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Lytham St.Annes, Lancashire, England
 

 

St.Annes Peace Celebrations 1919

St.Annes-on-the-Sea Express
FRIDAY, JULY 25th, 1919.
Our Peace Celebration.

A GLORIOUS TIME,
Processions, Gymkhana, Feasts, Music and Dancing.

St.Annes has celebrated Peace, and we doubt whether the rejoicing of last Saturday could be repeated with more spontaneity, more fervour, or, more success. Everybody seemed to have cast adrift their worldly concerns for the time being and to have entered heart and soul into an epoch-making commemoration.

Although the pages of history right down the corridors of Time, from the earliest races of men, are disfigured by dissension, hatred, intrigue, conquest and the lust of power, relieved after each upheaval by the spread of civilization, the love of freedom, the growth of commerce and learning and the intercourse of peoples, there has been no combat which has engaged the energies of so many peoples, that has been so destructive in its operations, but which, at the same time, has been fraught with such inherent capability for the emancipation of men of all nationalities, the wide world o'er, as the war which the hosts of Freedom have won over the overweening ambition of one crowned head suffering from cranial inflation, and one nation, for world domination by brute force.

As in previous treacherous designs of despotic upstarts, whom "a breath can make as a breath has made" the God of Right and Justice has frustrated Herr Wilhelm Hohenzollern's presumptuous attempt to stride the world like a Colossus, and his late "Imperial Majesty," with his dreams of conquest, has left his debased throne and his tinselled sceptre, and shrivelled into history to swell the ignoble roll of the world's tyrants. The world is purer and freer now that the last monarch who presumptuously claimed to rule by Right Divine has been humbled in the dust.

A new epoch has been ushered in for the whole earth, the epoch of Brotherhood, Justice and Liberty. By the wisdom of Statesmen and the common-sense of liberated peoples we may enter upon the fulfilment of Tennyson's vision in Locksley Hall, when "the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle flags were furl'd in the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.. And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law."

We hope that ideal inspired all who took part in Saturday's celebration. The day was worthy of the event. As if to remind us of the direful years which we had passed through, when pillage and murder stalked through Europe, the day preceding and the very morning of our local celebration was unpropitious for outdoor festivities, but the sun arrived in time and smiled on us until the last child had closed its eyes in sweet slumber after a day of delights, and his reflection lingered in the northern sky until the last waltz had been danced.

St. Annes honoured its sailors and its soldiers who, as Mr. Chairman Leigh said—he has always the appropriate word - had put their bodies between us and the enemy. They well deserved the rapturous cheers we gave them. They were the, town's guests, and we honoured ourselves in honouring them.

The children will remember "The Day" for the joy it gave them, and will understand its deeper significance as the happy years that are to be, roll by.

It was fitting, too, that those who have ascended the hill of life and are looking into the valley of rest, should have been in our thoughts on such an occasion. One veteran, at least, was living when George the Fourth was King, ushered into life in the very year of Greek Independence. What a long list of wars and tumults his memory can dwell upon! Is it possible for him to believe that wars will ever cease? Born before the introduction of railways, his long life bridging the time between the stage coach and the airship, with the annihilation of distance between continents, what world-progress, what inventions he has seen! At 92 Mr. Matthew Fox, who served our town usefully, as a member of the local authority 25 years ago, is still nimble enough to propel a tricycle. Many happy years of Peace to our old friend and to all the silver-haired veterans whose smiling faces graced the Parish Rooms on Saturday evening! All those ladies and gentlemen who gladly contributed to the pleasure of our valiant soldiers and the young and aged of our community on Peace Day, 1919, increased their own happiness while promoting the happiness of others, and no greater reward could they obtain or do they desire.

Give me health and a day, and I will make ridiculous the pomp of emperors," wrote Emerson. Well, on Saturday the people of St.Annes had "a day"—a glorious day—and young and old, for whom the Peace festival was specially designed, were blessed with the propitious power to produce happiness. On Friday ominous clouds "frowned upon the atmosphere" and throughout the night until the hour of rising there was the melancholy drip of the rain. Then the weather, as if realizing the day of an age, pulled itself together, and almost every minute of the passing day the skies were blue and the earth was gay. At midnight the after-glow lingered in the north as if loath to leave so much as a shadow on the day's rejoicing St.Annes was on holiday in a real sense; work, excepting that which contributed to the pleasure of others, was "lost awhile ;" buying and selling was by general consent abandoned ;—it was a day of cheerful faces and cheerful sounds—happiness that was reflective, "every countenance, bright with smiles, and glowing with innocent enjoyment." Rarely, if ever, in St.Annes' short history, has there been such social harmony. Distinctions were forgotten; we were all British in our welcome of Peace.

