The secret history of the early months

Chris Maple (first squire and foreman) speaks out

Maggie and Rod Goodall ran a Folk Club in the large black shed behind The Pickering Arms in Thelwall. It was a mixed singers and guests club. Maggie herself had a very good singing voice and frequently performed at the club. Rod did not have a good singing voice but being a rugby player performed well as `bouncer' and money taker on the door - there was no trouble in this Folk Club! ! . But what set this club apart from most others was not what went on while the club was open but what went on when it was closed!

After ‘last orders’ and a final chorus song most people would drift away home but the cognoscenti stayed put and waited for the pub to empty. Then they made their way to the pub kitchen where amazing bowls of home-made soup would be served by Maggie's Mum and if you wanted a drink from the bar, well Maggie's Dad could oblige. Nobody sat on ceremony, in fact we all sat on the floor, and perhaps a few more songs would be sung. There were no special privileges for the guest singer, except to be invited to join this little gathering, and many well known folk singers will remember their evenings at Thelwall Folk Club.

It was in this heady atmosphere, well into the folk song revival of the 60s and 70s, that the germ of an idea for a Morris Dancing side first arose. And it was to this that I joined in 1973 having ‘come up north’ the previous year to work in Liverpool. I had danced previously with Blackmore Morris Men and Chelmsford Morris Men, I knew that for a few years at least I would have ‘The Morris’ in my blood - so the small ad which I read in a folk magazine was just what I was looking for. The initial practice meetings were not auspicious! !

And so we practised and practised and practised until one day.....
.....but the rest is history

*Not actually true - Chris's memory must be going! 

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Last updated 16 April 1998