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THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS 1862 - THE PRESTON GUILD MERCHANT OF 1862

THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS 1862

When writing a previous post, about the history of horse racing around the Preston area, I had been looking for pictorial evidence.  This was always likely to be in the form of illustrations.  Whilst photography had been invented, as I understand it, as far back as 1822.  However, photographs would be used in publications, such as newspapers, until the 1890s.  When researching Penwortham Holme, I was led to a picture of an agricultural show that took place as part of the Preston Guild in 1862.  This in turn led me to a full piece about the occasion in the 'Illustrated London News' from that era.  

The Illustrated London News was founded by Herbert Ingram and first published on Saturday 14th May 1842.  It was the world's first illustrated weekly news magazine.  It was published weekly for most of its existence.  However, it switched to a less frequent publication schedule in 1971, and eventually ceased publication in 2003.  The company continues today as Illustrated London News Ltd, a publishing, content, and digital agency in London, which holds the publication and business archives of the magazine. 

THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: MEETING OF THE ROYAL NORTH LANCASHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY ON THE HOLMSFIELD, PENWORTHAM
THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: MEETING OF THE ROYAL NORTH LANCASHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY ON THE HOLMSFIELD, PENWORTHAM


I obtained the pictures (illustrations) of the 1862 Preston Guild celebrations and the accompanying text online.  It was in various formats.  One of the formats was 'txt', which in IT (Information Technology) parlance is unformatted, or plain, text.  That differs from word processing, as there is no typography instructions included.  For example, there are no font types or sizes contained in the information, and there are no structural parts like paragraphs or headings.  I presume that the 'text' had been created by scanning the original publication and then running it through a process of OCR (Optical Character Recognition).  The end result, whilst very interesting and useful, doesn't appear to have been error checked.  I have attempted to 'tidy up' the text and decipher some of it the was difficult to interpret.  The difficulty here is being able to distinguish between things that are typing or spelling mistakes and things which are grammatically correct in 1862.  The use of the English language has changed subtly during that time.

The text below represents two passes that I made that (hopefully) got rid of unnecessary line breaks and any obvious inconsistencies or mistakes in the OCR process.  I have struggled with some sections, and I will probably revisit the exercise again in the future, in an attempt to come up with a concise 'final' version.  My understanding is that all this content is already in the public domain, and I am permitted to carry out this exercise.



THE ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS 1862

SEPT. 13,1862

THE PRESTON GUILD MERCHANT OF 1862.

(From our Special Correspondent.)

FOR full five hundred years the Guild or Corporate Fraternity of Preston has existed to conserve the liberties of her freemen. Since 1562 it has been the custom of resident and non-resident burgesses to meet, once in twenty years, for the purposes of renewing their freedom and sanctioning such laws as from time to time might be deemed beneficial to the fraternity. This occasion from time immemorial has been known as a "Guild Merchant," and has been a period of unusual festivity. Twenty-two of these Guild Merchants have already passed away and marked the progress of the town, and now for the twenty-third time, under the mayoralty of R. Townley Parker, Esq., a gentleman of ancient lineage and high social position, the Guild books are open for the transaction of business, and the citizens are met to commemorate the conservation of municipal liberties by a week's festivity.

It may, perhaps, be thought that during a period of such deep and widespread distress it would have been better to postpone this event. Such a feeling did, to some extent, prevail in the town, but it was overruled by the Corporation, who, while they admitted some seeming inconsistency in coupling together feasting and starvation, considered that the occasion would, by bringing multitudes of strangers to the town, lead to the expenditure of money.

Had they thought it likely to produce a wrong impression on the country at large as to the necessity which exists for charitable relief at this period, the Guild would not now be held. In other years there has been a surplus of receipt over expenditure, and we believe it is designed on this occasion to swell the relief fund with the sum thus expected. With this understanding we chronicle the events of the week with the greater pleasure, and indulge a hope that this effort to banish sadness may not be without its good and permanent result upon a people who, under sufferings so nobly endured, enjoy the sympathy and admiration of Britain, from the august Duchess of Lancaster to the humblest of their fellow-workmen.

