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Considering Morris Dance Costumes as English National Dress

This page contains brief details about the video recording; the video (embedded in the page); an abstract for the talk; links to additional resources;  speaker biography and a summary.

Video recording of talk

Recording of a Morris Federation talk on “Considering Morris Dance Costumes as English National Dress” by Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe held on Zoom on 6 November 2021. The video lasts for 1 hour 5 minutes.



This talk engages with a recurring popular quandary: Why does England not have a national dress?

Described by renowned British folklorist Steve Roud in The English Year as the ‘arch-symbol of official fakelore’ the concept of national dress can be divisive. Despite this, the idea of an English national costume is not dead and continues to capture some element of the public imagination. If the relatively recent letters section of various national newspaper are anything to go by, then morris dance costumes are considered to be a possible contender for the title.

Starting its exploration in the Edwardian folk revival and finishing in the late twentieth century, this talk will consider the shifting relationships between revival morris costumes and the deliberate projection of Englishness. In summary it will, with all due seriousness, explore the arguments for, and against, treating morris dance costumes as a form of English national dress.

Additional resources

Links to related resources:

Speaker biography

Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe is in the process of completing her PhD on the subject of English social folk dance at the University of Roehampton. She originally trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in costume making, and runs the English Folk Costume Archive. She continues to have an active research interest in material culture and dress.


  • Title: Considering Morris Dance Costumes as English National Dress
  • Speaker: Chloe Middleton-Metcalfe
  • Facilitator: Pauline Woods-Wilson
  • Type: talk
  • Date of talk: 6 November 2021
  • Date page published: 15 May 2023

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