War economies felt on Spalding’s 1916 Children’s Day

Joyce Stevenson's image of Thurlby Wesleyan Methodist Chapel nearing completion in 1912.
Joyce Stevenson's image of Thurlby Wesleyan Methodist Chapel nearing completion in 1912.
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War-time economies took their toll on Spalding’s traditional ‘Children’s Day’ in 1916.

The Church of England Sunday School scholars were, for the second year, unable to get transport to take them to the seaside at Skegness “or even conveyance to Gosberton”, which was another idea raised as an alternative.

Instead, the youngsters spent the afternoon and evening in a field at Fulney.

The Congregationalists, who normally opted for Mablethorpe as a destination for Children’s Day, were also forced to make arrangements nearer to home. They “disported themselves in a field near Monks’ House”.

The other Nonconformist scholars continued the “united festival tradition”, while the Hawthorn Bank Church scholars had their treat at the vicarage.

There were four Nonconformist schools then – the Primitive , Wesleyan, Baptist and United Methodist.

Ordinarily the 1,000 children and teachers enjoyed roast beef and plum pudding in a marquee in Ayscoughfee. However, for the second year running the entire group assembled in the Market Place for a procession headed by Spalding Town Silver Band.

The report read: “Even the children manifested a tinge of that British gravity and self restraint in public, which the shadow of war has deepened, for while there were many smiling faces, hardly a ‘Hip, hip, hooray, school feast day’ was heard in the Market Place, which used to resound with glad shouts in the good old days.”

The procession made its way to Mr F Culpin’s field in Low Road where a committee, with Mr George Elsom as secretary, had arranged sports, stalls and other amusements.

This was followed by a public tea in the Temperance Hall, where Mr H A White fulfilled the duties of provisions and stores secretary, and a fete at Ayscoughfee.