Friday, 30 December 2016

Watching the coronation procession in Didsbury on June 22 1911

It is June 22nd 1911 and we are in Didsbury watching the coronation festivities for King George V and Queen Mary.

Along with countless other communities across the country Didsbury celebrated the event with a procession, and a series of events at the local park.

The day was captured on a camera and later reproduced in a slim volume by the local historian Fletcher Moss.

The book, along with the event and some of the photographs from the day have featured on the blog already but today I decided to focus on two pictures which I guess were taken fairly close together.*

The captions on the two images record that the procession was on the way back and was heading towards the Playing Fields.

And so we have them as they have reached the point just past the old Methodist College hard by the green in front of the old Cock and Didsbury Hotel.

Now this was obliviously a central point for people to gather and so amongst the crowd are two photographers and a mix of people who in the time lapse between the two pictures are more to watch different parts of the procession.

Our woman in white watches as the Didsbury Lad's Club wagon prepares to swing round past the lamp post and as it moves out of sight back up Wilmslow Road begins a conversation with her companion dressed in black.

The woman in the shawl having finished talking to the man beside her turns also to watch as the procession moves on, leaving the smartly dressed young lady by the lamp post to turn her back on the events and stare off into the distance her attention caught by something off camera.

And my attention in turn has been caught by that Didsbury Lad’s Club wagon.

The movement began in the later 19th century and was part of the attempt to keep young boys off the street and channel their energies and interests into activities which could be fun, character building and help them later in life.

It may well be that the movement had a strong part to play in eroding the dominance of the gang culture of the twin cities of Manchester and Salford.

The Scuttlers as they were popularly known had a brief but terrifying hold on young men in our inner city areas lasting from roughly 1870 till the end of the century.

Not unsurprisingly then the Lads’ Clubs tended to be in the poorer areas which raises fascinating questions about the presence of a club here in Didsbury.

Now so far all I know is that it later became a scout group but as to who set it up and when it made the transition is as yet unclear.

But there will be someone who does and if they get to me before I do the research I shall let you know.

Pictures;  from Didsbury Coronation Festivities, Fletcher Moss, 1911

* The 1911 Coronation Festivities in Didsbury,

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