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Kirkby Carnival

Constructing a Timeline

In the course of reviewing family diaries, I have come across a number of references to Kirkby Carnival. These references are in the diaries themselves, in books and online, particularly on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group. So, I decided it would help my understanding if I pulled these various references together into a timeline. I am interested in the period from when the Carnivals started, in 1935, to when we moved from Kirkby, in 1960, see Chapter 76.

Summary Timeline

Summary timeline for Kirkby Carnival covering the period from 1935 to 1960

1935: The First Carnival

The first Kirkby Carnival took place from 3-7 July 1935.

Hospital Carnival

Grandad referred to it as a Hospital Carnival. Also, he noted that it continued until the 6th. Initially, I thought this meant that he was saying the Carnival lasted four days. But, on Sunday 7 July, he noted that he “went on the acre to hear service”. Later, I learned that this referred to a joint service that formed part of the Carnival. This took place in Kingsway Park which grandad and others referred to as “the acre”, see Chapter 31. Also, grandad noted, on 13 July 1935, that he got a Hercules bike that he won in the Hospital Carnival and that he gave £1 to the funds. For details of the Hercules Cycle and Motor Company, see Chapter 21.

Grandad’s diary entries from 30 June to 13 July 1935. He refers to the Hospital Carnival beginning on 3 July. He has written Carnival across the days from 3 to 6 July. On the 7th, he has written “went on the acre to hear service“. I later discovered that this was part of the Carnival

Mark Ashfield’s Description in “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox

Mark Ashfield describes this first Carnival in considerable detail in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox”. In fact, he dedicates his first chapter, which bears the same title as the book, to the Carnival of 1935. The chapter has two photos from that Carnival. One is of the Carnival Queen, Irene Bostock, while the other is of the ox roaster, Fred Tyler. That same photo appears in Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” along with a picture of the roasted ox.

Front cover of Mark Ashfield’s book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox“. The author dedicates the first chapter of this to the 1935 Carnival.
My copy of the book appears to be signed. It appears that Mark Ashfield is a pseudonym and that the author’s name is Lee, possibly Gerald Lee?

Extensive Preparations

There were a lot of preparations for the carnival. Mark Ashfield noted in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox” that a group of about 60 local people did the preparations through various committees under the overall leadership of local businessman J W Blackburn.

John William Blackburn

The 1928 Kelly’s Directory lists John William Blackburn as a beer retailer based at 108 Lowmoor Road. According to the 1921 census, he was living there with his wife Matilda and their three children, John, Winifred and George. The 1939 Register notes John (senior) living in Regent House, Kirkby and lists him as a Retired Company Director. He was born in 1879 and he died in 1941. An article in the Nottingham Journal, of 29 January 1941, noted that he had died suddenly. The Nottingham Evening Post of 7 August 1941 published details of his will.

The Carnival’s Purpose(s)

According to Mark Ashfield in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox”, the Carnival had a dual purpose. It sought to raise money for local hospitals (in the days before the National Health Service). It also sought to provide entertainment to a population affected by high rates of unemployment.

Decision to Hold a Carnival

According to an article in the Nottingham Journal, a public meeting in January 1935 took the decision to hold the carnival.

Other Planning Meetings

A number of planning meetings took place ahead of the Carnival. For example, the Nottingham Journal reported a planning meeting on 30 May 1935. J W Blackburn presided over this meeting. The meeting discussed and agreed plans for the Carnival.

Selecting the Carnival Queen

On 15 June 1935, the Nottingham Journal reported a meeting of the pageantry committee to select the Carnival Queen and her maids. The meeting interviewed ten applicants for Queen and decided that Mrs Hedley Wright from Sutton would make the final choice at a public gathering on Monday evening at St Thomas’ Church Hall.

Hedley Wright

Based on the 1939 Register, Hedley Wright was a Hosiery Manufacturer. The Register listed his wife, Andra, as an ambulance driver. They had married in 1918 in Nottingham. Her maiden name was Caunt.

Andra Caunt

Andra Caunt was born in Mansfield in 1892. The 1901 and 1911 censuses identified her father, Joseph, as a cycle maker, and her mother as Ellen. She had an older sister, Catherine, an older brother, Edward, a younger sister, Marjorie and a younger brother John Duchar.

In looking into Kirkby Carnivals, I have come across a number of other people with the surname Caunt. PC Caunt appeared in a police cricket team and I found mention of a Ted Caunt boxing trophy. While I wonder if Ted Caunt and Andra’s brother Edward are the same person, I have no definite evidence that that is the case and there appear to have been a number of Edward Caunts in that area at that time.

Carnival Queen: The Shortlist

The short list for carnival queen included E Dickinson of Hartley Road, Kirkby; I Bostock of Fox Street, Annesley Woodhouse; L Butler of Sherwood Street, Kirkby; T Chapman of Forest Road, Annesley Woodhouse; M Pickard of Victoria Road, Kirkby; and W Wakefield, Kirkby.

Maids of Honour

Twelve potential Maids of Honour had interviews with the following selected, Ellen Welbourne of Cookson Street, Kirkby; Eileen Francis of Hampden Street, Kirkby; Mary Platts of Roseberry Street, East Kirkby; and Dorothy Carter of Hartley Road, Kirkby.

Pre-Carnival Events

Some events took place before the main carnival itself.

Garden Party and Gala

For example, on Monday 24 June 1935, the Nottingham Journal reported that there had been a garden party and gala the previous Saturday. This was in aid of the Carnival week. Councillor and Mrs T H Johnson held this at their home. 

Five hundred people paid to attend the Johnsons’ garden party and gala. Lily Plumb from Hucknall opened it. Mrs L Leivers introduced her. Activities included games, side shows, dancing and a bridge drive. Much of the success of the event was due to the work of the catering committee. Mrs L Leivers chaired this committee. Mrs C Reeves acted as its secretary.

Thomas H Johnson

According to the 1941 Kelly’s Directory, Thomas H Johnson was an accountant, part of Cripwell and Johnson, based in Lowmoor Road. I suspect this is the same person as the Howard Johnson, to whom Mark Ashfield refers in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox”. He described him as an efficient committee organiser. He also noted that he operated a legal business from premises on Lowmoor Road.

In the 1921 census, a 25-year old Thomas Howard Johnson was living with his mother Harriett and sisters Gladys and Lydia in Sherwood Street, Annesley Woodhouse. The census described him as a Law Clerk with J E Alwick Solicitors. The 1911 census described his mother, Harriet, as a widowed dressmaker. In addition to his sisters, that census lists three brothers Samuel, Harold and Stephen. Three of the siblings have the middle name Mellows. The 1901 census also lists his father as Thomas describing him as a coal miner loader underground. Harriett Mellows married Thomas Johnson in 1881.

Thomas Howard was born in 1896. He may have died in 1969. The fact that Thomas was also his father’s name might explain why perhaps he used his middle name, Howard as mentioned by Mark Ashfield.

Mrs Lewis Leivers

The 1928 Kelly’s Directory described Lewis Leivers as the waterworks manager and the captain of the fire brigade. According to the 1939 Register, Lewis Leivers was living at 33 Forest Street in Kirkby. The Register described him as water manager for Kirkby Urban District Council. It noted that he was widowed and his date of birth was 28 September 1879. Based on other censuses, he was the son of Emmanuel and Alice Leivers. Emmanuel was a grocer. By 1901, Lewis was a water manager. He married Kate Elliott in 1904. She appears to have died in 1939. They had one son Cyril (b1906). Lewis died in 1950.

Mrs C Reeve(s)

C Reeves may refer to Clarence Reeve which would make Mrs C Reeve Linda Reeve. Clarence and Linda were good friends of grandma and grandad’s, see Index of People. However, the news article spells the surname Reeves.

Carnival Opening Ceremony

The Carnival started on 3 July 1935 with an opening ceremony in Kingsway Park. The crowd assembled in front of the bandstand. According to a report of this ceremony in the Nottingham Evening Post, it opened with the crowning of the Carnival Queen, Irene Bostock. J W Blackburn, the Chairman of the Carnival Committee gave an opening address. Then, the Rector Rev J W Smith called on Mrs K McCraith to crown the Carnival Queen. Apparently, the Queen was “dressed in Nottingham lace and wearing a Royal robe of red velvet trimmed with ermine…” The Queen then addressed the crowd advising those present to forget their rates and taxes and support the hospitals. Mark Ashfield noted these details of her speech in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox”.

Photo of Irene Bostock being crowned as Carnival Queen by Mrs Kenneth McCraith at the opening ceremony from 1935. This cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post and has been obtained through paid subscription from Find My Past

Rev J W Smith

It appears that he was the Rector at St Wilfrid’s in Kirkby until his death in 1937. His full name was James William Smith and he died suddenly while visiting his sick sister in Sunderland. He was 65 years old and had studied in Durham. He was ordained at Southwell Cathedral in 1895 and became priest in 1896. Before coming to Kirkby in 1921, he had been a curate in Eyam and Ordsall and vicar of Norton Cuckney.

According to the 1921 census, he was living in the Rectory in Church Street with his wife Ethel Maude May. He was described as a clerk in holy orders.

He is one of a “quartet of clerics” described by Mark Ashfield in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox“, In addition to confirming many of the details recorded here, he also noted that he had an unusual way of holding a pen and that he was very proud of the church’s reredos, an ornamental screen. There is a photo of James Smith in this book.

Kenneth McCraith

Kenneth Yorke McCraith appears to have been born in 1891 and he died in 1941. It seems he married Nancy Bloxam in 1927 in London.

In the 1911 census, he was living at Ellenboro(ugh) House, South Road, The Park Nottingham (which is now flats) with his mother Maria, three siblings, Douglas, Bernard and Violet, and five servants. He was described as a student at Cambridge University, Douglas was a solicitor and Bernard was an auctioneer. In the 1921 census, Kenneth was described as the manager of a lace warehouse working for Birks Manufacturing Co Ltd. Their address was given as Kings Place, Storey Street, Nottingham. They are listed as a lace manufacturer in the 1941 Kelly’s Directory at Broadway and Norwood Road.

According to the 1939 Register, he was living with his wife Nancy in Cockliffe Hill, Red Hill, Arnold. He was described as a Managing Director. He had been born on 4 August 1890. His wife was seven years his junior.

Bernard died of pneumonia just after the end of the first world war, on 26 January 1919. According to a report, his brother, Kenneth was a hosiery manufacturer. It seems that their father was Sir James William McCraith.

Decorated Streets

A report of the opening ceremony in the Nottingham Journal noted the profusely-decorated streets. There are some photos of Carnival street decorations in Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs” albeit from the next year, 1936.

A Cricket Match

On the same day as the opening ceremony, an Ike Waterall XI played a cricket match against Notts County Police.

Mark Ashfield Describes This Match

Mark Ashfield notes that the teams played this match at Bentinck Colliery Cricket ground. The Carnival Queen Irene Bostock bowled the first ball. Mark Ashfield recorded the police team as Nottingham City Police and noted that they lost. He considered this fitting as, although Ike Waterall did not play, he was “one of the greatest wingers who ever graced Meadow Lane”.

Isaac (Ike) Waterall

Isaac (Ike) Waterall played football for a number of teams including Notts County, Doncaster Rovers, Heanor United, Radford Warehouse, Rotherham County and Rotherham Town. In 1912, a former team mate, James Cantrell, approached him about joining Tottenham with this approach being ruled illegal. Two of his brothers Albert and Tommy were professional footballers. In the 1914/15 season, he played 33 league games for Notts County and one F A Cup game. He scored one league goal. Notts County played in the First Division that year and finished 16th. Everton won the league. Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham occupied the bottom three positions in the league with Tottenham relegated. Notts County played Bolton away in the F A Cup. They lost 2-1.During the First World War, Ike served in the Sherwood Foresters but was discharged as unfit for duty on 11 April 1917.

Copes “Clips” Cigarette Card for Ike Waterall of Notts County

The Ike Waterall XI Won This Match

An article in the Nottingham Journal the next day noted that the Waterall XI scored 167 for 8 while the Police were 138 all out. I am not sure what the composition of the Waterall XI was but a report in the Nottingham Evening Post in May indicated that well-known professional players had agreed to take part including Mr A W Carr. I am not absolutely sure if he did play.

Arthur William Carr

Arthur William Carr was a professional cricketer who played for both Nottinghamshire and England. He was captain of both sides. He was instrumental in the development of bodyline bowling. Arthur Carr played 468 first class matches and eleven tests for England between 1922 and 1929.

Copy of A W Carr’s book “Cricket with The Lid Off” which discusses the row about “bodyline” bowling in which he was embroiled.
Cigarette card for A W Carr with biographical information on the reverse side.

Dunmow Flitch Trial

In the evening, there was a Dunmow Flitch trial at the Market Hall. This is an ancient folk custom in which couples compete to win a pig’s carcass or flitch (see Chapter 19). The judge was Mr G W Ellis and the clerks of the court were Mr B Cupit and Mr C Bird. The counsels for the Flitch were Mr J Coupe and Mr G Kirk. The counsels for the claimants were Mr H A Wardle and Mr G A Wyles. Ike Waterall’s football team formed the jury with Mr Clive German acting as foreman. The winners were Mr and Mrs F White with Mr and Mrs Hill second, Mr and Mrs J G Worthington third and Mr and Mrs Towndrow fourth. The flitch was donated by E A Bird and Sons. The prizes and the flitch were distributed by Mrs W McCombie. 

Gerald Astley Wyles and Others

While I have not identified everyone mentioned here, Mr G A Wyles was local solicitor Gerald Astley Wyles. He is mentioned extensively in grandad’s diaries as he was his longstanding solicitor and adviser, see Index of People.

E A Bird and Sons were a particularly well-known local butchers, see Index of Shops and Other Businesses.

I assume Mrs W McCombie referred to the wife of Dr William McCombie. Her first name was Mary and her maiden name was Harper. She and Dr McCombie married in London in 1916, see Index of People.

Old Tyme Market

On the second day, Thursday 4 July 1935, there was an Olde Tyme Market. The Nottingham Journal had an article on this the next day. The market was held in the Market Hall with a procession, headed by the Carnival Queen, having come from the New Pavilion in Lowmoor Road.

New Pavilion

I did not know exactly where this was or what it is referring to, However, there is currently a Pavilion Road leading to the Summit Centre. So, I wondered if this is where the New Pavilion was? I did find a 1934 article from the Nottingham Journal which referred to the New Pavilion being used for church services following a split in East Kirkby Baptist Church.

I am grateful to contributors on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group for confirming that this is indeed where the pavilion was and that it was used for both football and cricket.

Opening of the Old Tyme Market

Mrs McCombie introduced Mrs Chaworth-Musters who opened the event. The Chaworth-Musters were a well-known local family, see Index of People.

Competitions at the Old Tyme Market

There were a number of competitions.

Baby Show

There were 97 entries to the baby show which had three categories by age. Dr Cox and Dr Chisholm judged this competition. Roy Hall won the category of birth to six months with Patricia Bailley and Patricia Warden joint second. In the category of six months to one year, Mavis Verity won with Donald Lane second. In the category one year to 18 months, Neale Shacklock won with John Heath second. Raymond Wood won a special prize.

Snapshot Competition

There were three categories in the snapshot competition. Miss W Dove of 27 Low Moor Road won the best view competition with Miss L Holmes from Cleethorpes second. Nurse Byrne of 22 Hartley Road won the happiest snap with Mrs Makin of 71 Kingsway second. Mr J Elsom of 132 Diamond Avenue won the most comical snap with Miss M Leivers of Prospect Street second.

Cake-Making Competition

Mrs Robinson judged the cake-making competition which was in two categories. Mrs A Baker of Sutton Road won the plain cake category with Mrs G Judson of Erewash Street second. Also, Mrs A B Waller of Ellis Street won the fruit cake category with Mrs Blackburn of Gladstone Street second.

Mrs A B Waller

Again, I haven’t identified most of the people here. But, I wonder if Mrs A B Waller refers to the wife of well-known local doctor Arthur Beaumont Waller, see Index of People.

Money Raised

According to an article in the Nottingham Journal, the Olde Tyme Market raised £18 5s in door takings.

Ladies’ Jumble Sale and Draper Stalls

There was also a ladies’ jumble sale stall run by the wives of police officers and a draper stall run by Mrs T M Wightman and Mrs J Egglestone. The latter stall raised £7 15s.

Garden Fete Rained Off

On the third day, Friday 5 July 1935, there should have been a garden fete on St Thomas’ vicarage lawn, by permission of Rev and Mrs G Fry, but the organisers moved it to the parochial hall because of bad weather. According to a report in the Nottingham Journal, Rev and Mrs G Fry, Mrs E Coleman and Mrs L Leivers welcomed the Carnival Queen. Mary Blackburn presented her with a bouquet.

Rev and Mrs G Fry

According to the 1939 Register, George and Margaret Fry lived in the Vicarage in St Thomas’ Avenue Kirkby. He was a Clerk in Holy Orders who had been born on 13 November 1886. Her date of birth was given as 19 January 1884. According to the 1911 census, George Fry, a Church Army Evangelist, was boarding in Sutton with George and Elizabeth Hurst. He had been born in High Wycombe.

Tea and a Whist Drive

There was tea and then a whist drive. Mrs Dolby was MC. Mrs Moore won the Whist Drive with Mrs Stone second, Mrs Parkinson third and Mrs K Heath fourth. In the evening there was ballroom dancing and Maypole dancing by children.

Results of Window Dressing Competition

The results of the Window Dressing Competition were announced. There had been 43 entries and the competition was won by Standard Gramophone Company, see Chapter 37 and Index of Shops and Other Businesses. Joint second were Edgar Coates (see Chapter 84, an Imaginary Walk Down Station Street and index of shops and other businesses) and Mansfield and Sutton Cooperative Society Drapery. Joint third were Miss Bown of Lowmoor Road and J Wilkinson of Kingsway.

Bowls Championship

In the evening, the Singles’ Bowls Championship Finals were played on Kingsway with 171 entries. H Webster won the final by beating A Slaney 21-9. H Webster had beaten G Johnson 15-6 in one of the semi-finals while A Slaney beat R Rymell 15-8 in the other semi-final.

Main Carnival Events

The biggest events of the Carnival took place on Saturday 6 July 1935 and are featured in some detail in Mark Ashfield’s book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox”. There was also quite a detailed report in the Nottingham Journal of Monday 8 July. This noted that the procession to Kingsway Park was a mile long and that thousands of people lined the streets along which the procession passed.

Judging Street Decorations

Part of the day’s proceedings was judging the street decorations. Apparently, many of the displays had been damaged by high winds on Thursday night but residents re-decorated them in the early hours of Saturday morning ahead of the judging. The judges were Mr F Aspinall from Bentinck Colliery, Mr R G Richardson from Kirkby Colliery and Mr J Platts from Annesley Colliery. First prize was won by Unity Street with Alexandra Street, Prospect Street and Byron Street joint  second on equal points and Ellis Street and New Street were tied third.

Fancy Dress Competition

A Fancy Dress Competition also took place with prizes and awards across a number of categories. Sheila Reeve won the under 15 award as “Miss Sunecta” with S and A Harvey second as “nurse and patient“. Sunecta was a brand of juice made by Mansfield soft drink manufacturer R L Jones.

Sunecta branded bottle opener

Also, Bernard Lilley won the prize for the best comic dress under 15 with Nora and Harry Reeve second. Miss R Kirk of Huthwaite won the most effective ladies’ dress as “Mae West“. Second were Mrs Waller and Mrs Gribble as “the Misses Cranford“, although I am not sure who they were! I wonder if it is a reference to the novel “Cranford” by Elizabeth Gaskell.

Mrs T Poole and Mrs Fulwood won the award for most comic ladies’ dress as “Me and My Old Dutch”. Messrs Stoker and Smith won the prize for the most comic gent’s dress as “convict and warder“. R Green won the prize for the best decorated cycle with A Godfrey second. Miss K Grundy won the award for the best decorated frame with Miss G Gent second.

