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Barwick Maypole 1937

From the Barwicker No.73
March 2004

This article is taken from the Skyrack Express 21 May 1937. We thank Dorothy Hague for help with the names.



The triennial festival to celebrate the re-erecting of "Ye Olde Village Maypole " at Barwick took place on Whit-Tuesday, with all the usual excitement and glamour. A steady influx of visitors began early in the morning, and by the early afternoon all the roads were thronged with people all eager to watch the ancient, time-honoured ceremony of raising the pole.

The carnival, which precedes the rearing of the maypole, is also a survival of an ancient custom, and again the old traditions were observed to the minutest detail. To the delight of the crowd, the sun was on its best behaviour, giving warmth and added charm to the procession, which was headed by the Garforth Brass Band.

The 1937 Maypole Queen, Betty Binns, and her attendents.
(Photograph kindly supplied by Brian Foxcroft, Betty's nephew.)

The May Queen (Miss Betty Binns), a schoolgirl of 13, and her retinue followed in a profusely-decorated waggon, and then came the maypole-plaiters and the country dancers, also in beautifully decorated waggons. Three more decorated waggons competed for a prize, and helped to make the procession a memorable one. The fourth waggon presented a Dutch tableau, complete with windmill and a Dutch family, playing midst a blaze of tulips. A striking picture was presented by a fifth waggon, on which was a tableau representing the Empire; and the last was a cheerful little cart trimmed in Coronation colours. There was one entrant in the fancy dress parade - a junior who created much mirth as a small teddy bear. The procession wended its course along Main Street and down Chapel Lane to the Hall Tower Field.

The May Queen and her courtiers, on the platform erected for the crowning ceremony, presented a charming ensemble. The Queen was crowned by Miss Yvonne Gascoigne, with whom were Mrs Gascoigne and Lady Ashdown. The Rector introduced the visitors, and also on the platform were Mrs Lovell Clark and Mrs Keed. Miss Gascoigne also presented the May Queen with a bouquet of carnations, and herself received a bouquet of iris from Rita Senior, on behalf of the teachers and scholars.

The train-bearers to the Queen were Margaret Birch and Frank Poulter, attired in white. Michael Ashworth was the crown-bearer, and Walter Barrett and Derick Burke the equerries. The eighteen Maids of Honour looked very dainty, in white, all having been chosen from the Primary Class.

The plaiters skipped daintily round the miniature Maypole weaving spiders' webs and barbers' poles, etc., in various colours. An attractive display was given by the Country dancers from the Senior Class, who wore old-country costumes; the girls' dresses of floral cotton with bonnets to match, and the boys smocks. The Garforth Brass Band played for the ceremony.

Other diversions included a Punch and Judy show and an excellent concert party from Leeds. The judges of the decorated waggons placed Mr Verity first, Mr. Tom Braithwaite 2nd, and Mrs Bedford 3rd. The judges were Mr Ward and Mr Binns of Scholes. The prize for the best pair of plough horses was divided between Mr John Thorp of Barwick and Mr Helm of Aberford. All the entrants for swarming the greasy pole to retrieve a ham were unsuccessful.

The pets' competition was won by a small terrier, the property of Miss Brenda Cooper, and Miss Jean Kirk got the second prize for a Persian cat and kitten; the third prize going to Miss Elam of Wyke Beck Farm, Halton, with a small Berkshire pig of much fame, which accompanies her on shopping expeditions.

Towards evening the band led the villagers and visitors to fetch the giant pole (all beautifully renovated and bearing a paint flag in honour of Coronation year) from the Hall Tower Field, where it had gone through a course of "beauty treatment" under the expert hands of Mr Dennis Armitage. On the return with the pole, Cr. Hemingway headed the Band, who played very appropriate music. The beautiful garlands, the newly gilded fox, and the red, white and blue stripes of the pole were all most effective. Five ropes had been secured to the pole for the purpose of guiding and assisting the rearing, and ladders of various sizes were used, all padded to avoid scratching the paint.

After very careful work, the Pole was raised to perpendicular height, to the cheers of the huge crowd, and to the strains of "Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue". All that remained was for someone to scale the pole to release the ropes. This Mr Frank Tennant did with remarkable agility. Not only did he release the ropes but he swarmed to the top and turned the fox round. This feat was greeted with a storm of applause.

Great credit for the excellent performance of the schoolchildren is due to Mr G. Ashworth and Misses Grimshaw and Shillito. The people responsible for the garlands were members of the Mothers' Union, Mrs Cooper and family, Misses Nora and Marian Lovett and the schoolchildren. Mrs Wood of Potterton Hall provided the children with the red, white and blue ribbons, with which to decorate the garlands. The organising committee was Messrs. Fred Robshaw, Walter Lovett and Ernest Harrison.

(From the Skyrack Express 21 May 1937)

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