Huge Crowd Greets Notable Visitors
One of the largest crowds Higham Ferrers had ever seen packed the Market Square on Saturday, when the borough's Coronation Day Market Day, aiming to raise 1,000 guineas for the endowment of a Higham Ferrers bed in Northampton General Hospital, was held in perfect weather.
The success of the event was all that could be desired, for the Mayor announced late in the evening that takings were then known to exceed £1,200, and were not yet complete. After this gratifying announcement the large crowd sang the Doxology and the National Anthem.
This was another all-in effort by the whole town, and the greatest of a series which has given Higham an enviable reputation for hospital support. It was the culmination of months of activity the final attack on the highest objective ever sought by the Market Day organisation.
Procession, speeches,marketing, competitions, entertainments and torch-march made up a conventional programme, but in each section the aim was more money than ever before.
The town was led in its ambitious venture by the Mayor (Ald. H R Patenall, JP, CC) with the Deputy Mayor (Councillor G W Battersby) as vice-president. For months it had kept its leaders busy with all sorts of calls. There was also a heavy task for Mr F T Browning (hon. Secretary), who had kept a hundred groups of workers in line, and the continued assistance of Mr A Sudborough as hon. treasurer was another strong asset. Messrs. W Hales and W Lawrence were the hon. collectors.
The entries in the afternoon carnival parade certainly equalled, and many surpassed, those of previous years in originality and colour. Remembering the tragedy of 1936, everyone had one eye on the sky, but the sun, which shone with midsummer brilliance while the entries were being judged in the Town Sports Field, remained unhidden by clouds during the whole afternoon.
"Showboat" aground among the crowds
A large number watched the judging, and the crowd which gathered on the Market-square, or rather on the square and all over the main street, defied any estimate as to its size.
In the factory turn-outs, Messrs. W W Chamberlain's “Autumn Tints” which gained second prize to the all conquering “Showboat,” was beautiful and effective, though simple in design. A modern stream-lined car was covered with perfectly graduated shades of brown, orange and yellow crepe paper, while four young lady attendants wore costumes of the same style.
Three village jazz bands entered the procession and were a star attraction, their members, in weird and gaudy attire and make-up, playing equally weird instruments. “Will Hay” (without his scholars this time) and “Old Bill,” by now well-known in the district, also received ovations. A tableau,“The Buggins family pose for the photographer” and Messrs. A Nutt and Co's prizewinning entry “The Jolly Roger”were noticeable for originality and attention to detail.
"Queens of Empire"
Miss Sheila Nunley, Miss Gwen Lewis, Miss Marie Bailey, Miss Kitty Bailey and Miss Edith Middleton
The entry of the five “Queens of Empire” was beautiful and impressive. All were charming figures in gowns of appropriate colours. Miss England (Miss Sheila Nunley) wore pink; Miss Scotland (Miss Gwen Lewis), purple; Miss Ireland (Marie Bailey) pale green; Miss Wales (Miss Kitty Bailey) pale yelow and Miss Empire (Miss Edith Middleton) a gown of shimmering gold.
They were seated on a dray drawn by a magnificent Shire horse, and the background painted by Mr J Lovell, depicted an Empire landscape. A fanfare by members of the band heralded their entry, and the singing of the National Anthem was followed by three cheers for Their Majesties.
The Mayor (Ald H R Patenall) announced the queens and acknowledged the efforts of those who had helped in preparing the scenes in which they were taking part.
The Mayor then placed a crown of roses on the head of Miss England, while little attendants strewed roses. Miss Scotland was crowned with thistles, and the crowns of Miss Wales and Miss Ireland were appropriately made of daffodils and shamrock respectively. Miss Scotland was attended by two young ladies in full plaids and kilts, and was crowned by the Mayoress.
The Deputy Mayor (Councillor GW Battersby) performed the ceremony for Miss Ireland, while his wife, the deputy Mayoress, placed the crown on the head of Miss Wales.
The four “queens” then united to place a golden laurel wreath on the head of “Miss Empire.”
Excellent solo interludes were provided by Messrs. S Hudson (tenor), of Higham Ferrers, and S Robinson (baritone), of Raunds. The crowning of each queen was preceded by an appropriate folk dance, the girl dancers being trained by Miss D Woods.