Princess Street won the grouped tableau prize as “Blossom Time” with the East Kirkby Baptist Tabernacle second as “Mother Blick“. Again, I am not sure who that refers to. W Dewhurst of Alfreton won the award for the best original character with A Conner of Huthwaite second. Finally, Kirkby Cycle Club won the special category/foot tableau as “cannibals” with St Wilfrid Rovers second as “red indians”.

Attitudes and Standards of the Time

When reviewing old BBC records, such as back issues of Radio Times, you come across this statement, “this is a historical record of the planned output and the BBC services of any given time. It should be viewed in this context and with the understanding that historical listings reflects the attitudes and standards of their time – not those of today.” In reviewing material about these Carnivals, I think a similar warning would be appropriate, particularly in relation to fancy dress entrants. Some of the depictions of fancy dress costumes here, e.g. “cannibals” and “red indians“, and elsewhere make me feel deeply uncomfortable but they were commonplace at the time and so are reflected here.

Welcoming Dignitaries

On reaching Kingsway Park, the Carnival Queen Irene Bostock welcomed dignitaries to the event. These included the Mayor and Mayoress of Newark, Councillor and Mrs P J C Staniland, and Councillor R I Derry, also of Newark.

Percy John Charles Staniland

Percy John Charles Staniland was a pork butcher in Newark. In November 1935, he was re-elected as Mayor of Newark for the third time in four years. As Mayor, he had opened a new golf course in Newark in April 1935. He and Councillor Derry were involved in organising the Pageant of Newark in 1936. He was born on 2 August 1879 and he died in 1961. His wife’s name was Flora.

Mrs Flora Staniland receiving a bouquet of flowers at the Newark Pageant in 1936. Her husband, with the chain, is standing to her right. Image licensed for reuse from Inspire.

R I Derry

It is likely that this refers to Robert Ironmonger Derry, a master plumber and heating engineer in Newark. However, I found his details difficult to find in the 1939 Register as that record transcribed his name as Robert J Derry. However, the original record clearly refers to him. He was born in May 1881 and appears to have died in 1960. He was involved in the business which is now Derry Building Services and which has its headquarters in the Old Hospital in Newark having moved there in 2001. The business was established in 1734. In 1902, Samuel Ironmonger entrusted the business to his nephew Robert Ironmonger Derry. Subsequently, Robert named the business after himself. In 1934, Samuel Derry joined the business and the family renamed it R I Derry and Son. Again, they changed the name to the current one in 1993.

The Old Hospital in Newark where Derry Building Services are based © David Hallam-Jones licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

A Roasted Ox

One of the highlights of the gathering on Kingsway Park was the ox that Fred Tyler, of Stratford-on-Avon, had roasted with his assistant Mr Jennison. This ox roasting forms a central focus of the first chapter of Mark Ashfield’s book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox.” There are also photos of Fred Tyler and the roasted ox in the book by Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs“.

Postcard showing Fred Tyler roasting an ox in Beverley in June 1935. Although the postcard does not identify him, I am confident it is him. A news article in the Hull Daily Mail, of 25 June 1935, states that the ox roaster was from Stratford-on-Avon and that he had roasted more than 700 oxen. The article names him as Fred Taylor but I think the paper made a mistake over his surname. An interesting aside is that there were lots of letters of protest concerning this ox roasting in Beverley. I have not yet encountered anything similar in relation to Kirkby.

Fred Tyler

It seems Fred Tyler was in demand as an ox roaster. I have found him mentioned in news articles from 1930 to 1939 in places including Brecon, Coalville, Coventry, Morecambe, Nuneaton, Southam and Tewkesbury. In Southam, he appeared at the mop fair, an event which still continues today. When he appeared in Morecambe and Tewkesbury, he was described as the “Champion Ox-Roaster of England“. The British Pathé website has a short video of him which refers to him as the world champion ox-roaster.

Auctioning the First Slice.

Mark Ashfield notes that a piece of beef in bread cost a shilling. He also notes that an auction took place for the first slice but “it is too far back to recall what the first slice realised”. However, the news article at the time notes that the first slice was auctioned for £16 2s.

Mark Ashfield was also not sure of Lt Col Chaworth Musters’ role in this but he said he was sure that “he did his best to raise the bidding”. When I read this, I thought it might have meant that he would have bidded but the news article makes it clear that he was the auctioneer. The sale of the ox raised a total of £44 9s 9½d. All of the animal was sold including the bones.

Jazz Band Contest

A number of musical contests took place including a jazz band contest. Messrs A Dovey, H Lowe, C Chilton, W Clarke, T Fox and Miss N Coates adjudicated. Shirebrook Jazz won with 66 points with Birchwood Jazz second with 63 points and Hucknall Lavin-Racs third with 61 points. It seems that band contests were a popular feature of Carnivals at that time, for example, in Beeston also in 1935. The Hucknall Lavinracs had only relatively recently been formed, in 1934, at the time of the first Hucknall Carnival.

Other Musical Awards

A number of other musical awards took place divided into various categories. Mr A Lynwood of Eastwood adjudicated these competitions with Miss M Coates acting as accompanist.  Miss F Birchenshaw presented the musical awards. St Andrew’s won the children’s choir competition with St Wilfrid’s second. John F Cook (84 points) won the solo for boys under 16 with Alfred Drew second (83½ points). Jean M Ball (91 points) won the solo for girls under 16 with Marjorie Eston second (87½ points). Enid Heath and Dorothy Pattinson (90 points) won the pianoforte under 16 duet with James H Day and Eric L Peach second (86 points).

Other Competitions

The article mentions a number of other competitions and some of these are also recalled by Mark Ashfield in his book “A Carnival Crown and a Roasted Ox”, for example, the photography and baking competitions referred to earlier.

Best Head of Hair

He also mentioned that there was a competition for the best head of hair and that Miss Tibbles from Sheffield judged this. The article notes that Rose Maddock won this competition, for children up to age 14 with natural hair, with G Groom second and Brian Goddard third. There appears to have been a separate category for ladies over the age of 14 with either dressed or natural hair. Miss Vardy won the dressed category while Miss Goddard won the natural category with Miss Toon second.

Neatest Ankles

Mark Ashfield noted that there was a competition for the neatest ankles. Mr East judged this. The prize was five shillings and elevenpence worth of silk hose. Mrs Cresswell won with Mrs Hanxwell second.

Vase of Flowers

Mark Ashfield noted that it cost threepence to enter a vase of garden flowers. Mr Dowsing won that competition with Mr Lowe second.

Sweets in a Jar

E Beaver won the sweets in a jar competition. Presumably, this competition involved guessing how many sweets there were in the jar. Apparently, there were 1,814.

Prize Draw

There was a prize draw with A Palfreeman winning a pair of pictures. Mr Fisher won a ton of coal, Mrs Severn won a rug and Miss Langley won a doll.

Other Competitions

It seems there must have been other competitions than those mentioned in the article as there is no mention of grandad winning a bike. Also, Mark Ashfield mentioned that there was also a jelly-eating competition.

Treasure Hunt

The article noted that there was a Treasure Hunt with a prize of five pounds. Mr T McMurdo of 148 Low Moor Road won this. Apparently, 1,001 people entered.

Ambulance Competition

There were 15 entries for an ambulance competition. Kirkby Ambulance Officer, L H Rickett and Dr White of Annesley judged it. J Surfleet, A Porter, W Dove and C Smith from Bentinck No. 1 won with 81 points with Cinderhill second with 80 points and Kirkby Collieries third with 75 points. C Hull of Bentinck No. 2 won the individual oral contest.

Tennis Tournament

A tennis tournament with three categories attracted 74 entries. J Holland won the men’s singles beating J C Webster in the final. Beaten semi-finalists were  S Parker and J Langley. Also, J C Webster and Bowers won the men’s doubles beating J Holland and W Footitt in the final. Beaten semi-finalists were S Marshall and S Parker and  J Langley and E Allcock. Finally, J Holland and Miss Waplington won the mixed doubles beating J Langley and Miss Hardwick in the final. Beaten semi-finalists were C Hardstaffe and Mrs Harvey and R Woollatt and Miss Mather.

J Holland won the men’s singles and mixed doubles with partner Miss Waplington. He was the beaten finalist in the men’s doubles with partner W Footitt. J C Webster was the beaten finalist in the men’s singles but won the men’s doubles with partner Bowers. J Langley was beaten semi finalist in both men’s singles and men’s doubles but reached the finals of the mixed doubles with partner Miss Hardwick.

Dance at Market Hall

The final event on Saturday 6 July was a dance at the Market Hall. About 600 people attended and the Berkeley Dance Band played. MCs were Mr A E Francis and Mr R Butler. The spot waltz competition was won by Mr C Williams and Miss A Buxton.

The Berkeley Dance Band

I don’t know much about this band but have come across references to a band by that name from 1924 to 1941 in places as far apart as Dundee, Evesham, London and Preston especially. In one of the mentions in Preston, in 1937, the band is referred to as Billy Patterson and his Berkeley Dance Band. In the Evesham reference, in 1941, the band is referred to as Ralph Williams and his Berkeley Dance Band. Is it possible there was more than one band by this name?

In 1932, there was a band in London by this name based at the Berkeley Hotel. This band was led by A l Collins. In February 1932, the Bayswater Chronicle reported that the Berkeley Dance Band provided the music at a Leap Year dance given by the North Kensington Conservative Association. I have come across a recording of Al Collins and His Berkeley Hotel Orchestra. The Berkeley Dance Band were heard on the wireless in July 1924.

United Service in Kingsway Park

On Sunday 7 July 1935, my understanding was that there was a procession to Kingsway Park for a united service. Grandad noted going to this service. However, an article in the Nottingham Journal noted that the Carnival Queen and her attendants went to Bourne Methodist Church in the morning. In the evening, there was a massed band concert on Kingsway Park given by Kirkby Old Band, Kirkby Colliery Silver Prize Band, Kirkby Salvation Army Band and Kirkby Welfare Male Voice Choir.

Kirkby Old Band

There is a great photo of Kirkby Old Band at Annesley Fete and Gala in July 1950 on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group that was posted by Ann Allcock in July 2021. A number of people are identified on the picture including Len Abbott, Joe Allcock, Alf Buckberry, Ivan Franks, Derrick Hosker, Frank Jordan, Jack Jordan and Arthur Stafford.

Len Abbott and Frank Jordan also appear on a photo of the Kirkby Old Band Quartet on the same Facebook page along with Sam Smith and Jack Graham.

In November 1950, the Kirkby Old Band were giving a concert at the Festival Hall but it was cancelled because of a power cut, see Chapter 54.

I found details of their results in contests from between 1898 and 1962. During that period, they competed in a wide range of contests particularly across the Midlands. They won more than 20 contests including in Barwell, Bolsover, Boston, Brinsley, Cleethorpes, Grimsby, Haddon Hall, Hucknall (twice), Huthwaite, Mansfield, Matlock (twice), Nottingham, Overseal (twice), Pleasley, Stanton Hill and Teversal.

Photo of Kirkby Old Band of 1951. I am very grateful to Gavin Holman from IBEW for sharing this photo with me as I was unable to load it from the website. It pictures many of the people identified on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group including L(en) Abbot (or Abbott); J(oe). Alcock (or Allcock); A(lf) Buckberry; I(van) Franks; D(errick) Hosker; F(rank) Jordan (or Jordon); J(ack) Jordan (or Jordon); and A(rthur) Stafford

Kirkby Colliery Silver Prize Band

Apparently, this band was also known as Kirkby (or East Kirkby) Colliery Band and Kirkby Welfare Band. They competed in contests from 1905 until 2021 and may still be in existence. It seems they have a Facebook page. They won more than 20 contests including in Bolsover, Clipstone, Pleasley and Ripley .

There is a photo of the Kirkby Colliery Band assembling for the annual miners’ demonstration in the 1950s.

Kirkby Colliery Silver Prize Band – image obtained as a free resource from IBEW. I also have the same image on a postcard
Kirkby Colliery section of the annual miners’ demonstration parade assembles accompanied by Kirkby Colliery Welfare Band – image licenced for re-use from Inspire. Photo dates from the 1950s
Relatively recent photo of Kirkby Colliery Welfare Brass Band – image obtained as a free resource from IBEW

Kirkby Salvation Army Band

I found details of the East Kirkby Salvation Army Band playing at the opening of the New Ollerton Salvation Army in 1935.

John Harrison has a picture on his website taken from the Whit Walks which he thinks may show the Kirkby Salvation Army Band. The Salvation Army Band also feature in a video of the Whit Walks by Fred Hutchinson available on the MACE website. For more details of the Salvation Army, including in Kirkby, see Index of Chapels and Churches.

Kirkby Welfare Male Voice Choir

In the Nottingham Journal of 14 August 1950, there was an article celebrating the Golden Wedding of Mr and Mrs Joseph Hemstock. The article noted that he was a miner with a passion for music. He played euphonium for Kirkby Colliery Silver Prize Band. From 1920 to 1928, he conducted Kirkby Male Voice Choir and, when that disbanded, he formed the East Kirkby Welfare Male Voice Choir.

Financial Success

The carnival was a financial success with local press reporting that £700 had been raised in the first three days. Gate and street collections reportedly raised £194 11s 6d with the treasure hunt making a profit of £10. A later article, in the Nottingham Journal of 30 August 1935, noted that the Carnival had raised £767.

The money was allocated as follows: Nottingham General Hospital £315; Mansfield Hospital £210; East Kirkby Nursing Association £70; Annesley Woodhouse Nursing Association £25; Nottingham Children’s Hospital £50; Nottingham Eye Infirmary £40; Harlow Wood Hospital £10; Dr Barnados Home £10; and Nottingham Blind Institution £2 2s.

It seems that additional money was expected and this was also allocated to the East Kirkby Nursing Association. According to Mark Ashfield, that first Carnival raised a total of £800. At the end of the meeting to allocate the funds, the Carnival Queen received a framed photograph of her bowling the first ball in the cricket match. She also received a Jubilee five shilling piece.

Later Events

There were also some later events relating to or arising from the Carnival.

Visit to The Homesteads

These included a visit by the Carnival Queen to The Homesteads, an old people’s home in Kirkby, on 14 July 1935. She arrived at the home of Mr and Mrs A Brailsford where she was met by H M Byrne, the district nurse. Also present was clerk to the Kirkby Urban District Council, Mr G H Green, who was accompanied by his wife. There was a parade involving nearly a hundred children. Residents were given packets of tea and tobacco. There was then a tea followed by a concert and a dance. The Carnival Queen visited an ill resident, Mrs Winifred Streets, and she gave her her bouquet. The residents presented the Carnival Queen with a travelling set and clock.

Whist Drive and Dance

Two weeks later, a whist drive and dance were held at the Market Hall. Mr T Maddock was the MC for the whist drive. Mrs N Rymell won the ladies category with 149 points with Mrs Elliott (144 points) second and C Dodson (142 points) third. A Hays won the gents category with 153 points with F Chalkley (150 points) second and J Fletcher (149 points) third. The Carnival Queen presented prizes supported by Mr J W Blackburn, Councillor J T Portas and Mr J Herberts who were chairman and secretary of the sports section respectively. The Carnival Queen presented other prizes including to H Webster, the winner of the bowls singles; Nuncargate cricket club who received four guineas for winning the cricket competition; and the winners of the tennis competition that had been held at the Carnival.

Pigeon Race

There was also an open pigeon race at the end of August. The race started in Swindon and had a first prize of three pounds. The race raised £16 for Carnival funds.  

Memories of Kirkby Carnival 1935

In discussing Carnival on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook page, Lynn Pustelnik shared that her mum had read a poem and she still had it safe. She was eleven and, as she had been born in 1923, Lynn thought the Carnival would have been held around 1934. She kindly shared the poem and this notes that her mother read it at Carnival in 1934-35. As the first Carnival was only held in 1935, it would seem that this was the one.

Poem read by Lynn Pustelnik’s mother at Kirkby Carnival in 1935, It reads “Snowflakes so high. From whence do you come like fairies who dance in the air. They will tumble and tumble, no noise do they make. Oh it must be nice playing up there.” I am extremely grateful to Lynn for providing this poem and giving me permission to include here. I have attempted to identify the poem but without success. Maybe it was an original poem by Lynn’s mother but she refers to learning it not writing it.

1936: The Second Carnival

Grandad noted the carnival in 1936 and that it ran from 8 to 11 July. He also noted preparations for the Carnival, e.g. making garlands. On the 8th, he noted that he had a lorry with people dressed as “Indians” (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“). On the 11th, he noted taking mum (Sheila) to see the ox roasting.

Grandad’s diary entries for 5-18 July 1936. These note Kirkby Carnival from 8-11 July and making garlands, in preparation for Carnival, on the 5th.
Family members dressed as “indians” for Kirkby Carnival in 1936 (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“)
While I do not know for sure, I suspect this was a float for the 1936 Carnival as it appears in an album close to the photo above

Preparatory Meetings

As with the previous year’s event, there were a lot of preparatory meetings. For example, on 3 March 1936, the Nottingham Journal reported that there had been a further planning meeting for the Carnival. Mr J T Lea chaired the Carnival committee with Councillor J T Portas as the vice chairman. G A Wyles of solicitors J T Masser and Co was elected as chief organiser with Mr S J Bourne, the new manager of Barclays Bank chosen as Treasurer.

J T Lea

I found details of John T Lea in the 1939 Register. He was living at 43 Lime Tree Avenue, Kirkby with his wife Mary. He had been born on 29 March 1881 and was described as a Colliery Deputy below ground. The 1921 census has him living at 73 Kingsway and working for New Hucknall Colliery. He is identified as John Thomas Lea. He appears to have died in 1966.

According to the Mansfield Reporter of 7 April 1922, he stood as an independent candidate in the East Ward of Kirkby-in-Ashfield Urban District Council. He received 641 votes finishing sixth in the poll with the top seven elected. In 1925, he was elected to the West Ward of Kirkby-in-Ashfield Urban District Council. He received 357 votes and finished fifth in the poll with the top five elected. The sixth candidate received 353 votes meaning he was elected by just four votes. In the 1931 election, he failed to gain election, finishing seventh in the poll with 448 votes, with only the top five elected. In the 1934 election, he withdrew as a candidate in West Ward,

J T Portas

John Thomas Portas was a Labour politician and local councillor. He died in October 1957 and his funeral was reported in the Nottingham Evening News. According to the 1939 Register, he was living at 6 Roseberry Street with his wife Sarah. He had been born on 16 June 1885 and he worked as a colliery locomotive driver.

According to the Mansfield Reporter, miners elected him as checkweighman at Low Moor Colliery in 1927. According to the Nottingham Journal, in 1931, the Labour Party selected him as a candidate for the council elections in East Ward. In 1934, he became Chairman of the Kirkby-in-Ashfield Urban District Council’s Allotments and Pleasure Ground Committee and their Rating Committee and, in 1937, he became Chairman of their Finance and General Purposes Committee. In 1941, he became Council Vice-Chairman. It seems he may have been Chairman of the Council in 1942 as, in 1943, Mr G S Sargent took over from him as Chairman.

J T Masser and Co

The 1941 Kelly’s Directory lists J T Masser and Co as solicitors in Kingsway. There is still a law firm called Massers operating in Nottingham and West Bridgford. However, I don’t know for sure if it is connected. I found reference, in 1945, to J T Masser & Co operating from a branch in Nottingham. Indeed, it seems likely that the business originated in Nottingham and then expanded to Kirkby as I found reference to them in Nottingham in the 1928 Kirkby Directory.

From the 1901 census, John Thornton Masser was a solicitor living at 32 Mapperley Road, Nottingham with his wife Jessie and their son Henry Thornton. John had been born in 1856 in Bradford. By the 1911 census, Henry Thornton Masser was a solicitor’s articled clerk. It seems John may have died in 1929.

First Executive Meeting

On 19 March 1936, the Nottingham Evening Post reported that the first executive meeting of the Kirkby and District Hospital Carnival Week Committee had taken place the previous night. Mr J T Lea chaired the meeting supported by Councillor J T Portas, the Carnival organiser G A Wyles and the honorary secretary, Mr G H Holland. The meeting referred the issue of a brass band competition to the musical committee and the issue of ox roasting to Kirkby Butchers’ Association.

