The Celebrations for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee at Bolesworth Castle


Queen Victoria came to the throne in 1837 and sixty years later celebrated her Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday 22nd June 1897.  In London a progress to St. Paul's Cathedral took place, where a short Service of Thanksgiving was held outside the building, as the Queen was too lame to manage the steps.  In her journal Queen Victoria wrote: “No one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those 6 miles of streets...  The cheering was quite deafening and every face seemed to be filled with real joy.  I was much moved and gratified.”

At Bolesworth the Jubilee celebrations coincided with Robert Barbour's 21st Birthday and the Barbours decided to give a party to celebrate both his Majority and Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday 22nd June 1897.  Guests were received on the terrace at 3 o'clock in the afternoon and a Meat Tea was served in a tent in the Park at 3.30pm.  This was following by Sports and Dancing from 5-9pm.  Entries for the Sports were restricted to tenants of the Bolesworth Estate and invited guests.  No competitor was to receive more than three prizes!

The Sports started with a Flat Race (125 yards) for Single Men and Youths, followed by a Flat Race

for Married Men.  Women (unspecified!) entered the third race, which was the Egg & Spoon.  The Race Card shows all sorts of extrordinary races thought up by the Barbours to entertain and amuse their guests, notably Race 14, the Jubilee Medal Race, for Women.  “Competitors with their hands tied behind take with their mouths a Medal from a dish of water, placed 50 yards from the Starting Point, and return.” The afternoon ended with a Tug of War – Tattenhall v. Tenants on Bolesworth Estate, 10 competitors on each side.  This was won by the Tenants!

A summary of the expenses for the day is pasted into the Barbour Scrapbook for that year, and it is interesting to see that:

“Mr. Baker of Tattenhall supplied good Meat Tea with Salmon Cold Meats and also large Tent and Nantwich Band for 600 persons (Garanteed) at 3/2d each” which came to the princely sum of £95.”

On the following day Mr. Baker's tent was used again to entertain children from the neighbouring schools:

Tattenhall National School (180)

Tattenhall British School (43)

Bickerton School (93)

Burwardsley School (95)

Harthill School (110)

Sundry Sunday School & others (11)

Mr. Baker charged 7p a head,  which for a total of  532 came to £15.10s.5d.

550 buns were given to the children on leaving at 1 pence each and 550 packets of sweets, again at 1 pence.  The teachers and waggoners had a Meat Tea at 1/6d per head.  The bill from Mr. Baker for the whole event covering two days was  £160.00

There is a note at the bottom of the Fete notes to say that “on the first evening (Tuesday 22nd June) Mr. Baker had a Refreshment Stall open all evening to sell Ginger Beer  etc. (but no intoxicating drinks).  The day was very warm and the supply fell short.”

The Barbour family are delighted to be hosting The Big Jubilee Lunch at the Bolesworth Classic to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday 3rd June 2012.  The aim of the lunch is for local people all to sit down together to celebrate the Jubilee and Bolesworth is honoured to be staging this event.  Hopefully the day will be warm and the supplies will not fall short!

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