This was their golden Jubilee event and they had invited past Gala Queens to attend. I joined with the Grenoside & District Local History Group to bring a display about the project. The group had put a display together about the gala queens and some of the previous queens had also brought some of their own photos. We were in the room where they held their tea party and it was good to see so many of the previous queens and their families looking at the displays. I was fortunate to be introduced to the first Gala Queen, Barbara Foster from 1956 who told me that she was presented with a necklace as Gala Queen. She still had the necklace and presentation box with her name on it. The photograph below shows Barbara in front of the display with her neighbour Helen Jackson.
On Saturday 9th July we will be holding a guided walk starting and finishing at the Grenoside Reading Room to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the 1951 Festival of Britain celebrations. The Grenoside community organised a large number of events between May and November 1951 as part of the national festival; a display of some of these will be at the Reading Room for people to see.
Wortley RDC commemorated the festival by installing a viewing point at the top of Jawbone Hill next to the Birley Stone. On 9th July, setting off at 1.30pm, we will be walking to the viewing point taking photos when we get there and along the way. We are aiming to re-create the 1951 event when the vieiwing point was unveiled with a group photo. at the same spot. We’ll then walk back to the Reading Room for refreshments and a chance to see the displays.
The afternoon will finish about 4.30pm. All are welcome to join the walk or see us at the Reading Room around 3.30pm on our return.
I really enjoyed going along to the Gala on 20th June. On the way I called in to St Mark’s Church. Whilst the flower festival had taken place a week earlier the flower displays were still in the church and looked good. I had a chat with a couple there and looked at the history display as well as the church itself. It was also an opportunity to shelter from a sharp shower! I wasn’t at the Gala formally but took the opportunity to talk to some of the groups and hand out flyers. Hopefully this will bring in more new contacts, requests for talks and more involvement with the project. I’m already thinking I need to book a project space for next year.
I went along to the talk at the Reading Rooms on 18th June which was linked to the new exhibition on Health in the Grenoside area put together by the Local History Group. It was very interesting and gave a good insight into the progress made in medicine and the way that attitudes to health have changed. The talk drew on the work for the series of display boards around the Reading Room. These cover different aspects of health and medicine. In particular I was struck by the number of hospitals around the Grenoside area linked to Wortley RDC; the isolation hospitals being necessary in the pre-antibiotic era and where many lived in overcrowded households which lacked proper sanitation. There was a discussion at the end about scarlet fever and of households being unable to use their wells because of fear of contamination from nearby middens. A very different situation from today. I was able to have a few minutes to publicise the archiving project at the start of the evening which was appreciated.
The archiving project will be making three appearances in Grenoside during June. The first is on Thursday 18th June when Christine, the project co-ordinator, will be talking briefly about the project before the opening of the new history exhibition at the Reading Rooms. She will then (hopefully) be visiting the Gala on 20th June so she can informally talk to groups and individuals about the project. On 29th June, Christine has been invited to go along to the regular Reading Rooms’ lunch to talk about the project. She will have work experience students from Ecclesfield with her and will bring some material to display as well as talking about what is happening.