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Will it snow this winter?

During the year I have received several messages through this blog, all have been interesting. Thank you. Several messages were interested in Dorset Police and these contacts I have passed on to Ian who hopes to be bringing you a history of the Dorset Police force and the Policemen who walked our streets, in 2018. Other messages were members of the Beck or House family, I have loved meeting you on line and hopefully in person in 2018. Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year Sylvia Photo of May taken at Blandford Police Station most likely during WW1

Bridport Carnival “A Red Letter Day”

Bridport Carnivals in the 1920’s were major events in the town year. In June 1921 the day started early and ended late.  Celebration and fun for all the family, while raising funds for the local hospital.  Times were tough especially for the sick and needy, medial treatment had to be paid for or you needed to rely on charity. The country was going through a time of depression and unemployment following the first world war, so a day of fun was welcomed by the people of Bridport and the surrounding area.

Crowds seated and standing in front of a big house
 Bridport News “For the mere man the boxing naturally drew a large number of spectators.” Grandad Beck top left of photo

Bridport carnival was celebrated in 1921 on Alexandra Day  Saturday 11 June.  Over £300 was raised for Bridport hospital from the varied activities on the day.  The day started with the traditional flower sellers, selling flowers door-to-door and to the people waiting to watch  the carnival processions at 2pm.

Blue skies and warm sunshine played an important part in the success of Alexandra Day… Flags fluttered in the breeze of an ideal June day- the shrill laughter of the youngsters echoes and re-echoed in the streets, while the enthusiasm of grown-ups was non the less remarkable.

Alexandra Rose Day commemorated the arrival of 18 year old Alexandra of Denmark to Britain to marry Prince  Albert the eldest son of Queen Victoria in 1863.  The day was first commemorated 50 years later to raise funds for the sick and needy.  Queen Alexandra developed the idea that people with disabilities would make artificial wild roses to raise funds for London Hospitals.

Carnival Procession

From a spectacular point of view the carnival procession easily held the premier place in the day's programme.  The costumes and characters were many and varied and excited admiration and wonder from the huge crowd of spectators. Reading the Bridport News report, the main difference between the carnival today and then is the number of  horses, both ridden and driven, including Miss Gladys Wadham as Joan of Arc riding a grey pony. The procession, which included cars and lorries, lasted 2 hours accompanied by the Artillery Band and was followed by a garden fete at Downe Hall.

Garden Fete

After the procession the crowds descended on Downe Hall, home of Major W. A. Alexander.  The various stalls and side shows where similar to those we would find today in the many fetes held in the area.  The traditional display of folk dancing and competitions with a presentation of prizes by the mayor.  These included a Wild Flower competition entered by 217 children won by G. Masters for the variety of flowers and L. Little for the arrangement of Flowers. The Bridport News notes that the majority of the prizes were generously returned by the winner to benefit the hospital.

Other entertainment would not be seen at fetes today include a display of boxing, which was popular with the crowds.  The event carried on into the evening with dancing for the young people to music from the artillery band.

It was another of the many red letter days in the annals of the town, and the response on the part of the public to the appeal was spontaneous and generous.  Depression in trade and the consequent lack of employment were factors that might have spelt failure to such a venture, but everyone - for the time being at all events - forgot the present troublous times and entered into the spirit of the day. Mindful of the splendid work undertaken by the Bridport Hospital for whose benefit the day was arranged, everyone seemed eager to give, and in this respect rich and poor vied with each other.

All original content by Sylvia Collins is copyright protected.

References Quotes in Italics:
The Bridport News: 1921 June 17


  1. I had forgotten about the Alexander Rose Day, it brings back a '50's memory with the collection tins coming around and the beautiful wild type rose flag purchased with a donation. It's good to see the charity is still in existence.

  2. Thank you for your comment Heather. I had never heard of Rose Day, it sounds lovely with all the flowers. There are photos of Grandad, May and Rebecca Beck with a pony and trap with lots of bunches of flowers - I wondered if these were related to an Alexander Rose Day. You can see them here


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