The Original Horwich Morris Dancers were formed in 1891 in response to a team from Chorley appearing in the first Horwich Rose Festival. This team, which was trained by Mr. Harry Barlow who was employed at the L&Y Railway locomotive works (the main employer in Horwich at the time) made its debut in the 1892 Rose Festival. At this time, all other teams danced in shoes, but Horwich wore clogs from the start. In 1893 Horwich won a major competition in Rochdale. The prize of 2 guineas was augmented by local tradesmen so that each member was presented with a medal. When a junior team was formed in 1895 the men’s team became known as Horwich Prize Medal Morris Dancers.
On June 20 1903 Horwich competed with 5 other teams in the major event at Crewe Hospital Gala. Their prize for winning was 5 guineas, and later each man was presented with an inscribed medal.The present team wear replicas made from a cast of one of these medals. At Sowerby Bridge Rushcart in 1906 Horwich were described as “World Champions” since they had won the prestigious Crewe competition two years running. In 1913 they posed outside the Toll Bar Inn,where they practised, with a cup won at Rochdale. This photograph is to be seen below. The team disbanded at the outbreak of war in 1914, though teams of children and young women danced through the 1920’s.
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