The JOE MORLEY Memorial Fund  by Pat Doyle

taken from "The Banjo" No 60 March 2001

Thanks to the tireless, and continuing, efforts of our intrepid investigators, the true circumstances surrounding the last resting place of Joe Morley are now known.

As incredible as it may seem, Joe Morley, the man who provided countless devotees of the banjo with immense pleasure, and still continues to do so, has no permanent headstone on his grave, absolutely nothing but grass. A situation that I am certain you will agree is totally unacceptable. It is a position that WE can now rectify once and for all.

The accompanying photograph is where Joe Morley was buried on Monday, September 20th 1937,
in Streatham Park Cemetery, Rowen Road, Streatham, London SW16.
Grave 34010 - Square 20 is a lawned area about fifteen yards in from a branch of a main pathway.


To finally remedy this unacceptable situation, the 60" issue of ’The Banjo’ launched a fund to provide Joe Morley with a proper, lasting memorial - an inscribed white marble headstone with shaped plinth.

Joe Morley’s life was ‘The Banjo’, at the end he had very little for a lifetime’s work when his name and music were known throughout the world where the banjo was played. His contemporaries failed Morley while he was in their midst and were penny-pinching at the last in not ensuring that his grave was provided with a decent headstone.

We need no reminder that the flourishing banjo firmament that we now all enjoy would be immeasurably poorer but for the efforts of Joe Morley and the lasting legacy of his banjo music.

NOW is our opportunity as a combined membership to give something back to Morley’s memory and put matters right after a delay of sixty-three years since his untimely death, so please donate to his fund.

The illustration below shows how the headstone will look. Dimensions of 840mm x 580mm are approximate. It is not known if Joe Morley was religious, but a cross motif has been included in the design.

The black enamelled, carved, inscription reads:

The Unique
Joe Morley
Banjoist & Composer
1867 - 1937


The formal ceremony of dedication was held on Saturday 15th September 2001