Honley Feast (1871)

The 1871 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 24 September and Wednesday 27 September.

In August, the Chronicle reported that "there is a better prospect for Honley feast this year than has been the case these man years" as many of the mills in the area were running overtime and many were employed.[1] The newspaper also reported that painters were "very busy painting the houses" in the village but that the price of beef was very high — however, "there will be some beef, or it will be no Honley feast."[2]

As in previous years, a discounted day trip to Hull via Goole was organised, with the train departing at 6am from Holmfirth Station and then calling at all stations to Huddersfield. The Chronicle noted that "this is the last trip of the season and those who wish to enjoy the feast should take advantaged of it."[3]

In an unusually lengthy write-up of the feast, the Chronicle reported that between 150 and 200 head of cattle had been slaughtered, along with large numbers of sheep and lambs. The newspaper also noted that the feast had grown in recent years and extended to Holmfirth, to Netherton and Crosland Moor, to Almondbury, and through Berry Brow and Lockwood to Folly Hall. However, in the last couple of years, they thought it could more accurately have been called the "Lockwood Feast", "that place being the centre of attraction."[4]

According to the Chronicle, the first day saw thousands visiting Honley despite persistent rain. The weather on Monday was fine and saw large number of people walking to the feast via Lockwood, where Market Inspector Whelan[5] supervised the "large number of shows, velocipedes, shooting galleries, fly boxes, stalls, bazaars, etc." The reporter gave a flavour of the spectacle:

As the day wore on the number of visitors increased, and each quarter-of-an-hour during the afternoon and evening, the omnibuses of Mr. Coney arrived filled with people. On the show ground itself the bustle and confusion were incessant, the booming of gongs, the squeaking of numerous ill-timed barrel organs, cracked brass instruments, the hoarse vociferations of the showmen and others exalting their wares and curiosities, making a babel of sounds thoroughly deafening.

Although it was felt the number of visitors to Honley during the feast was still on the decline, it was noted that extra trains had to be laid on to ferry people back to Huddersfield from the various nearby stations.

On 6 October, James Beaumont of Batley Carr was charged with "furiously driving a light spring car through Lockwood" during the Tuesday evening of Honley Feast. Police Constable Broome was on duty at the time and witnessed Beaumont nearly collide with a carriage coming in the other direction. Beaumont's defence was that he was using a pony who "could not possibly trot more than six or seven miles per hour" but he was fined a total of 12 shillings.[6]

Notes and References

  1. "Honley: State of Trade" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Aug/1871).
  2. "Honley: First Signs of the Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (09/Sep/1871).
  3. "Grand Trip for Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (23/Sep/1871).
  4. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (30/Sep/1871).
  5. James Augustine Whelan was born circa 1835 in Macclesfield and married Elizabeth Clitheroe in Stockport. By 1861, he was a Police Constable in Stockport. By 1871, he was a Police Inspector residing in Huddersfield. He died in 1893 in Huddersfield.
  6. "Charge of Furious Driving" in Huddersfield Chronicle (07/Oct/1871).