Honley Feast (1884)

The 1884 Honley Feast began on Sunday 21 September.

As with the previous year, Owen Balmforth put forward a motion at the Huddersfield School Board that the local schools — Berry Brow, Brierley Wood, Crosland Moor, Mount Pleasant, and Stile Common — should close on the Monday and Tuesday of the feast. Ernest Woodhead seconded it, saying he believed "in the principal of giving children as many holidays as possible." However, Mr. E. Brooke felt strongly that Huddersfield Corporation should never had allowed "Honley Feast to have been imported into Lockwood" and that "if boys and girls [...] were allowed to spend their time amongst what he might call the 'ragamuffins' who attended the feast it would have a deleterious effect upon their morals." After some debate, the motion was passed by seven votes for and four against.[1]

The Chronicle reported that the weather had been unfavourable for the feast, although many had travelled to Honley to visit their relatives and partake of the "roast beef and pickled cabbage." Attendance at the fairground in Lockwood was lower than usual and the stallholders "did not appear to be doing such a brisk business." The newspaper also reported on the number of rail tickets issued, to show that many local had taken the opportunity to spend time at the coast or to visit distant relatives.[2]

At Huddersfield Borough Police Court, two members of the circus who visited Lockwood during the feast were called to appear. Alfred Bedem, a travelling clown, was charged with assaulting fellow performer Francis Clinton. A fine of 12 shillings was inflicted upon Bedem, who had failed to appear in court.[3]

Another case was that of French polisher William Goldstone of Berry Brow who was charged with having sexually assaulted Mary Ann Gilleard of Ashes Common. The two were among a larger group who visited the feast at Lockwood and then walked back to Berry Brow. Part way, Goldstone led her down a lower road against her will, pushed her to the ground and then assaulted her. Joshua Longbottom had witnessed the attack, but was unable to say in court if Goldstone had forcibly pushed her down, or if she had willingly laid down. However, Longbottom stated that Gilleard had screamed and said something to the effect of, "Oh, don't, William." The magistrates felt that the assault wasn't proved and dismissed the case.[4]

Notes and References

  1. "Huddersfield School Board: Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (02/Sep/1884).
  2. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (23/Sep/1884).
  3. "An Unwelcome Interference" in Huddersfield Chronicle (27/Sep/1884).
  4. "Borough Police Court: An Unsubstained Charge" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (03/Oct/1884).