Kirkby Butchers’ Association

On 19 November 1931, the Nottingham Evening Post reported that Mr E A Bird had become President of the Notts Retail Meat Traders’ Council. This was the third time that an East Kirkby butcher had taken on this role. This announcement took place at the annual dinner dance of the Kirkby Butchers’ Association. The article included a photograph of Mr Bird and noted that he had been secretary of the Kirkby Butchers’ Association for many years.

Photo of Mr E A Bird. This cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post and has been obtained through paid subscription from Find My Past

Another Executive Meeting

Again, on 29 May 1936, the Nottingham Journal reported that there had been another meeting of the executive committee. Mr J T Lea chaired the meeting supported by Councillor J  T Portas and the Carnival organiser G A Wyles. The meeting decided that the Carnival Queen, Vera Flint, would be crowned in Kingsway Park on 8 July. Rather than the “usual” cricket match, there would be children’s sports. It is a little odd that the report refers to the “usual” cricket match as there had only been one previous Carnival!

The Butchers’ Association reported that Mr Tyler of Stratford-on-Avon would again roast an ox. The Dunmow Flitch committee reported that they had  invited Leslie Weston of the BBC to judge assisted by MP Seymour Cocks and Mr Kenneth McCraith. The sports committee reported that there would be cricket and bowls tournaments and a gymkhana. The committee agreed to allocate £20 as prize money for a band contest.

Leslie Weston

Leslie Weston was an actor and also a radio and variety comedian.

Dances Ahead of Carnival

There were a number of dances held ahead of the Carnival at which candidates for Carnival Queen were chosen.

Dance in Annesley

For example, on 21 March 1936, the Nottingham Evening Post reported that there had been a dance at the Annesley Miners’ Welfare Institute the previous night. At this dance, Dr Eileen Crowley and Mrs Stuart, the wife of Dr F G Stuart, selected four candidates. One was Irene Bostock who had been Carnival Queen in 1935. The other three were Miss D Booton of Annesley, Miss D Hudson of East Kirkby and Miss N Eggleshaw of Annesley Woodhouse.

Dr Eileen Crowley

I wonder if this was the Dr Eileen Crowley who retired from medical practice in Melbourne Derbyshire in 1969. She practiced under her maiden name and was married to an architect, Mr W J Simmonds. Based on FreeBMD, it appears that her full name was Mary Eileen and that she married William J Simmonds in 1940 in Derby. According to the 1939 Register, she was living at 216 Osmaston Road Derby and was working as a General Practitioner. She lived with a housekeeper. She had been born on 3 January 1907.

Mrs Stuart

Mrs Stuart was the wife of Dr F G Stuart but she was also a magistrate in her own right. She appears to have also been a Labour politician standing for election to Nottinghamshire County Council in 1946.

Selecting the Carnival Queen

According to a report in the Nottingham Journal of 28 May 1936, a crowd of 1,000 people had assembled the previous night at the Market Hall to select the Carnival Queen and her four maids. They chose Vera Flint, of 43 Unity Street, East Kirkby, from among 11 girls. Her maids were Miss T Chapman of 74 Forest Road, Annesley Woodhouse; Miss P Jayne of 66 New Marlborough Road, East Kirkby; Miss J Thorpe of 69 Sherwood Street, Annesley Woodhouse; and Miss C Wilkinson of 2 Main Road, Nuncargate.

Singing and dancing by the Roscoe School of Dancing, Mansfield interspersed the programme. The event raised a total of £11. There was a similar report in the Nottingham Evening Post of 28 May 1936. This noted that judging was done by Lady Maud Rolleston assisted by Mr K Y McCraith.

Roscoe School of Dancing

It seems that the Roscoe family were involved in the Palais de Dance in Mansfield from at least 1929. Mum learned to dance there from 1950, see Chapter 51. I think this referred to the place as I have also found reference to the Adela Roscoe School of Dancing in 1952. The Mansfield Reporter and Sutton-in-Ashfield Times of 2 September 1927 announced the reopening of the Roscoe School of Dancing. I am not sure the geographical reach of this school of dancing or if there was more than one but I did find reference to the Roscoe School of Dancing, with Principal Edna Roscoe, in Leeds in 1934. It appears that Adela and Edna were sisters who followed in their father Harry’s footsteps. He described himself as a “ Professor of Dancing“.

The Roscoe School of Dancing put on shows locally. For example, on 28 November 1934, the Nottingham Journal advertised one of their shows at the Empire Theatre in Nottingham. This promised “an amazing show of local juvenile talent” although it was under the unfortunate name of “Nignog Club Matinee” (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“).

Adela Roscoe and Cyril Farmer

According to the Burton Observer and Chronicle of 16 February 1939, Adela Roscoe was British Professional Ballroom Champion in 1937-38 and 1938-39 with her partner, and first husband, Cyril Farmer. There is a great photo of them here. This championship appears to have been run by the British Dance Council and was called the British Open Professional Ballroom. Both Adela and Cyril used the abbreviations MISTD and MIDMA. ISTD seems to refer to the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Currently, the ISTD offers qualifications at associate, licentiate and fellow level. “M” could stand for Member or Master? IDMA was established in 1930 as the International Dancing Masters’ Association. In 1967, they merged with the Dance Teachers’ Association to form the International Dance Teachers’ Association (IDTA).

Lady Maud Rolleston

It seems that Charlotte Emma Maud Dalziel was born in 1859, the daughter of Robert and Sarah Dalziel. Her grandfather, also Robert Dalziel, was sixth Earl of Carnwath. She married Sir Lancelot Rolleston of Watnall Hall in 1882. She died in 1949. It seems that she wrote a book entitled “Yeoman Service” which was the diary of the wife of an imperial yeomanry officer during the Boer War. However, modern re-prints of the book giver her name as Maud Brooke Rolleston. But, the content of the book clearly identifies her husband as “Lance“.

In the 1939 Register, she lived at Watnall Hall with her husband Lancelot. Her date of birth was given as 2 September 1859. His occupation has been transcribed as Hand Owner but the original seems to read landowner.

The most detailed descriptions I have found of her and her husband are on the blog “Tales from Watnall Hall” which includes photos and pictures.

Civic Day

Wednesday 8 July 1936 was referred to as the carnival’s Civic Day. In addition to the Carnival Queen, Vera Flint, a number of dignitaries attended events in Kingsway Park including the Lady Mayoress of Nottingham, Lady Ball; the Mayor and Mayoress of Mansfield, Alderman G and Mrs Abbott; and Mrs McCraith.

Lady Ball

Sir Albert Ball was Lord Mayor of Nottingham in 1935. So, presumably, this refers to his second wife Estelle Dorothy Bella Dannah who he married in 1933. She was born in 1905 in Warwickshire. In the 1911 census, she was recorded as a visitor in Blackpool while, in 1921, she was recorded as a student mistress at a school in Lancaster.

Alderman and Mrs Abbott

German Abbott was a Labour politician. He had worked in the mines and had been checkweighman at Rufford from 1927 to 1931. In 1926, he was first elected to the Town Council and, in 1935, he became an Alderman. He was Mayor of Mansfield for 1935 to 1936 and became a Justice of the Peace in 1942. Then, he became a County Councillor in 1945. He was Mayor again in the 1950s.

He was born in 1887 and he married Mary Housley in 1914. In the 1939 Register, they were living at 37 Carter Lane and he was working as a Bus Garage Clerk. His date of birth was given as 30 October 1887 and hers as 8 November 1889. Their children were Albert (b1915), Audrey (b1918) and Alwyne (b.1927).

Streets Decorated

A report in the Nottingham Evening Post noted that streets were again decorated. A novel feature introduced in 1936 was that there were gates with people being charged a “toll” to enter to view the decorations. There are photos of decorations in Byron Street and Unity Street from this year in Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs”.

Carnival Queen Crowned

The Carnival Queen was crowned at the Kingsway Park event and she was attended by four maids, Miss T Chapman, Miss B Jayne, Miss C Wilkinson and Miss J Thorpe. The Queen’s dress was described as ankle length ivory satin, the top being worked with gold beads and she had a satin train and white fur collar trimmed with gold braid. Two of the maids wore shell pink with the two others in apple green. The Mayor and Mayoress of Mansfield judged the street competition and the Lady Mayoress of Nottingham crowned the Carnival Queen. A vote of thanks was given to Lady Ball by Rector Rev J W Smith.

Vera Flint was Carnival Queen in 1936. I am grateful to Ellena Kirk who posted this photo on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook group and for permission to include here
This looks like the crowning ceremony of Vera Flint as Carnival Queen 1936. While I don’t know for sure, I think the woman pictured is Lady Ball, Lady Mayoress of Nottingham as there is a newspaper article identifying her as the one who crowned the Carnival Queen. I am grateful to Ellena Kirk who posted this photo on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook group and for permission to include here
Ellena Kirk posted this photo on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook group and I am grateful for permission to include it here. It also appears in the Nottingham Evening Post of 9 July 1936. It is from Kingsway Park the previous day. In addition to the Carnival Queen and her maids, it features the Lady Mayoress of Nottingham, Lady Ball; the Mayor and Mayoress of Mansfield, Alderman G and Mrs Abbott; and Mrs McCraith

Another Report

The Nottingham Journal, of 9 July 1936, included a report of the day.

Trades Procession

Other activities that day included a Trades procession through Kirkby with the Carnival Queen and two bands.

Ye Olde Kirkbye Flitche

In the evening, the trial for Ye Olde Kirkbye Flitche took place in the Market Hall. Again, there were five cases. Leslie Weston was judge and “counsel” included Mr A Hooton and Mr H A Wardle. Councillor J T Portas was jury foreman. The jury included Seymour Cocks MP. The couples competing were Mr and Mrs C H Taylor of Lime Street, Kirkby; Mr and Mrs A Tryner of Urban Road, Kirkby; Mr and Mrs G Dolman of Cobden Street, East Kirkby and Mr and Mrs A Townrow, Derby Road, East Kirkby. Mr and Mrs Taylor won with Mr and Mrs Townrow second and Mr and Mrs Dolman third.

Finals of the Children’s Sports

On the evening of Friday 10 July 1936, the finals of the children’s sports took place in Kingsway Park even though rain earlier in the day had threatened to interrupt proceedings.

The under tens competed over 60 yards with P Graft winning the girls’ race with I M Yates second and E Whitehead third. H Booth won the boys’ race with E Glenn second and G Webster third.

Those aged 10 to 12 competed over 80 yards. J West won the girls’ race with D Skermer second and D Handley third. B Aske won the boys’ race with H Warren second and H Blount third.

Girls aged 12-14 also competed over 80 yards. M Rowe won with N Amos second and B Cutts third. Boys aged 12-14 competed over 100 yards and there was also an open race for boys over this distance. H Smith won both races with J Hatton second in both and R Sparkes third in both. Councillor J Portas was present. He had asked the Carnival Queen to present the prizes.

Photo of the Carnival Queen starting off the children’s sports competition at Kirkby Carnival in 1936. The cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post of 9 July 1936 through a paid subscription to Find My Past. I think Councillor Portas is the second man to the left of the Carnival Queen.

Carnival Queen Toured the District

After the sports, the Carnival Queen toured the district “holding up” people and demanding money for the Carnival Fund. Similarly, after this, at Four Lane Ends, members of Kirkby Fighting Club and others “raided” buses and cars, again to raise money. I have not found details of Kirkby Fighting Club.

Weather Affected the Carnival on the Saturday

According to an article in the Nottingham Journal of 13 July 1936, the main day of the Carnival was badly affected by the weather. Running repairs had to be made to the decorations in Unity Street which again won the prize for best-decorated street.

Fancy Dress and Tableaux

The judging of fancy dress and tableaux took place on the Bentinck Colliery Football Ground in the afternoon. Judges were Dr and Mrs Glass from Nottingham, Dr and Mrs Mountain from Arnold, Dr Thompson and Miss Philips from Harlow Wood and Mr and Mrs E Muchamp from Sutton-in-Ashfield.

Dr and Mrs Glass, Nottingham

I found reference to a Dr Glass working at Nottingham General Hospital in 1937. On 20 March 1937, he attended to a motorcyclist and pillion passenger who had had an accident. He accompanied them to hospital.

The doctor in question was ENT specialist Edward J Gilroy Glass. For example, in 1938, he talked about the death of Mabel Wallis, age 14, following mastoid surgery.

Based on a history of the ENT service in Nottingham, it appears that Mr E J Gilroy Glass was one of three ENT surgeons appointed in 1936. From 1939 to 1945, he was seconded to the armed forces as Lieutenant Colonel.

Based on short biographical details, he was born in North Berwick, Scotland in 1901. He studied medicine in Edinburgh. He married Averil M Marriott in Nottingham in 1931. Some family trees I have encountered record him as unmarried but his wife is referred to in respect to the 1936 Carnival. They appear to have had one daughter Jane S G in June 1935. He retired in 1966 and died in Guernsey in 1980.

Dr and Mrs Mountain, Arnold

Dr Bernard Mountain was a GP in Arnold for 14 years and his wife, Edith Henrietta, was a local Councillor. He died in July 1940 of an overdose of phenobarbitone sleeping tablets which was ruled by the coroner to have been “misadventure“. At the time of his death, he was 57 years old. For a number of years, he had been troubled by chronic pain and sleeplessness.

He had studied in Cambridge and, during the First World War, he served in Mesopotamia. He married Edith Nickal in London in 1927. Based on the 1939 Register, he was living with his wife Edith at Arnold House on Church Street. He was in the ARP and his date of birth was given as 13 March 1883. His wife had been born on 26 October 1891.

They appear to have had two students with them, Ellen E Keens and Edith F M Mountain. An article about Bernard’s funeral confirms that this Edith was their daughter. I struggled to find confirmatory information about her, It turns out that she was a daughter from her mother’s previous marriage to George Brockbank Nickal. They married in 1918 but he died in 1922. According to the 1921 census, he was a science teacher at Gresham’s School in Holt. Their daughter Edith was born in the Isle of Man in 1919. Her full name was Edith Florence Mary Mountain and she may have died in Lancashire in 1984.

Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital

For some details of Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital, see Chapter 26. I have found one reference to a Dr Thompson working at the hospital in 1951 but no more details. I have not found details about Miss Philips.

Mr and Mrs Muchamp

According to the 1939 Register, Dorothy Bestall Muschamp (b1892) was living at Etwell House in Sutton with her daughters Margaret Halpin Muschamp (b1922) and Rosemary Ann Muschamp (b1930). They had two servants. Dorothy P Halpin had married Eric P W Muschamp in Mansfield in 1921. He appears on the 1939 Register in Durham in the household of colliery owner Featherstone Fenwick for whom he worked as a mining engineer. His full name appears to have been Eric Percival William Muschamp. He was born on 11 September 1893. According to the 1901 census, his father Percival was a colliery proprietor in Barnsley. It appears the family had moved to Mansfield by 1911 although Eric’s name does not appear with them in the census for 1911. He died in 1973, He served in the Sherwood Foresters in the First World War and there is a photo of him from that time.

Fancy Dress Prizes

June Wyles won the under-15 fancy dress, which was open to residents, as “an old-fashioned lady” with Keith Arnold second as “a chef“. Stanley Collishaw won the comic fancy dress for under 15s as “married bliss” with Mary Salt (?) second as “Bird’s pork pies“. Mary’s surname is not completely clear in the article. There is the same issue for one of the names of the tied winners of the most effective gent’s dress, possibly Mr Eley.

Sylvia Shaw won paper fancy dress as “powder puff” with Freda Hewitt second as “Cadbury’s Milk Chocolate“. Miss Ivy Tatton won most effective lady’s dress. Mr W Eley (?) and Mr W Brownhill tied for the win of the most effective gents’ dress. But, rather than sharing first prize, it was decided that Mr Eley (?) was the winner based on the spin of a coin.

Stokes and Partner won the most comic gents’ dress as “The Bisto Kids“. Mrs Stacey won the most comic ladies’ dress as the unfortunately-titled “Coal Black Mammy” (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“), with Mrs S Purcell, Mrs T Poole and Mrs G W Taylor, second as “pensions for spinster women“.

Arnold Green won the best decorated cycle and Mrs J G Frost won the best decorated pram. Kirkby Wheelers Cycling Club won the grouped tableau as “cannibal village” (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“) with Bourne Methodist Church second as “Will Hay and His Boys“. There appears to have been another grouped tableau competition. Mrs Linacre of Huthwaite won that with “twinkling little stars” with Bentinck and Mayfield residents second as “Sweet Lavender” and “Bubbles“.

Stokes and Partner

I am not sure if this was just the name of an individual or refers to a business. It sounds like it could be a legal or accounting practice but I have not come across that name.

Bisto Kids

Bisto is a well-known gravy brand and the Bisto Kids appeared in 1919 to advertise the product. They consisted of a boy and girl in ragged clothing who smelled the aroma of Bisto and exclaiming “Ah Bisto“. They last appeared in a Bisto advert in 1996.

The Bisto Kids from a Bisto recipe book
Explanation of the Bisto Kids from Bisto recipe book. This includes the comment that “in entertainment value the Kids have not been exclusively a children’s possession. At Fancy Dress Balls and Carnivals, they have been a firm favourite, and have won many prizes for the couples who have “dressed up” in Bisto Kids costumes, which are obtainable on loan free of charge.”

Pensions for Spinster Women

I confess I did not know about this issue and still don’t understand why it was a suitable topic for comic fancy dress! It turns out that single women, of whom there were more after the First World War, had problems because they were excluded from certain professions and were not able to claim a pension until 65, if at all, as many were not eligible.

In 1935, Florence White, from Bradford, established the National Spinsters’ Pension Association which campaigned on this issue until the organisation was wrapped up in 1958. She was successful in getting the women’s pension age reduced from 65 to 60 in 1940 but never achieved the goal of reducing it to 55.

Florence White in March 1939 campaigning on the pension rights of single women – image licensed from Alamy
Badge of the National Spinsters’ Pension Association (NSPA). The slogan “fifty five” refers to the pension age they wanted

Bourne Methodist Church: Will Hay and His Boys

It is perhaps surprising that Bourne Methodist Church won a prize in the Fancy Dress and the diaries do not mention this. Of course, at this time, the only family member keeping a diary was grandad and I suspect the family were not directly involved in this. So, perhaps that is why grandad did not mention it.

In 1935, Will Hay starred in the film “Boys Will Be Boys” and presumably this is what the fancy dress is referring to.

Will Hay in the 1935 film “Boys Will Be Boys” – image licensed from Alamy


After the fancy dress and tableaux competition, there was a parade with no less than eight bands. There were six carnival bands and two brass bands. The procession was about a mile long but it featured “the queens and her maids sheltering under their macintoshes from the drizzling rain”.

Events at Kingsway Park

A total of 9,000 people paid for admission to Kingsway Park. Total gate receipts were £70. There were a number of events including ox-roasting by Fred Tyler. The Carnival Queen carved the first slice and this was auctioned off, by Mr L Firth of Turner, Fletcher and Essex of Nottingham, for £57 8s. In total, the sale of meat amounted to around £100 which, given the weight of the ox (and presumably the cost of purchasing it), realised around £25 overall.

Turner, Fletcher and Essex

They were a firm of auctioneers and valuers in Nottingham that appear in both the 1928 and 1941 Kelly’s Directory.

Evening Judging

Further judging took place that evening. Kirkby Follies won the best carnival band with 94 points with Newark No. 1 second (91 points), Hucknall Sunray Hussars third (88 points), Kirkby Park Rebels fourth (8? points), Hucknall Lavinracs fifth (79 points), Shirebrook sixth (7? points), Jacksdale seventh (66 points), Huthwaite Ambassadors eighth (64 points) and South Normanton Hussars ninth. Kirkby Follies won the Kirkby Hospital Challenge Cup and £10. Jacksdale won the prize for the best mascot.

