Carnival Float, Stoney Middleton (1953)

Recent Photograph of Carnival Float (1953) (Stoney Middleton)

A Carnival procession on the Saturday, Blessing of the Wells Service, and a Fair, and Well Dressing on display for the following week - this was the tradition in Carnival Weeks during my early childhood. And it seemed to me at the time as if it had been going on forever... In fact it wasn't that long - the first Carnival was held in 1948, and this Float, from 1953 was part of the last. Carnival celebrations came to an end as the main road through the village became too busy to allow the procession.

The photograph was taken in ‘The Nook’ just after decorations had had the finishing touches added, following a week of frantic activity in its design. The paper rosettes were made out of crepe paper - white, pink and lemon coloured would be chosen, and I'm sure I remember us making boxes and boxes of them (although there may have been just one box!). It was a rewarding pastime in which the whole family could take part, and gave enormous satisfaction! The framework to be put on the lorry would have been made out of wire netting filled with yet more crepe paper.

There were usually two Floats - one for the Carnival Queen, and one for her Attendants, and the decorators vied with one another for who would have the most attractive. The fine looking bird on this one was a Golden Eagle; the other float had a White Swan. The lorry underneath this Float would have been borrowed from Goddard's Quarry, where my dad worked. The other lorry was (I think) borrowed from either ‘Eyam Quarries’, or ‘Ben Bennet's’, both of them further up the Dale.

The lorries were driven through the village several times during Saturday, and the Millennium booklet records that on one occasion the 6-oclock parade held up the buses coming back from Blackpool, which were boarded by the collectors, and collecting boxes rattled for the passengers. Ah, happy days!

(Information provided by Rosemary Lockie)

Stoney Middleton, A Working Village - Millennium Awards booklet published 2002.
(It has a photograph of the companion Float decorated with the Swan on p.30)

Image contributed by William Goddard in June 1953.
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