O beauteous Peace,
Sweet union of a State! what else but thou Gives safety, strength, and glory to a people!
Methinks I see again
Those gentle days renew'd that bless'd our isle, Ere by this fury of division,
Worse than our Etna's most destructive fires,
It desolated sunk. I see our plains,
Unbounded, waving with the gifts of harvest,
Our seas with commerce throng'd, our busy ports
With cheerful toil.

"Peace" indeed, hath her victories, no less renown'd than war." How exquisite is peace after war, "How exquisite is pleasure after pain." The citizens of St.Annes celebrated their Peace Day as all
citizens should, and it would be difficult to dee who culled most enjoyment from the passing show, those for whose pleasure the festival was prepared or those who prepared it.

Saturdays celebration owed much of its success to a host of energetic ladies and gentlemen who gladly gave their best services: the Chairman of the Peace Committee (Coun. J. H. Taylor), Mr. Robert Sutcliffe, who was ubiquitous, thorough, and the paragon of cheerfulness and courtesy as he performed the heavy secretarial duties: Mr. Walter Fielden, the sunny organizer of the gymkhana : the ladies who so happily supplied supplied the needs of their numerous guests with viands dainty; the ladies and gentlemen who ministered to the joyous time of the over-sixty young people ; Inspector Sharman, the marshal, and his uniformed and civilian helpers ; the self-sacrificing officers and teachers of the Sunday schools who regaled the children ; Mr. Herbert Whittaker, and the delightful entertainers who gladly provided music and mirth : the M.C.'s for the dances, the M.C.'s for the whist drive; Captain Reg. Hargreaves who stepped into the breach and played the dance music in the St. George's Hall.

A word of appreciation is also due to the various caterers, hearing the household names of Harrison, Frankland and Moseley. From our Chief Citizen, Coun. R. Leigh, J.P. (Who was accompanied by Mrs. Leigh), Mr. T. Bradley, and the members and officials of the Council down to the humblest helper there was but one desire, namely, to create the happiest time of their lives for the children, the returned sailors and soldiers and the old people, and everybody agreed that they succeeded to a degree beyond criticism.
The town was gaily decorated. Residents had hung nit their banners and British and Allied flags floated on the breeze everywhere.

The Procession.
Before 10-30 Sunday school scholars gathered promptly at their respective schools, and, in charge of ministers, superintendents and teachers, marched smartly to The Square to occupy their allotted positions, where they were joined by children of the Convalescent Homes of the town:

A procession representative of St. Annes war efforts was marshalled at the Town Hall. Two Land Army girls, mounted on sprightly steeds. headed the procession. The sparkling marching tune, "Colonel Bogey," was played on the way to the Square by the Alexandra Brass Band (of the Carriage and Waggon Department of the L. and Y. Railway Co.). The now-demobbed Special Police of the town were on parade once more under Section-Commander Harwood, and the Volunteer
Force were in charge of Capt. Ellis.

The "gentlemen of the cloth' present were the Revs. H. E. Butler (Parish Church), C. H. Ellison, M.A. (St. Thomas'), W. F. Riddell (Congregational), Percy C. Pegler (Drive Wesleyan), Thomas Hitchon (Church Road Wesleyan), A. J. Campbell (Primitive Methodist), and Fr. Ryan (Roman Catholic).

Then came members of the Council: Coups. J. W. Hallam, Jas. Hallam, J. Watts, E. Lee, G. R. Eyre, H.D. Rothwell, W. Dodd, and A. Rawstron, with the Council officials: Messrs. G. W. Lawson, R. V. Pye, J. H. Clothier anal H. J. Carmont. Coun. Richard Leigh. J.P. (Chairman of the Council), wearing his chain of office, and accompanied by Coun. J. Taylor (Vice-Chairman), and Mr. T. Bradley (Clerk), preceded a large squad of returned soldier's.

In this order the procession proceeded to the Square, where, on arrival, the ex-service men were greeted by-the strains of "See the Conquering Heroes Come!" and received an ovation full of heartiness for their safe return.

A PICTURESQUE SCENE.

