Diamond Jubilee in Conisborough

July 1897

Mexborough and Swinton Times, July 16 1897

Diamond Jubilee in Conisborough.

Last Monday evening, a very suitable winding up of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations took place at the Eagle and Child hotel, when a dinner, one of the best ever set before the company of Conisborough gentlemen, was served to the members of the Jubilee committee and the local fire brigade, by the genial hostess, Mr and Mrs W. E. Martin.

One of the private rooms have been very tastefully decorated for the occasion, Mr and Mrs Martin are to be complemented on the efficiency with which the meal was served and also won the choice viands composing the same, which was as follows:

Salmon and cucumber, entries, roast beef, roast lamb, roast chicken, boiled chicken, roast duck, salad; vegetables, potatoes, peas; sweets jellies, gooseberry pie, trifle, blanc mange, cheese.

The company included the chairman and vice chairman of the parish council, the chairman of the school board, and most of the members on the parish council.

After dinner a number of toasts were drunk with musical honours, under the chairmanship of Mr F. Ogley and I was extension having been obtained for the occasion. Mr Oakley said the first toast to be drunk was “the Queen and Royal family,” to which his name was attached. As regards Her Majesty it would not have been possible to be blessed with a monarch that was more thoughtful for the welfare of his subject in every possible way. When it was remembered that Sir Robert Peel said of William IV that the reins of government never committed to the hands of one who bore himself as a sovereign with more affability and yet with more true dignity: to one who was more compassionate for the sufferings of others, or to one whose nature was more to live free from selfishness. He, therefore, had very great pleasure in asking them to drink the health of “the Queen and Royal family.” This was done in a further loyal manner, concluding with “God save the Queen.”

The next toast was that of “the Army, Navy, and Reserve Forces,” which was entrusted to Mr C. Holmes, who confessed at the outset that he did not know a great deal about our defensive forces, but he gathered that our army was by comparison with some of our neighbours a very small one, numbering in all about 220,000 and if the reserve forces were included it would probably reach 400,000 in numbers. It was small compared with say Germany or Russia, yet it was a factor which they had always felt proud that our army gave a very good account of itself when called upon, and that they had nearly always been victorious. He remembered that during the peninsular wars that our men once had to retreat – he believed under Sir John Moore – yet it was going in such a masterly manner as to bring credit even in defeat. He also remembered with pleasure such incidents as that of the little drummer boy, who, when taken prisoner said he had never learn how to beat retreat. As to the Navy he considered this our strong point, and with our superior number of war vessels we also had a better calibre of ships, which were manned by a body of men that could not be equalled by any other country. He expressed strong sympathy with Lord Charles Beresford plan of strengthening our Navy, which, he was pleased to say, was recognised by both parties in the house and, he did not believe in aggression, but he would make Army and Navy strong enough, so that we could feel secure. To him one of the most pleasing signs was that of colonial Federation. At present they had a gentleman at the Colonial Office that was giving his mind to the accomplishment of this idea, and if he was successful and Colonial Federation became an accomplished that they would then be able to deal with all that my oppose them. Our Navy being equal to that of any two countries we could then feel assured that England would be free from invasion, and that if we needed help our colonies would rise almost to a man to enter that health. They were rightly proud of both Army and Navy of the picture is they had achieved both by sea and land, and he asked them to drink their health. This was accordingly done.

Mr W. Smith, in response, said that he supposed the reason he had been asked to reply was that he had once been a Saturday afternoon soldier – a volunteer. Although our army was small it was a good one. A review was recently held at Aldershot, and he noticed a remark made by a representative of a foreign nation that the infantry of England was undoubtedly the best in the world, as they knew to their sorrow. He also thought with Mr Holmes that one of the healthy signs was the manner in which our colonies were organised their armies and navies for self defence. These forces were made up largely of men drawn from the towns and villages which were generally better than city bred man.

Mr G. H Hirst proposed “the town and trade of Conisborough” and in a few words expressed his pleasure at the increased trade of Conisborough, which, he hoped would still expand and grow.

After the toast had been duly honoured, Mr B. G. Dufton replied he had lived in Conisborough 21 years, so could at least claim citizenship. He had noticed the rise and progress of Conisborough, and had never known the trade of Conisborough better, provisions cheaper, or the condition of the working man better than it was today. In conclusion, he hoped they would not “kill the goose that lays the golden egg” by strikes either at Denaby of Cadeby Mains, and wished the engineers now on strike success, and hoped the workingmen would go in for eight hours work, eight hours pay, and eight Bob a day.

Mr D. Robinson, proposed a toast to the Fire Brigade, and said that he had taken a deep interest in them from their commencement, and also in obtaining their fire engine. He hoped, however they would have very little need to use it, but it was a case of less than better, he nevertheless believed they were a very efficient body of man. Which would do them due to well when called upon, he asked them to drink the health of the Fire Brigade, which was enthusiastically done.

Mr Butcher in supporting it, said the brigade had played a very important part in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and that their labours must have been very laborious, involving days of hard work in preparing the huge bonfire. They had had the lion’s share of the work yet they had done it carefully, and there was great credit due to them.

Capt Jones replied, stating that when it was first proposed for them to do it, he thought it was ghastly in their line of business: yes, they were always willing to do their best to help in such matters. They therefore set to work in a determined manner, and he was glad to say HGV grand success. They had seen their fire spoken of in papers circulating largely in and around London, and was glad it had given general satisfaction. He bought special banks should be given to Mr William Wilson for the large quantity of timber given them, also to Lord Yarborough. And Mr H. Guest, and Mr F. Ogley for carting the same. – Mr Thos. Celia supported, stating that they are a brigade were pleased at any time to assist a tree because as far as possible. It was true they had had some heavywork, but they felt well be paid by the party agreeable their efforts have received.

Mr G. Fitz George proposed “the Jubilee committee, and said that the committee had gone about their business in a very able manner, encouraged things to a very successful issue. The event would be remembered by their children for many years to come

Mr Holmes replied in a very suitable manner.

Mr Butcher proposed a toast to the chairman. He said that he had not known Mr Oakley very long, but from what was told him, and what he knew, he was a worthy son of a worthy sire. He was a young man that was trying to be useful as the parish well, and he hopes someday to see him Conisborough’s representative on the board of guardians at Doncaster. It was true Mr Oakley was not a fluent speaker, but he was learning in the school of experience. And he believes someday would be a very useful man. One good point about him was that he was willing to learn. Mr Oakley knew that if they would be useful and successful he must keep in touch with the working classes. The toast was drunk, followed by singing “for he’s a jolly good fellow.”

Mr Oakley replied, stating that, he considered the working man as good as any others and regretted that some of his party kept so much aloof. Personally he was willing to fight the elections and take his chance of success, and thanked Mr Butcher for the kind of remarks made about him, which she will try to prove himself worthy of.

Capt Jones propose the toast to the secretary, stating that Mr Smith had proved himself a very efficient secretary.

Mr Smith replied to the effect that what he had done had been a work of pleasure to him, and he thanked them heartily for the toast.

A toast was also applauded to the house and hostesses, proposed by Mr Smith supported by Mr Butcher and suitably replied to by Mrs Martin.

Several musical selections were vended at intervals by Mr G. Butcher and Mr E. Struggling.

Mr Butcher sang, “    The death of Nelson” and “The white squall.” Mr Stribley “beauty of the valley.”

A very enjoyable gathering was brought to a close by singing “God save the Queen” and “Rule Britannia”.