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Barwick Maypole 1951

From the Barwicker No.73
March 2004

In 'The Barwicker' No.53 we described how the Barwick Maypole was cut down in 1945 for safety reasons but was not re-erected until August 1947 because of difficulties of manpower, etc., following World War 2. It was due for its triennial taking down and re-erecting in 1950 but this did not occur, probably because of lack of public support for the pole masters of the time. Things were no better in 1951 and the pole masters asked Fred Evans, the head forester at Parlington, to fell the pole once more.. How the Barwick maypole was saved for future generations was related to us by the late Stanley Robshaw (see 'The Barwicker' No.5). The story of the gala and pole raising is told in the account below, which was published in the 'Skyrack Express' of 18 May, 1951.

We are grateful to Enid Allnatt (née Poulter), the maypole queen of that year, for the splendid photograph reproduced on the front cover. John Leak, who was a stalwart supporter of the Barwick maypole for many years in several capacities, was the crown bearer. The story of his involvement and his extraordinary shoe buckles is told in 'The Barwicker' No.29. The lady who performed the crowning ceremony, Miss Doris Elizabeth Grimshaw, was a long serving and much loved teacher at Barwick School.


"The Barwick Maypole committee (newly formed) have every reason for gratification at the marked success of the observance of the ancient custom of raising the Maypole. This 'triennial' ceremony had to be postponed last year but last Tuesday any doubts the committee may have had on whether the local and district public would support their efforts to keep this historic custom alive were quickly dispersed.

So dense was the crowd that great difficulty was experienced in the final stages of the task of bringing the redecorated pole to its 'home' near the village cross. But thanks to the persuasive efforts of the polemaster (Mr John White) who discharged his onerous duties most efficiently and affably, the Maypole was in due course in a position for raising. There was a great cheer when eventually it was safely and soundly raised.

Mr Kenneth Birch, a Barwick native, now of Leeds, completed this part of the programme by swarming up the 80 ft. pole to give the golden fox with which it is surmounted the traditional spin.

The Master of Ceremonies was Mr Stanley Robshaw (Chairman of the Committee) and Mr Arthur Walton was in charge of the ladder party.

The Maypole Queen (Enid Poulter) and her attendents made a charming picture in their lovely costumes. The Queen was duly crowned by Miss Grimshaw who was introduced by the Rev. Canon James Gray. Then came delightful maypole dances by the children of Barwick School, under the direction of the headmaster, Mr Eric Holmes."

1951 Maypole Gala. The Pole is carried back to its appointed place.
Plenty of Spectators and much Muscle Power on display.
Can you pick out the shirt-sleeved Arthur Walton?

"The winners of the various events were:
  1. Decorated wagons: (1) Bill Poulter, (2) Messrs Wetherall and Noble, (3) Alf Reed.
  2. Decorated Cycles (1) John Murphy, (2) Ian Stoddart, (3) Jane Croft.
  3. Fancy Dress (1) K Altoft, (2) Miss H Croft, (3) Miss J Helm."
( Skyrack Express Friday 18 May 1951.)

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