Guilds Merchant are by antiquaries believed to have originated in the days of Alfred. Probably they may be of older date even, for it seems that when patriarchal rule in the family was somewhat weakened by reason of the growth of population, and there was need of some other bond of association, this was substituted. When all the dwellers in a place were no longer kin-men it became convenient for neighbours to group themselves by tens for the purposes of social government, and hence tythings or gylds. In process of time various kinds of guilds arose, all of which had the common features of equal pledge or suretyship of any nine members for the tenth, in cases where the borh or pledge was necessary. "Hence, nigh-borhs or neighbours," says Mr. Harland, an authority in these matters. "These little confederations of ten men or heads of families took various forms consistent with the objects for which they were instituted. Thus, "the citizens of London formed themselves into frith-guilds or associations for the maintenance of the public peace, ten of them going to form a hundred," a term which is estranged from its former application to population; we are told, too, of religious guilds “for mutual comfort and support in life, Christian burial after death, and masses for the soul of a deceased member in purgatory;" of knightly guilds and trading guilds, of which the one now in course of commemoration is the last remaining specimen in the country.

Considering how important a part these guilds have played as the basis of the municipal and political constitution of our country, this commemoration has its special significance and value. Those who have no reverence for the past, and see nothing in their present position to remind them of their obligation to previous workers on the social system, may be anxious to sweep away a record which is an impediment to business; but those who rejoice in that sagacious admixture of popular elements for the government of the country, King. Lords, and Commons, tracing back to these initial municipal institutions, with their head man or alderman and council of associates, the model upon which it was formed, will bow with profound feeling before the derivable source of British freedom. for commemorations, was deficient in that varied and felicitous application for which such an occasion affords special opportunity. We were glad, however, to remark a bold denunciation of men who refuse to contribute to the relief of those by whose labours they have risen to affluence. After the service the procession, having accompanied the Mayor back to the hall, was there dismissed. The Roman Catholics, a body of considerable importance in Preston, held High Mass at the Church of St. Augustine, the Bishop of Liverpool being present.

During the reign of Henry II. Guilds are spoken of as common institutions. They were, in fact, taken under the protection of the King, who granted charters to guilds mercatory, confirming them in certain privileges. Such was a charter granted by this Monarch to Preston, A.D. 1173, wherein "my burges es of Prosten are commanded "to have and hold, well and in peace, freely and quietly, fully and entirely, &c., both within and without the borough, all those liberties and free customs (saving my right of administering justice) which the burgesses of Newcastle-under-Lyne have, as I have granted," By this, which was the first of fourteen charters granted by Monarchs of this realm to the ancient borough of Preston, and another, known as the ancient custumal of Preston, the freemen were released from certain taxes and customs throughout the realm, such as tolls, in the town or elsewhere, passage across sea or river, and stallage in the market-place; and were permitted to levy certain tolls and customs upon those traders less privileged than themselves.

It will be seen from one section of the oath of the burgesses that the inhabitants enrolled were secured a complete monopoly of the commerce of the place: it runs thus:-" You shall know noe foreiner (.e. non-resident) to buy or sell merchandise with any other foreiner within this town or the franchises thereof, except at Faire Time, but you shall warn the Mayor and Bailiffs thereof." The protective law of apprenticeship is shown to have been most strictly enforced, and we obtain, on examining the documents, a very clear picture of the men and weinen in that day in their several relations, together with the exclusive character of the code by which the commercial element of the borough's progress, which contrasts but quaintly with our free-trale notions of commercial competition.

During the afternoon a great volunteer review and sham fight came off on Preston Moor. The rain and the confined limits of the field appropriated to the troops afforded two obstacles to the success of the evolutions. The ground was kept by Major-General the Hon. J. Yorke Scarlett, the reviewing officer, on whose staff were observed Colonel Wilson Patten, M.P., and Colonel Manners. The reception of the Major-General by the entire body of 3000 volunteers in line presented a fine spectacle, and evidently excited the enthusiasm of the 30,000 spectators asserted to have been upon the neighbouring ground. Unfortunately, an accident occurred at this period of the proceedings which resulted in bodily injuries to several and great alarm to all who occupied one of the stands, for that structure gave way suddenly and precipitated its occupants with disordered dresses and fractured limbs to the ground. In his subsequent address to the corps the Major-General did not deal in flattering speeches; while he bestowed a general commendation on those who had engaged, he evidently wished to impress upon the officers the necessity of intense application before they could make themselves equal to their import int duties.

