Tuesday 27 December 2011


© Phillip Shales 2011     All rights reserved
with acknowledgments to Kerry Fletcher and Dave Thompson of Middlewich Town Council

by Dave Roberts

Note: This photograph was found in a file marked 1949 Carnival on a computer at Middlewich Town Council, and was originally published with that date. Subsequent information contributed by Middlewich Diary readers has enabled us to establish not only the correct year but also the actual date of the photograph and the name of the Carnival Queen and her escort.
A classic example of just what the Middlewich Diary can achieve. We have preserved the Facebook Feedback as part of this entry to illustrate how the process of revising our information works. Many thanks to all our contributors for  their efforts -Ed.

Here's the revised version of the text:
We're back in Middlewich Town Centre on Carnival Day, Saturday 16th July 1952, to witness the arrival of the Middlewich Carnival Queen, Jacqueline Davies, with her two train bearers.
The gentleman with the rosette is Mr G Moses*, Chairman of the Carnival Committee. 
The Queen is heading towards the War Memorial  which was at that time sited between Hightown and Lower Street, to lay a wreath, as was customary at carnivals at that time, while the procession itself is about to veer off down Lower Street.
The Carnival Queen, of course, is not to be confused with King and Queen Carnival.
 I don't know if these two semi-knockabout, almost Pantomime Dame-like figures  took part in carnivals at the time of our photo, but they certainly appeared during later Carnivals in the 70s and were always played by the more extrovert and ebullient members of rugby clubs and the like.
Our Carnival Queen, though, as you might expect, has more of the look of the young Queen Elizabeth, who had ascended to the throne on the 6th February, and was to be crowned on the 2nd of June in the following year.

* Margaret Williams, in the comments below, has his name as 'Mr G Moss' and, particularly in Middlewich, this does sound a more likely name. Can anyone tell us which is correct?

(Bear in mind that, when this picture was first published, we were under the impression that it showed a scene from the 1949 Carnival. We didn't know the name of the Carnival Queen, or the name of her escort [the man with the rosette]. We did, however, surmise that he might be 'the chairman of the Carnival Committee'. 
We deduced that the Queen was heading for the War Memorial, because the crowd seemed to be parting to allow her through, but didn't know about the custom of Carnival Queens laying wreaths. We thought, though, that she might have 'made a speech' there, which she may well have done. Finally, we changed 'Princess Elizabeth' to 'Queen Elizabeth' and revised her dates -Ed)


Facebook feedback:

Margaret Williams: I think the Carnival Queen in the picture may be called Jacqueline Davies and at that time the Carnival Queen used to lay a wreath on the War Memorial before heading up to what was known as I think station fields (ICI fields) for the grand procession

Geraldine Williams: I thought it looked like Jacqueline Davies, too, but she would only have been aged 10-11 in 1949. Did she have an older sister?
If you’re correct about the Station Field venue and if it is Jacqueline she wouldn’t have had far to go home as she lived just over Station Bridge! I’d noticed on a previous pic that the crowd seemed to be separating to form a pathway to the Cenotaph, so that makes sense if there was a wreath-laying ceremony.
If it is Jacqueline, I used to be so scared of her, as she was very vocal in the daily exchange of insults when children from the Council School (as it was called) encountered St. Mary’s children on the Town Bridge at home time.
I think they called us ‘Catholic Bulldogs’, but I never understood why……!

Dave Roberts: How very different from the home life of our own dear Queen…

Geraldine Williams: Tee hee!

Margaret Williams: I have found a dilapidated cutting from the Middlewich Chronicle, which I wasn’t sure I still had, and it confirms the young lady is, indeed, Jacqueline Davies, but the date on the cutting is Saturday 26th July 1952. Her escort is a Mr G Moss, chairman of the Carnival Committee.
The procession started at The Avenues and arrived at ICI Field for the crowning ceremony.

Geraldine Williams: Clever you! That would explain a lot.

Margaret Williams: The article in the Chronicle actually states that 1952 was the third annual carnival in the town, which would imply that 1949 was the first and
might explain the incorrect reference on the files.

(reformatted 29/12/2011)

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