Sunday, 21 September 2014

A Water Fete at Hipperholme

From The Halifax Courier, 26 September 1914


At Sunny Vale, Hipperholme, on Saturday [19th September], in conjunction with the Hipperholme Relief Fund Committee, a water fete and other special attractions were held.  A troupe of lady swimmers, styling themselves ‘The Water Nymphs,’ gave exhibitions of graceful, scientific and ornamental swimming, including single and double somersaults, wheels, life-saving, and floating.  In the evening this troupe took part in aquatic novelty sports, tub racing, water Derby, &c.  Their evolutions were productive of much humour.

Wyke Glee Union gave a very enjoyable programme of patriotic and other partsongs.  At dusk the grounds were illuminated by myriads of fairy lamps, as were also lake craft.  There was also a magnificent display of fireworks, concluding with the sinking of the “Mainz.”  Mirfield Military Band, specially engaged, played a well-selected programme, including the Belgian, French, Russian, and English national anthems.  Halifax Victoria Band played for dancing.

...For an open-air carnival the weather was bad.  The actual attendance was 2,225, compared with over 5,000 last year.  The receipts were - Gate, £26 13s. 9d.; tickets sold, £13 6s. 8d.; [etc.]

Expenses paid, the balance, £16, is divided thus – Hipperholme Distress Committee, £8; Brighouse, £4; Southowram, £2; "Halifax Courier" Fund, £2.  It should be noted that employment was found, as far as possible, for deserving cases, over £23 being paid out in wages in connection with the fete.

[Sunny Vale Pleasure Gardens were a commercial enterprise, opened in 1883.  You can see a clip of local people enjoying a day out there in 1901 on the British Film Institute's website.  The gardens had two boating lakes, where presumably the water fete was held. The Water Nymphs sound like a synchronised swimming team, and a bit daring for 1914.   

Still from the BFI's 1901 film of Sunny Vale. 

The Mainz was a cruiser in the German Navy and had been sunk by ships of the British Navy on 28th August.]

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