Town’s tale of two diamond jubilees

How  Ponteland celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria
How Ponteland celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria

THERE may not have been any fireworks but there were some similarities in Ponteland’s community celebrations of the two Diamond Jubilees, despite the 115-year gap.

Residents enjoyed a range of events and activities last week to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th anniversary as Britain’s monarch.

And this was also the case in 1897 when Queen Victoria reached the milestone.

A report of what went on was published in an early edition of the St Mary’s Parish Magazine and it was found by staff at the church among its archive material.

It included: “The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee was well observed in Ponteland. On Sunday, June 20th, the special service and the hymn composed by the Bishop of Wakefield for the occasion were used.

“But it was on Tuesday 22nd that there was the most hearty rejoicing. The Committee, of which the Vicar was Chairman and Mr H Stobert was Treasurer, had £27 15s to spend – this good sum had been raised by a special committee of collectors.

“The schools and the village were gay with decorations and flags, when at two o’clock the Burradon Brass Band headed a procession of children from the school playground down the village to Clickemin and then up the village, and thence to the field which was lent by Mr Stephenson.

“The procession with the banners and music was certainly one of the most attractive features of the day and about 150 children then had tea in the schools and when they had finished, tea for the adults was provided.

“After tea there were races in the field, many games and sports were enjoyed, while the band played brightly and dancing was kept up with spirit. Jubilee mugs were given to the children and oranges and lemonade were provided for all.

“Besides the central festivities there were very successful gatherings in the parish at Kirkley and Callerton. Mr Ogle invited all the tenants and inhabitants on his estate to tea at the Benridge Cricket Field.

“With the most generous assistance of Miss Blagburn and Mr Fenwick, these rejoicings were aptly described as ‘second to none’. They culminated in a splendid bonfire on the old Kirkley beacon hill.

“From this height, over 20 other fires could be seen, but none of them made a brighter blaze than that lit by Miss Blagburn on the old beacon, from whence in more disturbed times the signal was given that the Scots were troublesome and danger was at hand.

“At High Callerton, Mr Warwick entertained his tenants and neighbours and at night a very fine bonfire was lit on the hill above the hall.

“On the 23rd, Mrs Mortimer and Mrs Walker gave a tea and entertainment at Milbourne Hall to the tenants on the estate, which was very much appreciated.”

Vicar of Ponteland Peter Barham said: “It was a fascinating account of what life was like in the old village more than 100 years ago and it was interesting to read about how the whole community came together for the occasion, like we did for Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.”