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WHEN THE KING CAME
HIS MAJESTY HER MAJESTY KING GEORGE V QUEEN MARY July 1912
HONLEY CIVIC SOCIETY History Group
WHEN THE KING CAME TO HONLEY
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Published in England by Honley Civic Society. Printed by Enterprise Print, Honley. © Peter Marshall and Honley Civic Society Text Peter Marshall Design PFM First published 2012
above, the King and Queen arrive at Wellington Mills, Lindley on 11" July, 1912.
Some images in this booklet have been digitally altered to remove blemishes and correct colour balance.
When the King came to Honley
Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, decorating the streets, holding a Sing at Lane Head, a fireworks display, a church service and a special dinner raising £500 for the Sick Nursing Fund.
The village subsequently mourned the Queen’s death in 1901 and then delighted in King Edward VII’s Coronation the following year. The Coronation in 1911 of his successor, King George V and Queen Mary, brought the villagers out into the streets once again. Following the traditional church service, crowds gathered at Lane Head and paraded through the village, headed as always by Honley Brass Band.
A tea for children at their various Sunday Schools, with the presentation of Coronation mugs, was followed by the traditional fireworks and a large bonfire. Honley truly knew how to celebrate the monarchy, although the monarch had never visited the village. That is, until 1912.
As part of a number of trips to the country’s industrial heartlands, the King and Queen undertook a tour of West Yorkshire, ajourney only made possible with the recent arrival of reliable motor cars. In this case it was a Daimler 20 that took the party round Yorkshire. Based at Lord Fitzwilliam’s home of Wentworth Woodhouse, the royal couple arrived in Huddersfield on the afternoon of Thursday 11th July, 1912.
They were welcomed first at Wellington Mills, Lindley by company chairman Horace Martin. The King in a lightweight suit and brown bowler, the Queen in a heliotrope outfit and matching hat, toured the mills before going on to Greenhead
H ice loved royalty. The village celebrated Queen
above, Children await the royal party. below, Crowds cheers as the royal cars appear in Huddersfield Road, Honley.
Park. There, hundreds of school children cheered the arrival of the royal party. The Mayor of Huddersfield, Councillor George Thomson, welcomed the King and Queen and presented members of the Town Council.
Next, at the old Huddersfield Infirmary, the King unveiled a statue of his late father, King Edward VII. The royal party then drove through the town centre and set off for Slaithwaite, where they made an unscheduled stop at the home of Matthew Shaw, who failed at first to recognise the King before spotting the Royal standard on the Daimler.
On to Honley
Following a visit to Marsden and a return by Meltham, South Crosland and Netherton, the cavalcade of motor cars entered Honley along Huddersfield Road to waiting crowds.
The King and Queen were making this personal stop in Honley on their tour of Yorkshire to recognise the 60 years service which William Brooke of Northgate Mount had given to his family business and the generosity which he had displayed to the people of Honley in that time.
The villagers of Honley had turned out in force. Men in Sunday best and straw boaters, women in their finest attire and their best hats lined the road with flags and handkerchiefs ready to greet their guests. Some stood on the walls while others perched precariously on the gates of the fields.
At Deanhouse, 70 residents of the Workhouse were made ready and boarded wagonettes which had been hired to take them down to Honley to see the arrival of the King and Queen.
George Oldham, vice-chairman of the Urban District Council, had organised a number of public viewpoints from Reins to the entrance to Northgate Mount at Newtown. One of these was reserved for the Workhouse residents.
above, School children gathered in a specially built stand.
below, Children walk round Honley with their teachers on Coronation day 22" June,1911.
On arrival there, they were escorted to their places by the Chairman of the Workhouse Committee, France Littlewood, and each one was handed some biscuits to sustain them. He was joined by Emily Frances Siddon, of the Huddersfield Board of Guardians, which was responsible for the Workhouse. Miss Siddon, who lived in Honley House, was presented with a bouquet of roses.
National School Preparations
Meanwhile, preparations had been going on at Honley National School, where the pupils were given a half-day holiday. A tea was provided by William Brooke and each girl was given a “safety brooch” by Miss Siddon and each boy a button, as a souvenir of the visit.
Tea was taken at the school, after which the children marched to their places in a stand at Reins, constructed by Mr Brooke for them to see the Royal visitors. This was placed on rising ground to enable the children to see the procession of cars and their royal occupants.
The school had around 450 pupils in 1912 and the children must have made a wonderful sight as they walked down from the centre of the village and along Huddersfield Road. The infants walked with their headmistress, Miss A Evans and her three teachers, Alice Moss, Mary Robinson and Beatrice Mellor.