Kirkby Follies

Also known as the East Kirkby Follies, this band appears to have been active around Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in the 1930s, particularly in 1936. For example, they took part in a parade in Selston and Jacksdale in May 1936.

Newark No. 1

Another band that was active around Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire in the mid to late 1930s. For example, they gave an exhibition as part of Newark Carnival in September 1936.

Kirkby Park Rebels

It was not easy to read their score in the newspaper article referred to above. Nevertheless, they finished fourth. They were another carnival band active locally in the mid 1930s. For example, they appeared at the Pleasley Hospital Carnival in July 1936.


Shirebrook were another carnival band that were active in the mid to late 1930s. For example, they were scheduled to play at the Kettering Show in July 1939.

Prior to this, however, the Mansfield Reporter, of 20 August 1937, documented discord in the band. This resulted in a fight between William Mason, the bandmaster, and John Daniels, the band’s (former) treasurer.


In February 1936, reference was made to a newly-formed Ironville and Jacksdale Carnival Band. That same edition of the Nottingham Journal referred to the formation of the Midland Area Carnival Band Association. What is perhaps remarkable is that 29 bands were represented in the meeting that made that decision. However, while I have found references to Carnival Bands performing in Jacksdale, I have not found reference to a specific Jacksdale carnival band.

Huthwaite Ambassadors

Huthwaite Ambassadors also appear to have been an active band locally in the thirties. For example, at the Clay Cross Labour Demonstration in July 1936, they finished second in the Jazz Band contest.

South Normanton Hussars

Another of these local carnival bands was the South Normanton Hussars. For example, in May 1937, they took part in the Codnor Park Temperance Demonstration along with three other carnival bands.

Musical Contest at the Market Hall

There was also a musical contest at the Market Hall in the afternoon of 11 July 1936. Frederick Staton from Chesterfield was adjudicator and Miss N Coates was the accompanist. The Carnival Queen presented awards supported by her maids and Mr J T Lea.

Frederick Staton

The October to November 2020 newsletter of the Chesterfield & District Local History Society contained some biographical details of Frederick Staton who they described as “Chesterfield’s Man of Music“. He played the organ at Chesterfield Parish and became the conductor of Chesterfield Orchestral Society and the Chesterfield (Amateur) Operatic Society. He was the driving force behind the formation of the Chesterfield and District Musical Union in 1907. In 1912, they took part in a competition in Paris. He served in the Royal Engineers during the First World War. Following the war, he was much in demand as a musical adjudicator. Interest in choral societies declined and the Musical Union gave its last concert in 1932. He married for the second time in 1939 and spent the next six years travelling internationally. He died in 1961.

Musical Prizes

Eastwood Higher Council School won the children’s choir contest with 175 points with Mansfield and Sutton Co-operative Junior Choir second with 173.

Dorothy Mellers won the under 13 girls’ solo with 88 points with Barbara Olney second with 86 points and E Hickes third with 81 points. Dennis Ward won the under 17 boys’ solo with 88 points with Alfred Drew second with 87 points and George Bond third with 83 points. Alice Tuddenham won the under 17 girls’ solo with 89 points with Fay Chappell second with 88 points and Freda Wilson third with 87 points.

M Eggleston and S Lakin won the under 17 piano duet with E Heath and Dorothy Pattinson second with 85 points.

Dance at Market Hall

The day ended with a dance attended by 700 people. The Berkeley Dance Band provided music as they had the previous year. The Carnival Queen made a number of presentations. Mrs R Barnett, Mrs Jackson and Mrs Hogg won a permanent wave. Mr J Knight won “guessing of lump of coal“. I confess I don’t really know what this refers to. Perhaps guessing the weight of a piece of coal? Mrs Chadburn won a shawl. Miss D Kirk won a doll. Mr G Hemstock won the Treasure Hunt. A leg of mutton was sold for £4 13s.

Services at St Thomas’ and in Kingsway Park

On the Sunday, the Carnival Queen and her maids attended the morning service at St Thomas’. In the afternoon, an open-air service was held in Kingsway Park. Miss Singleton, the organising secretary of Nottingham General Hospital was the speaker. She was supported by Rev J W Smith, Rev G Fry and Rev Alfred Brown. There was due to be another evening gathering in Kingsway Park but rain meant this had to be moved to the Market Hall. There was a united choir and community singing.

Rev Alfred Brown

I initially assumed that this referred to another Anglican Minister but I now wonder if this is the case. Alfred Brown was the Baptist pastor in East Kirkby. In December 1934, a church meeting decided, by a majority of 15, to give him three months’ notice. He did not attend the meeting as he had a long-standing commitment to performing in the “Christmas Carol” in Derby. I think this probably relates to the split in the Baptist Tabernacle which occurred in 1934 and which led to services being held in the New Pavilion, see above. It appears that Alfred Brown had only come to Kirkby as Minister in 1933.

Pigeon Race

A number of events took place following the Carnival. As in 1935, there was a pigeon race, this time in late July with the birds racing from Northallerton. The prizes were £3 for first, £2 for second and £1 for third.

Funds Raised and Allocated

In November 1936, the Nottingham Journal reported that the Carnival had made £751 9s 9d. The Carnival organisers allocated funds as follows: Nottingham General Hospital £300; Mansfield and District Hospital £250; Kirkby Nursing Association £25; Annesley Nursing Association £10; Nottingham Children’s Hospital £65; Nottingham Hospital for Women £10; Nottingham Eye Infirmary £45; Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital £40; and Nottingham Blind Institution £6 9s 9d.

Apparently, the rain on Saturday 11 July adversely affected the year’s financial result. Organisers had set a target of £900 for the Carnival. Indeed, an optimistic report in the Nottingham Journal on the second day envisaged raising £1,000 as the weather had been good.


Grandad’s Diary Did Not Specifically Mention Kirkby Carnival in 1937

As far as I can see, grandad did not specifically refer to Kirkby Carnival in 1937. That year, in April, grandma’s mother, Jane Cirket, had died. In the week leading up to the Carnival, grandma, mum and grandma’s father, Charles Cirket, went for a holiday in Skegness, see Chapter 21. But, on Saturday 10 July 1937, while in Skegness, Charles Cirket had a stroke from which he subsequently died, see Chapter 23.


A committee organised the Carnival which was also referred to as a “rag”. Mr J T Lea led the committee. Mr G H Jolland and Mr G A Wyles shared secretarial duties.

G H Jolland

It appears that George H Jolland was born in 1876 and he died in 1946. In the 1921 census, he was living at 14 Pinxton Road with his wife Eliza. His occupation was given as By Product Coke Oven Foreman. According to the 1939 Register, he and his wife were living in the same place. His date of birth was given as 7 February 1876. His job has been transcribed as a pit-crop crowner but the original could read pit-prop crowner. The latter seems more likely as a crown or crowntree was a flat piece used in roof support.

Carnival “Queen”

According to a report in the Nottingham Journal of 12 July 1937, there was a break from the practice of the first two years of Carnival, in that the Carnival “Queen” in 1937 was Mr W Holliday. There was also a Carnival King, Mr H Lee. I have no idea why this change was made. There had been strong competition for the role of Carnival Queen in previous years and I imagine it would not have been different in 1937. One factor may have been that the Carnival took place over just one day this year.

W Holliday and H Lee

I am not entirely sure who they were. I found two possible candidates in the 1939 Register. Both were William Hollidays. One was a miner in Ellis Street and the other was the driver of a cattle lorry living at Coxmoor Lodge. There are even more possible H Lees.

I did find details of a concert given at the Wesleyan PSE (whihc I believe stands for Pleasant Saturday Evening) on 29 April 1916. This featured Mr H Lee on piano and humorous items by Mr W Holliday. I wonder if these were the same people. However, even if they were, this article does not really provide much additional information.

W Holliday may have had some association with the Council. In reading round for Chapter 45, I noted that he had been an unsuccessful independent candidate for East Ward in 1946.

Driven Through Kirkby

Anyway, on Saturday 10 July 1937, the “King” and “Queen” were driven by the town crier, Mr J Tatton, through Kirkby in the royal coach. They were supported by two gentlemen-in-waiting Mr F Armistead and Mr G Dolman. The two previous Carnival Queens, Irene Bostock and Vera Flint, also took part. There was a colourful parade of bands, fancy dress competitors and tableaux. There were three bands, Hucknall Sun Ray Hussars, Codnor Park Gondoliers and Kirkby Welfare Carnival Band.

Mr J Tatton

This refers to Jack Tatton who is identified in Mark Ashfield’s book “Christmas Pigs and a Summer Donkey” as the “best-known and, I believe, last of Kirkby’s town-criers“. He recalled one specific time when Jack was announcing a public meeting on the Pondhole that would be addressed by the miners’ leader, Mr A J Cook.

I suspect Jack Tatton was John Charles Tatton. According to the 1939 Register, he lived with his wife Gertrude in Byron Street. He was described as a chimney sweep and carter, although in early censuses, he was a miner. He was born on 28 October 1887.

F Armistead

F Armistead may refer to Frank E Armistead who was born in 1902 and who died in 1965. In the 1939 Register, he was living in Marlborough Road with Nathan Armistead, presumably his father. Frank had been born on 27 May 1902. He was described as a Steam Raiser (or Steamraiser) Railway Engine.

G Dolman

Presumably, this was the same G Dolman who won third prize in the flitch competition at the Carnival in 1936, That G Dolman lived on Cobden Street.

There was a George Dolman living at 5 Cobden Street according to the 1939 Register. His date of birth was 20 October 1912 and he was a Drain Layer Paviour. However, he was single at this point. So. maybe it wasn’t him in the flitch competition or maybe you did not have to be actually married to compete in that competition.

Hucknall Sun Ray Hussars

The Sunray Hussars are identified as a local band that used to play in Titchfield Park, Hucknall. According to the website of Maureen Newton, the Sunray Hussars Carnival Band started in 1935. I found a number of mentions of them in local newspapers in the mid-1930s in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. For example, they were one of eight bands that competed in the Hucknall Carnival in 1936 finishing seventh with 91½ points.

Codnor Park Gondoliers

I found it difficult to find information about this band but I found a number of local news articles particularly from 1937. For example, in June 1937, they won first prize for bands who had not won a first prize! In July 1937, they took part in the Ripley Carnival. Also that month, they took part in a band contest at the Co-operators Fete Day. In August 1937, they finished second at Westwood’s second annual carnival. That same month, they competed at Beeston Carnival and were part of a parade at Golden Valley Carnival. In September 1937, they competed in the Selston Band Contest.

Fancy Dress and Tableaux

Judging of the fancy dress costumes and decorated tableaux took place in George Street and the Titchfield Park Recreation Ground. The adjudicators were Dr and Mrs Durance, Alderman and Mrs G Abbott and Mr H  Hyde.

Dr and Mrs Durance

Dr Durance was a well-known GP in Kirkby, see Chapter 78. Grandma saw him in 1962 when she fell and broke her wrist. He is mentioned in Mark Ashfield’s book “Horses, Herbs and a Cockatoo” as the place where he ultimately built his house and surgery was known previously for hosting the largest cinema advertising hoarding. According to Mark Ashfield in his book “A Carnival Queen and a Roasted Ox”, Dr Durance was Dr Waller’s son-in-law. He is also mentioned further on in the same book.

Mr H Hyde

Mr H Hyde probably refers to Harold Hyde who was born in 1902. In 1939, he appeared to be living with his mother at 8 West Hill, Skegby. He was described as a coal miner clerk. His date of birth was 2 May 1902. He appears to have died in 1977, He may have married Hannah Ford in 1945.

Fancy Dress Prizes

In the under 15 category, in which residents of Kirkby could compete, Keith Arnold and Freda Robinson won as “Past and Present” with B Thorne second. In the comic under 15 category, Nora Mitchell won, as “a witch“, with Albert Green second, as “a hospital patient“. Peggy Lilley won the best paper fancy dress with Marjorie Willcock, as “a fairy star“, second.

Mrs Green won the most effective ladies’ fancy dress, as “the Queen Mother Coronation Year“, with Mrs Ivy Tatton second, as “an early Victorian lady“. B Eyley won the most effective gentlemen’s fancy dress as “a Southern gentleman“. Herbert Gent won the best comic fancy dress as “Coming Home by Rail” with A Southam second as “a policeman“.

Ronald Green won the best decorated cycle with Mary Garratt second. Phillips of Sutton-in-Ashfield won the best comedy group tableaux as “Cannibal Isle” (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“) with Ellis Street Junior Raggers second. Kirkby Saddle Club won the best turnout in mounted section with Mrs Dallison second as “Lady Godiva“.

Queen Mother Coronation Year

The Queen Mother referenced here is Queen Mary, the widow of George V. The Coronation year is presumably 1937 as that was the year of the Coronation of King George VI.

Phillips, Sutton-in-Ashfield

I am not entirely sure who this is referring to. It seems unlikely that this is referring to the multinational electrical firm, not least because that is spelled with one “L“. Perhaps more likely is that it was a local firm by that name. One possibility is that there was a butcher by the name of Frederick Phillips in Outram Street according to the 1941 Kelly’s Directory.

The 1939 Register identified Frederick Phillips as a shopkeeper butcher in Outram Street, Sutton-in-Ashfield. It listed, his wife, Hannah, as a shop assistant. He had been born on 29 June 1890 and she was four years his senior. This does not confirm that this was the firm referred to in terms of winning the group tableaux but it is possible.

Ellis Street Junior Raggers

I wasn’t sure if this referred to a school or was just a reference to children and young people from Ellis Street. I think the latter is more likely especially as I am not aware of there being a school in Ellis Street.

Kirkby Saddle Club

There is currently a Kirkby-in-Ashfield Riding Club but I do not know the history of this. There are many references to Kirkby Saddle Club in Nottinghamshire newspapers between 1926 and 1937. In most of the later articles, e.g. in 1937, it is referred to as Kirkby and District Saddle Club but this name is also used earlier, e.g. in 1928. They organised races, sports, gymkhanas, pony races and displays. In 1928, the Rev J Lowndes of Blidworth led a protest against the Kirkby Saddle Club holding a point-to-point race on a Sunday.

Results of Street Decoration Contest

Street decorations were judged by Alderman and Mrs Abbott. On this occasion, Ellis Street won with 41/50 points. Byron Street were second with 36 and Sherwood Street third with 21.

Ox Roasting

On arrival at Kingsway Park, the “Queen” was called upon by Mr Lea to carve the first slice of the ox which had been roasted by Mr F Tyler junior of Stratford-on-Avon. This slice was auctioned by Mr G Standin of Lougborough and sold for over £13. Sandwiches were later sold and a total of £40 was raised. Attractions on the park included displays by the Carnival bands, mounted sports arranged by the Kirkby Saddle Club and skittling for a pig.

Dance at Market Hall

The ”rag” concluded with a monster dance in the Market Hall. The MC was Mr A E  Francis and upwards of 400 people attended. According to an article in the Nottingham Evening Post, the Belgrave Band supplied the music.

Belgrave Dance Band

According to an article in the Mansfield Reporter, of 19 February 1937, the Belgrave Dance Band of East Kirkby provided music at the Clipstone Cricket Club whist drive and dance. Based on a small number of newspaper articles, they appear to have been in operation at least between 1937 and 1946. However, some of those articles described them as from Huthwaite or Mansfield. So, some of these articles may be describing a different band.

Disappointing Fundrasing Achievement

The amount of funds raised in 1937 was £100 which was very much reduced on the two previous years.


Gala Day

In 1938, no Carnival took place in Kirkby but an article in the Nottingham Journal, on 20 July 1938, noted that efforts were being made to have one the following year and that there would be a gala day on 10 August in Kingsway Park. The attractions planned for the gala day included a cricket match between Kirkby police and councillors and officials; items by Kirkby bands, male voice choir and Kirkby Revellers concert party; various side shows; and an ARP demonstration organised by Major Barefoot of Nottingham.

Kirkby Revellers

Kirkby Revellers were a concert party in the late 1930s. In August 1937, they presented the Beeston Carnival Queen with an umbrella. The Queen, Norah Richardson, had previously been a member of their group. In November 1937, they performed at Westwood Congregational Chapel. In February 1938, they gave a concert in Pye Hill.

I also wondered if they were also called Kirkby Park Revellers but this appears to have been a Carnival Band. For example, Kirkby Park Revellers took part in a Carnival Bands Contest in Newark in July 1936.

Major Barefoot

Despite the unusual name, Major G W N Barefoot appears to have genuinely been an ARP officer in Nottingham. He appears to have been appointed just prior to 1937. By 1949, he was the chief civil defence instructor for Nottinghamshire. However, I have not been able to find out much about him, for example, from the 1939 Register.

The Cricket Match

Interestingly, grandad did not specifically note the gala day but he did note seeing the cricket match. The councillors’ side, which he referred to as Kirkby, were all out for 95 while the “Mansfield & district police” scored 96 for 2.

Grandad’s diary entries for 7-13 August 1938. He did not note the gala day but he did note the cricket match on 10 August between Kirkby councillors and the police.

Gala Day Report

The Nottingham Journal of 22 August 1938 carried a report of the gala day. The report said that the day had been organised by the Allied Charities Committee raising funds for local hospitals.

A Financial Success?

Although the report declared the day a financial success, it only raised £46. This was less than half the amount raised in 1937 and much less than the amount raised by the full Carnival in either 1935 or 1936.

Funds Allocated to 1939 Carnival

The committee agreed to use that money towards the 1939 Carnival rather than donating it to hospitals.


Grandad Noted the Carnival in His Diary

Grandad noted the 1939 Carnival from Wednesday 12 July to Saturday 15 July. He noted going to the Dunmo Flitch trial at the Market Hall on the 12th.

Grandad’s diary entries from 9-22 July 1939 including noting the Kirkby Carnival from 12-15 July

1939 Carnival in “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs

The 1939 Carnival is also mentioned in Frank Ashley, Sylvia Sinfield and Gerald Lee’s book “Kirkby & District from Old Photographs”. They noted that Ivy Bradshaw was the Carnival Queen and her maids were Dorothy Wood, Pearl Topham, Nancy Broadley and Joyce Coleman.

Planning for Carnival Started Early

Plans and pre-events for the 1939 Carnival started before the end of 1938.

Dance in December 1938

For example, on 10 December 1938, the Nottingham Journal reported that a dance had been held at the East Kirkby Miners’ Welfare Institute the previous night. At that dance, Mrs A Kirk chose a number of candidates to compete for the position of Carnival Queen. They included Mary Conneely, Elsie Holmes and Pearl Topham.

Dates and Leadership Confirmed

The Nottingham Evening Post of 3 March 1939 confirmed that it had been decided to have the Carnival from  12-16 July inclusive. The committee decided that Councillor T E Banks would chair the committee and that Mr H Norman would be organiser.

T E Banks

According to the 1939 Register, Thomas Edward Banks was a widower and was living on Diamond Avenue with Marjorie Banks, his daughter, who was described as a housekeeper. He was a retired clothier having been born on 4 March 1869.

In the 1901 census, he was living with his wife Ellen and their son, Edgar Haslam (transcribed as Hodson), at 31 Station Street. He was described as a clothier manager. By the time of the censuses of 1911 and 1921, they had moved to Diamond Avenue and they also had a daughter Marjorie (b1908). In 1911, their son Edgar (b1893) was working as a solicitor’s articled clerk.

So. it seems that his wife Ellen died in 1939. Thomas himself died in 1944. At the time of his death, it was noted that he had been a county councillor for 14 years.

Thomas Banks’ shop in Station Street is mentioned in my Imaginary Walk up and down Station Street. That shop appears in the 1928 Kelly’s Directory. He is also described by Mark Ashfield in his book “Christmas Pigs and Summer Donkey“. He notes that, in addition to running his business, he was a JP, councillor, school manager and preacher.

On 19 April 1918, the Mansfield Reporter documented that he had been elected as Urban District Council Chairman the previous week. He had also preached at Bentinck United Methodist Free Church the previous day. Other news reports noted that he chaired council committees, including on gas.

