At last they could make most of their leisure

Around 60 people attended the February meeting of Mytholmroyd Historical Society, when Ian Dewhirst MBE spoke about Victorian and Edwardian Leisure.

Saturday, 28th February 2015, 3:54 pm
Public parks - this is Woodhouse at Leeds in 1906 - allowed some leisure for people in the Victorian and Edwardian eras

He explained that it is only in the last 250 years that working people have discovered “Leisure”. Before that, life was just existing for the majority, who worked long hours at home and on the land.

However, when the Industrial Revolution began, although people worked hard, there was some time for leisure and our ancestors used this to their advantage. Choirs and Choral Societies were formed and in 1847 there was report of “Getting up an Oratorio” in Keighley.

In 1848 an Allotment Society was formed and the allotments were open to the public on Sundays, when Temperance Cordial was served. Golf was depicted in Punch magazine in the 1860s.

Women could play and wore a uniform, but were only allowed on the course when men didn’t want to use it. Keighley Cycling Club reported at their 1891 AGM that they now have “Eight Lady Cyclists, four of whom ride bicycles very cleverly and gracefully.”

Walking was also popular and Haworth Ramblers sometimes walked from 9am to 9pm.

Public Parks opened in the 1880s with space for Galas and a Balloon Ascent and Parachute Descent.

There were Photographic Societies, originally for men only, but later ladies were allowed to join.

Excusions were popular and Keighley Glee Union had an Annual Excursion, usually to Bolton Abbey in a Wagonette.

Thanks were expressed by Rodney Collinge for Ian’s “Educational and Humorous Talk”.

The next meeting will be a the Church of the Good Shepherd on March 13, at 7.30pm when David Glover will give a talk on “Halifax and the Slave Trade Part 2 - The Saints”. New members and visitors are welcome.