Miss Bartle, headmistress of the girls, led the way along with her staff, Edith Hobson, Edith Whiteley and Beatrice Anthony. There was a new teacher at the school, Dorothy Byram, who had been a pupil teacher like Miss Hobson and was newly qualified - joining the school just one week previously.
The boys were led down to Reins by their headmaster George Borwell and another teacher, Mr J W Tunstall.
above, The royal Daimler offers the first glimpse of a king in Honley
left, William and Gertrude Brooke in 1912
below, Crowds disperse to gather at the entrance to Northgate Mount for the King’s departure
The King and Queen Arrive
Around five o’clock and already running about half an hour late, the cavalcade of royal cars slowed down to a walking pace to pass through the hundreds of people who pushed forward onto Huddersfield Road at Reins for a glimpse of the first monarch to visit their village. The cars then turned left into the driveway of Northgate Mount, home of William Brooke, a Director of Brooke’s Mill at Armitage Bridge.
There was an arch of roses over the driveway to the house and 80 men of D Squadron, the Yorkshire Dragoons, under Major Ingram, lined up to form a guard of honour. Honley Brass Band played in the grounds.
Within the grounds of Northgate Mount, another stand had been erected for the benefit of members and officials of the Urban District Council. Outside, the crowds left their vantage points and surged along to the entrance.
Inside Northgate Mount
Gertrude Brooke recorded the events inside the house in her diary. She described the visit as a fairy tale, but given that she had only two weeks to prepare, looked forward to the King and Queen coming with some trepidation.
She had written to the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting asking if there were any special arrangements needed, but the reply was that the Royal party wished everything to be quite informal and that the Queen was both kind and natural.
On the King and Queen’s arrival, William and Gertrude Brooke met their Majesties at the door and all went inside to have tea in the drawing room. The King immediately apologised for their lateness. William Brooke’s family was also introduced to the royals, his son Tom and wife Dreda and their children, Joan, Bill and Susan, their daughter Gertrude and her husband Harold.
above, The royal car leaves the entrance to Northgate Mount.
left, Northgate Mount in the late 20" century.
beiow, Honley Brass Band played in the grounds.
William spent most of the time with the King and Gertrude with the Queen. She invited Mrs Brooke to sit beside her on the sofa and enquired if the family had connections with India. (The King and Queen had visited India in December 1911.) She noticed many of the objects in the drawing room and commented on an Indian shawl which was draped over a sofa. Gertrude replied that their son had brought it back when he had visited India at the time of the Durbar and that their daughter, Gertrude, had married and gone to India. The Queen enquired where her husband was stationed.
Continuing to show an interest in the people, the Queen went on to ask about the workforce and their lives and the homes they lived in. She enquired how many were employed by William and was he “much beloved”, to which Gertrude answered “yes”.
In response to Queen Mary’s question if John Brooke and Sons was an old firm, Gertrude gave her a short history of the company. She added that William felt that the workpeople “should aim at co-operation and she said with great emphasis ‘Ah! Yes indeed’ evidently deeply interested in questions of this kind.” Gertrude added that one of the great difficulties was the dislike of workpeople to the idea of anyone being superior to the others.
The Queen rose to sign a book which had been sent by the Mayor of Huddersfield for the Royal party to sign and noticed the garden, commenting favourably on it and the roses, which were all in bloom. When the King signed the book, he too looked out and remarked on the garden. It was then the turn of the Lady-in-Waiting, Lady Eva Dugdale, who also admired the garden.
The Queen evidently enjoyed the rest in the day’s schedule which the visit offered and took two cups of tea. When Tom
Brooke offered some cake, she said that she preferred the smaller ones and took two of them. Gertrude noted this and said that it would give great satisfaction to the family cook- housekeeper, Waterfield, as she had made them.
Looking round the room once more, the Queen asked the name of the roses and particularly admired one named Madame Abel Chatenay.
Queen Mary returned to the sofa and asked who the children were that they had seen standing at the door of the drawing room as they came in. When Gertrude said that they were their grandchildren, the Queen expressed astonishment that they were Tom’s children as he looked too young.
Gertrude explained that the elder girl was anxious to see the King and Queen and that they had been allowed to stand at the door. The Queen immediately said, “Oh, but I should like to see them here, send for them at once, please”.
Tom asked his wife Dreda to bring them, although they by that time had gone for their tea.
The Royal party remained inside for around half an hour, during which time two old hand loom weavers were brought to the house.