Mr H Norman

According to the 1939 Register, Harry Norman was living with his wife, Freda, in Thorsley Avenue. He had been born on 4 January 1908. She had been born just a few months earlier on 6 October 1907. FreeBMD transcribed his job as District Secretary Offriounded Scre. From the original it looks like District Secretary Approved Soc (possibly school).

He married Freda Burton in Basford in 1928. As far as I can see, they did not have children. It seems he was an unsuccessful independent candidate for the council in 1946, see Chapter 45.

Another Dance

An article in the Nottingham Journal of 3 April 1939 notes that a dance took place at the Bentinck Miners’ Welfare Institute on the previous Saturday. The MCs were Mr A E  Francis and Mr L Whylde. Secretarial work was done by Mr Fred King.

At that dance, Madame May and Mrs K Bird selected candidates to compete in the final for the position of Carnival Queen. Those chosen were Dorothy Holmes of 76 Victoria Road, Kirkby; Ivy Bradshaw of 31 Blidworth Road, East Kirkby; Edith Elliott of 89 Alexander (Alexandra?) Street, East Kirkby; Daisy Gazzard, 82 Victoria Road, Kirkby; Peggy Moss, 11 Sansom Street, Annesley Woodhouse; and Florence Webster, 10 Lindleys Lane, East Kirkby.

There was also a spot waltz prize at the dance. That was won by Mr Ainger and Miss Pearce.

Madame May

Madame May was the name of a women’s hairdresser at 70 Station Street as described in my Imaginary Walk up and down Station Street.

Advert for Madame May hair stylist from 1950 official guide which was kindly given to me by Helen Jay
Photo of Station Street showing Madam May salon on the left. Image source:  Kirkby Living Memory

Mrs K Bird

According to the 1939 Register, Kenneth C Bird was a Master Butcher living at 30 Kingsway with his wife Dorothy J. He had been born on 5 February 1904 and she had been born on 29 May 1902.

Based on the 1911 census, his middle name was Colledge. His father was John Colledge, also a butcher, and his mother was Bertha. John Colledge Bird was the older brother of Enos Arthur Bird.

Kenneth married Dorothy J Norman in 1931. They appear to have had one daughter Pamela M who was born in 1932.


On 26 April 1939, the Nottingham Journal reported that, the previous night, the Sutton-in-Ashfield Emplex players had presented two plays “Five at the George” and a “Husband for Breakfast” to a large crowd at St Thomas’ Church Hall. This was in aid of Carnival funds. The plays were interspersed with musical items including the tenor, J Adcock and a humorist, Mr J H Wright. Mr C T Harris played the piano and Mr O T Stores presided.

Emplex Players

I have not found out much about this group. When I search for Emplex, I come across a lot of table tennis teams. I wonder if Emplex is derived from Employment Exchange?

Five at the George

Five at the George” is a play by Stuart Ready which was performed on the BBC Home Service on 1 April 1940.

A Husband for Breakfast”

I think the second play may be “A Husband for Breakfast” by Ronald Elwy Mitchell. This is one of the plays in the Penguin book “Seven Famous One-Act Plays“. In a Goodreads review, Sareen declares this their favourite play in the book describing it as “very clever and funny“.

J Adcock

J Adcock refers to the well-known Beeston tenor John Adcock. On 27 October 1951, the South Notts Echo noted that he was due to appear on the radio. There is a photo of him but the online version is too dark to make out.

Carnival Queen Selected

The Nottingham Journal, of 18 May 1939, noted that Dr Eileen Crowley and Mr K Y McCraith chose 17-year old Ivy Bradshaw as Carnival Queen the previous evening at the Market Hall in front of a crowd of around 700 people. They selected her from among ten competitors.

Ivy Bradshaw was working at the Notts Golf Club at Hollinwell. The judges chose her maids of honour too. They were Dorothy Wood of 108 Greenwood Drive, Kirkby; Elsie Holmes of 6 Marlborough Road, East Kirkby; Nancy Broadley of 9 Lindley’s Lane, Kirkby; and Joyce Coleman of 16 Edward Street, East Kirkby. The judges chose Pearl Topham of 16 Marlborough Road as a reserve. Dr Crowley offered to cover any costs of providing extra dresses etc. There were also musical items during the evening.

Concert at the Market Hall

On 1 June 1939, the Nottingham Journal reported that about 500 people had attended a concert at the Market Hall the previous night. This was the Revellers’ Concert Party fifth “guest night” programme, in aid of the Kirkby Hospital Carnival. Guest artistes were James Wright, bass player from Huthwaite; Mabel and Nora Richardson, speciality dancers from Beeston; Olive Stringfellow who was from Kirkby and who performed character sketches; Bernard Lilley, a piano-accordionist from East Kirkby; and G Webster from East Kirkby on xylophone and drums. Mr George Dolman was the compere and Mr Fred Carlisle was the accompanist. There was a similar report in the Nottingham Evening Post.


On 13 June 1939, the Nottingham Journal reported that from 12-14 June Pinxton Welfare Dramatic Society were presenting “Tovarich” described as a side-light of the Russian Revolution. Proceeds were in aid of the Kirkby Hospital Carnival.

Based on local news reports, Pinxton Welfare Dramatic Society appear to have been active between at least 1931 and 1956. A report in the Nottingham Guardian, of 21 March 1964, on the occasion of his funeral noted that Mr Leslie Hollingsworth Watson had founded the society and had been its producer for more than 25 years.

Tovarich” is a 1935 play by Robert E Sherwood that was based on the 1933 French play “Tovaritch” by Jacques Deval. It was made into a comedy film in 1937.

Planning Complete

There was a notice in the Nottingham Evening Post on 16 June 1939 announcing that planning was now practically complete. There was a very similar article in the Nottingham Journal the next day. The financial target was £800, the amount raised by the first Carnival in 1935.

The programme was to start on 12 July 1939 with the crowning of Ivy Bradshaw as Carnival Queen. Schoolchildren had been given that afternoon off. Attractions were to include physical training displays by boys, dancing by girls and a cricket match between Kirkby and district police and the Nottingham Education Committee. The programme was to conclude with dancing on the green.

Ivy Bradshaw Crowned as Carnival Queen

On 13 July 1939, the Nottingham Evening Post featured a photograph of Ivy Bradshaw being crowned as Carnival Queen the previous day by the last Carnival Queen, Vera Flint, who had been Carnival Queen in 1936.  

Photo of Ivy Bradshaw being crowned as Carnival Queen in 1939. She is being crowned by Ivy Flint who was the previous Carnival Queen in 1936. The cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post of 13 July 1939 through a paid subscription to Find My Past

The following day, the Nottingham Evening Post featured another photograph of Ivy Bradshaw. On this occasion, she was walking in the procession to Market Hall. It appears that an Eastern Market was being held there.

Photo of Ivy Bradshaw as part of the procession en route to Market Hall. The cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post of 14 July 1939 through a paid subscription to Find My Past

There was an article in the Nottingham Evening Post on the day the Carnival Queen was crowned, namely 12 July 1939. Councillor T E Banks, the Carnival’s President presided over the session. Peggy Cox of Chapel Street School and Elsie Woolley of East Kirkby Girls’ School presented bouquets of flowers to the new Queen and the former Queen. The Queen was said to be wearing an ankle-length dress of white brocaded marocain with Elizabethan collar and flowing robe of ivory satin trimmed with gold and fur collar. She was supported on the platform by Rector Rev H R Peel, Mr J T Lee (presumably Lea) and Mr H Norman.


I believe East Kirkby Girls’ School refers to East Kirkby County School (Junior Girls) that mum attended from 1939 to 1945, see Chapter 32. Chapel Street School was the primary school in Old Kirkby and it is now Orchard Primary and Nursery School. Separate entrances for boys and girls are still visible on the building. There are quite a few class photos from Chapel Street School on Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group.

My mother’s, Sheila Parkin’s, school photo from 1941
My mother’s, Sheila Parkin’s, school report for term ending June 1945

Rev H R Peel

Rev H R Peel came to Kirkby in 1937 as Rector of St Wilfrid’s following the death of Rev J W Smith. He had previously been Vicar of Greasley and Norton Cuckney, where Rev Smith had also been Vicar.

According to the 1939 Register, Harold R Peel lived at the Rectory in Church Street with his wife Mary. He had been born on 7 June 1884 and she had been born on 24 February 1891.


Kingsway Senior Boys’ School gave a gymnastics display while Vernon Road Senior Girls’ School gave a display of country dancing. Mum worked as a secretary in both these schools from October 1951 until June 1952, see Chapter 55.

Visits to Other Streets

The Carnival Queen then visited streets she would not visit on Saturday.

Cricket Match

She was, however, back at the park in time to bowl the first ball in the cricket match between the Notts Education Committee staff and the Mansfield and district police.

Dancing and Dunmow Flitch

That evening, there was scheduled to be dancing on the green and a Dunmow Flitch trial in the Market Hall.

The Nottingham Journal, of 13 June 1939, had a report of these. Mr W Holliday presided over the trial. The clerk of the court was Mr T H Booth and the counsel were Councillor G H (presumably G A) Wyles of Mosse and Co and Mr H W W Flint from Loveday, Bosworth and Shacklock. The couples on trial were Mr and Mrs S Thorpe of Marlborough Road; Mr and Mrs White of Kingsway; and Mr and Mrs Taylor of Lime street. Mr and Mrs Thorpe and Mr and Mrs White jointly won so shared the flitch.

T H Booth

Thomas H Booth was an auctioneer based at 1 Station Street, see my Imaginary Walk up and down Station Street. According to the 1939 Register, Thomas was living with his wife Constance in 1 Station Street. He had been born on 6 June 1910 and she had been born on 28 January 1909. He was also a special constable.

H W W Flint

Based on the 1939 Register, Harold W W Flint was a solicitor and was living in Kirkby Road in Sutton. He was single and had been born on 1 November 1912.

Loveday, Bosworth and Shacklock

According to the 1928 Kelly’s Directory, Henry Stephen Shacklock was a solicitor with bases in both Sutton and Huthwaite. In the 1941 Kelly’s Directory, the firm is listed as Shacklock and Loveday Bosworth. They had offices in both Sutton and in Kingsway in Kirkby.

According to the 1911 and 1921 censuses, Henry Stephen Shacklock was a solicitor living in Station Road Sutton with his wife Minnie Annie. He had been born in Mansfield in 1875. She was two years older. It appears that he died in 1966. Henry Loveday Bosworth was another solicitor. He was born in 1908 and he died in 1982.

I don’t know why the firm’s name was written as it was but presumably the addition of a comma after Loveday was a mistake particularly as I have found other references to Shacklock and Loveday Bosworth. I have not found details of Mosse and Co.

Prizes for Best-Decorated Streets

Prizes were awarded for the best-decorated streets by Miss Gammie, Matron of Mansfield Hospital. The competition was won by Byron Street with Ellis Street second.

Miss Gammie

Based on the 1939 Register, Margaret H Gammie was Hospital Matron at Mansfield & District General Hospital. She had been born in Aberdeen on 6 July 1883. In the 1911 census, she was working as a hospital nurse at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle. During the First World War, she served in the Territorial Force Nursing Service. In 1919, she was awarded the Royal Red Cross. In the 1921 census, she was described as a sick nurse at Swansea General Hospital. She died in 1964.

Women’s Day

Thursday 13 July was billed as a women’s special day.  


There was an afternoon procession of women in Eastern costumes. A piano-accordion band and the Carnival Queen and her retinue headed this. An article in the Nottingham Journal on 14 July referred to this as Ladies Parade in Eastern Costume. This noted that the procession had started at St Thomas’ Church Hall.

Eastern Fair

They went to the Market Hall which was hosting an Eastern fair. Mr K Y McCraith conducted the opening ceremony. Others on the platform, which had been designed to look like an ocean liner, included Councillor T E Banks, Mrs McCombie and Mr H Norman.

Variety Concert

The day ended with a variety concert arranged by Miss Cresswell and Mrs Hardy. Contributors to the concert included the Lyric Singers from Mansfield Woodhouse; Olive Woodhouse and Geoffrey Vaughan from Kirkby; Jim Wright from Huthwaite; Sheila Brailsford from Sutton and Eric Whilde of Bull Farm. The compere was Eric Twigg and the accompanist Mrs L Tyler. Around 500 people attended this event.

Lyric Singers, Sheila Brailsford and Others

Lyric Singers seems to be a general term so there are many groups described in this way. However, I have found a few references to a specific group by this name from Mansfield in 1939. It seems they may have been a male voice quartet as they won third prize in this category at Loughborough Music Festival in May 1939.

Sheila Brailsford is mentioned a few times as a local soprano. For example, she sang at the Harvest Festival at New Houghton Methodist Church in October 1937. She appears to have won first prize for messo-soprano solo and second prize for soprano solo at the Mansfield Musical Festival in May 1947.

I am not sure if this is him but I did come across a reference to a boy ventriloquist called Eric Whilde.

The Main Event Affected by Weather

According to an article in the Nottingham Journal on 17 July 1939, the Carnival procession was badly affected by heavy rain.

Judging at Bentinck Football Ground

Dr and Mrs Durance, Mrs Fraser, Mrs Mackinnon and Mr R G Richardson judged the fancy dress and decorated vehicles at Bentinck Football Ground.

Mr R G Richardson

Based on the 1939 Register, Richard G Richardson was a Ministry Agent living with his wife Martha at 248 Chatwell House, Low Moor Road. He had been born on 22 December 1872 and his wife was one year his senior.

Fancy Dress Winners

Mary Atherton won under 15 fancy dress as an “Indian Squaw” (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time” which is relevant to other fancy dress entries listed here) with Shiela (Sheila?) Maltby second as a “wedding cake“. Albert Atherton won comic under 15 fancy dress as “negro boy” with Jean Knight and Bessie Twigger second as “Mickey and Minnie Mouse“.

Marjorie Wilcock won best paper fancy dress as “Victorian Lady” with Norma Spray second as “Lavender Lady“. Mrs Cook won most effective lady’s fancy dress as “Pearly Queen” with Margaret Jones second as “Hungarian Girl“. Mr R Cook won most effective gent’s fancy dress as “Indian Tea Picker” with Mr C Evans second as “Arab“.

Mr L Mills and J Dean won most comic gent’s fancy dress as “Beer is Best” with Mr Herbert Gent second as “coming home by rail“. Misses Hensky and Pepperday won most comic lady’s fancy dress as “Laurel and Hardy” with Mrs Mary Wright second as “The Merry Widow“.

Gloria Elliott won best decorated cycle with George Hicks second. Mr Harvey’s “nigger” boys won the best group tableau (foot) with Mayfield and Bentinck residents second as “Maypole“. East Kirkby Baptist Tabernacle won best turnout in mounted section with “The Good Ship Peace” with Bentinck Methodist Church second with “Buy My Pretty Flowers“. Mary Carrott won best decorated prams, scooters etc. with “Lest We Forget” with Mr H Firney second with “Dog and Cart“.

The Procession

The report notes that “umbrellas and raincoats hid many fancy dresses“. The procession included Kirkby’s new fire engine, the auxiliary fire pumps and brigade ARP detachment. There were also Carnival queens from Pinxton, Hucknall and Pleasley, the temperance queen from Mansfield, the Hucknall Blue Reveller and Carlton Willows Carnival Bands, the Kirkby Old Band, the Kirkby Colliery Band and advertising tableaux.

I have these two photos which are the best I have of grandad’s shop in Station Street, see Chapter 13. The one above shows a young girl looking at a procession. This looks like my mother aged about five which would fit with this being the 1939 Carnival. The one below seems to show grandma and grandad at one window and mum at the other, in a hat, looking at them.

Other Carnival Queens

Joyce Sales was Pinxton’s Carnival Queen while Dorothy Vann represented Hucknall and Nora Hallam Pleasley.

Photo of Hucknall Carnival Queen Dorothy Vann. The cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post of 20 July 1939 through a paid subscription to Find My Past

Hucknall Blue Revellers

Hucknall Blue Revellers were a carnival band that performed in Nottinghamshire in the mid 1930s. For example, they won out of 13 bands at Kimberley’s first Carnival in 1937. I have also found reference to the Hucknall Byron Revellers and I wonder if this is the same band as, apparently, they competed in blue at a time when Hucknall had four carnival bands, the Revellers, the Lavinracs, the Harlequins and the Nomads.

Carlton Willows Carnival Band

Apparently, this band formed in late 1938. There are references to them performing in 1939. In 1941, they were engaged by Mapperley football team to play at all their home games. In March 1939, they helped the Netherfield Co-operative and Spanish Aid Committee who were hauling a “Food Boat for Spain” through the Carlton and Netherfield district.

Ox Roasting

Ox roasting by Fred Tyler was again a feature of Carnival. The Carnival Queen cut the first slice and Mr T H Booth auctioned this for nearly £15. The total proceeds from selling the bullock and estimating its weight was approximately £50.

Side Attractions and Displays

Side attractions and displays were provided by the Kirkby ARP, the Kirkby detachment of the British Red Cross, Kirkby Collieries Ambulance Brigade and the carnival bands. However, a Revellers concert party and a cricket match were called off because of rain.

Market Hall Dance

The Carnival Queen opened the dance at the Market Hall. MCs were A E Francis and L Whylde. C Baldwin’s band provided music. The Carnival Queen made presentations during the dance competition including a suite of furniture to Mr H Smith of 112 Kingsway, a raincoat to Mr A Cook of Annesley, a case of spoons to Mrs Morley of East Kirkby and a doll to Mrs Draper of 11 Lime Street.

Sunday Activities

Sunday activities included concerts by the Kirkby Colliery Band and Male Voice Choir at the Market Hall.

Post-Carnival Activities

There were also some Carnival-related activities after the main Carnival had taken place.

Police Gala Day

For example, the Nottingham Journal reported that Inspector Oscroft and the Kirkby police held a gala day in Kingsway Park on 2 August 1939. Support was said to be good despite inclement weather. The main attraction was a cricket match between the local police and the Kirkby Special Constables with a full scorecard included in the report. The Special Constables won having scored 75 for 9 and the Police were 59 all out. W Dovey took three wickets and also high scored with 27 runs.

Scorecard for cricket match held as part of police gala day in August 1939

Inspector Oscroft

Based on the 1939 Register, Harry G Oscroft was a police inspector living at the police station in Victoria Road with his wife Annie. He had been born on 23 June 1887 and she was one year his junior.

Side Attractions

Side attractions included bowling at the wicket, treasure hunt, darts etc.

Musical Items

Musical items were provided by the Kirkby Collieries Male Voice Choir and Band.

Dance at Market Hall

In the evening, there was  a dance at the Market Hall. The music for that was provided by George Webster and Band. Mr L Wylde (or Whylde) and Mr A E Francis were MCs. Mrs V Smale of 47 Diamond Avenue won the Treasure Hunt. Mr E Edwards of Beulah Road won the “Find the Fowl” competition, whatever that was! Also, Mr B Lilley of 42 Low Moor Road won the bowls as did Mr G Stubbs of St John’s Avenue. Mr J Parks won the table skittles and Mr T H Booth won the bowling at the wicket competition.

Funds Received and Distributed

The Nottingham Evening Post of 21 March 1940 reported that the total amount received by the 1939 Carnival was £787 8s 1d. This included £35 3s 3d raised by the police gala day and £157 2s 11d raised by “the ladies“.

The committee had £608 to disburse and this was done as follows: Nottingham General Hospital £325; Mansfield General Hospital £175; Nottingham Women’s Hospital £40; Nottingham Eye Infirmary £10; Mansfield Orthopaedic Guild £10; Kirkby and District Nursing Association £30; Annesley Nursing Association £5; and Army, Navy and Air Force Comforts Fund £13.

In the Nottingham Evening Post of 4 April 1940, Mansfield Hospital reported that they had received £175 from the Kirkby Carnival Committee and this had been put into the Nurses’ Home Appeal Fund. There was a similar report in the next day’s Nottingham Journal.

The War Years

I have not found any reference to a Kirkby Carnival during the war years 1940 to 1945.

