dancing was taught at the Perse School by Caldwell Cook, who soon established an excellent side which gave various shows in Cambridge, including one on Parker’s Piece of which we have photographs. There was also morris at St John College Choir School. By 1914 there was adult Morris and Country dancing and in that year a society called the Cambridge Folk Dancers was formed . After the war on 14th May 1919 Cecil Sharp gave a lecture at the Guildhall and the Cambridge Branch of the English Folk Dance Society was founded, and it was in the following year that the separate group for Men only was formed.
We know the names of many of early dancers and have a photograph of a show given on 31st May 1921 at a party in Nevile’s Court in Trinity College, arranged by the branch of the E.F.D.S. in the presence of The Prince of Wales, on the occasion of him receiving an Honorary degree at Cambridge University.