Wesleyan Bazar – “Worst Village” Libel

October 1900

Swinton and Mexborough Times, December 28.

A Wesleyan Effort at Denaby Main

Mr Caleb Kilner on the “Worst Village” libel.

£100 wanted.

The Wesleyan’s of Denaby Main, are making special efforts to clear off a debt of £240, which still remains on the building fund. This sum is part of the cost of the handsome brick chapel building, which fronts the main road, and is surmounted by a turret containing a very useful public clock. The building was erected in 1891, but not until considerable trouble had been experienced in obtaining a site. The owners of the Fullerton estate were approached, but they were unable to cede to the request of the Wesleyan, as there is a stipulation that no land on the Fullerton estate may be used for the building of a Methodist Chapel.

Thus denied in one quarter, the Wesleyan friends make application to the owners of the Montagu estate, with the result that they had the present site given. Since that time the Denaby Main Wesleyan Chapel has taken an increasing share in the work done in the Doncaster (Oxford Place) Circuit.

Thus it was thought that £240 would be too much to expect to get all at once, so the friends, in promoting a bazaar which was held on Wednesday and Thursday in this week, decided to make an endeavor to raise £100. The splendid new schools in Rossington Street, Denaby Main, were placed at the disposal of the promoters by the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries Ltd. The woodwork of the stalls was also provided by the Colliery Company.

The lofty, well lighted, and comfortably warm Great Hall of the Rossington Street Schools makes a splendid place for a bazaar. Too often the workers of such efforts are cramped for space, and visitors have to suffer some inconvenience in their efforts to get to the stalls. In this of each of the 11 stores stood detached, and there was ample space between them. The stalls were uniform in size and shape, each resembling a small canopied pavilion. The national colours, red, white and blue, entered largely into the general scheme of decoration, and the drapery was seasonably adorned with many sprigs of evergreen shrubs. In the centre of the hall was a large Christmas tree, and an expressive motto in large letters indicated the presence of the festive season.

The weather was beautifully fine on Wednesday – almost like a spring day – when the bazaar was opened by Mr C Kilner, on behalf of Mrs Kilner (Ivanhoe Lodge, Conisborough), who contributed a donation of £10. The sales and donations on the first day realised the handsome sum of £57 5s 1od. Yesterday there was a disagreeable change in the weather, and consequently the attendance at the opening ceremony was not very large.

The list of stall holders was as under:

First Fancy stall: Mesdames Wray, G. Kilner, G. Bateson, Miss Rose.
Second Fancy stall: Miss Wilcock, Mrs Wrayworth, Miss Noch, Miss B Blenkinson
Plain stall: Mesdames rose, Hammond, Wilson, Hill and Miss Firth.
Aprons stall: Mrs Cordy, Misses Streets, Lumb, Asbury and Flinders.
Sweet stall: Mesdames Dewhurst and Morris.
Young Men’s stall: Messrs Gorman, H. Hare, H. Rose, A. Fieldhouse, J.R. Wheeliker and J. Wilson.
Refreshments stall: Miss Bateson, Mesdames Blenkinson, Firth, Askew, Holmes, Webb and Miss Thorpe.
Brandy snap and Ginger cake stall: Misses Dorothy Wilson, Evelyn Hammond and Sylvia Watkinson.
There was a cloakroom, over which Messrs W.Wilson, Barker, Thacker and Blenkinson had charge.

Half hour concerts were provided each evening, and police, part songs, solos, and recitations being rendered in a very creditable manner by the choir and a few friends, under the conductership of Mr J.A. Bateson. Last night a string band, led by Mr H Sharpe, of Conisbrough, was in attendance, and played a delightful programme of music.

The reverent, J.W. Smith made a statement, and alluded to the object for which they were met together in that great Hall that afternoon. He was sure it was a great joy to all of them to be as they could have such a splendid place as that, where they could hold their bazaars. The object of the bazaar was to raise money. He humorously remarked that he never knew a bazaar held for any other purpose. The particular and special-purpose for obtaining the money was to reduce, and if not altogether to remove, the debt from the Wesleyan Chapel at Denaby. He was sure all the members of the church would be glad to know it was not a very big debt. They were all hoping that the result of the bazaar would make the debt considerably less, and if not, as he had said altogether removed.

He believed the net amount of the debt reached something like £240. If they could raise that some as a result of the bazaar it would all be glad, and would go on their way rejoicing.

He referred to the room, which he said was beautiful a range, which indicated that they had been some hard work on the part of their friends at Denaby. He could only hope that the result of the bazaar would more than realise their highest expectations. (Applause.)

The reverent C.A.Spencer remarked that they were thankful that the weather had been favourable for all concerned, and favourable in one matter of Mrs Kilner’s presence amongst them that day. He was glad to see her and he gave her a hearty welcome. In conclusion, he asked Mr C Kilner, to open the bazaar on behalf of his wife.

Mr C Kilner, in opening the bazaar, first of all wish them a happy new century. He did not expect that any of them would see the other end of it. Nevertheless, he hoped they would be happy while they live in the next century. He could not understand that part, beat coal Denaby. It was usually called New Conisbrough, by him.

Referring to his wife he remarked that she had been connected with Methodism. For many years, and had also been connected with bazaars, big and little, when they had made £40, and others £1000. They would be content if that bazaar made hundreds.

Denaby had been stigmatised as the worst village in England. He went on to say that that statement had gone forth throughout the country, and he had been charged with it many times. He then referred to the Messiah which had been rendered in that room the previous week, which was performed very creditably. He hoped that the bazaar would be a great success. Everything looked well, and the stalls were admirably and tastefully set out, which was a credit to those people who had had the work in hand. If the bazaar was a success, and they found that they had done well for what was described as the worst village in England, he remarked that that would be a statement that would not be circulated throughout the length and breadth of the land.

He then declared the bazaar open, intimating that his wife, would commence with a contribution of £10.

This announcement was received with applause.

The reverent C.A. Spencer in a few remarks also referred to Denaby being described as the worst village in England in a certain religious journal. It was a scandalous disgrace he said for any religious paper published any such article about anyplace in England. When they wanted to save souls they did not go to a man and woman, and say they were blackguards. He could imagine nothing that would render the state of Christian work in Denaby more difficult, and the condition of things more disastrous than the publication of the article to which he had referred.

The reverent, JW. Smith moved, and Mr C Kilner seconded, that the best vote of thanks be given to Mr Chambers of the Denaby Colliery for the use of the room.

Mr Bateson supported, and spoke of the generous manner in which Mr Chambers had at all times met him.

The resolution was adopted with applause

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