Honley Feast (1888)

The 1888 Honley Feast began on Sunday 23 September.

The Chronicle reported that the weather for the weekend start of the feast was very favourable, whilst the Monday was dull and cloudy. As usual, the fairground at Lockwood attracted many of the visitors, whilst many others took advantage of the cheap rail excursions on offer.[1]

A more recent tradition was for a rugby football game to take place on the Monday of the feast at Fartown and, in 1888, it was between Huddersfield and a team from Lancaster organised by Mr. T. R. Sutton, editor of the Athletic News. The Huddersfield won easily.[2]

On the feast Tuesday, a new season of Huddersfield Subscription Concerts began at Huddersfield Town Hall. With so many people on holiday from work, the concert had a "large and appreciative audience" and was "a great success."[3]

The "Scraps and Hints" opinion column in the Chronicle praised the annual feast:[4]

Honley Feast, has, this year, been as welcome as ever [...] Everyone within a reasonable distance of the area of the feast, feels something of its influence ; and after the noise and bustle is over, work is renewed in earnest until Christmas comes. This year, as much enjoyment as ever seems to have been extracted from the keeping up of the feast, and pleasure, whether sought at home or in some other place, has brightened many weary lives which have only too many touches of dullness about them. In the present levelling days it is a matter of some congratulation that Honley Feast still exists, and numbers so many loyal supporters [...] As long as those who celebrate its annual recurrence are as numerous as they appear to have been this year so long will its opponents — if it has any — find a hard task before them in any attempt to do away with it.

W. W. Beaumont's letter

On 11 October, W. W. Beaumont wrote to the Chronicle from Deer Lodge, Montana, America. He had just received a copy of the newspaper which contained an article about the history of Honley by Mary A. Jagger and that prompted him to write with details of how his family were celebrating Honley Feast in "the Wild West of America". Some weeks before, he had selected "the fattest steer and calf that was to furnish the sirloin and veal for the pie" but struggled to locate any cabbage. Fearing that "it would not be a Honley Feast dinner without pickled cabbage", he travelled to Butte ("which is a flourishing town some 35 miles from here, and the junction of the Union Pacific Railroad") but came back empty handed. Fortunately, his companion Mr Lodge ("an old Armitage Bridge man") heard about a rancher "at the foot of the Rocky Mountains" who was growing red cabbage. Their full Honley Feast meal comprised: Yorkshire pudding, veal pie, roast beef, vegetables and pickled cabbage, plum pie and plum pudding with brandy sauce.[5]

This was William Watson Beaumont who was born in 1858 in Armitage Bridge. He married Margaret Judith Kerruish on 24 February 1881 at St. Paul, Armitage Bridge, and they most likely travelled to America in 1887, following the birth of their daughter Mona. He died on 18 September 1892 at Deer Lodge, Powell, Montana.

The "Scraps and Hints" opinion column in the Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (06/Nov/1888) praised the letter and noted that "the Englishman sets up a new Britain wherever he may go" before ending with:

When the next [Honley Feast] festival comes round, more than one will wonder whether Mr Beaumont and his friends will keep their pledge, and assemble in Deer Lodge City, Montana, to "celebrate the old, time honoured festival of Honley Feast."

Notes and References

  1. "Honley Feast" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (25/Sep/1888).
  2. "Football" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (25/Sep/1888).
  3. "Huddersfield Subscription Concerts" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (26/Sep/1888).
  4. "Scraps and Hints" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (28/Sep/1888).
  5. "Honley Feast in the Far West" in Huddersfield Daily Chronicle (03/Nov/1888).