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whit sunday customs in Sheffield


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pauline w

can anyone remember back in the early 1950,s the custom of being bought your new spring clothes[bought from Banners with a Banners cheque] and going round the neighbours on Whit Sunday to show them off and get a few pennies for them .I quess we would almost call it begging nowadays but we all did it.I lived at number 53 Pipworth road on the Manor Estate.     Pauline

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Martin Ede

I was only talking about this at work today. Whit Sun clothes which you then wore at school for the annual photo. We also had Whit Monday clothes.

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Heartshome

Hi Pauline, I remember in the late 50s to 60s, always having something NEW at Whit. That's when we got put in Spring clothes. Mum used to make most of my clothes when I was little, and Whit was the time I always had a New Dress and a Duster Coat, made out of cotton, that fastened with one button at the top. It was usual that I got a pair of sandals then to go through the summer. Never heard of the visiting neighbours and being given money. I remember going to see my cousin in a Whit Sunday Parade in Richmond Park, nothing like that seems to go on much now, it's such a shame.

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Here I am on right with my next door but one friend Philip Nicholas in 1950 with our new Whit clothes. Its interesting to note that we didn't wear long trousers until we went to secondary school. Whit was a great time. I was in Boys  Brigade  at Grimesthorpe Reform Chapel & we had great parades in  Whit Monday up to Firth Park for meeting then back. Some photos below taken 1952 (first & 3rd photo & 1961 second). I am on 1961 photto -side drummer at front on right. The crowds lining the route were really big .  In afternoon we had games in Firth Park followed by a tea. Whit Tuesday was always a hike in Derbyshire. Great times!

john with phillip nicholas whit 1950 in our new clothes.jpg

Whit _parade 1952 edt.jpg

whit1961.jpg

whitwalk 1952 ish.jpg

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ukelele lady

Yes it was the only time we had new clothes, once a year.  Most of us went to Banners or Blanchards with Provident cheques, in other words paying for them weekly.

I remember my new pink dress from Blanchards and a  new pair of red shoes from Langtons then a long march behind the band to Weston Park where most of the bands finished their journey

by then my feet were full of bleeding blisters from the new shoes. But we still had fun spending our Whitsun money on ice-creams.

K  Whitsuntide age 7.JPG

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I remember, as a small boy, the Whitsun parade in Gleadless, as it went right past our house on Gleadless Avenue. How proud I was, as a slightly larger boy, actually to take part in it with the group from our Sunday School. I don't remember my clothes being brand new for the occasion but I do remember Mum making sure that I was turned out smartly, shoes shined, hair tamed and so on.

I don't know if they still have the parade but I fear not.

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lysander

Harold Wilson's messing around with the calendar with his introduction of May Day and Spring Bank Holiday had much to do with the rapid demise of Whitsuntide as a popular holiday with its Star walk, Whit processions and new clothes ( mine were usually bought for me from the Co Op in town)

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danny1958

My Granddad told me they were that poor he only got a new hat for Whit Sunday and just looked at the parade through the front room window  

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WhitbyBrian

I remember the Whitsun clothes and Banners. I lived down Attercliffe so Banners was our nearest department store. It had those tubes down which your money was sent.

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OldHaltonian288
On 28/03/2018 at 22:56, Meersbrook said:

Both from Meersbrook Bank Methodist Chapel

Whit Monday, Queens out side Meersbrook Bank Chapel.jpg

Whit Monday, Queen (Jean) and Captain (Kevin) 1964 June(20150726-114937).jpg

The May Queen is Jean Moulden. And the eldest page boy is the late Kevin Battersby. This would have been taken in 1963, I believe as Jean would have been 16 years old then. Kevin would have been 14 years old. Kevin died of MS a few short years ago. Jean lived opposite me on Pearson Place and Kevin lived on Millmount Road. I can't recall the name of the tall girl on the left of the picture. Jean Moulden is in the following picture (taken on 18 May 1964) too.

Pearson place002 (1).jpg

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LeadFarmer

SO what was Whit all about? Some religious connection I assume?

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Hopman

Whitsuntide or Pentecost celebrated the Disciples receiving the Holy Spirit.

According to Wikipedia:

Quote

The Christian High Holy Day of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday.It commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks, as described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 2:1–31).

The holiday is also called "White Sunday" or "Whitsunday" or "Whitsun", especially in the United Kingdom, where traditionally the next day, Whit Monday, was also a public holiday (since 1971 fixed by statute on the last Monday in May). The Monday after Pentecost is a legal holiday in many European countries.

In Eastern Christianity, Pentecost can also refer to the entire fifty days of Easter through Pentecost inclusive; hence the book containing the liturgical texts is called the "Pentecostarion". Since its date depends on the date of Easter, Pentecost is a "moveable feast".