However, some Carnival-like activities did restart elsewhere. For example, I found reference to a gala day in Berry Hill Park in Mansfield on 14 July 1945. 5,000 people attended. It aimed to raise money for the Mansfield Hospital £50,000 Appeal Fund. Barringer, Wallis and Manners, see Chapter 108, sponsored and organised it. It was opened by the Duchess of Portland, see Chapter 7. There was a Carnival Queen and a wide variety of activities including a fruit and vegetable show, a fancy dress parade, a talent spotting competition, athletic sports competitions, a pantomime, Punch and Judy, a gymnastics display, a National Fire Service display, sideshows, selections by the Clipstone Colliery Band, ladies’ ankles and men’s legs competitions and open-air dancing.

Clipstone Colliery Band

Clipstone Colliery Band, also known as Clipstone Colliery Welfare Band, no longer exists. It operated from 1932 to 1993 across the Midlands. They won at least 15 competitions including in Edwinstowe, Nottingham, Newark, Rotherham and Shirebrook.

Clipstone Colliery Band in 1938 – image obtained as a free resource from IBEW

Post-War Forties

Similarly, I have not found any reference to a Kirkby Carnival being held in the years from 1946 to 1949. However, I did find reference to other carnivals in the vicinity during that period, These included  Hucknall Carnival in May 1948, Long Eaton Carnival Sports in September 1948, the selection of a Carnival Queen in Newstead in August 1949 and Beeston Carnival in August 1949.


No Mention of a Kirkby Carnival

Neither mum’s nor grandad’s diaries made any mention of a Kirkby Carnival in 1950.

Window-Spotting Competition

However, mum’s diaries do refer to a window-spotting competition which started on Monday 3 July. She went window spotting every day that week Tuesday to Saturday. On at least one occasion, she went with Sheila Cobb and on another with Barbara Coupe. I don’t know if this window-spotting competition was part of a Carnival as I understand it usually was. Mum makes no mention of any other Carnival events.

My understanding is that such competitions usually involve identifying items displayed in shop windows. According to discussions on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook group, the window spotting competition was part of the build up to Carnival and involved identifying an item in a shop window that that shop did not sell.  CAKE (Community for Action and Kirkby Events) held a window spotting competition in Kirkby in 2018.

I was not able to find any mention of the window-spotting competition in a newspaper archive although I did find mention of such a competition in Skegness that year. I also have not found any mention of a Kirkby Carnival in 1950 in the same newspaper archive.

Carnival Night

I did, however, find reference to a Carnival Night which was held at the Festival Hall on 30 December 1950. This building had been previously known as Market Hall but, when it reopened in September 1950, it was renamed Festival Hall in honour of the Festival of Britain, which was held the following year, see Chapter 59.

Copy of the front cover of the souvenir programme for the re-opening of the Festival Hall in September 1950. This was kindly given to me by Trevor Lee.

The Carnival Night featured Johnny Clay and His New Stylists with vocalist Eric Shortland. There was to be dancing from 7.30 to 11.30. Admission was 3/6. Although mum did later attend dances at the Festival Hall, see Chapter 52, she did not on this occasion. Instead, she attended a Young Conservatives party with Barbara Coupe that evening. Interestingly, she also noted having had her first dancing lesson at Palais de Danse that day, see Chapter 51.

From a review of a newspaper archive, it appears that Johnny Clay and His New Stylists were a band that was active in the early 1950s and 1960s. Trevor Lee has produced a series of booklets called “Band Call”  which attempt to log every band that appeared at the Festival Hall between 1950 and 1963. However, this appearance is not mentioned although the booklets do note the appearance of Harry Gold and His Pieces of Eight at the Festival Hall on Boxing Day that year. Intriguingly, there is a cutting on the back page of the first volume of “Band Call” which implies that Johnny Clay and his New Stylists appeared at the Festival Hall every Saturday in October and November 1950.

Advert for Johnny Clay and his New Stylists which appears in Trevor Lee’s booklet “Band Call

John Robert Chatband

Interestingly, a story in the Nottingham Evening Post, on 9 January 1952, announced that the funeral of John Robert Chatband, of 21 Harcourt Street, Kirkby, would take place the next day and that the coffin would be drawn by his horse “Captain”. The reason this story is of interest is that it says, “his coffin will rest on the draw with which they won first prize in a hospital carnival a couple of years ago.” If the dates in that story are correct and, if the hospital carnival referenced was in Kirkby, this could be evidence of a Kirkby Carnival in 1950.


Grandad’s Notes on Carnival

Grandad noted that the first week of July 1951 was Carnival week in Kirkby. He also noted that Bernice Wright had been chosen as Carnival Queen. On Saturday 6th, he referred to it as the Festival of Britain Carnival at Kirkby. He commented that it was a very good procession. He closed the shop for one hour. Also, he noted that the entry from Bourne Methodist Church Primary Sunday School won second prize. He also noted that it rained a little after the procession had been completed.

Grandad’s diary entries for 1-14 July 1951 which noted the Carnival in Kirkby

Mum Also Noted the Carnival in Her Diary

At this time, mum was also keeping a diary. She first mentioned the Festival on Sunday 1 July 1951 when she attended a Festival Service at St Thomas’ at night. She considered that it was “v nice”.

On Monday 2nd, she went to the Festival Hall at night to see Bernice Wright crowned as Carnival Queen. She went with her friend Barbara Coupe and her mother.

That day, she started decorating Edna Bust’s pushchair for use in the Carnival procession on the coming Saturday. She continued with preparations the next day and she also decorated Geoffrey Cross’ bike. It seems she also worked on the decorations on the Thursday and Friday.

On the Saturday, she noted that it was carnival. She commented that the big school (Senior Sunday School) dressed a lorry. She, Joan Storer, Edna Bust, Mrs Cross and Joy Munns walked round with some of the children from the Primary Sunday School. Jean Cooper and Sylvia Bust were in pushchairs, Geoffrey Cross was on his bike and Lynne Evans was in a doll’s pram. They won second prize of five shillings. The prams etc. were decorated in white and green.

Mum’s diary entries for 1-7 July 1951 which noted the Carnival in Kirkby


On Friday 6 July 1951, boxing was held at Festival Hall with 400 spectators in attendance. There was a report in the Nottingham Evening Post the next day. Kirkby boxer, Dick Johnson, won the Ted Caunt trophy beating Paddy McCall who retired in the sixth round with a damaged hand/wrist, having been knocked down three times before then. It was Johnson’s 12th wedding anniversary and his daughter’s fifth birthday. His wife, Violet, acted as her husband’s second. This was described as unusual in the Nottingham Evening Post. The donor of the Ted Caunt trophy refereed the fight. Spectators included the Carnival Queen and MP Seymour Cocks. Following the fight, McCall challenged Johnson to  a rematch, a challenge that was accepted.

In other fights, Fred Varley knocked out Albert Smith, Tommy Harris knocked out Joe Atherton, Jack Jarvis knocked out Albert Woodley and Billy Strange beat Sid Glover on points. In a three-round schoolboy contest, Ronnie Wilks and Billy Moss drew.

This cutting was in a scrapbook of mum’s. It contains the same information as I found online but it is a different article. She did not specify the date of publication or the paper it come from.

Dick Johnson

I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton, historian with for providing me with a wealth of information about Dick Johnson, Ted Caunt and boxing at the Market/Festival Hall in Kirkby. I am particularly grateful to him for allowing me to summarize that information here.

Signed photo of Dick Johnson which appears to have been given to boxing historian Vic Hardwicke. I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton of for providing this photo and for permission to include this here.

Dick Johnson’s History

Dick Johnson, from Stanton Hill, boxed between 1938 and 1954. He fought in lightweight (59.0-61.2 kgs) and welterweight (63.5-66.7kgs) classes. He had 103 recorded fights of which he won 50, lost 39 and drew 13. In addition, there was one no contest. The four fights noted here, that formed part of Kirkby Carnivals in 1951 and 1952, are among these recorded fights.

Biographical article about Dick Johnson that appeared in Boxing News in 1948. I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton of for providing this cutting and for permission to include this here.

Unlicensed Fights

However, these fights were unlicenced or so-called “pirate promotions”. Dick Johnson had lost his British Boxing Board of Control licence to box in 1947.  His record was very different in licensed and unlicensed fights. Up to and including 1947, he had 81 fights, of which he won 30, drew 11, lost 39 and there was one no contest. In 1946, he had his most prolific year with 23 fights, of which he won seven. From 1948, he had 22 unlicenced fights, of which he won 20 and drew two.

On 8 May 1943, Dick Johnson fought Tommy Jayes of Hucknall in an open air fight at the Montagu Road Sports Ground in Hucknall. I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton of for providing a photo (above) and cutting (below) of this fight and for permission to include these here.
Example of wartime boxing programme from Watford in May 1944. Dick Johnson fought Freddie Wheeler and lost on points after eight rounds. I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton of for providing this cutting and for permission to include this here.
Programme for Grand Boxing Tournament held at the Festival Hall in November 1951. This does not appear to have been linked expicitly to the 1951 Festival but it is an examples of an unlicenced event arranged by Ted Caunt under the auspices of the so-called British Boxing Association. Mr G A Musson reported on this fight in detail to the British Boxing Board of Control. I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton of for providing this and for permission to include this here.


On the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, Kevin Bayton commented that Dick Johnson was married to his mother’s cousin Violet and that he wrote a book entitled “Bare Fist Fighters of the 18th and 19th Century 1704-1861“.

Front cover of book by Dick Johnson entitled “Bare Fist Fighters of the 18th & 19th Century 1704-1861“. It was published in 1987. In the preface, Henry Cooper says “Dick Johnson has made a splendid job of research in giving a vast amount of information as well as a blow by blow account of many of the great fights of the past. Dick himself, was a fine fighter of his day and has done a service not only to our profession but to the public supporters of it in providing us with such detail and intriguing bright and pictures of the past“.
Biographical information about Dick Johnson from his book. The inside dust cover of this book claims that Dick Johnson had “close to 500 bouts” to his name.

Based on these recollections and the biographical information in his book, I found out more about Dick/Richard Johnson. He married Violet Fletcher in 1940. According to the 1921 census, he was living at 101 Brand Lane in Stanton Hill with his father, Fred, his mother, Phoebe and his younger sister, Lily. His father was listed as an out-of-work hewer. The 1939 Register records him as living at 20 Thoresby Crescent in Stanton Hill. His mother is listed as Phoebe but his father is listed as George I (but the original record could say George F). Dick is listed as a colliery haulage corporal underground. The record is annotated “HW” which I think denotes heavy (or manual) worker.

Ted Caunt

I am grateful to Miles Templeton boxing historian with, for providing me with copies of correspondence between officials of the British Boxing Board of Control over the period from September 1951 to November 1952. Mr Musson, the Secretary of the Midlands Area Council of the British Boxing Board of Control, raised concerns, in this correspondence, about the activities of Ted Caunt in promoting boxing and wrestling tournaments. In a letter of 7 September 1951, Mr Musson noted that such tournaments took place in Nottinghamshire and South Derbyshire and that “Mr Caunt is the Matchmaker for the boxing and also acts as referee; he puts up cups, referred to as Caunt Trophies, which are presented to the winners of the so-called championship contests.

Assisted by Dick Johnson

In that letter, he referred to Dick Johnson as Ted Caunt’s “chief assistant” and noted that he “has been suspended by the BBB of C [British Boxing Board of Control] for some years”. Mr Musson’s concerns about these unlicensed contests included risks to young boxers, boxers – including some with British Boxing Board of Control licences – fighting under multiple different names and that some of the bouts were fixed. He referred to such fixed bouts as an “arranged Gee”. He had particular concerns about the “shadyness behind the whole set-up” including the so-called British Boxing Association.

Contest at the Festival Hall on 2 November 1951

Mr Musson reported in some detail on a contest which took place at the Festival Hall in Kirkby on 2 November 1951. This contest does not appear to have been specifically tied to the Kirkby Carnival/Festival and it was not one I came across previously. Mr Musson noted that around 1,100 people attended including “local Coal Board officials, local administration and council officials, officers from the surrounding mines and members of the Mansfield Town Football Club and Notts Cricket Club [including Joe Hardstaff]”. He was particularly concerned that well-known, licensed boxer Bruce Woodcock was present and posed for photos with some of the boxers.

Joe Hardstaff

Joe Hardstaff was born in Nuncargate in 1911. He played cricket for Nottinghamshire and played 23 test matches for England from 1935 to 1948 scoring 1,638 runs. He died in 1990.

Cigarette card signed by Joe Hardstaff (above) with information on reverse side (below)

Bruce Woodcock

Bruce Woodcock held the British and Empire heavyweight titles from 1945 to 1950 and European heavyweight title from 1946 to1949. There are YouTube videos available of some of his fights.

Front cover of photo book focused on Bruce Woodcock
Card signed by Bruce Woodcock (above) with message on the reverse side (below)
The message appears to read, “Dear Stan, Friends I am deeply sorry but I won’t be able to fullfill your wishes owing to other business, I am very busy indeed so you will have to overlook my mobility on your behalf. I also hope that it’s a real success. A very happy Xmas to you all. Bruce“.


The cost of admission was four or six shillings seated and two shillings standing. Mr Musson noted that the hall was “magnificently arranged regarding seating accommodation and lighting facilities, the stewards were very capable too.” He also noted that spectators he spoke to expressed satisfaction with the contests they had seen and did not believe that the results had been arranged.

However, Mr Musson expressed concern that he had been recognised on arrival and that Ted Caunt referred to him as his “biggest enemy.” Mr Musson noted that, because they had discovered that he was there, “two boxers and a manager left the Hall by the back entrance”. He also noted that Dick Johnson’s opponent, Paddy McCall was “actually the licensed boxed Pat Murphy”.

Mr Musson described the contest as a “complete gee” with each boxer taking counts in turn and Johnson supposedly knocking McCall out in round seven. Of interest is Mr Musson’s note that the “Paddy McCall” who boxed that night was not the same “Paddy McCall” that had fought Dick Johnson on 6 July 1951. That was the bout held as part of the Carnival/Festival. He noted that that boxer was “actually Johnny Carrington of Nottingham”. One thing Mr Musson did note was “in the main contest, it was very unusual to see a woman, Mrs Dick Johnson, attired in white slacks and white sweater seconding her husband”.  

Ted Caunt: A Showman

In this report, Mr Musson described Ted Caunt in some detail saying “he is first and foremost a showman, has a perpetual smirk across his face, is very affable, very persuasive, servile and flattering, he never seems lost for words and can very seldom be caught out of his depth or embarrassed. I suppose to some people he is regarded as a magnificent person but to those who know him he is a most detestable type. His private occupation is that of a traveller for a Brewery and soft drinks manufacturing firm, he has a huge car and is always faultlessly dressed.

Long History of Unlicensed Shows

Mr Musson then summarised Ted Caunt’s history as a very active organiser of unlicenced shows over many years across the British Isles. He arranged tournaments at sea-side resorts and provided boxer-trainers for holiday camps. For example, at the time the biographical article above was written, Dick Johnson was working for Butlin’s at Pwllhelli camp. Mr Musson noted that Ted Caunt’s operations had been in decline since 1946 due to pressure on venues to only host licenced bouts, including from Mr Musson himself. Ted Caunt was then operating in two main places, Clifton Colliery and Grimsby, before expanding to other venues offering wrestling in addition to boxing. In addition to seeking to get venues not to host unlicensed events, the British Boxing Board of Control urged newspapers not to give publicity to such events.

Contest at Festival Hall on 18 October 1952

Among the letters provided to me by Miles Templeton, was one from the Midlands Area Council of the British Boxing Board of Control dated 18 October 1952. This referred to the contest between Dick Johnson and Alf Morley in Kirkby on 3 October 1952 which is one of the fights I have identified as associated with the Kirkby Carnival.

There was a particular sense of outrage in this letter at the “shameful billing” of this “as being for the welterweight championship of the Midlands”. Concerns raised in this letter included contestants appearing after the scheduled time and the weigh-in taking place in the ring before the bout with both boxers attired for boxing while “a 1 o’clock weigh-in is called for all championship contests in Britain”. The letter concludes “there is no more substance in the Midlands Area welterweight championship claimed by Dick Johnson than there is in a penny balloon” and “Alf Morley… has no more right to be regarded a Midlands Area welterweight contender than he has to call himself the King of Siam…

Extract of letter, dated 18 October 1952, from G Musson, the Secretary of the Midlands Area Council of the British Boxing Board of Control. I am extremely grateful to Miles Templeton of for providing this and other letters and for permission to include this here

British Boxing Association

Among the documents kindly shared with me by Miles Templeton was a news report dated 25 October 1952 entitled “Boxing Controversy: Secretary Takes Up the Case of the BBA”. This quoted Jimmy Roberts, the Secretary of the British Boxing Association. He claimed that the association had been formed on 18 November 1947 and that the “BBB of C is a self-appointed body and has no right to dictatorship over the game”. Also, he considered the British Boxing Association to be a legitimate rival to and competitor with the British Boxing Board of Control, claiming that such a situation existed in the United States.

He claimed that the British Boxing Association encompassed 700 boxers and 45 promoters. Specifically, he referred to Dick Johnson claiming that the British Boxing Board of Control had deprived him of his licence and so he could legitimately box with the British Boxing Association. He also said, “a boxer can only win or lose his title in the ring, and if the British Boxing Board of Control think they have a boy with more claim to the Midlands welter weight championship than Johnson, then my Association will be only too pleased to match Johnson with him irrespective of our being a separate body…”.

Legitimate Rival or Mythical Front?

This characterisation of the British Boxing Association as a legitimate rival to the British Boxing Board of Control is not how the British Boxing Board of Control correspondence of that time describes that association which it clearly regarded as a somewhat mythical front for the promotion of unlicensed or “pirate” boxing promotions.

Multiplicity of Organisations

I have struggled to find any information about the British Boxing Association, not to be confused with England Boxing which, prior to 2014, was the Amateur Boxing Association of England. I did come across the Professional Boxing Association which claims to licence and regulate professional, semi-professional and white collar boxing worldwide. But, this organisation was only established in 1998.

Based on information available in a newspaper archive, it seems that various organisations may have used, or considered using the British Boxing Association name or variations of it, such as the British Boxing Managers’ Association, which was said to have been “newly-formed” in September 1938, and the British Boxing Promoters’ Association which was involved in a Bruce Woodcock fight in 1950. This latter organisation was formed in 1949 and was said to be open to all promoters licenced by the British Boxing Board of Control.

Certainly, a British Boxing Association was in existence from at least 1947. For example, in June 1947, Jimmy Roberts was promoting a fight in Bishop’s Stortford under the auspices of the British Boxing Association. But, there are earlier instances of the British Boxing Association wishing to stage fights, e.g. in 1928 in Swanage. Certainly, the controversy over whether venues should permit boxing tournaments under the British Boxing Association, in addition to those under the British Boxing Board of Control, was active from 1925 to at least 1948.

Also, in December 1937, there was a proposal to change the National Union of Boxer’s name to the British Boxing Association. It appears that it may have become the British National Boxing Association.

The Daily Mirror Gets Involved

The Daily Mirror’s sports writer, Peter Wilson, became embroiled in this issue when he criticised boxing promoted by the British Boxing Association because of doubts over ages of the boxers involved. This led to one British Boxing Association, led by Larry Gains (President), Jim Sullivan (Vice-President) and James Ransford (Secretary) writing to say they had no connection with the British Boxing Association that was promoting the fights!

Kirkby’s Market/Festival Hall as a Boxing Venue

The Market Hall/Festival Hall is remembered locally as a wrestling venue but perhaps less so for hosting boxing. I am grateful to Miles Templeton for sharing with me a wealth of information about boxing hosted in Kirkby from 1910 to 1956, including at the Market Hall/Festival Hall.

In June 1910, there was a three bout boxing exhibition hosted in the open air in Kirkby. In August 1921, a “packed house” was reported for a programme of boxing in East Kirkby but this does not say explicitly that this was at the Market Hall. Some reports of other fights in East Kirkby in the 1920s also do not specifically identify the Market Hall as the venue. A report of a fight in March 1922 refers to a hall but does not explicitly state that this was the Market Hall.

