The late artist and socialist William Morris was honoured on Saturday evening when a group of poets, speakers and singers came together to mark the anniversary of his 181st birthday.

About 50 people gathered at the William Morris Pub in Merton Abbey Mills, where many of Morris & Co's legendary textiles print designs were manufactured in the late 19th century.

Performers included Jo Silver, who sang a song about the life of the poet, Merton Poets Andy Frost and Robin Vaughan-Williams, socialist choir The Strawberry Thieves and speakers Joanna Bazley and Lesley Heilbron, who read excerpts from Morris’ life.

Keith Spears and Len Waterman compered the evening.

Born on March 24 1834 at Elm House in Walthamstow, now The William Morris Gallery, Morris became an associate of the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement.

After receiving success with his best known poems, The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthly Paradise (1868-1870) and A Dream of John Ball (1888), Morris dedicated much of his time to the Kelmscott Press which he founded in 1891 and his design works Morris & Co.

Wimbledon Guardian:

Lesley Heilbron reads about William Morris

Auriel Glanville, who organised the event, said: "We had a wonderful evening celebrating the life and times of William Morris and I would like to thank everyone who gave their services for free and the William Morris pub who gave us the venue for free."

Wimbledon Guardian:

The proceeds from the evening will be donated to the William Morris Gallery.