The athletic sports peculiar to the district were carried on at the same time within an inclosed space on the Marsh, and drew great crowds. One hundred guineas, inclusive of leather and silver belts, were awarded in prizes on this and the following day. The combatants were divided into heavy and light weights. Fifty-four wrestlers tested the power of their sinewy limbs on Monday. The light weights followed on Tuesday. These about 9 stone each. Foot-races and high-pole jumping at various times "Soon as the evening shades pre-engaged the energies of competitors. vailed" Blondin attracted some 20,000 to another part of the Marsh, where he performed his wonderful feats with the usual success.

The mayoral banquet on Monday evening was attended by about 400 gentlemen. The Mayor was surrounded with the nobility and gentry of the county, and the municipal, civil, and ecclesiastical dignitaries of the town. The Earl of Derby and Lord Stanley were both present, and several distinguished representatives of both services. From the banqueting-chamber to the ballroom was but a step. Both apartments are comprised in the Corn Exchange. The Corn Exchange proper, a large court with glazed roof, has been wonderfully transmogrified. Inventive fingers have been at work to deck the prosaic Chamber of Commerce for the Queen of Beauty. The troughed ceiling is hidden by painted centrepieces, bordered with bannerets and festooned. Music, Science, Literature, and Art have cach an emblematic representation. The walls above the galleries are covered with heraldic blazonry, and the walls beneath, on a level with the lounges, reflect the graceful forms which float upon the floor improvised for the occasion. Blue, green, and red are the prevailing colours, spangled with gold fleurs-de-lis. The gaspipe laid above the gallery circles the area, and produces a charming effect. The transformation has been effected by native genius, Mr. Horn, together with Messrs. Brewster and Burrows, having been intrusted with the decoration, were supported by their members. Some 2700 took part in the procession, which reached a mile and a quarter, and occupied an hour and a half in passing any one point. When the dun-coloured cloud which obscured the procession folded up and allowed us to catch a sight of the winding stream, some points of it struck us as very amusing. The Free Gardeners walked behind a lurry Learing a section of the Garden of Paradise, with the antediluvian gardeners, in flesh-coloured tights, seated therein. Seen between the intervals of the fall, they produced a wild sensation amongst the Prestonians, who receive their gracious bows with infinite delight. The Shepherds appeared with crooks, and lambs, and emblematical banners, and were brought up by three strange persons in brown bearskins, each followed by a dog. Wolfskins would have been more appropriate. The Catholic Order was preceded by a banner bearing the Papal arms. Each department appeared in proper costume, and was attended by bands of music.

One might make merry with the procession of water-drinkers which came off in the afternoon of this day. Surely they had "beautiful water" ad nauseam. The rain was incessant, and the proceedings but a repetition of those of the morning. Struggling through the umbrellas, it was possible now and then to catch a glimpse of the flags, bearing a variety of most trenchant and defiant mottoes, such as "The Pump and the Teapot," "Drunkards cannot enter Heaven," "The Bar, the Barrel, the Grave!! with the old joke of a barrel staved in at both ends, indicating that it has been seen through!

Much to the credit of these societies, which mustered some 2600 members to form this procession, is the fact that drunkenness at a period like this, when Preston kept high wassail, and was driven by the very inclemency of the weather into the public-house, was so little visible.

Never was The North Lancashire Agricultural Society, which opened its proceedings on Tuesday by a trial of grass and grain mowing machines at La and Clifton, summoned the farmers of the county to its showyard on Wednesday. One visitor, however, came unbidden and unwelcomed. The rain utterly ruined what would otherwise have proved a most successful meeting. The contrast between the entries of 1848 and those of 1862 exhibits a surprising progress. Take only the 126 pedigree shorthorn cattle against the 44 ordinary cattle of 1848, and this will be a fair sample of the change which has been effected in fourteen years. Those who are acquainted with Preston will know the Holme whereon the society had pitched its tent. It is a plot of pasture-ground skirted by the Ribble. Some thirty acres of this were inclosed, and the Horticultural and Florticultural Society obtained a portion of it for their marques. The show of implements was very strong; but the great feature was the shorthorns, which surpassed what we have often seen at the annual meetings of the Royal Society. The "Butterflies" from Towneley were the most distinguished members of the class. This blood was not only exhibited by Colonel Towneley, but by Mr. Baxter, who, by means of it, took several first prizes. The Colonel's "Royal Butterfly" is a grand bull, perfect in all his points save the slightest dip in the rump. Several of his stock were prize-takers in other classes. He took the prize as the bost male animal in the yard; and Lady Pigott, also a very successful exhibitor, obtained with a roan heifer," Rosedale," the Guild Mayor's cup. Messrs. Jonathan Peel; Naylor, of Fulwood; Atherton, of Speke; L. C. Wood, of Kirkham; Eastwood, of Burnley Woodhouse, Lancaster; R. Booth, Warlaby; Dickinson, of Ulverston; and Patterson, of Ulverston, were amongst the prize-takers. The horses, sheep, and pigs were unusually good. The hunter which won Mr. M'Culloch, of Wigan, the special Guild prize, leaped three flights of hurdles 4ft. 6in. high. The attendance on Wednesday was comparatively small, and on Thursday it was smaller. During the night the freshes had carried away the temporary bridge erected by the society, and obliged visitors to get across by boat or to make a circuitous route by Penwortham-bridge. The ground lying in ridge and furrow was bad enough the previous day, but on Thursday it was frightful.

THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: THE ROYAL NORTH LANCASHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY'S DINNER
THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: THE ROYAL
NORTH LANCASHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY'S DINNER

The persevering critic was fain to make literally flying visits from shed to shed, as the furrows lay full of water. The sheep and pigs, which had passed a terrible night of exposure, pent up within a small space, presented a miserable picture, and the attendants, who had been doing their best to make them comfortable, looked drenched to the skin. The dinner on Wednesday afternoon was a grand success, so far as attendance was concerned. The congregation of 1700 people to satisfy the pangs of hunger presents an impressive scene, but when this force is seen to bivouac under umbrellas it becomes highly amusing. There is something unique in the sight of men thus sheltered performing gastronomic duets. What the rain could make untenable was rendered so; but, as soon as the remainder had been discussed, Lord Derby-who had been conveyed from the Mayor's official residence to the president's chair by a procession of butchers in blue coats and canary vests, in company with Lord Stanley and Sir J. Yorke Scarlett, K.C.B.-threw oil upon the troubled waters and raised the spirits of the meeting to the level of his own. Winning, courteous, and practical, his apt speeches diffused warmth around. He retrieved the occasion, and dismissed the large insending with a feeling of having been amply repaid.

The company included nearly all the wealth, fashion, and beauty of the county, and the Guild Mayor's ball of 1862 has been pronounced by competent authority to have been an immense success. For those who were not at the ball the Theatre Royal was open. Verdi's opera "Il Travatore" was produced there with great effect, Mdme. Rudersdorff, Miss Reeves, Mr. E. St. Aubyn, and Mr. Eliott Galer being among the principals. Crowds of people were flocking into the town during the day. The public walks and thoroughfares of the place were full of strangers, and the river Ribble was alive with pleasure-boats. All classes of the people were bent upon enjoyment, and the relief committees had been careful that the poor operatives should not feel the distress of their position more than could be avoided, Wednesday finished with a grand Masonic banquet.

Everybody, however, was on the qui vive for Thursday. That was to supply the great feature of the Guild Merchant of 1862. Visitors from all quarters poured into the town to witness the trades procession. It had actually been advertised in New York as an event of primary importance to the exhibition! The population of Preston was suddenly multiplied by seven.

Some 620,000 people that day were thrown into the public thoroughfares, and struggled with one another for the best view. Those who could not obtain a window pane, or a balcony seat, or a resting-place amongst the tiles higher up, were fain to endure the streets, where they were wedged in like bits of mosaic pavement. Still all was conducted with the greatest order and cheerfulness.

The total number of trades was twenty. Some of these occupied a space of 30 and some of 300 yards. In all they included 240) mon, 120 horses, and 35 lurries. The procession, which stretched over 23 miles of ground, occupied fully two hours in passing any given point, yet the arrangements of the marshals and trades' secretary, Mr. Baddeley, were so good that no confusion arose. They formed in Fishergate, paraded various other parts of the town, all, returning by Friargate, were dismissed in the Market-place. Each trade engaged its own band, arranged for its own devices, and pail its own expenses. The cost of the whole is estimated at something like £700.

