A Brilliant Whit – Holiday Spirit in spite of Coal War

May 1921

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Saturday 21 May 1921

A Brilliant Whit

Holiday Spirit in spite of Coal War

The brilliant Whitsuntide whether did a great deal to dispel the gloom of the industrial situation, and on the whole bright and happy holiday was spent, even by those who are severely affected by the coal dispute.

The Whitsuntide procession, services and fêtes were as gay and inspiring as ever, and the children showed little trace of the distress and poverty which the coal trouble has imposed on the district.

There were few “outings” however, and culture was at a discount. Picnics and cricket was a staple of adult entertainment. Several important athletic meetings, including those at Wath and Thrybergh, were missing from this year’s carnival, having been postponed.

A pit ponies race meeting, organised by Captain Frank Robinson, of the Frickley Colliery, aroused immense interest amongst the miners, and a crowd of 50,000 was attracted to Doncaster Town Moor.


As usual, Whitsuntide was celebrated by the Mexborough Sunday School children. This year the names chosen were even more beautiful than previous years, but one sad event darkened for a while the proceedings – the illness of Mr Beale, who for years has conducted the singing. However, Mr T Watkinson stepped into the bran breach, and he managed admirably.

On Monday the children met at their respective schools, marched to the Market Place, where the programme of hymns were sung, and later paraded the main thoroughfares, stopping at various places for singing. The procession was ended by the salvation Army Band and was made up as follows:

Oxford Rd, Church, Primitive Methodist Church, Congregational Church and United Methodist Church.


Considering the industrial crisis, the majority of the inhabitants of Swinton have never spent a better Whitsuntide than this. There was a general exodus on Monday and Tuesday, and as one lady said “Everything was so peaceful and so beautiful, that one could almost forget the industrial trouble.” Most people are looking healthily brown, and they appear cheerful and happy. The train service was poor, and there were only a few bookings to the seaside – all to Scarborough.

The holiday passed off very quietly at Piccadilly. The children have had their annual treat despite the crisis. At the Primitive Methodist Chapel, sermons were preached on Sunday by Mr Harrison of Swinton and in the afternoon the scholars receive their prizes.


The Annual Whitsuntide gathering of nonconformist churches took place on Monday last. The scholars of the Primitive, United Methodist and Wesleyan Sunday schools, formed a procession in Victoria Street, and were joined at Highthorne by the Mission scholars.

The procession was led by the Kilnhurst Alliance Prize Band under the leadership of Mr H Cowles. Stops were made at Green Lane, Highthorne, Wentworth Road, Midland Station, Victoria Street and the Commercial hotel and the children sang under the leadership of Mr C Senior.

The singing was highly satisfactory Tea was afterwards provided in the various schools, after which all adjourned to a field kindly lent by Mrs Barton.


Glorious sunshiny weather has prevailed throughout the whole of the holiday, and has helped everyone to forget for the time being that there were strikes and unrest. This year, although there were “money” difficulties to meet, they were met quite bravely, and the kiddies were given a royal time. On Whit Sunday the children paraded the village and sang their hymns.

On Monday the Roman Catholics children gave a repetition of their beautiful may Queen procession. On the Monday afternoon the scholars walked to the field, and were provided by the various school officials with a sumptuous tea, and afterwards were entertained with games and sports.

There was also a cricket match on Monday afternoon between ladies and gentlemen. This proved a great attraction, the ladies scoring a popular victory.

On Tuesday the chief attraction was a pit pony racing at Doncaster. Many people travel from the village and outlying places too.

Wath on Dearne

The bank holiday sports attraction which usually provides an excellent base for holiday makers having been abandoned, local residents were perforce compelled to seek other attractions. Some families spent a quiet time at Wath Wood or the Quarry hills, with the youngsters, who appeared to have a rollicking good time and returned later, tanned by the sun’s rays. Others walked out to Hoober stand.

On many allotments the men were being assisted by their “better halves.” Tennis, cricket, and balls are freely indulging on the Wath athletic and Brampton grounds; the Wath golf links were alive with golfers owing to the now practically “open” membership.

Although rail passengers were few, motor charabanc and other means of getting further afield appear to be well patronised, and in this respect members of certain Sunday, have been “paying in” for this means of getting away, turned out in fairly strong numbers, though there were others who, having a call from their contributions towards the upkeep of the house of, were unable to travel, and were loyally refunded their contributions.


Thanks to the generosity of Mr Mrs William Long, miner’s children in the New Wombwell district had a thoroughly enjoyable time on Tuesday. After tea and tea cakes have been distributed to nearly 300, the kiddies all took part in sports held in the Guide Post Field.

There were competitions for children of all ages, and handicapping was carried out on the usual lines.

Prizes were given out by Mr and Mrs Long. Mrs J Guest gave sweets, nuts and rock and Mrs Long was assisted in arranging the tea and sports by Mrs Bunting and Mrs Robinson.

In spite of all the circumstances calculated to depress the mind and darken the outlook for the ground population, the children of the Wombwell district spent a Whitsuntide that was as bright and cloudless as the atmosphere. The brilliant sunshine on Monday was indeed irresistible.

Charabanc trips took a good number of people to the seaside, onto the moors, or into the picturesque district around Matlock, but the population for the most part, of necessity, spent Whitsuntide at home, and possibly derive more enjoyment than they would have done in their customary holiday haunts.

The annual gathering on the Sunday School children proved a great attraction to the adults and source of unmixed delight to the youngsters themselves. In point of numbers the procession was the most successful ever held, and though there was a very noticeable lack of finery among the children close observations revealed many touching evidences of a humble effort to make as big a “splash” as possible under the circumstances.

In many cases the deception, though perfectly obvious to the upgrown vision, was clever enough to ensure a “place in the sun” for many a little mite among its better circumstanced classmates.

The scholars, who were astir long before the appointed hour, assembled in a field adjoining the Empire where, to the number of close upon 4000, they sang special hymns under the baton of Mr E Hill of Jump. The children sang with great heartiness before a large and appreciative audience. The whole assembly then left the field in processional order and paraded the town by way of Kings Road, ship, High Street, Barnsley Road, John Street, Blyth Street, Cemetery Road, and Summer Lane at which point they disperse and proceeded to their respective places of worship and partook of a “feed” such as many of them, no doubt, had not enjoyed for some time. Everyone was attended to by a small army of teachers and other willing workers.

Later the combined schools proceeded to a 20 acre field off Broomhill Lane, kindly lent by Mr Harry Charlesworth. There were no organised sports, as on previous occasions, but the evening was whiled away in pleasurable pursuits of varying description. The collection taken en route with the procession was £13 4s 4d, which having regard to prevailing circumstances, was more than the organisers expected. Last year’s collections amounted to £27.

Great Houghton

Despite the unfavourable circumstances, the children attending the Chapel of Ease and Wesleyan Sunday schools were well entertained on Whit Monday.

A party from the Wesleyan Church motored to Cliff College, Calver near Baslow on Whit Monday to attend anniversary celebrations. Glorious weather favoured the trippers, and a most enjoyable time was spent.

The scholars of the Low Valley Wesleyan Church, to the number of about 200, had their annual demonstration on Whitmonday, when they paraded the main thoroughfares.