Reports dating from 1923, in Boxing News and the Sheffield Daily Telegraph specifically refer to boxing events at the Market Hall. On some occasions, e.g. in February 1933, a mixed bill of boxing and wrestling took place. On some occasions, events used other venues in Kirkby. For example, in October 1945, boxing contests staged at Bentinck Miners’ Welfare Hall raised money for the Mansfield Hospital Appeal Fund.

On 6 November 1950, a report in the Nottingham Guardian noted that there had been a boxing tournament in the Festival Hall. It stated that this was “the first to be staged in the parish for 17 years”. The event raised funds for the Cresswell disaster in which 80 miners died as the result of a fire.

Gala Day

Saturday 7 July 1951 was referred to in the local press as Carnival Gala or Gala Day.


Twenty decorated vehicles and over 300 adults and children in fancy dress took part in a parade.

Lorry carrying Bourne Sunday School
Bourne Primary School participating in the parade with decorated cycles and prams
Summit Colliery float
Carnival Queen
Cutting from the Nottingham Evening Post of 7 July 1951 which was in mum’s scrapbook

There were also trade displays in which Kirkby Urban Council was said to figure prominently. The Sunday school tableaux represented Christianity since the landing of St Augustine in 597. The portrayal of Lady Godiva by Rita Elliott was described as a “surprise item”.

The Carnival Queen led the parade with her attendants Marie Symonds, Jean Chalkley, Isobel Haynes and Dorothy Cater and the Nottinghamshire “Coal Queen” Mary Hibbert (or Hibbard) and “No 4 Area Coal Queen” Iris Barnes.

No 4 Area

Apparently, the National Coal Board was established in 1947. It was divided into eight divisions, one of which was East Midlands. This was divided into numbered areas of which there were originally seven but these were then reduced to six. Collieries in No. 4 area included Annesley, Kirkby, Newstead, Alfreton, New Hucknall, Shirland, Sutton, Wingfield Manor, ‘A’ Winning, ‘B’ Winning, Bentinck, Brookhill, Cotes Park, Langton, Pinxton, South Normanton, Swanwick, Pleasley, Silverhill and Teversal.

Three Bands

Three bands led the parade which went via Chapel Street, Victoria Road, Station Street, Low Moor Road, Sherwood Street, School Street, Crocus Street, St Thomas’ Avenue, Kingsway, Station Street and Hodgkinson Road to Kingsway Park. It was described as “the best and largest procession for a local ceremony”.

Opening Ceremony

The opening ceremony took place on Kingsway Park and was performed by Mr Hilary Marquand, the Minister of Health, see Chapter 52. Also pictured at the opening ceremony were Mr A Mead, the Chairman of the Carnival Committee and MP Seymour Cocks. In one picture, Mr Mead is labelled as the Chairman of the Council but I don’t think this is correct.

In addition to Hilary Marquand and Seymour Cocks, other speakers included Mr J T Lea, Carnival organiser, Mr R W Lewis, Notts CC Welfare Officer and Mr A S Malkin, surgeon and vice-chairman of the Portland Training College. The money raised from the Carnival was to be shared by Portland Training College, the Kirkby-in-Ashfield Old People’s Welfare Committee, the Kirkby Old People’s Treat Fund and the South Ward Old People’s Treat Fund.

Detailed two-part article about Kirkby Carnival 1951 from Notts Free Press of 13 July 1951 which mum had in a scrapbook

Mr A Mead

According to the 1939 Register, Arthur Mead was living at 244 Low Moor Road with his wife Ethel who was seven years his senior. According to the Register he was born on 23 August 1899. He was a Coal Miner Stallman. From other records, he and Edith Lees had married in 1914 but that would have meant he was only 15 when he got married. Based on his birth record, it seems he may have actually been born in 1890 which would make sense. But, the 1939 Register clearly says 1899. They had two children Mabel (b1914) and Arthur (b1920).

He was a Labour party politician and was an Urban District Councillor, e.g. in 1949. In 1950, he was Chairman of the council’s housing committee.

Mr R W Lewis

Mr R W Lewis was the Nottinghamshire County Council Welfare Officer and he was in that post from at least 1949 to 1975. Prior to that, in 1943, he was described as Director of Welfare Services. In 1953, he was recorded as having received an OBE.

Based on the 1939 Register, Reginald W Lewis was living in Ruddington with his wife Ella. He had been born on 20 July 1888 and she was nine years his junior. He was County Public Assistance Officer and was also Quartermaster ARP Medical Services.

Mr A S Malkin

Mr A S Malkin was Sydney Alan Stormer Malkin who was born in 1892 and who died in 1964. There is a photo of him on the Portland Charity website.

In 1923, the Nottingham Cripples Guild (see note on “attitudes and standards of the time“), whose patron was the Duchess of Portland, appointed Alan Malkin, an orthopaedic surgeon. He founded Harlow Wood Orthopaedic Hospital in 1929 and Portland College after the Second World War.

He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps during the First World War. According to the 1921 census, he was a House Surgeon at the West London Hospital in Hammersmith. He married Margaret Wright in 1925.

According to the 1939 Register, he was living at 54 The Ropewalk in Nottingham. He was an Orthopaedic Surgeon and his date of birth was given as 13 August 1892.

There is quite a detailed biography on the Royal College of Surgeons of England website. He trained at University College Hospital and qualified in 1915.


More than 5,000 people paid for entry to the event on Kingsway Park at a cost of one shilling each.

Heavy Shower

A heavy shower, soon after the opening ceremony, may have reduced the number of people who attended.


Events included a display of Alsatian police dogs, an exhibition of flying models by the Phoenix Model Aeroplane Club, a display of gymnastics by the East Kirkby Baptist Boys’ Brigade, a side-show by Bentinck Archers, a miniature railway, a Punch and Judy show, a fun fair and an inter-junior school sports competition.

The sports competition was won by The Mowlands School (164 points) with East Kirkby Diamond Avenue School second (95 points) and Newstead School third (66 points). The winners were to be awarded with the Bayliss Shield presented by the NUM but the shield had not yet been received from the makers! Mr Bayliss promised to present it at the school once it was available. The sports had been organised by school teachers with Mr S Whetton as referee.

Bentinck Archers

Bentinck Archers, also known as Bentinck Welfare Archers, were a Kirkby archery club in the early 1950s. In 1953, one of the club’s archers, Barrie Ball won the junior championship of England, the first Nottinghamshire archer to do so.

Fancy Dress

As in previous years, there were various categories of fancy dress prizes.


Diamond Avenue Methodist Church won the tableaux with a “John Wesley” group with Annesley Woodhouse Methodist Church second as “Robin Hood and His Merry Men”.


June Parsley (or Barsley) won the adults category with Mrs T Taylor second. Margaret Reeve won the children’s category with Joyce Arnold second. B Meeks won a consolation prize. Molly Makins won the best comic dress as a “Walky-Talky Doll” with Betty Lee second as a “TV set”.


Bentinck Wheelers won the category for best decorated cycles (groups) with a display of a century’s progress on cycling including penny farthings and hobby-horse cycles. John Charl(e)sworth and John Wilkinson won the best groups category as Randolph Turpin and Sugar Ray Robinson with Sherwood Street second as “Boer War Veterans”.

Photo of children who won prizes in the fancy dress at 1951 Kirkby Carnival. The order and profusion of prizes is a bit confusing but (left to right) Betty Lee won second prize in the best comic dress category as a “TV set“; Margaret Reece won first prize in the children’s category; Molly Makins won first prize in the best comic dress category as a “Walky-Talky Doll“; John Charl(e)sworth and John Wilkinson won first prize in the best groups category; and Joyce Arnold won second prize in the children’s category

Jean Mercer and Marlene (or Harlene) Daykin won the category of decorated prams and cycles with Bourne (Street) Methodist Primary Sunday School second. I am not sure why one article added “Street” to the name of the church. Bourne was named after a person, Hugh Bourne one of the founders of Primitive Methodism, and not a street,

Bourne Primary Sunday School – Kirkby Carnival 1951 featuring Geoffrey Cross, Jean Cooper, Lynne Evans and Sylvia Bust. Their entry won second prize of five shillings.

Randolph Turpin and Sugar Ray Robinson

British boxer Randolph Turpin caused a huge surprise in the boxing world when, on 10 July 1951, he beat Sugar Ray Robinson to claim the World Middleweight title in a fight at Earl’s Court. Robinson later reclaimed the title in a re-match in September.

Given that the Carnival was on 7 July 1951, this was a few days ahead of the first fight.

Randolph Turpin (left) fights Sugar Ray Robinson (right) for the World Middleweight title in July 1951 at Earl’s Court – image licenced from Alamy

Band Contest

Clipstone Colliery won the band contest with Mansfield Colliery second and Thoresby third.

Mansfield Colliery Band

Mansfield Colliery Band, also known as Mansfield Colliery Welfare Band, no longer exists. It operated from 1908 to 1968 across the Midlands and, on at least one occasion, in London. They won at least 13 competitions including in Alfreton, Bentley, Birmingham, Brinsley, Camberwell Green, Derby, Kirkby, Leicester, Lincoln, Loughborough and Ripley.

Their win in Kirkby came in a band concert on 27 August 1910 with Barton Cycle Works Band second, Nottingham Railway Band third and Boots Plaisaunce fourth. An article in the Nottingham Evening Post of 29 August referred to them as Crown Farm Band (Mansfield Colliery).

Mansfield Colliery Band – image obtained as a free resource from IBEW

Thoresby Band

This appears to be another colliery band and this one is still in existence. They have been in operation since 1950 winning more than 40 contests including in Amber Valley, Bradford, Chesterfield, Cleethorpes, Clipstone, Edwinstowe, Hemsby, Leicester, Manchester and Whiston.

Thoresby Colliery Band from the 1950s – image obtained as a free resource from IBEW

Tennis Tournament

W Taylor and Mrs S Shacklock won the tennis tournament beating G Boot and Miss Ormsley in the final.

Treasure Hunt

Miss Freda Reeves won the treasure hunt.

Dance at Festival Hall

In the evening, there was a dance at the Festival Hall. Music was provided by Wylie Price and his broadcasting orchestra. Apparently, the crowd was so large that not everyone could get in. A total of £98 was taken at the door and this did not include tickets sold in advance. The MC was Mr L Whyld. John Spencer and Jean Britton and Pete Smith and Miss B Turner won spot waltz prizes.

Although Trevor Lee’s booklet “Band Call” mentions a Festival of Britain schools concert, held in March 1951, and the exhibition itself from July, it does not mention this dance or the Wylie Price broadcasting orchestra.

Wylie Price and His Broadcasting Orchestra

They appear to have been in residence at the Ritz Ballroom in Worthing in 1946 and 1947. I also found details of them performing in other places including Derby and Grimsby.

Decorated Streets Raised Money

Decorated streets also raised money for Carnival with Pond Street raising the most at £8 6s 1d through a bring-and-buy sale. Byron Street was second with £7 12s. However, the residents of Byron Street also donated the £2 prize money they won for third place in the prize for street decorations. Ellis Street came next with £7 7s 1d and then Unity Street with £6 3s 5d.

Station Street end of Ellis Street during the 1951 Carnival. This photo appears on the Kirkby-in-Ashfield People Facebook Group and is used with permission

The Sherwood Street area of Annesley Woodhouse, which provided extra decorations for the Queen’s extra visit on Thursday evening, collected £1 15s.

People in Lime Street and Urban Road donated food and cash at a tea in the Cadet Hall on Sunday. This was organised by Mrs Fox and Mrs Harrison. There was so much leftover food that another tea was held the next day. I am grateful to John Wag Harris for explaining on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group that “the Cadet Hall mentioned at the bottom of Lime Street belonged to the Army cadet force. I joined the cadets there about 1958, a new hut was built around 1960 in front of the Church Hall at Annesley and the one on Lime Street was pulled down.” Ann Hilton, in the same group, remembered both Mrs Fox and Mrs Harrison living on Lime Street. She noted that Mrs Harrison, her grandmother, moved to Milton Street in the 1960s.

Berry Street, from where the Carnival Queen came, had a tea in the street on Friday. The chief organiser. M Escott, provided each child with ice cream.

On Sunday, the Queen visited parties in Elder Street and Highfield Avenue. The Elder Street party was attended by band leader Wylie Price and the fancy dress parade was judged by Mr R Andrews.

News cutting from mum’s scrapbook relating to 1951 Carnival

United Religious Service

A united religious service took place at the Festival Hall on the Sunday, presumably the 8th.

What is slightly odd is that neither grandad nor mum mentioned this in their diaries particularly as the service, which was organised by the Ministers’ Fraternal, was led by the Minister of Bourne Methodist Church, Rev P S Robinson. I don’t know if it is significant but Peter Robinson ultimately left the Methodist Church and joined the Anglicans, see List of Ministers at Bourne Chapel.

Captain Carby of the Salvation Army offered prayers and Miss D J Styles of Kirkby Baptist Church read the lessons. The local Salvation Army band provided musical accompaniment. The address was given by Rector Rev C C Fogerty. A collection of £10 16s 3d was shared with the dependents of the submarine “Affray” and the Easington Colliery disasters.

Although this photo is from a slightly earlier joint service, from Whit in May 1951, it does feature many of the same people. It shows Captain Carby, Rev S Butler, Mr W Hazlewood, Rev P Robinson and Rev R W Salmon with Mr W Marsh at the microphone.

Rev C C Fogerty

In October 1937, Rev Fogerty moved from the vicariate of Sutton-cum-Lound to All Souls’ Nottingham. According to the 1939 Register, Cecil C Fogerty was a Clerk in Holy Orders living in All Souls’ Vicarage. He was described as widowed having been born on 21 March 1889. Based on the 1921 census, his middle name was Cousins and he was living in Ilkeston with his wife Florence Annie, who had been Florence Short. They married in 1918. She died in 1935 and he died in 1973. It appears they may have had a son Basil born in 1921.

HMS Affray

The HMS Affray was the last Royal Navy submarine to be lost at sea on 16 April 1951 with the loss of 75 lives.

Memorial to HMS Affray which was lost at sea in April 1951 © Paul Gillett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Easington Colliery

The Easington Colliery disasters occurred in May 1951 in County Durham with the deaths of 83 men.

Pit Cage Monument, Easington Colliery © Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Cricket Match

According to local media reports, a cricket match took place on Thursday 12 July 1951 between past and present members of Kirkby Cricket Club. The Carnival Queen bowled the opening ball and a collection of £3 2s 1d was made.

Mum’s diary does not mention a cricket match that day but she does note watching cricket with Barbara Coupe “on park” on Tuesday 10 July 1951. Perhaps this was a different match?

Grandad and Mum Attend the Kirkby Exhibition

On the 16th, grandad noted that he, grandma and mum went to the exhibition at the Festival Hall and that it was very good.

Grandad’s diary entries for 15-28 July 1951 covering his trip to the Festival Exhibition in Kirkby on the 16th

Mum also noted going to the exhibition at the Festival Hall on the 16th. She commented that it was very good (“VG”). She considered it better than London when the relative sizes of London and Kirkby were considered.

Mum’s diary entries for 15-21 July 1951 covering her trip to the Festival Exhibition in Kirkby on the 16th

Festival of Britain in London

More details of the Festival and Exhibition in Kirkby and in London are found in Chapters 52 and 59. Mum, grandma and grandad went to the Festival of Britain in London in June 1951. They went on a special rail excursion from Kirkby. Grandad commented that it was not as good as the British Empire Exhibition in 1924. Mum noted “FB NB BP VG” which I take to mean that the Festival of Britain was not bad while Battersea Park was very good!

Details of excursion to Festival of Britain by train from Kirkby in June 1951
Mum’s commemorative Festival of Britain crown
Festival of Britain bike brooch

Kirkby Exhibition

It seems that this Festival Exhibition was held  over a number of days with an attendance of more than 5,000, particularly in the evenings. According to an announcement in the Nottingham Evening Post, Mr D M Rees, the manager of NCB Area No 4, opened it on 12 July. It was modelled on the “South Bank Exhibition” that had taken place in London. The local media appear to have shared mum’s assessment saying that it was “in some respects better handled than the London exhibition”.  

News cutting from mum’s scrapbook concerning the Exhibition in Kirkby in 1951
Notice which is included in the first of Trevor Lee’s booklets “Band Call“. These booklets seek to document every band that played at the Festival Hall from 1950 to 1963. I am grateful to Trevor Lee for providing me with these booklets and for permission to include this notice here.

Mr D M Rees

Mr D M Rees was general manager of the No. 4 area of NCB until March 1952 when he became the Chairman of the South-Western Division of NCB. He had been in that former position since at least 1947.

Based on some online biographical details, he was born in 1904 and was educated at Llandovey College and Birmingham University. He married Marjorie Griffiths in 1937 and they had two children. He was awarded a CBE in 1956.

Beyond Coal and Railways

The Festival showed elements of Kirkby, beyond its association with mining and railways, including various forms of light manufacturing, such as knitwear, nylons, confectionery, furniture and transport seating.

Opening of the Exhibition

Another news article noted that Councillor A Briggs opened the Exhibition on Thursday 12th. The Chairman of the Council, Mr C E Sargent presided. Mr Briggs noted that it was the first exhibition of its kind in the town.  He also introduced Mr D M Rees.

C E Sargent

According to the 1939 Register, Cyril E Sargent lived in Hodgkinson Road with his wife Irene. He was a colliery hewer and had been born on 25 November 1887. From other records, his middle name was Ernest and he died in 1999 aged over 100. As early as 1911, when he was 13, he was working as a colliery banksman on the surface. He married Irene Parker in 1920. They may have had five children, Beryl (b1920), Pearl (b1922), Alan (b1925), Enid (b1929) and Cyrene (b1936).

Prosperity of the Town

Apparently, Mr Rees referred to a recent NCB safety devices exhibition held in the Festival Hall and stated that the current Exhibition “proved by an outward sign the prosperity of the town…

History of Kirkby

The Exhibition showed the history of Kirkby over the past 100 years including its transition from rural area to industrial centre. Mr Lee presided over this section. Local media commented, that he “never knew from day to day what additional relic would be handed in for exhibition”.

Industrial Section

The Exhibition had an industrial section which showed Kirkby’s contribution to national economic recovery. The Exhibition aimed to create interest in local arts and crafts.  There were displays of machines worked by employees.  

Arts and Crafts Section

The arts and crafts section included what looked like a basket of flowers but was actually an iced cake.

Photography Section

There was also a photography section and this was described as one of the most popular.


On 12 July 1952, mum noted watching the carnival (procession) from Olive’s. Grandad did not refer to it in his diary. Both mum and grandad noted that Jack and Eileen Fawthrop and family visited them that day. Mum had  a number of photos of carnival that year in her photo albums.

According to notes on the back of photos, the procession that year was led by Uncle Tom, Tom Wilson. The first prize was won by a float entitled “Garden of Roses”. The Bourne chapel intermediate school float was based on a Wimbledon tennis match between Little Mo (Maureen Connolly) and a British player who they called Little Hope! Little Mo was played by Margaret West and Little Hope by Janet Ridley. The Carnival Queen that year was Jill Hinks.

Mum’s diary entries for 6-12 July 1952 including featuring Carnival on the 12th
Uncle Tom leading the Carnival procession in 1952
Garden of Roses“, the winning float
Above and below – Bourne Sunday School float featuring “Little Mo” and “Little Hope
Above and below – Carnival Queen 1952

“Little Mo”

Maureen Connolly won Wimbledon in 1952, 1953 and 1954 before her tennis career was ended by a horse-riding accident at the age of 19.  

Advertising for Bands

On 2 May 1952, there was an advert, in the Nottingham Evening Post,  for bands to take part in the Kirkby Carnival on 12 July 1952. Bands needed to apply to Mrs M E Wright of 15 Berry Avenue in Kirkby.