On Tuesday the sun rose jubilant, and waked a multitude of expectant eyes to the gaieties of a second day. One great benefit due to these Guild Merchants we have not noticed. In the history of Preston they have proved so many start-points along the centuries. They have usually given birth to some important improvements, moral, social, legal, or architectural. For instance, after the Guild Merchant of 1702 the Blue-coat School is established; after that of 1742 the fire-engine is first introduced and the waterworks are co.nmenɔel; after that of 1742 another school is founded; after 1892 the Theatre Royal is built and the Ribble Navigation Act is obtained; after 1822 several churches and chapels are erected, together with the Corn Exchange, and so on. The great event which is to follow upon this Guild Merchant is the erection of a Townhall (designed by G. G. Scott) which will vie with those much-admired civic palaces of Belgium. The ground floor will, according to plan, comprise a large exchange room, with suitable offices for the discharge of municipal business. On the upper floor will be a large room fitted for public meetings, with gallery, orchestra, and council-room. Along the principal front is a bold arcade carried by coupled columns, and at the end a lofty clock-tower. According to the Builler, "the walls are to be built of local stone. Granite and marble columns are interspersed among others of stone, so as to relieve the colours constructively.

THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: THE PROPOSED TOWNHALL
THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: THE PROPOSED TOWNHALL

Sculptured decorations, too, will be extensively introduced in numerous foliated capitals, panels, and statues.' The estimated cost is £30,000. The ceremony of laying the first stone was, consequently, performed by the Guild Mayor. That gentleman being a member of the Freemasons, it was laid with masonic honours. The brethren of this ancient order mustered from all parts of the county. Some 800 assembled in the Bairstow Congregational School, a commodious building, and thence the procession proceeded, being joined at another point by the clergy and corporation, who, deprived of their chief, had been very unceremoniously kept waiting under a fierce sun some hour and a half. Accompanied by soldiers and military bands, the cortège presented a very imposing appearance as it wound its way along by a cirenitoas route to the Market-place, the site of the proposed building. All Preston seemed to have emptied itself into this arterial thoroughfare, and not only Preston but the neighbouring towns and villages, besides the thousands of people who came from more distant localities. The hot were more decorated than the day before, and certainly, to judge by the banners which fibated in the breeze from every available window and balcony or triumphal arch, of which there are many, it would not do to say that true enthusiasm never flags. The thought of distress seemed banished for a time, the eye kindled, the voice rose in tones of animated converse, and the heart pulsated to the martial music that poured on the air. After a fatiguing walk in heavy robes, the Mayor mounted a platform erected around the stone, together with the Deputy Grand Master of the order, Sir Thomas Hesketh, Bart., M.P., Mr. Scott, R.A., and others, and, having announced to the spectators the object of the meeting, the Provincial Chaplain of the order read a most appropriate prayer for the Divine assistance and blessing on the undertaking in hand. The Mayor then went on his knees to deposit various bottles in the cavity of the stone and spread the mortar, An ode was sung by the brethren while the block was lowered, libations of oil and wine, with corn and salt, were poured out from various gold and silver vessels upon the stone, and then followed a spirited speech from the Mayor to those assembled, in the course of which he took occasion to land the ancient order to which he belongs. An impressive prayer by the Provincial Chaplain then followed, at the close of which there arose upon the impressed air the grand strains of the "Hallelujah Chorus, the choir being supported by the band of the Preston volunteers. During this climacteric and appropriate performance the whole assemblage stood uncovered. Cheers then arose for the Queen and the Mayoress, Lord Derby and Lord Stanley--who were present. May a building so devoutly and solemnly founded arise in beauty as the augury of better times to Preston-purer, robler times, when civic corruption shall no more debase, when religious discord shall no more hinder, the Divine work of human redemption, but when all classes shall combine to develop their noblest powers to the glory of God!

THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: THE MAYOR LAYING THE FOUNDATION-STONE OF THE NORTH-EAST CORNER OF THE TOWNHALL
THE PRESTON GUILD FESTIVAL: THE MAYOR LAYING THE
FOUNDATION-STONE OF THE NORTH-EAST CORNER OF THE TOWNHALL

Before the procession, which again formed, could make the appointed progress, a thunderstorm burst upon the town, the crowd collapsed, the Mayor's tail gradually diminished, and that good-humoured and hard-worked gentleman, after bowing to the constant few who attended him, dismissed them at last, and retired, dripping, to his apartments. After some hours, however, he shone out with renewed refulgence at the grand masonic banquet, from which he passed with an illustrious company to the ballroom, then arranged for a concert, where a select but large audience dwelt with rapt and favoured cars upon the sweet voices of Malle. Titiens, Mdme, Sherrington, Miss Palmer, and the melodious tones of Mr. Sims Reeves and Mr. Santley. The rain threatened in vain upon the glass above; no terror of spoiled dresses could destroy the equanimity of the pleased assemblage, which listened also with breathless attention to Weber's "Concert-stück," performed by Mr. Charles Hall, the conductor for the occasion.

