23rd June 1897 - Salisbury celebrates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (Day 4)

On Wednesday 23rd June 1897 the main festivities were held to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. TJ Northey continues his description.

The proceedings on Wednesday morning - the day fixed for the festivities proper - commenced with the firing of a feu de joie at 10 o'clock, in front of the Council Chamber, by the Salisbury Volunteers under the command of Capt. Hodding.

About 11 o'clock the procession (the greater portion of which had been arranged in the Green Croft), proceeded on a perambulation of the principal streeet in the following order : -

  • Chief Constable and Police.
  • Marshal (Sergeant-Major Glass).
  • Stewards with wands of office.
  • Chairmen of Procession Committee.
  • Town Band.
  • Hob Nob and the Giant[1].
  • Wilts Friendly Society[2].
  • New Sarum Lodge of Oddfellows[3]
  • Victoria Lodge of Oddfellows.
  • Widow and Orphans Lodge of Oddfellows.
  • Unity Lodge of Oddfellows.
  • Juvenile Oddfellows.
  • Red Club.
  • Odstock Band.
  • Court Egerton and Wyndham - Foresters.
  • Court Lush and Alexandra.
  • Juvenile Foresters.
  • Pride of Sarum Tent of Rechabites[4]
  • Jubilee Tent.
  • Juvenile Rechabites.
  • Bishopstone Band.
  • Hearts of Oak.
  • L.& S.W.R. Men[5]
  • City Club[6]
  • Post Office Officials.
  • Salisbury Cycling and Athletic Club.
  • Decorated Cycles.
  • Salisbury Football Club.
  • The R.A.O.B.[7]
  • Building Trades' Association.
  • Volunteer Fire Brigade.
  • Church Lads' Brigade.
  • Salisbury Companies 1st Wilts R.V., with their Band.
  • County Magistrates.
  • The Local Press
  • City Magistrates.
  • The Mayor (Mr. A. Whitehead) and the City Member (Mr. H. E. Althusen).
  • Members of the Corporation.
  • Decorated Carriages.

Several cars were very novel and effective.

The "Harriett Bartlett" Lodge, I.O.O.F., had an 'Empire Car', members of the lodges disposed on the three tiers of the trolley being dressed in costumes illustrative of different nations of the world, "Brittania" crowning the whole

"Bear ye one another's burdens," was the inscription on a canopy surmounting a car contributed by Court Egerton and Wyndham (Foresters), whilst the Juvenile Lodge of Oddfellows had a splendid car emblematic of our Empire in its broadest sense, and having a conspicuous inscription, "Greater Britain; What we've got we'll hold,[8] " with young Oddfellows in dresses typical of the Colonies.

The United Juvenile Foresters were represented by a car representing a child's sick room with doctor, patient, visitors and every accessory complete.

A handsome car was supplied by the Salisbury Cycling and Athletic Club, which was effectively decorated, and carried examples of the latest types of machine.

The City Club contributed two cars, one decorated and arranged to represent the boating and the other the cricketing sections of their club.

Members of the Salisbury Football Club had taken up positions in a wagon to represent a six-a-side tournament[9] .

A very effective car was furnished by the Salisbury Building Trades' Association, with picturesque groups of workmen busy at their respective trades.

A section of Salisbury cyclists, headed by Mr. Henbest and Mr. T. B. Bridle, turned out on decorated machines, Mr. and Mrs. Blanchett, of Wilton, riding a tandem bicycle, fitted so as to represent a yacht. Mr. Keevil, of St. Mark's Road, had organized a very amusing group, representing milkmen in old fashioned smock frocks and carrying milk pails. Mr. Hale, Milford, was also present with a milk cart.

The decorated carriages, which were a feature introduced at the suggestion of the Mayoress (Mrs. Whitehead), were very handsome and effective and attracted a good deal of attention. Among those contributing to the display were the Mayoress (Mrs. Whitehead), Mrs. Wordsworth (wife of the Bishop of Salisbury), Mrs. Maiden, Mrs. Kichard Dear, Miss Townsend, Miss Pinckney, Mrs. Harcourt Coates, Mrs. C. Woodrow, Miss Lovibond, Mrs. Corbin, Miss Witcomb Mrs. Marlow, Misses Squarey, Mr. Parsons, Mr. Gale and Mr. Sparey.

After perambulating the City the processionists returned to the Market Place, where a public dinner was held in the open air. It is calculated that nearly 4,500 sat down, and for these there had been provided nearly 4,000 pounds of beef and over 1,500 pounds of pudding. Included in the supply of beef was 300 pounds from the Jubilee Ox, (which had been roasted whole in the Market Place the previous day, in the presence of large crowds of people, numbers of whom paid a small fee for basting the carcase.)

A tea for women was held at five o'clock, for which over 4,000 tickets had been given away, and in the afternoon and evening very large numbers of people witnessed the sports in the Victoria Park.

From thence, at dusk, a torchlight procession was formed, many of those composing it being in grotesque costumes[10] , and marched to the Green Croft, via Castle Street, Minster Street, Silver Street, High Street, The Canal, Queen Street and Winchester Street.

Here a grand display of fireworks was held, under the direction of Mr. E. W. Gawthorne, Captain of the Salisbury Volunteer Fire Brigade. The latter kept the ground here as at the bonfire.


[1] The Giant is a Processional Giant which is now in Salisbury Museum. Many towns had Giants, but Salisbury’s is the only one that survives.

Hobnob is the Giant’s companion. He’s a horse-like figure who’s supposed to ‘cut some capers’, as Lord Summerisle puts it. He’s a close cousin of the ‘Obby-‘Oss of Cornwall, and to some of the characters in the procession in ‘The Wicker Man’

[2] Friendly Societies were arguably fore-runners of Building Societies, Insurance Companies and of the Welfare State. They had something in common with Trade Unions and Medieval Guilds too.

[3] The Oddfellows was according to Wikipedia ‘one of the earliest and oldest Friendly Societies’. It seems to have been a direct successor to the earlier Guilds. When the Guilds were over-subscribed the ‘Odd Fellows’ who couldn’t join the existing organizations set up their own. The ‘Odd Fellows dates back until at least 1748 [Oddfellows - Wikipedia]

[4] The Rechabites were another Friendly Society - this one founded in 1835. The distinguishing feature of the Rechabites was that they were anti-alcohol. The society still exists, as a financial institution[a href=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independent_Order_of_Rechabites">Independent Order of Rechabites - Wikipedia].

[5] . L.& S.W.R. is London and South West Railways

[6] Northy says in a appendix that:

The City Club, which is situated in Catherine Street, was opened in 1892, and is doing a good work among the young men of the city, providing for them wholesome physical and intellectual modes of enjoyment.

The RAOB was, and still is, the Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes. It was another fraternal organization - part mutual aid, part charitable, part social. At least one of my uncles was a Buffalo. [8] I guess ‘Greater Britain’ might be a synonym for the British Empire here. The phrase is more often seen as ‘what we have we hold’ [9] I was surprised to discover six-a-side existed in the 19th Century - I would have assumed it’s a more recent form of the game [10] It would be great to have a picture of the ‘grotesque costumes’ in the torchlight procession. I wonder what they would have been like?