Best-Decorated Street

The Nottingham Evening Post of 11 July 1952 included a story about the best-decorated street in Kirkby. This noted that crowds had gathered the previous night for the judging process which took three hours. Mr J A Percival, Chairman of Sutton Council, Mr A Dallison, Chairman of Hucknall Council and Mrs Dallison were the judges. Sherwood Street won the competition with Ellis Street second and Unity Street third. The prize for the best individual house was won by Mrs Lilley of 4 Prospect Street with Mrs Meakin of 10 Unity Street second.  

J A Percival

According to the 1939 Register, John A Percival was living at 85 Charles Street in Sutton with his wide Edith who was one year his senior. He had been born on 11 August 1883 and his occupation had been transcribed as Coal Agent “Prarelin“. However, the original appears to say “traveller“. They had three children living with them, Oswald (b1907), Ronald (b.1913) and Olga (n1925). From other records, John’s middle name was Arthur. He had married Edith Parkes in 1902 and they had other children, Elsie (b1904), Douglas (b1916), Marjorie (b1918) and Kenneth (b1924).

In the 1901 census, he was described as a coalminer loader and, by 1911, he was a hewer. According to the 1921 census, he was a colliery check weighman. He died in 1959.

He was a local Labour Politician serving on local councils. For example, as early as 1919, he was elected to the East Ward of Sutton-in-Ashfield.


There was also a boxing competition as part of the 1952 Carnival. According to an article in the Nottingham Evening Post on 12 July 1952, this took place the previous night. A doctor had to be called for Kirkby fighter, Les Roberts, after he was knocked down by Kid Tandy. The fight was stopped as a result. Kirkby’s Dick Johnson had “an easy win” over Pat Markney knocking him out in the fourth round. He then fought for a second time the same night standing in for Dido Wills who failed to appear. In that fight, Johnson won on a technical knockout when his opponent, Alf Morley, was unable to continue because of a damaged wrist. In other contests, Jack Franks of Kirkby stopped George Harris, Dennis Jewsbury of Kirkby beat Stuart Scothern on points and Kirkby’s Des Evans also beat  Mal Whetton on points.

Stuart Scothern

Stuart Scothern is an active member of Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group and recalled being involved in this fight. He noted that he “only had a few fights and aged 17 was found to be near” [sighted?].  I also wonder if it was the same Stuart Scothern who received a third prize for seniors at the Bourne Sunday School prizegiving in 1949, see Chapter 38.

Gala Day

Initially, I could not find a newspaper report of the main gala day on Saturday 12 July because the Nottingham Evening Post of 14 July 1952 is not in the online archive. However, I managed to purchase a copy of that entire paper.

Article about the Gala Day which was held on 12 July 1952 as part of the Kirkby Carnival. The report comes from the Nottingham Evening Post of 14 July 1952


The gala day started with a parade of fancy dress characters and decorated vehicles as pictured above. The parade included two dozen pit ponies and displays by Breaston Highlanders Carnival Band and East Kirkby Baptists’ Boys’ Brigade.

Breaston Highlanders Carnival Band

The village of Breaston is in Derbyshire on the edge of Long Eaton. Breaston Highlanders Band is still in existence. There is a really good history section on their website which has excellent photos and includes some general information about carnival bands formed in the 1930s. This band, in particular, was formed from the local scouts following the Long Eaton Carnival of 1931. It was originally known as the Breaston Carnival Band but the Highlanders name was adopted within a couple of years. A video of them performing in 2016 is available on YouTube.

Proceedings in Kingsway Park

The proceedings were opened by Mr and Mrs F D Severn. They were accompanied by the Carnival Queen, MP Seymour Cocks and the Chairman of the Carnival Committee, Mr J T Portas.

Mr Fitz Donald Severn

Mr F D Severn was the General Manager for the NCB Area No. 4. Based on online records, it appears that he was born in 1896 in Derbyshire and that he died in 1962 in Belper. He married Doris Jones in 1922. According to the 1901 census, his father, Fitz Herbert Severn, was the manager of a railway wagon works and, in 1911, he was a colliery agent. During the First World War, Fitz Donald Severn was an officer, second lieutenant, in the Sherwood Foresters. In the 1921 census, he was described as a mining engineer.

Based on a newspaper report, Mr Severn remained as General Manager for the NCB Area No. 4. until he retired in June 1961 having been appointed to that post in 1952. In January 1937, he represented the colliery at the inquest of Samuel Palfreyman, a miner who was killed by a roof fall. In May 1934, he was described as manager of Brookhill colliery when he attended the funeral of Joseph Fletcher who was killed in a roof fall at the colliery.

School Sports

As in the previous year, there was a school athletics/sports competition. Schools were competing for the Bayliss Shield for the second time. Mowlands won again (170 points) with Diamond Avenue second (136 points), Kirkby Woodhouse third (70 points) and Newstead fourth (44 points).

Pit Ponies

There were competitions for pit ponies with categories for above and below 12.2 hands. In the larger category, Blucher of Pleasley Deep Hard won with Jess of Bentinck Soft Coal second and Tipler, Bentinck Low Main third. In the smaller category, Jolly of Brookhill won with Bob of Bentinck Low Main second and Ben of Pleasley Top Hard third.

Fancy Dress

Terry Furness and Christine Morley won the under 12 individual fancy dress with Fay Furness and Lynne Durant second. Laura Wilkinson won the over 12 fancy dress with Mrs Saville second. Sheila Harvey won the over 12 comic fancy dress with Yvonne Lewis second. Philip and Diana Hurt won the best group fancy dress with Mary Schofield and Janet Wharmby second. Pond Street and Factory Road won the prize for best decorated vehicle as “Garden of Roses” with Miss Lee and friends second with “Centre Court Wimbledon“. Annesley Woodhouse won a consolation prize with “Olympic Games“. Susan Sedgewick won best-decorated pram with Michael Green second. Robert Green won the best-decorated cycle with Mr and Mrs Noble and family second.


An advert in the Nottingham Evening Post on 10 July 1952 announced that there would be a Kirkby Carnival Dance at the Festival Hall on the 12th. There had been a similar advert the previous week. Based on the report in the Nottingham Evening Post shown above, over 700 people attended the ball.

Balloon Race

Based on an article in the Nottingham Evening Post of 27 August 1952, it appears that there was a balloon race as part of Kirkby Carnival that year. Mr F Bell of 102 Hartley Road, Kirkby released the balloon that travelled the furthest. It travelled over 400 miles to Hessen in Germany. In all, a total of 63 tags returned, most from the King’s Lynn and Spalding areas. Six had crossed the North Sea with two landing in Holland and four in Germany.

More Boxing

According to an article in the Nottingham Evening Post of 4 October 1952, the Kirkby Carnival Committee also organised a boxing competition the previous night on 3 October 1952. The event raised funds to support the Lynmouth Flood Disaster relief fund. Lynmouth, a village in Devon, had been badly flooded, see Chapter 59.

The main focus was again on Kirkby boxer Dick Johnson who stopped Alf Morley in the 10th round. Ernest Robinson was the referee. In other contests, another Kirkby boxer, Des Evans, outpointed Mal Whatton and Jack Tucker and Roy Wells drew. Kid Tandy beat Billy Peach of Kirkby on points.  


Carnival Programme

I found an original of the 1953 Carnival magazine among mum’s papers. This had a unique “lucky programme number” (1643). It cost one shilling. It consisted mainly of adverts but also contained parade details, details of judging of street decorations, a summary of the week’s events and details of sports events.

Front cover of Carnival magazine 1953

Charities to Benefit

The programme also identified charities that would benefit from the Carnival. They included Kirkby Old People’s Welfare Committee, Portland Training College Appeals Committee, Kirkby British Legion, South Ward Old People’s Treat Committee and Kirkby Old Age Pensioners’ Association.

Page from Carnival programme 1953 identifying benefitting charities

A Planning Meeting

On 30 January 1953, mum attended a Council Meeting about the carnival. She did not give any details. Grandad did not mention this meeting at all.

Mum’s diary entries for 26 January to 1 February 1953 showing Carnival meeting that she attended on 30 January

The Nottingham Journal of 31 January 1953 reported this meeting. The meeting agreed to hold a Carnival but not in July because of clashing with celebrations of the Coronation, see Chapter 59. So, the meeting agreed to hold it in September. Also, the meeting selected a number of officials including Mr J T Portas, Chairman; Mr R Andrews, Vice-chairman; Mrs B Nuthall, Secretary; Miss Hazel Munns, Assistant Secretary; Mrs Brownlow, Treasurer and Mr W Worthington, Organiser.

Hazel Munns

Hazel and Joy Munns were friends of mum’s from Bourne Methodist Church. Hazel’s full name was Winifred Hazel Munns and she married Richard Ward on 20 June 1959. She played the piano and organ, including at mum and dad’s wedding. She was born two days before mum on 13 September 1934.

Wedding of Richard Ward and Hazel Munns in June 1959

Carnival Queen Selected

On June 12 1953, mum noted that the carnival queen had been selected at a dance she attended at the Festival Hall. Again, grandad did not mention this. Mum noted that dad and Ken Roome were on duty in the cloakroom that night.

Mum’s diary entries for 8-14 June 1953 showing the dance she went to on the 12th where the Carnival Queen was selected.

The Nottingham Journal of 13 June 1953 reported this event including that Sylvia Bennett of Lindley’s Lane had been chosen as Kirkby Carnival Queen.

Sylvia Bennett

Apparently, this was Sylvia Bennett’s third attempt to be selected as Carnival Queen. In 1952, she had been one of the Queen’s assistants. She was 20 years old and worked at William Hollins Ltd, Hucknall. There were nine competitors for the role. Also chosen with her were her assistants. They were Maureen Brelsford, who had been Notts Coal Queen in 1952; Bernice Wright, who had been Carnival Queen in 1951; mum’s friend Joy Munns; and Shirley Dove.

William Hollins Ltd

William Hollins was a textiles company that started in a mill in Pleasley Vale in 1784. The original factory closed in 1997 and now houses a business park and housing. They made the fabrics Viyella and Clydella, see Chapter 67.

Joy Munns

As mentioned above, Joy and her older sister Hazel were friends of mum’s from Bourne Methodist Chapel. Her full name was Margaret Joy Munns. She was two years younger than mum and Hazel having been born in 1936. She married Alan Jones in March 1957.

Wedding of Alan Jones and Joy Munns in March 1957. The bridesmaid to Joy’s left is her sister Hazel

After she had assisted the Kirkby Carnival Queen in 1953, she went on to be Annesley Colliery Coal Queen in 1956. According to the article, her father, Thomas Munns, had worked as a ripper at Annesley Colliery for over 44 years. Joy was said to be 19 years old and an office worker. I believe she worked with mum at Fordham and Burton at this time. She won a prize of £10. Phyllis Spencer of Mosley Road Annesley was second.

Carnival Queen’s Attendants

On 22 June 1953, the Nottingham Journal reported that 90 children between five and ten attended East Kirkby Miners’ Welfare in the afternoon to compete for places to be attendants to the Carnival Queen. Those selected were Patricia Johnson of Highfield Avenue, Linda Gregg or Cragg of Oak Street, Margaret Peat of 64 Greenwood Drive and Pat Shaw of Rowan Drive.  There was a similar article in the Nottingham Evening Post the same day but this noted that there had only been 11 applicants for Carnival Queen and only four for senior attendants to the Queen.

The Week’s Events

The programme presented a summary of the week’s events.

Pages from the Carnival programme 1953 showing the week’s planned events

Carnival Queen Crowned

On Monday 24 August 1953, according to the Carnival programme, there was to be a concert, crowning ceremony and dance at the Festival Hall. Mum attended this. She noted that it was “v nice” and that the Carnival Queen was crowned.

Mum’s diary entries from 24-30 August 1953 showing the Carnival Dance at which the Carnival Queen was crowned on the 24th and the events of the Carnival weekend, the 29th-30th

Whist Drive and Tea

On Wednesday 26 August, according to the Carnival programme, there was to be a Whist Drive and Tea at St Thomas’ Church Hall. Admission to this cost 2/6.

Street Decorations

On Friday 28 August 1953, according to the Carnival programme, there was to be judging of the street decorations. The programme provided more details of this.

Page from Carnival programme 1953 related to judging of street decorations

The winners of prizes for street decorations were as follows. Byron Street won the prize for the best decorated street with Mayfield Street and Princess Street second and Upper Mary Street third. Mrs Smith and Mrs Beighton from Mary Street jointly won the first prize for the best decorated house. Mrs Shaw and Mrs Clarke of Rowan Drive were second and Mrs Norris of Oak Street was third.

Carnival Day

The Carnival programme contained a detailed schedule for Saturday 29 August 1953. This started with the parade assembling at 12 noon. It was expected that the parade would set off at 1pm and that it would be led by Kirkby Old Band and East Kirkby Colliery Band.

The opening ceremony was expected at 2.30pm. Other events were expected from 3pm and included children’s sports, displays by Bilborough Elizabethans Carnival Band, demonstration by Ripley Riding School, dog show (obedience test open), pit pony judging, balloon race, skittles, treasure hunt and other sideshows.

Bilborough Elizabethans Carnival Band

I have not found many details of the Bilborough Elizabethans Carnival Band. However, I have found some local news reports about them between 1953 and 1957. Their first public parade was in June 1953 at a parade in Bilborough. They took part in annual church parades in Bilborough in October 1955, September 1956 and September 1957. The article about the 1955 parade identified Jack Joseph as their leader. He organised “The Gang Busters Show” which they took part in, in Bilborough, in March 1956. In November 1956, they had their annual prizegiving parade. In December 1956, they took part in the musical pantomimeAladdin” which they performed for old people in Bilborough. They also performed outside of Bilborough, e.g. in Nottingham in April 1956.

Ripley Riding School

I have come across adverts for Ripley Riding School from 1952. I have also come across adverts of their gymkhanas from 1951 and 1956.

Carnival Parade

The Carnival programme contained more details of the parade including about where participants should gather, at Bentinck’s Miners’ Welfare Sports Ground, and that this is where the independent judging would take place.

There were seven classes each with a cash prize: 1. Original fancy dress (under 15); 2. Comic fancy dress (under 15); 3. Original fancy dress (over 15); 4. Comic fancy dress (over 15); 5. Decorated prams and cycles; 6. Tableaux (walking or riding); and 7. Advertising tableaux.

It cost sixpence to enter categories 1, 2 and 5, a shilling to enter categories 3 and 4, and 2/6 to enter category 6. Entrance to category 7 was free. All entries in all classes were granted free access to Kingsway Park.

Page from Carnival programme 1953 with parade details

Children’s Sports

Children’s sports included 30 yards races for boys and girls under 5; 40 yards races for boys and girls aged 5-7; 60 yards races for boys and girls aged 8-9; and 80 yards races for boys and girls aged 10-11. There were six races over 100 yards for boys and girls aged 12-13 and 14-15 and for ladies and gents. There were also three-legged races for boys and girls aged 7-11 and 12-15.

It was hoped that 6 or 7 a side football matches would be played on Kingsway Park every evening of Carnival Week. Teams taking part were expected to be Annesley Miners’ Welfare, Annesley Woodhouse Rovers, Nuncargate, Mutton Hill Rovers, Kirkby LMS, East Kirkby Welfare, East Kirkby Co-op YC, Bentinck Methodists YC and Bentinck Welfare.

Planned sports programme for 1953 Kirkby Carnival

Carnival Rained Off

Mum noted in her diary that the Carnival was on 29 August but that it rained all day. She, dad, Joan Storer, Ken Roome and Margaret Varnam went to mum’s in the afternoon and played Monopoly. Grandad noted that it rained all day on the 29th and that the Carnival was cancelled.

Grandad’s diary entries from 23 August to 3 September including his note on the 29th that the Carnival was cancelled because of rain

A report in the Nottingham Journal of 31 August 1953 confirmed that most events planned for Kirkby Carnival on 29 August 1953 had had to be cancelled because of the weather. There were concerns that this might result in the Carnival operating at a loss, although the Carnival Ball was expected to bring in some money.


Some events did take place, for example, on the evening of 29 August. The Nottingham Evening Post of 31 August 1953 included a photo of Carnival Queen, Sylvia Bennett, presenting a prize to Mrs C Reeve who was receiving it on behalf of the prizewinner, Mrs D Varnam.

This photo shows Sylvia Bennett presenting a prize to Mrs C Reeve on behalf of Mrs D Varnam. The cutting is from the Nottingham Evening Post of 20 July 1939 through a paid subscription to Find My Past

Carnival Dance

The Carnival programme advertised a Grand Carnival Dance on Saturday 29 August 1953 at the Festival Hall from 7.45pm to 11.45pm with a licenced bar, refreshments and late transport. Despite the weather, mum and her friends went to this. Mum noted that two girls from Manchester Salvation Army stayed the night with them.

Carnival Service

Mum also noted that there was a Carnival Service at chapel on 30 August 1953.


Grandad’s and mum’s diaries do not mention Kirkby Carnival after 1953. I have found no evidence of a Kirkby Carnival from 1954 to 1958. I also came across an interesting article in the Nottingham Evening Post of 2 November 1955 which discussed the challenges of organising Ilkeston Carnival. The Council had concluded that there would probably not be a Carnival in 1956.

I did find an article in the Nottingham Evening News of 25 May 1959 which noted that Mrs Betty Thornhill, aged 19, had been selected as Kirkby Colliery Coal Queen at a dance at the Festival Hall on the 23rd. Apparently, there had been 15 candidates but two had been “too shy” to parade at the last moment. The winner won £12. Mrs B Saunders was second and won £3, Miss L Bayton was third. The judges were Mr L Clarke, the financial secretary of Notts Area NUM, Mrs Clarke, Dr and Mrs Fernandez and Kirkby Colliery sister Mrs D Dolby.

Dr Ronald Herbert Peter Fernandez

Dr R H P Fernandez was area surgeon in Nottingham in the 1950s. He was admitted to the Order of St John of Jerusalem in August 1959. Based on online records, his name was Ronald Herbert Peter Fernandez and, in 1939, he was a medical student living in Leeds. His father Zachariah P Fernandez was a physician. Ronald’s date of birth was 22 February 1921. He married Jean M Forsyth in 1952. He died in 1999.

Since 1960

As a family, we moved away from Kirkby in 1960, see Chapter 76. So, any personal involvement we had in Carnivals ended then.

There was a Carnival in 1961. Ann Malton of Victoria Road was Carnival Queen. The then manager of Mansfield Town, Raich Carter, crowned her. Her attendants were Susan Hastings,  Lynn Godfrey and Deanne Drew. The Carnival raised funds for the King George V Jubilee Trust Fund.  In 1964, Margaret Reece of Kirkby was Carnival Queen in Selston.

Raich Carter

Horatio Stratton (Raich) Carter played as an inside forward for a number of teams between 1931 and 1953 playing 245 league games for Sunderland, 63 for Derby County and 136 for Hull City. He captained Sunderland when they won the F A Cup in 1937 and played 13 times for England between 1934 and 1947 scoring seven goals. He managed Mansfield Town from 1960 to 1963 having previously managed Hull City and Leeds United. Later, he went on to manage Middlesbrough.

Signed photo of Raich Carter which appeared on a Panini card/sticker
Details on reverse side of signed photo

Memories of Carnival

In discussing Carnival on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group, a number of people contributed memories.

Michael Atherton wrote, “I remember one year when Molly Baddem (think that was her name) [Molly Badham] brought the chimps that used to star in the p.g tips adverts to do a show on the carnival stage on Kingsway park. Also remember the window spotting competition in the Kirkby shops prior to carnival day. Great memories.

Colleen Moult commented “I remember a Kirkby carnival, must have been very early 60’s. I remember a man dressed as a caveman with an upturned brolly full of coins people had thrown in and a ‘bride’ in a white gown covered in tomato sauce for blood in the procession. Very strange to a small child then“.

Not all the memories were positive. Simon Hilton notes, “my late father made an interesting point that, unlike many industrial towns ,the pubs were never included in these events and never allowed extended hours. In fact at the end of world war 2 VE and VJ Day many were closed! He recalled 2 brothers, both in bomber crews on leave at VE Day, who were denied a booze up in Kirkby . Methodist councillors were blamed!

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