World Coal Carrying Championship at Gawthorpe Again

Every year the World Coal Carrying Championship is held in Yorkshire on Easter Monday. At Easter in Gawthorpe grown men l run the mile from The Beehive public house to the Royal Oak, known locally as t’Barracks , carrying a hundred weight sack of coal.  The 54th World Coal Carrying Championship is scheduled for Easter Monday 2017. Bookings

coal mens race 2

According to the organisers this is how the World Championship came about ‘Reggie Sedgewick and one Amos Clapham, a local coal merchant and current president of the Maypole Committee were enjoying some well-earned liquid refreshment whilst stood at the bar lost in their own thoughts. When in bursts one Lewis Hartley in a somewhat exuberant mood. On seeing the other two he said to Reggie, ” Ba gum lad tha’ looks buggered !” slapping Reggie heartily on the back. Whether because of the force of the blow or because of the words that accompanied it, Reggie was just a little put out.‘’ Ah’m as fit as thee’’ he told Lewis, ‘’an’ if tha’ dun’t believe me gerra a bagga coil on thi back an ‘ah’ll get one on mine an ‘ah’ll race thee to t’ top o’ t’ wood !’’ ( Coil, let me explain is Yorkshire speak for coal ). While Lewis digested the implications of this challenge a Mr. Fred Hirst, Secretary of the Gawthorpe Maypole Committee ( and not a man to let a good idea go to waste) raised a cautioning hand. ” ‘Owd on a minute,’’ said Fred and there was something in his voice that made them all listen. ‘Aven’t we been looking fer some’at to do on Easter Monday? If we’re gonna ‘ave a race let’s ‘ave it then. Let’s ‘ave a coil race from Barracks t’ Maypole.’

2009 was the 46th World Coal Carrying Championship and the BBC claim these facts about world champions
1. Window cleaners, builders and farmers are the most successful at winning the title
2. The best weight for an entrant to be is 10st 7lb
3. Competitors need to have strong legs and lungs

The sponsors are H.B.Clark independent brewers of Wakefield so a fourth fact  would be an appetite for beer.
coal female winner

Gawthorpe is between Dewsbury and Osset and also has a good May Day tradition. with dancing on the FIRST SATURDAY IN MAY EVERY YEAR. Gawthorpe itself can be dated back to the Romans and is believed to be named after a Viking Chief called “Gorky “. At the lower end of the village is an earth mound known as Fairy Hill. This is thought to be a Viking burial mound.

It is confirmed that a coal mine was established at Gawthorpe as long ago as 1366 during the reign of Edward III

Maypole dancing itself dates back as far as Richard II in England, and during the reign of Henry VIII reached most of the rural villages including Gawthorpe. Mayday itself became a public holiday until Oliver Cromwell (1649 – 1660) banned May Merrymaking and all such festivities. These were fortunately re-established by Charles II.

Photo credits
coal mens race 2 by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
coal female winner by SFB579 CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Yarn Spinner Yorkshire Tours

Yarn Spinner Tours developed Ghost Walks and Victorian Tours as a way of sharing knowledge and enthusiasm for getting people involved. They have now grown to offer a wider range of tours all over Yorkshire. Listen to tales of the dark and macabre as our ´ghost´ guides you around the streets of Leeds to some of the most haunted buildings in the land. You will hear tales about ghosts, poisonings, witches and murders!
Alternatively journey back in time to experience life in Victorian Bradford. Walk through the City Centre, with Yarn Spinners costumed guide, and follow in the footsteps of Victorians as they went about their daily lives, gaining a real insight into the conditions they endured. Learn of the illustrious characters that lived in and visited the town, as well as how Bradford became the most important industrial town in the British Empire.

A detailed calendar of events is available at Yarn Spinners Give them a try and let us know how you get on.

Continue reading Yarn Spinner Yorkshire Tours

Rotherham Rant 2

It is 6 years since the first rant was published – see below

Only now are there any signs of getting to grips with the myriad problems for this town.

In a couple more years I will revisit the improvements and local governance changes.

The more we see and read the more perverse the world of social services seems to be. The ‘politically incorrect brigade’ who removed children from foster parents because they are members of a political party are rightly in the firing line.

Should someone resign for fostering the children with these parents in the first place?
Certainly someone must now depart from their job or elected office because they must be wrong from the start or dead wrong now when they take the kids away.
Sadly no one in public life seems inclined to own up and takes responsibility by resigning (unless the pay out is worthwhile).
In Rotherham they were kipping on the job but it is the kids who will find it hard to kip as they are moved from home to home.

Secrecy seems to trump commonsense in many of these situations. We may never know what has gone on behind the scenes as the truth is often covered up in the guise of protecting the children. Christopher Booker writes in the Daily Telegraph ‘Our ‘child protection’ system is severely dysfunctional, but it has not come to the centre of national attention because it hides its workings behind a veil of secrecy ………’

Blame culture, self interest, financial chicanery, obfuscation and buck passing have become national diseases. I have half a mind to vote for a different set of politicians (if I thought they would make a difference) and half a mind is all you need to vote in our current party system. Come on Rotherham show us how to do it in your by-election

Rotherham ... GREGGS.
Photo credit Rotherham … GREGGS. by BazzaDaRambler CC BY 2.0

Whitby Swings Open 100 Year Old Bridge

This is a 100 year old view from Whitby’s famous wooden Swing bridge. A centenary celebration of the building of the Swing Bridge and reopening in 1909 will take place on 8th August 2009 between noon and 7.30pm. There will be Bridge decorations, period costumes, indoor photo displays of building work, and a re-enacted Opening ceremony. Whitby does this sort of thing very well so expect Marching bands, static life boat display, street theatre, Sea shanties and a Full sail past with modern and older local traditional craft.

Whitby Pannett Art Gallery is also holding a week long art exhibition featuring the bridge.

The swing bridge joins the two communities East and West of the river Esk together. It has been the scene of rivalry in the earlier part of the last century, where gangs of youths would contest the bridge with ” t`other side o` watter dogs “. Now a days it is drinkers from pubs at either side of the river that contest the quantity of ale to be supped. The original bridge was first mentioned in 1351 and used to lie to the landward side of the present one, roughly aligned with Baxtergate. Centuries ago, houses on wooden piles overhung the river above and below the bridge. Each section of the bridge swings independently and the bridge is staffed 2 hours each side of high tide. Many visitors get to see it in full operation or even queue good naturedly in the resultant traffic.