About Morden Tower

The Morden Tower is a turret on the west walls of the town and dates from 1280. It is one of the fifteen D-Towers that once surrounded the city. From 1536 the building was occupied by The Company of Plumbers Plasterers and Glaziers whose Ordinary bade them to put on the play "The Three Kings of Colleyn" on Feast of Corpus Christi. The Guild modernised the upper story in 1620

In 1964 Connie Pickard took out the lease for the Morden Tower and with Tom Pickard organised the first poetry readings. In 2004 the tower celebrated its 40th anniversary, read Building a Tower of Poetic Strength by Newcastle Journal celebrating the event.

Morden Tower poster

The very simple architecture of the of the room and its intimate scale - it's roughly circular, and holds up to 50 people at most when sitting comfortably - has through the years ensured for poets a space and atmosphere in which they have been able to achieve a direct communication with their audience. Anyone who has had the good fortune to hear Basil Bunting, Anne Waldman, Allen Ginsberg, Fleur Adcock, Ted Hughes, Robert Bly, Hugh MacDiarmid, Adrian Mitchel and many others who have read at the tower will have a lasting impression of what is meant by the "authentic voice" of poetry.

In the past 45 years many other Poets, Artists, Musicians and well-wishers have been involved in the organsation :

Claude Rawson, Richard Hamilton, Malcolm Rutherford, Robert Woof, Neil Astley, Tony Harrison, Gordon D Brown, George Smyth, Barry MacSweeney, Bob Lawson, Michael Blackburn, George Charlton, Peter Armstrong, Brenden Cleary, Peter Bennet, Richard Kell, Tony Jackson, John Byrne, Paul Summers, Linda France, Bill Herbert, Allen Brown, Andrew Crumey, Rosie Harrison, David Faulkner, Dave Heslop, Robert Nicholson, Paul Summers, Andrew Tait, Kevin Cadwallender, Kostas Hrisos, Adam Fish, Rosie Lewis, Hasan Gaylani, Ben Jones, Christina Le Prevost, Lee Etherington, Patricia Spoors, and the The Exploding Alphabets Group

The Morden Tower's survival has in no small part been helped with funding from Arts Council of England and of course Hanro Ltd who re-installed the Towers inside toilet, completing the work of the plumbers for the new Millennium.

Sadly, since 2005 the Morden Tower has received no funding, surviving mainly from the dedication of Connie Pickard and friends, donations from the music events and who knows perhaps the spirit of the Company of Plumbers Plasterers and Glaziers.


"I have given poetry readings and talks about poetry all over Europe, and in Canada, America and China, but never in a place was I happier to be in than the Morden Tower. " Hugh MacDiarmid