About The Side
About the Ironmen and Severn Gilders Morris Dancing Side
The dance teams
The Ironmen & Severn Gilders have existed for over 40 years as a joint Morris dance team. We are based in the Ironbridge area of Shropshire, England. We have two distinct traditions of dancing, North-West and Border, and each team has a complementary but different costume and style.
The Severn Gilders are a women's team who were named after the workers - the Gilders - who put the gold decorative edging on the china made in the famous Coalport factory that was located on the banks of the River Severn. Our other team colours of red, black represent the fire and coal of the furnaces as a tribute to Ironbridge, a World Heritage site and one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution.
The Ironmen's red and black kit is symbolic of the coal fires and heat of the furnaces that existed along the Ironbridge gorge. The clothing style is typical of Border Morris dancers with a waistcoat trimmed with strips of fabric known as a tatter jacket. Border Morris is a traditional style that originates from the Welsh borders with England (Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire) and involves lots of noise, stick clashing and energy. Faces are darkened as a disguise - traditionally this would have been done with a mixture of goose grease and soot - which reminds us that the early border dancing involved begging for money when work was scarce, something frowned upon by the authorities. The Ironmen are the only border morris side that dances in clogs.
We have a large band with a reputation for being loud and entertaining. Like many other Morris teams we have a mixture of professional musicians and dancers who play in the band when not dancing. This means that we have a range of instruments and experience available to us at different dance-outs. We avoid using amplifiers with the exception of Shirley - our double bass - she is quite shy and needs a bit of encouragement!
To find out more....
We dance at local events as well as large folk and cultural festivals and we welcome enquiries about bookings. Please use our contact us page if you are interested in talking about booking us for your event.
We are always keen to have new members. You don't have to have danced Morris before or have played music for a Morris side in order to have a warm welcome and we regularly hold taster sessions where you can try out Morris dancing. To find out more about joining the side use our Join Us page form. Do browse our other pages to find out more about the team's activities.