The exclusive privileges of free burgesses are now things of the past. Preston was, in 1835, placed under the provisions of the Corporation Reform Bill. Put, though the alteration of municipal law readered the legal portion of the ceremony unnecessary, it was determined to celebrate the Guilds Merchant as usual, with certain limits as to duration. There is a very quaint account found in Kuerden's MS, of the manner in which these municipal carnivals were conducted about two hundred years ago.

There seems to have been at that time a formal procession from the Mayor's residence to the High-cross, where the Guild was opened, and thence to church, followed by another procession, with a considerable number of taps running here and there, concluded by a grand banquet, for the proper arrangement of which directions are issued for the guidance of all officials, from the high stewards to the chief cook, the yeoman of the win e-cellar, the gentlemen of the napery, and the groom-porters. The companies of trades were dined at their respective halls, from the windows of which floated their banners. There was then a banquet given by a "Mrs. Mayoress" to two hundred ladies who danced the night out till morning and weariness" surprised them. The second, third, and fourth days the Mayor went again to pray and then to dine, and after dinner attended to the enrolment of burgesses and the reception of fines. Sunday passed over pretty quietly. The trades companies appear to have done the hospitable to each other over a period of six weeks; and when the time came for the conclusion of the festivities the Mayor went to court and reported the business of the Guild for the confirmation of the burge-ses. These transactions having received the seal of the Corporation, the clerk antonneed the Guild adjourned for twenty years.

The Guild Merchant of 1762 is rendered memorable by the three hundred splendidly-attired ladies who accompanied the Mayoress to church, and from thence, to gratify the crowd of spectators, proceeded to parade the marketplace. Some writers mention the effect of this unparalleled display of beauty with the greatest enthusiasm :--

But I cannot describe or sufficiently praise

The beauties that Lane with astonishing blas;

They were rich concations, a galaxy bright,

A host of pure angel-too much for the sight.

Amit their pornding such glances were sent

That sighs were excited wherever they went.

This Guild lasted a month; two grand balls were given every week, and theatrical entertainments and all sorts of shows and amusements were provided for the populace. Robert Parker, grandfather of the present Mayor, was then in office, and is reported to have been singularly studious to please and to inspire mirth and festivity into every individual. His daughter and Miss Hulten were the principal beauties of the succeeding Guild Merchant. The same dazzling display of female beauty has been attempted at more recent periods, but the practice now has entirely fallen into desuetude.

We must row, however, proceed to depict the celebration of this the twenty-third Guild Merchant, opened on Monday, the 1st inst.; and, in doing so, bag to acknowledge the obligations under which we lie to R. Ashcroft, Esq., the town clerk, and Mr. Dearden, the hallkeeper. The initial proceeding took place in the hail of the Grammar School, the old Townhall having been removed to make way for the stately edifice shortly to rise under the wand of Mr. Scott. The Mayor, in his robes of office, occupied a daïs at the further

end of the room, and there received the company as they arrived. The attendance was as great as the room could accommodate. Amongst the notabilities were observed the Mayors of Blackburn, Bolton, Wigan, Warrington, and Burnley, in their robes; Sir Thomas Hesketh, Bart., M.P.; Major-General the Hon. Sir J. Yorke Scarlett; C. Jacson, R. Newsham, T. B. Crosse, T. Green, Esqrs.; Sir T. H. Maxwell, together with the Rev. Canon Parr (Guild Chaplain) and the clergy of the district, conformist and nonconformist. The procession formed outside the building, and proceeded by the main thoroughfare to the parish church through a dense throng of spectators. The sun was merry in the sky, and shone upon the display of banners with a kindly greeting.

The shops and balconies, gaily decorated, were filled with well-dressed ladies and gentlemen; the roofs of the houses even afforded a precarious standpoint for the more determined sightseers. We could not look at the dense mass of humanity which, as it were, formed the foundation of this living wall on either side without detecting in eye and feature, in air and dress, the evidence of the intense conflict here daily wagel with want. The sun, although it heightened the effect of the decorations, did Ent reveal the dark shadows that were lying beyond. After full cathedral service the Vicar delivered a discourse, which, though exhaustive as an apology. Nor must we omit to mention other matters of interest to the town generally which occurred during the afternoon and evening of Tuesday. A balloon ascent had been announced for one o'clock. Full 20,000 people assembled in Avenham Park to see what might turn up; but, alas! nothing did turn up. They were dismissed by the apology that the balloon had gone on, by mistake, to Edinburgh. We have been assured, however, that the little package lay stowed quietly away in the parcels booking-office, the attendant being on the look-out for something more nearly resembling the dome of St. Paul's.