Procession in the Square, St.Annes Peace Celebrations, 1919The scene in the Square was Worthy of the historic occasion. Seldom has St. Annes principal thoroughfare contained such a concourse, seldom has it presented such a bright, varie-coloured appearance. Those who ascended the vantage points of the windows and balconies of the neighbouring buildings were rewarded by a splendid panoramic view of something like 10,000 or 12,000 radiant faces, of which 2,000 were those of children. For the joyous occasion the children had donned their holiday attire, and as white predominated they contrasted strikingly with the more sombre attire of the older people. Their banners and Union Jacks, their flower-adorned wands and ropes of roses lout an additional charm to the picturesque sight. The tanned faces of the men out of khaki spoke unconsciously of hard days—now happily ended—spent in the gaining of Victory.

THE ROYAL PROCLAMATION.

With Coun. Taylor and Mr. Bradley, Coun. Leigh mounted an improvised platform in the centre of the immense crowd, and said: 'I have been commanded by the King to read his Royal Proclamation." This duty performed, Coun: Leigh said he was there also to thank all those who had taken any part in bringing that great war to a successful conclusion, not only the men who fought, but all the workers who had helped in that great result.

The Special Constables who had paraded our coasts to warn us of danger ; the Volunteer Corps, who had been in training to protect us against a German landing, if necessary (fortunately for us it was not necessary) ; and all the workers in connection with our hospitals, he heartily thanked. But all the home efforts would have been in vain but for the splendid men who were represented there that day - (prolonged Cheers)---men who had put their bodies between us and the enemy. Many of them would not come back. We would raise in this town a memorial which would shine with their names on, for ever; we would prepare a roll of honour and do what we could to recognise their great services. We rejoiced that day not only that the fighting was done, but that our faith in the final triumph of Right and Justice had not been misplaced. In our darkest hour we believed in victory, and we were there that day to celebrate it and to contrast what would have happened to us if the war had gone the other way with what we had there that day. The war was won, and now we had to set to work to rebuild all that had been destroyed. He had no more to say except, "God Save the King !"

The whole assembly joined. wholeheartedly in the singing of the National Anthem, with the two substituted verses,  Mr. Herbert Whittaker conducting. Coun. Taylor's query to the boys and girls, "Are you glad to see the soldiers home?" was answered by an emphatic "Yes !" and rousing cheers. A touching and unrehearsed incident occurred in the playing by the band of "Home, Sweet Home." One wondered what memories it conjured,  in the minds of the returned heroes. Praise was rendered to God for Victory in the hymn, "O God, our help in ages past." "God Bless the Prince of Wales” was also sung and was most appropriate as an appeal for the future welfare of our land:

Should hostile hands or danger
E'er threaten our fair Isle.
May God's strong arm protect us,
May Heav'n still on us smile!
Above the Throne of England.
May fortune's star long shine!
And round its sacred-bulwarks
The olive branches twine.
 
The gathering dispersed. The children returned to their schools, where they were served with lunch, the caterers being Mrs. Harrison, Mr. J. Moseley and Mr. Frankland. Bananas were supplied the children by Mr. Shields, and 2,000 1919 Peace-Year Sixpences were distributed by the Committee.

Gymkhana.

At the Gymkhana, St.Annes Peace Celebrations, 1919Refreshed and rested the re-assembly began at 1-45, when the demobbed sailors and soldiers,' "specials," volunteers and what is conveyed by the term "etcetera," proceeded from the Town Hall to the Square. When the school children had taken up their positions the processionists, led by the band, proceeded along North Drive to the sports ground—a verdant valley enclosed by towering sand dunes. It would -have been impossible to have found a more suitable Nature's ready-made amphitheatre. The long procession of daintily-attired children with their banners and floral adornments sharing the glorious sunshine was unsurpassing in its picturesque effect. It was a moving picture of happy life. The tiny tots who were not able to make the journey to the sandhills on foot were generously provided with special afternoon performances at the picture houses—the Empire de luxe and the Public Hall.

At the Gymkhana, St.Annes Peace Celebrations, 1919The Gymkhana competitions were open only to discharged and demobbed sailors and soldiers, and the organizer (Mr. Walter Fielden) had no difficulty in securing entries—and plenty of them—for the various events. Everybody entered into the fun with vigour. The picture of thousands of people, rising tier above tier to the sky line—a. grand Stand provided by Nature herself without man's aid—was an imposing one, and the surprise is that the suitability of the sand dunes for public assemblies has only just been discovered. Coun. Ernest Lee and Mr. T. Bradley acted as judges and Mr. George Lawson and several demobbed soldiers as stewards.