Pentecost is one of the Great feasts in the Eastern Orthodox Church, a Solemnity in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, a Festival in the Lutheran Churches, and a Principal Feast in the Anglican Communion. Many Christian denominations provide a special liturgy for this holy celebration.

 

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Lysanderix

Locally, Whitsuntide was celebrated by the Protestant ....mainly Non-Conformist branches of the Christian Church.  It took place over the long weekend of Pentecost.... Normal work occupied the Friday, and Saturday  but we celebrated on  the Sunday, Monday and ,for very many, on the Tuesday ( with an extra day off work).  As a child in the 40/50's Sunday was when we went in our new clothes around friends, relations and even neighbours expecting to collect a few coppers. Monday was an event almost as big as Christmas, with Boys Brigade bands accompanying Church members and Sunday Schools to the annual "Whit Sing" ( in my case held in Firth Park) After returning to Church this was followed by races, games and a "tea"....usually of potted meat sandwiches, followed by Jelly and custard. Tuesday was the "Starwalk" with thousands watching mainly male amateurs competing for the annual prize....some were very serious, some did it for a lark...but it was great fun.

Wednesday was back to the daily grind!

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MartinR

I can remember Dad, and to a lesser extent, Mum talking about the Whit "big meetings" in Meresbrook Park.  We left when I was 3 (1959), but came back to Millhouses when I was 9 (1965) and by then the tradition seems to have waned.  Certainly there was nothing in Millhouses Park, and I'm pretty sure that the Millhouses Scouts+Cubs were not involved in anything.

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Lysanderix

The Whit Sing in Firth Park was still going strong well into the late 1970s and the Star walk until, I believe, 2000..

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MartinR

I'm hazy on this, but we may have gone over to Meresbrook in 1966, I have vague memories.  After that I was away at school.  My parents would have been meeting up with old acquaintances and colleagues after a 6 year hiatus so it wouldn't surprise me.  (OT) the custom seems to have been a northern one, when we were in the Black Country in the early '60s I don't recall any Sunday School meetings.

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Lysanderix

I think the Whit Sing/Walks were predominantly a Northern industrial city sort of thing....going back to late Victorian times... when Church attendance was much more widespread than today!

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LeadFarmer

I was born in 1972 and Whitsun must have died off by then.

 

I wonder what killed it off then? Lack of church goers? Less interest in religion? Or the invention of the TV?

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Lysanderix

My daughter was born in 1970 yet she attended Whit Sings  until she was around 11!.....Here's a few suggestions as to why the event died....Less interest in religion......a diminishing of most communal activities ( except sports and professional entertainment)....Government changing a moveable feast to a fixed date with no religious connection. The growth of car ownership and the increase in shopping as a "pleasure" rather than a necessity.

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johnm
12 hours ago, LeadFarmer said:

I was born in 1972 and Whitsun must have died off by then.

 

I wonder what killed it off then? Lack of church goers? Less interest in religion? Or the invention of the TV?

Each year Whitsuntide was a 2 day bank holiday Monday & Tuesday ; like Easter it was not a fixed date though. The  government decided to replace  the Whit Monday & Tuesday Bank Holiday  with the fixed Spring Bank Holiday  in 1967. The parades had always been on Whit Monday so as it  was no longer a bank holiday  parades on that day had to finish. They did continue on Whit Sunday for some years but were never the same & eventually died out . A sad loss !!

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Lysanderix

The Whit Walks/Sings were organised across the City by the Sheffield Sunday School Union ( established in 1812) which was closely involved with James Montgomery, The Union was set up with the intention of..."  educating working class children on Sundays....especially in literacy and...fighting for child labour laws to keep them out of chimneys".

The organisation became, latterly, the Sheffield Christian Education Council and it ceased to exist and was removed as a charity in 2005

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Oldbloke
On 27/05/2021 at 00:31, Lysanderix said:

My daughter was born in 1970 yet she attended Whit Sings  until she was around 11!.....Here's a few suggestions as to why the event died....Less interest in religion......a diminishing of most communal activities ( except sports and professional entertainment)....Government changing a moveable feast to a fixed date with no religious connection. The growth of car ownership and the increase in shopping as a "pleasure" rather than a necessity.

I certainly remember taking my daughter into Meersbrook park in 1980 when she was three years old, there are photos somewhere.

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MartinR

There's a tiny stub in Wikipedia which does add more than the above.  The University of Sheffield holds the The James Montgomery and Sheffield Sunday School Union Archive which appears to have quite a bit in it.  I also found a link to a scripture exam certificate.  The latter reminded me that I passed one such exam in AY 1965/6.  Probably just as well, Dad was the minister at the church! 😲

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