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Knottingley Carnival Facts, Page 1
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
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
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
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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