On Wednesday, however, the balloon was inflated, and went up, to the surprise of wondering masses, amongst torrents of rain. The Orchard, with its whirligigs, shooting-galleries, menageries, dramatic palaces, marionetto establishments, hopping-shops, and drinking-booths, increased in popularity throughout the day.

The cotton managers and overlookers, as representing the staple trade of the town, might be expected to make a great display. They mastered 490 men. There were six lurries; on those were carried a lap-machine, carding-engine; drawing, slubbing, and roving frame; throstle and spinning frames, a spinning-mule, and a warping-mill. Save one, these were all silent, and the spectators appreciated the painful significance of the picture. The brickmakers were plying their trade with the most graphic vigour, and the populace seemed to endure the baptism of mud which fell around with the greatest good temper.

Some twenty of the saddlers rode in a carriage drawn by six horses, caparisoned in harness made for the Earl of Eglinton when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and other specimens of their work an emblazoned cablems of their trade. The smiths were actually forging horseshoes, and shoeing a horse which in an evil hour had been tempted to ascend a lurry. Two other lurries bore workmen otherwise engaged, and before each on horseback rode a Vulcan encased in armour. The printers had mounted a printing-press on a lurry, and were.

working away with good carnest. The tailors could not resist a forcible representation of "the grand old gardener and his wife," with a motto, "Ye were naked and we clothed you." The occasion was a fine one for the coachmakers, who, as may be imagined, improved it in the best manner. The painters mustered 200 strong, and were very picturesque in dress and occupation. About ninety butchers walked in procession, clad in blue, buff, and black, with white aprons and steels pendent, and were followed by their sons, similarly attired, on horseback. The joiners were numerous. They had engaged two lurries, and illustrated, under elegant structures raised upon them, their daily avocations.

The steam-engine-makers were very ambitious. They dealt in emblematical representations and tableaux vivants to a great extent, and showed models and working engines. The amalgamated engineers filled five lurries with machinery in all its stages. One lurry contained a fixed boiler and fires, with engines and lathes, all in operation; another contained millwrights at work; a third contained shaping and fitting shops; and another an engine with novel boiler arrangement. The bricklayers kept to their legs and satisfied themselves with carrying devices on banners and their trade emblems and tools upon staves

supplied for the occasion. The perambulator-makers occupied two lurries. In one the workshop was represented; in the other the showroom, some young women and children occupying the highly-finished carriages. The fire brigade made a good show. The procession of the fishmongers attracted considerable attention. A boat was hoisted on a lurry: it was seen floating upon a painted sea, through which it was supposed to be impelled by the oars of the strong boatmen. A net was cast over the stern, in the folds of which was entangled a huge fish. The millers, bakers, and stonemasons also plied their trades on lurries fitted for the occasion, and were impressive with banners and music. The costumes, horses, and appointments in all cases were of the best possible description. The tout ensemble was splendid and unique. The only conditions wanting to most perfect success were the sunshine and blue sky.

On Wednesday there was an immense amount of convivial business to be done. The procession of the Friendly Societies, the Lancashire Agricultural Society's Annual Show of Cattle, the Walton-le-Dale Floral and Horticultural Society's Show, and the Procession of the Temperance Society and Bands of Hope, each presented claims to public favour. But dismay was general, as from out the window of the bedchamber the eye rested on the dank ground, and ascended by the stolid streams to the dark, leaden, drear sky, and sought in vain for the "silver lining." Still, making our way to Fishergate, we found, not an "army with banners," but an army lifting above its head that defence against the anger of the skies which civilisation has given to man. We heard the splashing tread of men, and the liquid strains of music struggling upwards, but saw nothing save a moving, varicoloured carpet of gingham, under which Preston sought refuge. The friendly societies had need of all their co-operative warmth to destroy the effect of this wet blanket. Surely nothing presents a more miserable picture than a flooded carnival!

