Hoddesdon celebrates Jubilees

By Jennifer Ayto

Poster advertising the festivities to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887
Hertfordshire Archives & Local Studies

Hoddeson and royal occasions

When it came to organising festivities to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in June 1887 (see pictures under Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee – Hoddesdon residents celebrate) the organisers in Hoddesdon acknowledged that they had been assisted by the valuable information kept from a previous event, the celebration of the marriage of the Prince of Wales on 10th March 1863.

In similar style the Jubilee Committee recorded every detail.  Minutes and invoices from every supplier to the event have been retained and were doubtless referred to when it came to organising the Diamond Jubilee ten years later.  (H.A.L.S. D/EX851/4 – 6 Minutes of the Hoddesdon Jubilee Committee ).

The programme of events was:

11.00  Thanksgiving service (in the Market Place)

11.30   Parade with band

12.30   Dinner in the booth

2.00     Sports in the cricket field near Rose Hill

4.00     Children to assemble in the field

4.15     Children led by band to tea in booth

5.30     Sports in the field

9.30     Fireworks

10.00  Bonfire

God Save the Queen

The Dinner was for inhabitants over the age of 18 and the tea was for children.  The food required was:

Dinner: Meat and suet (£45.14.8d), groceries (£3.10.7d), bread and flour (£3.18.8), milk and eggs (16/6 ½ d), potatoes and lettuce (£4.14.9) and beer (£6.8.0d);

Tea: 350 lbs of cake (£7.5.10), 84 quarterns* of bread (£1.15.0), 40 lbs of butter (£2.6.8), 100 lbs of sugar (£1.0.10), 20 gallons of milk (£1.0.0), 13 lbs of tea (£1.6.0) and buns (£3.15.0).

   *A four pound loaf 

Orders for all these items were apportioned amongst the local tradesmen but one item came from Bethnal Green where there was an organisation that was able to supply “Quadrille and Military Bands in Uniform”.  Twelve men in uniform plus a Drum Major were supplied at a cost of £6 including rail fare.

The booth (see picture of that erected for the Golden Jubilee) was the largest ever erected in Hoddesdon (210 feet by 40 feet) and the ladies were thanked for decorating it.  (A sum, not exceeding £2.10.0, had also been authorised by the committee for flags for the tent).   Other logistics included the Hoddesdon Water Works Company supplying water, collection of as many clothes baskets as possible for buns and cake and the hire of cups, saucers and plates from Rye House Hotel.  (27 June 1887 brought the bill from the hotel for breakages – 3 meal dishes (4/6d), 1 plate (3d), 1 salt cellar (3d) and 1 jug (1/6d)).

The costs of the event were defrayed by subscription which raised £157.19.5d.  Expenditure was £155.5.7d and the balance of £1.12.10 went to the Coal Fund. 

Apart from the satisfactory accounts, the Committee noted that “The weather was all that could be desired, the town gaily and effectively decorated and the importance of the Celebration impressed upon the minds of all especially the young.”

Celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee ten years later again started with church services.  The children of the Hoddesdon National and British schools received a Jubilee mug and a week’s holiday was given.

The week started well with excellent weather and much effort had been put into the decoration of the High Street.  From then on a number of things went wrong. 

An excellent display was given by Corporal W T Nicholls, Corporal W Rees and Trooper Fred Scott of the Herts Yeomanry which was witnessed and enjoyed by some thousands of people.  Unfortunately a girl was kicked in the eye through getting too near the horses.

A cycle parade also took place but the Hertfordshire Mercury commented that “considering that cycling is now quite the fashion, the competition for prizes was very disappointing”.  This was followed by a torchlight procession which marched to the bonfire on West Hill which was accompanied by rockets and air balloons.  On Monday, a man called Stocks, whilst engaged on the bonfire, fell and hurt himself rather badly.  A girl about thirteen years old, Beatrice Littlechild, fell and broke her arm.  Dr Wells set the broken limb and she was reported to be progressing favourably.

As a party of excursionists were approaching the Boar’s Head, the horse fell down and was found to have died.  Fortunately the occupants of the trap jumped out in time to avoid injury.

On a positive note, the legacy of the occasion was the Cottage Homes.  The amount collected was £551 and £130 for an endowment which was thought to be enough for 3 homes.

This page was added on 13/03/2012.

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