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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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THE carnivals of yesteryear were certainly lavish affairs. The floats were decorated to the hilt and the time and effort that went into making all those crepe paper roses and frosted snow scenes was just phenomenal! Just look at some of these images from the 1920s and 1930s that demonstrate how the crowds turned out for this annual highlight of the summer months. In pre-NHS days it was referred to as the Hospital Carnival as the aim was to raise funds to support the work of Whitehaven Castle Hospital and there were often floats on a health theme on which doctors and nurses featured, men dressed as women, women dressed as men and making proper fools of themselves for the good of the cause. Whitehaven Laundry girls were often among key supporters. Recently some wonderful old glass plates of images taken long ago have turned up, captured by a member of the family of T E Bell, grocers and some by a professional photographer with his studios on Lowther Street. They have been given to The Beacon and, thanks to a labour of love by Dave Banks of West Cumbria Mines Research Group, most have been transferred to digital form. And still on a carnival theme, Mrs Mary Bright, 71, of Mirehouse, has sent us photos from 1952/53 which had belonged to her mother, Eleanor Messenger of George Street. Mary, as a girl of 10 was an attendant on the Rose Queen float when Anita Boyland was queen. “It was a great day and a lovely carnival,’’ she recalled. Everybody on the float had a white nightie and then paper roses were sewn onto it. “Everything was made of paper. I was born on Greenbank and we moved to George Street when I was seven, there was a great community spirit there. Mrs Boyland organised the float and everybody did their bit. Happy days.


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