The world's largest gathering of Morris dancers is taking place in Medway for the annual Sweeps Festival. The unique event is inspired by Charles Dickens' descriptions of the annual holiday given to chimney sweeps. The dancing began at Rochester Cathedral. John Ryall reports.
Fifty teams of Morris dancers will be taking part in the Sweeps Festival in Rochester today. The festival celebrates the traditional holiday of the chimney sweeps on 1st May- the one time of the year the sweeps could leave the soot behind and have some fun.
Rochester Cathedral will also be celebrating by unveiling a Victorian tiled Zodiac floor in the Cathedral - that will normally be covered up.
The annual Sweeps Festival takes place in Rochester this weekend. The event is in its 33rd year. It dates back to the nineteenth century tradition of sweeps celebrating their holiday with song and dance.
The pay was low, it was a dirty trade and there was little reward for the men who did the job and even less for children. The sweeps' holiday was traditionally held on the first of May each year.