Meltham Feast (1890s)
The following summaries are compiled from books and contemporary newspaper reports, and help give a flavour of the Meltham Feast.
Rain fell heavily on the Sunday morning of the feast, meaning few visitors arrived until the evening. The weather for the rest of the feast was "warm and beautiful" resulting in a "vast concourse of people in the feast-ground" which was situated in Peg Croft although the number of stall-keepers and showmen was down on previous years. The cricket matches were well attended and the whole event passed off peacefully. It was also reported that a sizeable number of locals had left for Blackpool and Southport "on Saturday morning for a four days' outing".
The 1893 feast appears to have been the first to incorporate a public "sing", with a stage erected in a field behind the Carlile Institute capable of holding around 250 performers. In the event, considerably more turned up. Selections from "Messiah" and several hymns were sung, and around £14 was raised for Huddersfield Infirmary and the Thornhill Colliery Disaster Relief Fund.
A circus had been set up in the Peg Croft field and "a fine switchback roundabout lit by electricity" proved popular. With work suspended at the mills until Thursday, many locals took the opportunity to travel to seaside resorts.
Newcastle electricians, Scott and Mountain provided electric lights at the feast.
The Chronicle reported that "many of the residents took advantage of the railway excursions to the seaside and other popular places of resort" whilst those who remained behind enjoyed the usual entertainments. The Meltham Mills cricket team took on Armitage Bridge, whilst Meltham played the team from Lascelles Hall.
Notes and References
- "Meltham Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (12/Sep/1891).
- "Meltham Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (16/Sep/1893).
- "Meltham Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (15/Sep/1893).
- Huddersfield Examiner (14/Sep/1895), source Alan Brooke's Underground Histories.
- "Meltham Feast" in Huddersfield Chronicle (11/Sep/1896).