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  Victorian Tickhill


On 30 August 1929 the Doncaster Gazette published an article based on the Memories of ‘an old Tickhillian’. Extracts from this item are reproduced here thanks to the family of the late Jessie Newborn who saved it in one of her history folders.  

The cricket club, the horticultural society and the old Friendly Society go back into the mists of antiquity. Cricket matches were played in Wilson’s field, behind the Scarbrough Arms. The ground was firm and grass short, owing to the droves of cattle and sheep coming out of Lincolnshire, resting there for the night, on the way to Rotherham and Sheffield markets…..

The flower show was always a good one, noted for miles round, and well patronised by the gentry. It was held for many years in the Institute field, close to the grounds of St Leonard’s house, which were often thrown open. It is still going strong.  

The old Friendly Society, according to its flag, dates from 1752. The Club feast was always held on Whit Monday. For many years the members attended a service in the Church, until a tactless curate gave them a lecture on their shortcomings. Business over, a great dinner followed. Lifts of beef, legs and shoulders of veal and mutton, hams plum puddings and brandy sauce, tarts, cheese-cakes etc., all washed down by good sound ale. One of the treasurers and a carver, for fifty years got up from that board to conduct Sunday School children to the Castle and round the town, singing their anniversary hymns. So it was a general holiday here long before other places. What fun it was going up the winding, overgrown walks to the top of the Mount; and arriving breathless, to throw ourselves on the grass round the flag-staff, in the glorious sunshine, the air full of the scent of lilacs. How interesting to pick out the surrounding churches and villages. What shouts were given for the Queen, so great and so far away, also for the lady of the Castle. How fervently ‘God save the Queen’ was sung. Those balmy, palmy days only come once in a lifetime. Very rarely was the procession much interrupted.

Several jubilees occur this year. In 1879 the football club was started by the late Charles Crowther, its first secretary. R. Wood, jun., was treasurer. Mr R. Woulfe (an old Glasgow Queen’s Park man) captain….There was also the new head schoolmaster, rather boyish, but as he is still happily with us no more may be said….

In the early seventies St Leonard’s house was rebuilt, an army (so it seemed) of workmen being employed by the firm of Athron, one of the members finding a wife here during the building. The old timbered building adjoining, dated 1478, has been used as reading and games room for boys, coffee room, public reading and local board room, and policeman’s residence. It was a fine, generous act of the late Mr Brooksbank to restore it to the parish, making it again serve in many ways its original purpose….

In Castle Gate, the Public Library (which we owe entirely to the late Henry Shaw) the most convenient and useful building erected during the last half century, takes the place of two houses and the old gas works. Started by the late Mr Denton, in 1860, they supplied good, but rather expensive gas. The smells from them were such a nuisance, and the wells in the neighbourhood so contaminated, that a company was formed in 1870, and they were removed to their present position.’



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