A ROYAL golden jubilee, such as the Queen celebrates this year, ...

Date: Saturday 12th January 2002

A ROYAL golden jubilee, such as the Queen celebrates this year, is a rare event. The last one was Queen Victoria’s and that was 115 years ago.

“Houses and streets everywhere were decorated and the demonstrations of loyalty and of personal affection for the Queen were universal,” said the paper in 1887.

Shall we match that in 2002?

The Penrith party of 1887 never flagged after an enthusiastic opening speech by the local MP, J. W. Lowther, who called for three cheers “Cheers which will make this old market place of Penrith ring and ring again, cheers which shall be remembered by all of us here present to our dying day”.

A church service at St. Andrew’s was followed by a great procession. Supt. Fowler, of the local constabulary, on horseback, headed six carriages, containing the MP and other leading lights, and hundreds on foot, including Oddfellows, Druids, Forresters and Sons of Temperance.

A short stop was made while the chairman of the local board of health, Mr. James, re-named Scot Lane as Brunswick Road, as the thoroughfare had just been widened and improved.

It was the turn of the children to parade in the afternoon, this time with Mr. Fairer, the chairman of the jubilee committee, leading on his horse. While youngsters were presented with special mugs, old folk were entertained to a “knife and fork” feast in the Exchange Hall (later to become J. H. Howe’s dress shop in Angel Lane and, ultimately, demolished to make way for the Angel Square development).

The highlight was a sports meeting on the Foundry Field, with the cavalry band playing while athletes ran, jumped and wrestled. Everybody must have been exhausted by the end of the day, for the program also included a fireworks display on the Beacon and a dinner for 100 leading personalities at the Crown Hotel.

The golden jubilee is an event to be joyfully celebrated though in 2002 we may not see councillors and policemen on horseback!


BBC Radio Cumbria carried a cracking story about a Barrow-in-Furness woman of 75 who still holds the bathing beauty title which she won 52 years ago, as the competition was never repeated.

The “reigns” of most beauty queens, generally chosen at local dances, lasted no more than a year, as they were replaced by successors of similar shapeliness and appeal.

Hundreds of people turned up to watch the judging, often carried out by a local squire, bank manager or councillor.

Masters of Cumbrian foxhound packs were also called on, as hunt balls were often highlighted by the selection of a winner from candidates from the villages. Back in 1952, Miss Patsy Bell, Hilton, Appleby, became Miss Lunesdale, Miss Cissie Hindmoor, Sebergham, held the title of Miss Blencathra, and Miss Freda Leyland, Kentmere, was chosen to be Miss Ullswater.

Miss Kitty Loughlin, Caldbeck, had the more cumbersome title of queen of the Cumberland and Cumberland Farmers’ Foxhounds.

Shap must have had some bonny lasses around 1952, as Miss Ada Holland was the Penrith Gala queen, 15-year-old Audrey Prentice was chosen by local journalists to be Tebay Sports queen, and Miss Ann Swainbank won the Ribble Sports and Social Club’s beauty queen title. All lived in or near Shap village.

The contests were spread throughout the year and across a wide area. Vilma Watson, a 17-year-old bank clerk, was selected to be Miss Alston Moor in a competition arranged by Young Conservatives, while Miss Dorothy Carrick, Soulby, smiled from the front page of the Herald after her selection as Dacre’s harvest queen.

These striking beauties may well be grandmothers now though memories must linger of their moments of pride, 50 years ago.


Local historians will be intrigued by the prospect of a country market at Brough, which emerged this week.

For centuries, the village had such an event, for William Whellan recorded in his notes on Brough in The History and Topography of Westmorland: “A small weekly market is held on Thursday, in accordance of a grant made by Edward III in 1330 to Robert Lord Clifford.”

In those days there were two Broughs Market Brough and Church Brough according to Whellan’s book of 1860, but only the latter title is used today.


The colourless monotony of ordinary life is like heaven compared with the constant strife and misery which afflict the characters of Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Brookside and other soap operas.

Yet we switch on regularly for a nightly share of the heartache of the TV serials.

Broken homes, pub squabbles, bouts of wife-beating and general thuggery are par for the course, but the anguish has plunged to new depths since the dawn of 2002, with a dramatic road fatality, a murder attempt, a case of cruelty to a dog, and a string of uncertainties as to the fathering of newly-born or unborn babies.

Benign normality is not permitted in soap opera land added to which nobody appears to get a decent home-made meal, relying for sustenance on the pints of beer served at the Rover’s Return, the Queen Vic and the Woolpack.