Mexborough and Swinton Times July 1, 1887
Botanists Gathering and Friendly Societies Demonstration at Conisborough.
Conisborough on Sunday presented an exceedingly lively appearance, and, in addition to the commotion that is always occasioned when a brass band awakens the echoes of the village, the permanent population of the place was augmented by many hundreds of excursionists who came by the annual botanists trip from Manchester, Ashton and district.
The friendly societies of Conisborough last year for the first time decided to walk, in procession to the Parish Church, and this year they again demonstrated, and we believe that it is now intended to make the affair an annual occasion.
Morning service was extremely well attended, the two orders which were represented being the “Pride of Conisborough,” Order of Foresters, and the National Independent Order of Odd Fellows (“Conisborough Castle Lodge,”) The procession was headed by the Conisborough brass band, under the leadership of Mr Albert Wilson, in their new uniform, and both going to and from the church they played a succession of appropriate selections, among the pieces which were admired being their “National Unity” and the “Queen’s Jubilee.”
The Rev. J. G. Ward, M. A., Vicar, preached the sermon, which was very appropriate to the occasion, he taking his text from the second chapter of the epistle of St Peter, the 17th verse: –
“Honour all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honour the King.” A collection was made at the close.
After leaving the church the procession made its way back through the streets to the clubhouses.
The members of the Manchester and District Linnaen botanical Society arrived by special train at Conisborough about 10 o’clock, but there were not clearly so many excursionists as were expected. It was stated at one time that nearly 1,000 were coming, as in former years, but the total number this year was only 450, and the secretary of the society, Mr A. Barber, and other gentlemen connected with it explained that the Jubilee holidays and rejoicings in the Manchester district have interfered to a great extent with the success of the trip.
We notice the absence of one old face from amongst those assembled at the meeting in the evening, and that was Mr John Chamberlain, of the botanical stores, Oldham Street, Manchester, who had been connected with botanical work for the last 50 years. It was he who first arrange these periodical trips of the botanists for their pleasure and enjoyment but we are sorry to record, he has been precluded from coming this year on account of affliction. Year after year he has visited the different places fixed upon by the society, and Conisborough was a favourite hunting ground office, he having greatly enjoyed his rambles among the crags and cliffs and neighbouring country in search of some uncommon plant, or one scarcely to be met with in the more smoky and urban district of Manchester. Society will feel his absence from the annual gatherings very much, as his long experience in such matters stood them in good stead.
The keep of the Conisborough Castle was thrown open to the visitors, and many availed themselves of the opportunity of ascending to the top, where a fine view of the surrounding country is obtained. Others, not botanically inclined, merely strolled about with the object of passing a nice quiet day in the country, but the more serious botanists in the company started off at once in search of some favourite specimen of the plant tribe, or of some species not hitherto met with wherewith to puzzle the gentleman whose duty it would be in the evening to describe it.
After tea had been partaken of, the usual annual meeting was held in the croft behind the Station Hotel, and nearly every one of the excursionists was present. Numberless plants were thrown on the table for description, and several gentlemen essayed the task, which was accomplished, a considerable amount of credit attaching itself to the successful naming of the various kinds. After the meeting broke up, a short time only elapse between them and the time for the departure of the train, and the company bade adieu to Conisborough at 8:30 for the Cottonopolis.