An Evening with the Children at Denaby

December 1889

Mexborough and Swinton Times December 20, 1889

An Evening with the Children at Denaby

Denaby Main is not the most attractive spot to visit at any time, with its extensive colliery and coke ovens and the smoke and dirt which are a natural consequence. More particularly is this true, in midwinter, when the sky is sombre and all around presents an aspect of melancholy as though longing for the Spring!

Nevertheless, one does not have to depend on Nature for happiness altogether, and how true it is often that in the most gloomy circumstances pleasure by the wise can be found.

But I must not further philosophise beyond saying that last Tuesday night, I was attracted to the national school there by the brilliance radiating from the windows and that I found the and asis in the desert.”

A children’s concert had been announced and the spacious room – it might almost be designed a fine ball – was crowded – hi, almost to suffocation – by the mothers and fathers and friends of the little folks. This it was an happy thought indeed that gave rise to such pleasing and entertainment just before Xmas.

A substantial platform been reared at one extremity of the room; the scholars were conveniently located just to mount the rostrum with ease; a pianoforte stood on the right and the teachers were actively engaged flitting backwards and forwards, as I entered, making the necessary preliminary arrangements.

It was a bright and joyous scene; one of those periodical occurrences in villages which affords a pretty picture of English social life and which tends to unite neighbours in the bond of sympathy and amity.

Of course, Mr W.H.Chambers was present. It is always taken for granted that when anything locally popular is on the tapis, he is not far away. Never as the amiable manager of the local mine is officiated more willingly and heartily at any festivity at Denaby Main than in his capacity as chairman for the youths and maidens on Tuesday night. One could see that without asking; and that so pleased was he with the performances, that he might have been the pater of the whole platform party! He appropriately opened the proceedings by just a few words to the parents, reminding them of the hardiest duties of the teachers of the Denaby Main schools – by whom the concert had been arranged – and asking the people to support those who had the management of the seminary by sending the children regularly and punctually to their classes. He also referred to the importance of education and the design of the teachers to properly prepare the boys and girl’s so as to make them good citizen in after years.

The entertainment then started

“Welcome” was the appropriate commencement, seven little fellows had the large letters of the word in front of them and with an each made an observation of an apropos character; the first hope that all present would feel repaid for their attendance; that the children did not expect to do great things, but would try to please, and if applause could not be awarded they trusted they would be no hissing.

Roars of laughter and cheering follow, and it was one scene that everybody was in the very best of moods.

A pianoforte duet, “Osman quadrilles,” by the Misses Emily Rawson and Maud Scott was creditably given.

“Down when the blue Bell grounds” was the title of a pretty glee by the scholars.

Miss Ethel Firth having recited, “The well of Saint Keyne,” the infants provoked immense amusement by the recitation and chorus entitled “The Little Old Woman.” The principal role was taken by Miss Peters, the “schoolmistress” and the various characters were Cinderella, Tom Tucker, Bo-Peep, Jack and Jill, little Mary quite contrary, little Boy Blue, Jack Horner, Red Riding Hood, Humpty Dumpty and Tom.

The little ones were thoroughly in their element. They had been suitably and attractively attired for their allotted parts and did their duty well.

Miss E Rawson sang “Won’t You buy My Pretty Flowers,” Miss Scott joining in with the Alto.

Master C Hutchinson recited the humorous “Farmer and Barrister.”

“Musical Drill” by the “babies” – the youngest entrants in the School – took well, the bonny bairns going through the revolutions in good order, led by one of the teachers.

A bright glee “Welcome to the Morning” was then given by the children.

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