Honley Feast (1874)

The 1874 Honley Feast took place between Sunday 20 September and Wednesday 23 September, with a gala brass band content proceeding the feast on Saturday 19 September.

In advance of the feast, two separate day trips were advertised for the Monday — one to Liverpool and one to Grimsby. The Chronicle hoped that "vast number of holiday seekers will have an opportunity of spending a profitable and pleasant day."[1]

Once again, the Chronicle noted the geographic scope of Honley Feast also included Netherthong, Almondbury, Armitage Bridge, Netherton and, above all, Lockwood. At the latter, a vacant space between Crowther & Sons, the timber yard and Lockwood Baths had been been put aside for outdoor amusements which included "a large number of pie and pie saloons, shooting galleries, steam horses, velocipedes, flying boats, boxes, etc, as well as marionettes and other shows, mechanical exhibitions, and others of a similar character." In charge of organising everything was Market Inspector Whelan, who had apparently been overwhelmed with applications.[2]

Over in Honley, a brass band contents was scheduled for Saturday 19 September, the day before the traditional start of the feast, as well as athletic sports events on the Tuesday on a field off Colne Road. The Chronicle also reported that over 60 head of cattle had been slaughtered in advance of the feast, along with "a large number of sheep, calves, lambs, and other animals."

The brass band content had total prizes of £30 and eleven bands entered — Holme, Denby Dale, Hinchcliffe Mill, Elland United, Holm Mills, Wyke Old, Netherthong, Dewsbury Rifle, Flockton, Golcar, and Warncliffe (Silkstone). Each band marched through Honley before entering the gala field at Far End. The judge was Mr. J. Gladney of Manchester, who was also the instructor of the Meltham Mills Brass Band. The bands played through two rounds, with Denby Dale, Hinchcliffe Mill and Warncliffe being eliminated in the end of the first round. Unfortunately, by the time Golcar played their second piece, it was getting dark and the musicians struggled to read their sheet music!

In the gloom, Mr. Gladney was unable to read his own judging notes, so he retired to the a tent with lighting inside where he informed the various bandmasters of his marking. The first prize of £15 went to Holm Mills, second prize to Wyke (£8), third prize to Holme (£4), fourth prize to Golcar (£2), and fifth prize to Netherthong (£1). With the competition over, the bands played for dancing until nearly 10pm, interspersed by fireworks organised by Mr. J.W. Potter of Dalton Gardens.[3]

In the review of the feast, the Chronicle reported that the main show ground featured several shooting galleries, a mechanical recreation of the loss of the Northfleet[4], a "ghost show", a German steam organ, a "true Yankee" sword swallower, an 18-year-old Yorkshire giantess "averred to weigh 70 stone", lung testing machines, and "everything in fact that was thought capable of extracting money from the pockets of sightseers."[5]

The Chronicle also reported the tale of an unnamed gentleman, "who formerly occupied the position of a leading publican in Huddersfield", who visited Honley feast and then made his way back through Lockwood to Huddersfield. Already a little tipsy, he "enjoyed certain libations at vaults below the Rose and Crown Hotel" before going a nearby beerhouse where he bought rounds of drinks. The next thing he remembered was waking up at around 2am four miles away at Fenay Bridge with absolutely no idea how he got there. When he checked his pockets, he found that he had been relieved of all his valuables, including £16 in gold and silver. The newspaper finished by saying that he "returned home a pooer, and it is to be hoped, a wise man."[6]

Oil extractor James Kilner was charged with being drunk and assaulting Police Constable Berry by throwing him down and tearing the policeman's trousers. At the same time, Kilner was also charged with assaulting his wife, from whom he'd been separated for 15 months. He was sentenced to 21 days imprisonment.[7]

John Blackham of Leeds was charged with exposing for sale "fifteen meat pies that were unfit for human consumption." The authorities were alerted after a number of people who'd purchased pies from Blackham's stall had been "suddenly seized with diarrhœa", including Ephraim Shaw of Meltham. Sanitary Inspector Mr. Aird examined the stall and found a dish of gravy on top of a stove — the gravy, which had been poured into the pies, smelled strongly of paraffin. In court, Blackham denied all knowledge of how the paraffin had gotten into the gravy but was fined £1 5s. and warned to be more careful in future.[8]

Notes and References

  1. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Sep/1874).
  2. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (19/Sep/1874).
  3. "Brass Band Contest at Honley" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (21/Sep/1874) and Huddersfield Chronicle (26/Sep/1874).
  4. See Wikipedia: Northfleet (ship). The Northfleet sank in the English Channel in January with the loss of 293 lives.
  5. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (22/Sep/1874).
  6. "Local and District News: An Ex-Publican from Home" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (23/Sep/1874).
  7. "Assaulting a Policeman" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (23/Sep/1874).
  8. "Huddersfield Borough Police Court: Selling Unwholesome Pies" in Huddersfield Chronicle (03/Oct/1874).