Honley Feast (1865)

The 1865 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 24 September and Wednesday 27 September.

At the Lockwood Local Board meeting held on 11 September 1865, Mr. J. Rushworth "remarked that the [Honley] feast ought to be done away with." His objection was to visiting stall-holders setting up their wares at the side of the road and causing inconvenience to property owners. After some discussion, it was decided that the local Highways Committee "be entrusted with stalls at the Honley Feast with a view to prevent any obstruction to the free passage of vehicles, and to make the road as convenient as possible to the people."[1]

The Chronicle reported that there was a gloom over Honley during the preparations for the feast due to the high price of beef, with local women asking "What working man can get onny feast beef at aleyn pince a pund?" However, the thought of having the feast without beef was unthinkable — "a bit o' beef after all, if theyn less on't, and it will be desirable for the visitors to be very sparing o'th bit they an."[2]

The Honley Local Board met on the Wednesday before the feast and decided that all stall-holders, "Cheap John's", etc, should be allowed to set their stalls "without paying the customary toll."[3]

Those looking for a drink during feast had one less choice as William Brooke, Esq, of Northgate House, had paid to have the former George Inn to be converted into a Working Men's Club — "those who lamented that such a nuisance existing in Honley will rejoice to see that a temple of drunkeness and vice has been transformed into a temple of virtue and sobriety."[4]

The Chronicle reported that the weather had been excellent and, although the number of visitors were lower than in previous years, "those present were of a superior class." By Wednesday evening, "there was the usual array of stalls, bazars, swing-boats, fly-boats, roundabouts, etc." as well as Wild's Theatre.[5] The latter stayed on for a while after the feast ended.

The new Working Men's Club had fared well during the feast and increased their membership to around 250 men.[6]

Notes and References

  1. "Lockwood Local Board" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Sep/1865).
  2. "Honley: Signs of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Sep/1865).
  3. "Honley: The Local Board" in Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Sep/1865).
  4. "Honley: Working Men's Club" in Huddersfield Chronicle (30/Sep/1865).
  5. "Honley: The Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (30/Sep/1865).
  6. "Honley: Relics of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (14/Oct/1865).