Interview with Peter Boyce, 8 July 1999
Level: Category
Sound Archive
Level: Fonds
Level: Series
Essex Folk Movement Oral History Project
Level: Sub-Series
Scope and Content:
Peter Boyce [PB] interviewed by Sue Cubbin [SC] on 8 July 1999. PB talks about running Morris clubs, including Mendip Morris in Weston-super-Mare and Chingford Morris in Essex, and the split between Chingford Morris and Albion Morris.

Tape 1 Side A

[00:00:00] PB comments on his dogs; barking in the background.
[00:01:24] Talks about his family; their life during the Second World War; living near Butlins; being evacuated to Bewdley, Worcestershire; returning to family in Chesham after getting ill; hearing classical music on the radio; learning the violin; music at school [recites a hymn]; singing tenor in choir; attending music classes until 14; sixth form choir; no dancing.
[00:10:21] Attending Bristol University and qualifying as a teacher; becoming Head of Department at Weston School aged 25; teaching while on National Service in Singapore; getting involved in Scottish dancing in Singapore; attending country dances and social dances in Bristol; discovering Irish jigs around 1955-56; the influence of Nibs Matthews in Bristol.
[00:15:20] Being introduced to Morris in Bristol; enjoying parades in the army; touring internationally; starting Mendip Morris while teaching in Weston-super-Mare; starting a school Morris side; meeting Dr. Leonard Luckwell [later chair of English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)].
[00:21:15] The appeal of Morris dancing, rhythm, appearance; the dichotomy between serious and fun Morris; involving young people; the relationship between Morris and English pride; the quality of the people; Geoff Hughes [GH], a former student, being 'tone deaf'; Morris being welcoming to all dancers; the relationship between Stockton and Chingford Morris; the 'Chingford tradition'; the lack of singing tradition at Weston.
[00:29:42] Moving to Chingford around 1960; setting up a Chingford club; the relationship between Morris and the school in Chingford.

Tape 1 Side B

[00:00:00] PB talks about photographs of Mendip Morris; playing violin; starting a country dance band in Weston; teaching Morris at schools and the benefits of involving young people; the Morris sides at Chingford school; his relationship with GH.
[00:07:32] The origin of 'The Upton-upon-Severn stick dance' [later the Chingford stick dance].
[00:11:00] Dancing books, 'The Bacon' by Lionel Bacon; listening to tapes in the EFDSS library, including of fiddler 'Jinky' Wells; the connection between Chingford and Bampton.
[00:13:03] The instruments of Morris, young people; 'Peter Boyce's band' at Chingford; John Watcham playing the concertina; travelling with the school to Sidmouth; integrating students into Chingford Morris; travelling to the Royal Ballet School with his teams; the origin of the La Fille Mal Gardée clog dance; changes to the school structure around 1965; ending the school Morris club.
[00:23:24] The size of Chingford Morris in the late 1960s; involving women in Morris. SC mentions when she first saw Chingford Morris. PB talks about his involvement in Chingford as a dancer and musician in the late 1960s; the relationship between 'The Home Brew' and Chingford Morris; enjoying folk songs, attending the Bald Hind in Chigwell; sing-songs with his Chingford side; arguments about 'electric Morris'.

Tape 2 Side A

[00:00:00] PB continues talking about the debate over 'electric Morris'; his relationship with the Albion Band; the commercialisation of Morris; the split between Chingford and Albion Morris; giving up Morris due to arguments; the death of a Morris man during a performance in the 1980s; the relationship between Morris and heart problems.
[00:04:46] Running an agency for barn dances; calling; playing with a country dance band; John Lagden; teaching country dancing in Chingford; starting Chingford Country Dance Club.
[00:08:04] GH teaching in America; an American group doing Chingford dances; Hughes reviving the Abram Ring Dance; playing for the country dance clubs near Chingford; becoming less involved in dance due to his age; the importance - and difficulty - of involving young people; the loss of traditional dances; the benefit of Chingford having one simple tradition; how people progress in Morris.
[00:15:14] His discovery of Lichfield dances; whether Morris is embarrassing; Chingford Morris appearing on Blue Peter in the early 1960s; the requirements of Morris, exhibitionism; the positive public response to Morris; clog dancing being impressive; starting with the best simple dances, Bampton.
[00:23:30] SC explains the oral history project and Essex Sound Archive.
[00:28:22] PB plays 'Highland Mary' on fiddle, in the style of 'Jinky' Wells.
Dates of Creation:
8 July 1999
1 hour 32 minutes 2 seconds
Creator Name:
Sue Cubbin
Admin History:
Peter Boyce (b.1931, Clacton) became involved in the Essex folk movement through Morris dancing. After completing his National Service in Singapore and teacher training in Bristol, he began two Morris sides: Mendip Morris in Weston-Super-Mare and Chingford Morris after moving to Essex in the 1960s. While he retired from Morris due to his age (and arguments within Chingford), at the time of the interview he continued to call dances and perform as a musician.
Archivist Note:
Copyright transferred to ESVA
Physical Characteristics:
3 MP3 files [digital copies of original cassettes]
Related Unit of Description:
For a handwritten transcript of this recording, see SA 30/7/1/14/3
Dates of Description:
May 2022,,,
Not Available:
Digital item(s). For access please email ero.enquiry@essex.gov.uk