Brookes, Mr & Mrs

Collection date: Dec 1909

Area: Worcestershire


Mr & Mrs Brookes of Pershore: Sharp interviewed Mr & Mrs Brookes in December 1909 regarding what we now call the ‘Border Morris’ tradition in the town of Pershore, 9 miles E of Worcester. They said the adult dancing had died out about 20 years previously. The men did not black their faces, as far as they could remember and they danced at Xmastime. They had sticks and their musician was a fiddler. Sharp collected no tune nor dance figures from the Brookes. His brief notes are in Folk Dance Notes 1/91.

The informants were probably Thomas Brookes and his wife Mary. Thomas was born in October qr 1856 at Pershore and spent his whole life in the town.  He married Mary Parkes on 7/4/1878. The couple ran a grocery store in the town for many years (1901 census ref RG13/2792 f87 p15). Their only child Thomas Jr became a blacksmith. Thomas Snr died on 7/4/1936.

Although Thomas and Mary could not supply much information for Sharp, modern dance teams have been lucky to get information about the revived dancing that took place in Pershore just before World War One and that Sharp naturally missed. Bill Scarrott (1904-1986) was interviewed by Dave Jones* in 1985 and could describe how the boys’ team kept the dancing going. Bill was born on 3/4/1904, 6th child of Alfred Scarrott, roundabout proprietor and travelling showman. In the 1939 Register Bill Scarrott was 35, a lorry driver at Pershore with wife Edith and daughter Carys. Bill died in August 1986 after passing on more vital dance information.

*Dave Jones: The Roots of Welsh Border Morris (1988 pp37-42)

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