Honley Feast (1869)

The 1869 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 26 September and Wednesday 29 September.

The Chronicle noted that the rule for the first date of the feast "takes place on the first Sunday after the 19th of September." Unfortunately, this rule was seemingly not known in Brighouse, as "hundreds of persons from Brighouse, Rastrick, and the surrounding country wended their way, by rail and road, to Honley" on 19 September. On arriving, they found no sign of the feast and, "to add to their chargin the afternoon proved very wet, and before reaching home they were thoroughly drenched, and will not soon forget Honley feast."[1]

On the Monday of the feast, the Working Men's Conservative Association arranged for cheap rail trip to "the ancient baronial seat of the Right Hon. the Earl of Derby, K.G., at Knowsley Park" near Liverpool — those "availing themselves of this trip may enjoy the double pleasure of land of water."[2] A second excursion was also arranged to Hull via Goole and, to "make the trip more interesting", the Berry Brow and Armitage Bridge Brass Bands were engaged to "enliven the excursionists by their performances".[3]

Also on the Monday, a rabbit-coursing sweepstakes took place, with an entrance fee of £1 per dog.[4]

The Chronicle reported that the older residents "say it has been the poorest Honley Feast ever they saw in their lives." The number of visitors had been lower than usual and "stalls were not as numerous as formerly", with "no shows or theatres, as in times past." However, it seems that many visitors failed to get beyond Lockwood as the newspaper reported that there was "one continuous stream of people, dressed in their best attire" parading from Huddersfield to Lockwood, where there was a wide number of stalls and exhibitions, including: Williams' Mechanical Exhibition, a fat woman, and Stereoscope Bazaars. In fact, the reporter estimated that there were at least 20,000 visitors in Lockwood.[5]

One unwanted result of the feast was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease amongst local cattle, thought to have been due to "cattle imported into the village during the holding of the Honley Feast."[6]

Notes and References

  1. "Feasters Disappointed" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Sep/1869).
  2. "Trip to Knowsley and Liverpool" in Huddersfield Chronicle (18/Sep/1869).
  3. "Trip on Honley Feast Monday" in Huddersfield Chronicle (25/Sep/1869).
  4. Sporting Life (22/Sep/1869).
  5. Huddersfield Chronicle (02/Oct/1869).
  6. "Foot and Mouth Disease" in Huddersfield Chronicle" (16/Oct/1869).