Honley Feast (1885)

The 1885 Honley Feast began on Sunday 20 September.

The School Management and General Purposes Committee of the Huddersfield School Board met on 23 March 1885 and considered representations from the teachers of the Berry Brow, Brierley Wood, Crosland Moor, Mount Pleasant, and Stile Common schools who requested that they close on the Monday and Tuesday of the feast and, in lieu, be open on the Fridays preceding Whitsuntide and Christmas. The committee passed the resolution.[1]

Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Sep/1885)

Local railway companies advertised feast trips to London to visit the International Inventions' Exhibition in South Kensington as well as the Crystal Palace.[2] The Chronicle noted the unfortunate case of 23-year-old Haigh Sykes of Rashcliffe who had been intending to travel to London on a feast excursion but met with an accident moving iron bars a few days before. Instead, he spent the feast recovering at Huddersfield Infirmary.[3]

The Chronicle reported that the main fairground had been at Lockwood and that "a large number of visitors flocked into the feast district."[4] A visiting southern correspondent wrote that there were at least a dozen fat women, "but those who allowed visitors to pinch them had most of the trade." There were also a number of "blowing machines" at which men with "purple-hued faces" were "striving to see who could first rupture a blood-vessel." The writer was also impressed when, upon entering a local tavern, it was pointed out to him that well-known local manufacturers were happily mingling with their workers.[5]

On the Monday, around 400 tickets were sold for the Blackpool rail excursion, joining nearly 1,000 who had travelled there on the Saturday. The London and North-Western reported that 900 went to Manchester, 500 to Liverpool and over 300 to Scarborough on the Monday.

Away from Honley, a first round rugby football match of the Holliday Charities' Cup was played on the Tuesday of the feast on the St. John's ground near Fartown between Paddock and Skelmanthorpe. The latter won by two goals, three tries and four minor points (total 46 points) against Fartown's one goal and four minor points (total 13 points).[6]

One interesting aside from the Chronicle was a note that one of the more unusual customs of Honley Feast was to the throwing of rice — "for some abstruse reason everybody at the Honley Fair is expected to throw [rice] into the face of everybody else."[5]

Joe Kershaw of Yew Green, Lockwood, was charged with "using bad language to and assaulting Emma Makin, the wife of Mallinson Shaw Makin, engine-tenter of Paddock" whist John Woodcock of Swan Lane, Lockwood, was charged with damaging Mallinson Shaw's locket and clothing. The Makin's had left the Railway Hotel in Lockwood during the feast and Mr. Makin was sober, "as he was a teetotaler". Kershaw and Woodcock used "obscene and insulting language" before attacking Mr. Markin. His wife tried to stop them and was kicked. In court, the pair were found guilty and fined a total of £4 12s.[7]

Notes and References

  1. "Huddersfield School Board: Holidays at Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (31/Mar/1885).
  2. "Railway Excursions: Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Sep/1885).
  3. "An Unfortunate Accident" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (21/Sep/1885).
  4. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (22/Sep/1885).
  5. 5.0 5.1 "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (01/Oct/1885).
  6. "Football" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (23/Sep/1885).
  7. "A Honley Feast Row" in Huddersfield Chronicle (03/Oct/1885).