Mary Hanson of Scammonden, who could recall the celebrations for the Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838, and Jonathan Heap, aged 81, were brought to the drawing room to be introduced to the King. He invited them to enter and meet the Queen, who shook their hand “very warmly” according to newspaper reports. Mary Hanson replied, “God save you.”
Mary Hanson said that she had been working at her loom that morning. The Queen asked afterwards where they had their looms and Gertrude told her they worked in their cottages, generally in an upstairs room, Queen Mary asked several other questions about the life of working people.
Soon after this the King came and told the Queen it was time to go. As they passed the table with various odd and ends on it the Queen asked if they were family treasures. Gertrude replied that almost all of them were.
The King noticed an Italian Order and asked where ithad come from. William told him it was Uncle Ben’s Cross. A relative of Gertrude, Benjamin Ingham had been a leading businessman in Italy and fluent Italian speaker. The King seemed to be very interested in this and told the Queen.
They both noticed some old watches and asked about them. William then took out of his pocket the watch given to him by the workforce ten years previously to commemorate his 50 years in business and he showed it to the King. William added that he valued it very much. The King then took his watch out of his pocket and showed it to William. However, Gertrude did not hear who had given it to him.
As they were leaving, the Queen’s enquiries continued. Passing the china cupboard she said, “What is that china?” pointing to the old Worcester. Gertrude said that it was part of the set used at tea. “Oh yes” she said, “I noticed that”.
At this point the children were brought in, Joan, Bill and Susan. The King and Queen shook hands with them, the Queen spoke to Joan and Bill and the youngest, Susan, stood near to her grandmother.
Tom said to her “Make a curtsey, Susan” and Susan picked up her dress very high and almost went on her knees in her curtsey and came up smiling and looking straight up in the King’s face. He laughed and patted her on the shoulder.
The Royal party then left the Brooke household. Someone who was standing outside the house remarked that the King and Queen looked serious when they came, but that when they went away they were smiling and looking very happy and they must certainly have enjoyed their visit.
An Unforgettable Day
Before their departure, the workhouse patients were all given gifts of tobacco, snuff or sweets from William Brooke as a memento of the occasion. They then boarded the wagonettes and returned to Deanhouse.
The Royal Party left through the gates of Northgate Mount to a great cheer and the sound of Honley Brass Band playing the National Anthem. They then motored via New Mill and Shepley, where the were shown a 60 ton block of stone hewn from the Sovereign Quarry, and on to Wentworth Woodhouse. One of the lucky schoolgirls, in her adult life, described the visit as “an unforgettable day”. The day when the King came to Honley.
below, Honley celebrates the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary just over one year earlier, on 22" June, 1911.
The King and the Chicken
e route of the royal party took them from Marsden to Crosland Moor via Meltham and then on to Honley. A couple of weeks before the visit, Major L W Atcherley was inspecting the King’s route when he ran over one of the chickens belonging to Mrs Joe Eastwood of Spring Head Farm, Meltham. He stopped to say he was sorry that his car had run over the hen and that the King would probably call.
Mrs Eastwood did not take this seriously and replied, “Tell him to call and have a cup of tea”.
However, on the day of the royal visit, she left her house and went to the edge of the moor to watch the cars as they passed. On seeing the first car stop at her house, she hurriedly returned and met the King and Queen at the door. In reply to the King’s inquiry, “Did you expect us today?” she said “No, your Majesty, only in jest, but welcome, your Majesty. Come inside.” While Mrs Eastwood was preparing tea, the Queen went into the kitchen and inquired what was on the table. “Oh,” said Mrs Eastwood, “that is Yorkshire fat-cake”. The Queen expressed a wish to taste it as it looked so nice. Her Majesty ate a piece and apparently enjoyed it. At this point Joe Eastwood came in, the King enquired if he was the head of the house and shook hands with him.
The Queen enquired of Mrs Eastwood’s daughter, Annie, “What do you call your dog?” “Betty,” replied Annie, “but we intend to Christen her all over again and call her Mary.”
In the meantime, the King’s interest was taken by a baby girl, daughter of a neighbour Mrs Polly Hirst, to whom he gave half a bun. The child said, “More.” The King said, “Have you eaten that The ch and the child opened her mouth to show the King where it had gone. The King gave her the whole bun.
Later, Mrs Eastwood said, “£5 won’t buy those cups and saucers out of which their Majesties partook of tea.” In consequence of the visit, the farm was renamed Queen Mary’s Farm.
Honley Civic Society
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Published by Tempus Honley Then and Now by Peter Bray and Honley Civic Society
ISBN 978-0-9572638-0-2 2012