The Queen's Jubilee - 1887 Style
As we celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee in June 2002, let us take a look back at a past Jubilee, which took place 115 years ago.
In May 1887, a sub-committee of the Church Vestry was formed to make plans for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. The Vestry Minutes note that it was decided that each person was to bring his own plate, knife, fork, cup and saucer and was to be responsible for them. Children were to have a ticket with their name attached to their satchel or back. The programme for the day, Thursday 23rd June, was as follows:
A report in "The Evesham Journal & Four Shires Advertiser" of Saturday July 2nd 1887 gives us more details about the event:
Queen’s weather graced the Jubilee celebration in this village on Thursday week. The villagers everywhere testified their loyalty by decorating their houses. A garland bearing appropriate mottoes was hung across the street, and a flag floated from the church tower. The proceedings commenced by an assembly of the choir, school children, and parishioners generally on the Vicarage lawn, and there a procession was formed. The Toddington Brass Band, whose services had been engaged for the occasion, took the lead, and then came the choir, who were followed by the school children carrying banners, and the parishioners generally. The procession marched up the street as far as Mr E Wilson’s house, whence they returned to the church. At the church, which was crowded, the special service appointed was read by the Vicar, the Rev T H Hunt, who also delivered a very suitable discourse. Special hymns too were very nicely rendered by the choir. Service concluded, the procession was re-formed and marched to a field at the rear of the sacred edifice, kindly placed at the disposal of the committee by Mr John Byrd, where a cold dinner was served. A large number sat down to the capital repast and their wants were speedily attended by a large body of willing waiters. All the creature comforts having been thoroughly discussed, enough remained for a meat tea in the evening and this also was thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks are due to all those who so kindly undertook the cooking of the several joints and the plum puddings, which were made from an excellent recipe. At the conclusion of the dinner a programme of sports was gone through. This included all kinds of racing – obstacle races, sack races, jumping competitions, tugs of war, donkey racing, etc – and attracted a great deal of attention and created no small amount of amusement. In the race for men over 50 years of age, the popular vicar, the Rev T H Hunt, proved an easy winner, and his victory was hailed with loud applause. One of the concluding items of the programme was a tug of war contest between the married and single women, and though the latter had a slight advantage at the outset, the matrons proved to have the greater staying powers, and after a tight pull, succeeded in carrying off the prize – a pudding basin for each of the victors. The chief praise for organising these sports goes to Mr T C Hunt, and the starter, Mr Julius Sladden, and the judges, Captain Hunt and Mr E Dayrell also contributed in a large measure to their success. The programme was finished at about 9 o'clock, and then followed dancing, to the enlivening strains of the band, which was kept up till a late hour. Lastly there was a display of fireworks from the church tower, and of this the Rev Sealy Poole (of Evesham), who had manufactured his own materials, had the control, and the company dispersed to their homes, having spent a most enjoyable day. The whole of the expense of the celebration was defrayed by voluntary contributions, and to the fund the Vicar and Mr Thomas Byrd were the largest contributors. The committee, of whom Mr J Sladden was secretary, are to be congratulated upon the successful issue to which all the arrangements were carried.