All went mery as a circus ring. The competitions were novel, and such as the blindfold boxing and transformation race brought down roars of laughter from the hills. The welkin rang again with the loud laugh that spoke the "happy mind. Some of the scenas and the memory of raptures of delight they produced with the children for many a long day, especially the blindfold boxing and a chase on hands and knees after the elusive balloons. The programme was conceived and happily carried out winners of events were:—
PLANT-POT RACES.
1— R. Greaves; 2, F. Taylor; 3, H Barlow; 4, S. Jones.
BLINDFOLD BOXING.
1— G. H. Hodge; 2, R. T. Hughes; 3, J. Clarkson: 4, W. Jones; 5, E. Berry; 6, S. Jones; 7, J. Newsome; 8, G. Morgan.
ZIG-ZAG RACES.
1.—First, Mrs. Traynor, Mrs. Noble, Miss Pemberton, Miss Worden, Miss Flanaghan, Miss Walker .and Miss McDonough.
Second, Messrs. E. Berry, Ratcliffe,  Clarkson, Dobson, Traynor, Noble and Hughes.
2.—First, Mrs. Appleyard, Mrs. Wilcock, Misses Dobson and Barrow, Mrs Traynor and Mrs. Richards.
Second, Messrs. Gillett, Jones, Hughes, England, Gaskell and W Jones.
TRANSFORMATION RACE 1.—T. Jones and E. Berry ; walk, E. Berry.
2.—H. Briggs and J. Clarkson ; walk, Sutcliffe.
CTGARETTE LIGHTING. 1.—Miss Page and Swarbrick .
2.—Miss Gaskell and G. H. Hodge
3.—Miss Joynt and J. Dobson.
BALLOON RACES.
1.—J. Dobson ; 2, W. Jones; 3, J.Miller
BAND RACE.
1.—Miss L. Humphries and L. Tracey
2.—Miss McDonough and D. Smethurst
3.—Miss Waters and J. Casemore
BLINDFOLD DRIVING.
1.—Miss Barrow and J. Noble.
2.—Miss Ball and E. Elliott .
3.— Miss Gaskell and W. Proctor

Returned Soldiers Entertained.

Provision had well made for entertaining 800 returned sailors and soldiers and their lady friends. Actually 666 sat down to tea in the Ashton Pavilion, in the open-air, and the overflow in the St. George's Hall. An excellent repast was served by Mrs. Harrison. Mr. Kitchen provided the floral decorations of the tables from the resources of the Ashton Gardens, and the effect was one of festive loveliness.  The ladies—and their name was legion—carried out their duties in a very orderly and happy manner. All were filled and basketsful remained. A concert, arranged by Mr. Herbert Whitaker, passed the happy hours away, an appropriate and enjoyable programme being provided by the orchestra of ladies, Mr J Appleyard (songs), Mr. Geoff Rene (songs), Mr. Walter Fielden (stories), and monologues by Mr. Radford, Miss Dickinson was the accompanist.


The Pavilion was promptly arranged for dancing and with lifting music by the orchestra the disciples of Terpsichore tripped it lightly until 11-45. Mr: R. Twigg was an excellent master of ceremonies. At the close Mr. Edward Lord, on behalf of the returned sailors and soldiers proposed a vote of thanks to the members of the Council, members of the Peace Celebration Committee, and the ladies' committee responsible for the arrangements of the evening, and their many helpers, the, caterers, the entertainers, Mr. Whittaker and the ladies of his orchestra, and all others who had helped to make the evening such a great success. The vote was passed with three hearty cheers.

In the St. George's Hall progressive whist was enjoyed by a full house, and Quarter-Master Sergeant Richards and Mr. J. F. Brindle were the M.C.'s. Prizes were awarded as follow : Ladies-1, M. Gillett, 111; 2, Mrs. Jones, 106; 3, Mrs. Noble, 101; Gent's—Mr. T, Telford, 109; 2, Mr. J. A. Fox, 106 ; and 3, Mr. E. Jolly, 101.

The genial Scot who was a host in himself at the gymkhana made a neat little speech of appreciation for all that had been done to make the day so happy, and after rousing cheers, he gave a tuneful song with the real ring of the land O' cakes. With Coun. E. Lee at the piano for the opening waltz, and Mr. T. Bradley leading the dance a jolly evening was spent, with Capt. Reg, Hargreaves at the piano.
The Alexandra Band played a programme of popular patriotic music in the Square, and six Lifeboat signal rockets were discharged in the evening.

All over the town bonfires were lighted, explosive fireworks made terrifying sounds on the palpitating bosom of the air, and rockets soared skywards. At midnight groups of residents assembled on the railway bridges and witnessed the flares or bonfires on the hills, five of them being clearly visible, from Pendle to Ingleborough, with illuminated skies over Southport and the Ribble, which marked the end of a perfect day so far as the Peace Celebrations at St. Annes-on-the-Sea were concerned.