Good Friday at Conisborough – 20,000 People Present

April 1879

Mexborough and Swinton Time April 18

The Good Friday Gathering

The bitterly cold and wet weather of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday in last week made many of those who were in the habit of making a good thing out of the above gathering, to quake for fear; and it was not until the morning of Friday that that fear was dispelled.

If the weather be propitious there is never any great fear, but that the many attractions of this romantic village will draw together its due share of holiday seekers. The number of visitor been variously conjectured, but the most reasonable estimate that has been advanced was upwards of 20,000.

The centre of attraction was the Castle yard, and here a marked improvement on the past few years was evident. All the stalls, shooting galleries, shows, Aunt Sally’s and other questionable attractions of former years were prohibited and compelled to find positions in other localities.

The whole of the grounds were thus available for the various sports and pastimes which are most generally indulged in a festive season. The rough element was far less prevalent than in former celebrations of the day.

A party belonging to Mr William Booth’s “Salvation Army”, stationed at Mexborough, held religious services in the Castle grounds during the afternoon – but their adherents were a few in comparison to the many whochoosed rather the dance, the kissing ring, or whatsoever other amusements their tastes dictated.

Hundreds also rambled through the cliffs, and sought to while away the a few short hours in admiring the beauties of scenery and nature, whilst others less cultivated in their chase made their way to one or other of the two fields where roundabout, swing boats, low vulgar shows, Punch and Judy, and Aunt Sally with cocoa nut purveyors, to draw coppers from the pockets of the throng.

The river was alive with boating parties, whose merry songs and hearty laughs told of the enjoyment experienced.

The railway arrangements were something wonderful, when the wretched accommodation provided at the station is considered. However such quantities of people got in and out of the trains, year after year, without accident is marvellous, under such adverse circumstances.

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