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Facts: Knottingley Carnival

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Knottingley Carnival Facts, Page 1


FIRST CARNIVAL
Knottingley Carnival began in 1927 when, following the formation of a representative charity committee to replace the defunct Dispensary Committee the previous year, it was decided to widen the scope for fund raising through the introduction of a gala day. The concept of a gala day was in fact a revival of a previous observance, for such events were well already established by the 1870s as an annual feature of Hospital Sunday fund raising efforts.
By the time of the third anniversary in July 1929, an ambitious and varied programme had been devised, transforming the event from a gala sports into an event worthy of re-designation as Knottingley Carnival.

CONTROVERSY IN 1930
In 1930 controversy marked one of the events in the adult sports programme, a race for the Link Cup, open to all men resident within a three mile radius of Knottingley. The winner was Mr. J. Cotterill of Fairburn, but an objection was raised on behalf of Mr. T. Askin that Mr. Cotterill lived beyond the stipulated boundary. At a committee meeting convened to consider the application the following Tuesday evening, the Knottingley Urban District Council Surveyor was called upon to adjudicate and stated that the straight distance between the two nearest boundary lines was under two miles and that from Knottingley Town Hall to Fairburn School was just under three miles. The objection was therefore dismissed and the objection fee of 2s 6d was forfeited.

AERIAL FLIGHT
An innovative feature of the 1931 Carnival was the appearance of an aerial flight, a popular attraction for many years ahead but one which by present day standards would be considered far too dangerous even for adult participation and yet one which, in those less constrained times, was favoured by children of seven or eight years of age

FANCY DRESS 'QUEEN'
An important influence on the course of future carnivals was the appearance of young Louise Finney, who in 1931 entered the childrens’ fancy dress category as ‘Carnival Queen’, accompanied by her younger sister as a ‘pageboy’. The pair shared the first prize with Hilda Lawrence who appeared as a ‘Fortune Teller’.  The importance of the contribution of the Finney girls was evident when in 1932 the prime feature of the Carnival was a float bearing a ‘Carnival Queen’ and her attendant courtiers

FIRST OFFICIAL CARNIVAL QUEEN
Knottingley's first official Carnival Queen was Miss Doris Ellerington, who had been selected from more than 30 aspirants at a special event held at the Palace Cinema on the evening of 29th June 1932.

1936 MISSING CROWN
In 1936 the crowning ceremony was thrown into some confusion when it was discovered that the crown was missing. The missing crown turned out to be in the possession of the retiring Queen, Jennie Cartwright, who had been left waiting with her attendants for the arrival of a coach to enable them to join the procession, but as the vehicle had not arrived, they had been left stranded with the crown.

OUTBREAK OF WAR 1939
The outbreak of war early in September 1939, resulted in the curtailment of all events associated with the Carnival such as dances, concerts, whist drives and special fund-raising events. Ostensibly, the Carnival was placed in abeyance for the duration of the war.

REVIVAL OF CARNIVAL 1959
It was not until 1959 that a revival of the Carnival occurred. In that year Miss Maureen Chambers was selected as the Carnival Queen but owing to a protracted newspaper dispute, the events preceding and including the Carnival went unreported and it was not until 34 years later that the official photograph of the resurgent Queen appeared in the local press.

GLITCHES IN 1960
The second year of the Carnival's revival was not free from glitches when held in July 1960. A lorry featuring a tableaux broke down with engine trouble shortly after the parade left Ferrybridge Square and Knottingley Fire Brigade, which also featured in the 500 yard long procession, had to leave en route to the Carnival venue when an emergency call demanded their attendance at Sherburn-in-Elmet.

1960 MISSING QUEEN
When the moment arrived for the crowning ceremony the designated guest, a former Ferrybridge Carnival Queen, could not be located and the 1960 Queen, Miss Brenda Adams, was therefore crowned by the retiring Queen, Maureen Chambers.

DID NOT APPROVE OF SUCH EVENTS
An interesting and somewhat ironic coda to Miss Brenda Adam’s ‘reign’ as Carnival Queen in 1960 concerned a free holiday at Butlins Holiday Camp, Ayr, presented to her by the Carnival Committee as a prize for winning the title. It was stated in the local press report that Miss Adams had refrained from participation in any of the beauty competitions organised by Butlins out of respect to the wishes of her boyfriend who did not approve of such events.

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