There was no falling away, however; the Order of Foresters, Froe Gardeners, Independent Order of Mechanios, Ancient Shepherds, Druids, Catholic Brethren, United Order of Oddfellows, and Independent Order of Oddfollows, At the tail of this procession came the Catholic guilds, with a number of really magnificent banners and furniture from the various altarpieces. They formed an impressive religious demonstration, but were certainly as much out of place at this time as schools of the Established Church would have been. There were female guilds of St. Ignatius, St. Augustine, St. Walburgs, and boys and men's guilds of the same. The girls numbered 1053, the boys 200, and the men 600. What was intended by such a display of sacred emblems, of the flag of Austria, with " Austria" in the centre of it, of the Papal flag with the Papal arms in the centre of it, on such an occasion, we must leave the Catholics to explain.

During this procession Mendelssohn's "Elijah" was being performed in the Exchange Guild Assembly Room; and a grand miscellaneous concert took place in the evening in the same building, the principal performers at cach being Mdlle. Titiens, Mine, Sherrington, Miss Palmer, Mr. Sims Reeves, Mr. Santley, and Mr. Charles Hallé, the conductor. The roof of this temporary structure renders it ill-adapted for the conveyance of sound.

The next day the same artistes performed "The Messiah," at noon, to a large audience. Thousands of young hearts awoke on Friday to the consciousness of a day made, as it were, for them, For, after the rain, with never a stain, The pavilion of Heaven was bare.

It was the children's day. A procession of the Sunday Schools to Avenham Park, and a massed meeting there at two o'clock, were announced in the Guild programme. The Sunday School is a great institution at Preston. In the capacity of teachers or scholar, it includes a third of the population. Early in the morning, therefore, the town was astic with preparations. The children were marshalled in their various schools, Guild medals strung with blue ribbon were thrown round their necks, banners were distributed, the bands struck up, and off they went, two and two, to join the main procession, which moved through Fishergate.

Avenham Park, where they finally formed, is finely situated for such an occasion. A large semicircular field rises from the River Ribble; a fringe of trees, interspersed with pretty villas, crowns the summit. On the lowest level of this horseshoe a platform was raised, around which were stationed the various brass bands which had taken part in the procession. The children entered from three points, and radiated, like the spokes of a wheel, from this centre to a defined circumference. The schools of the Established Church, 11,000 strong; of the Nonconformists, 8000; and of the Roman Catholics, 7000 strong, occupied various segments of this circle, and were distinguished by their banners which floated on the rustling breeze. From the outer lines of the children arose the spectators, tier above tier, filling the entire space around.

Every available standpoint was occupied. The railway-bridge which spans the Ribble was crowded. Truckloads of people were brought from the station to command the view, and passenger-trains as they came and went discharged their danger-signals to honour the occasion. The day continued unexceptionably beautiful. It was a day peculiar to our climate.

Now and then we have such a one after rain. A thin haze enveloped the landscape, and lent a deep blue to the distant line of hills, a sweet mistiness to the middle distance, a fresh and tender loveliness to the foreground of the picture. All Nature was bathed in beauty. Soft fleecy clouds veiled the darting rays of the sun, and cast. Witching shadows over the landscape. It was not until five o'clock that the juvenile congregation was complete, but when it was the band conductor, Mr. Norwood, gave the signal, and the joyous burst of young voices swelled upon the air in regular cadence

Hurrah, hurrah, for England,

Her woods and valleys green!

Hurrah for good old England!

Hurrah for England's Queen!

Mendelssohn's grand march, "La Tête de Bronze," ensued, followed by a salute of twenty-one guns from a battery erected on the river's bank. Then arose with majestic harmony the National Anthem.

The Justiness with which the verse was sung commencing, "O Lord our God arise," by two sections of the circle, and the comparative silence with which it was received by the third, was rather observable. Enthusiasm arose above fatigue, and fairly carried the children and spectators away as the noble song rolled up the ascent. The platform in the centre was occupied by the Guild Mayor, who was warmly received, Mr. Councillor Myres, director for the occasion; the Rev. J. O. Parr, Vicar; and other gentlemen. It was half-past five before the banners began to wave on the return route. During the evening we undertook to visit several of the schools, and found these buildings for the nonce turned into large dining establishments, where the happy-looking children were reviving their jaded spirits with large supplies of roast beef and plum-pudding.

At night a grand display of fireworks was made, and Preston, for a second time in one day, massed in Avenham Park to witness the sight, which ended by a pyrotechnic announcement of the great fact of the Guild, "R. T. Parker, Mayor."

The costume ball, for which great preparations had been made for months past, commenced the same evening at ten o'clock. The fairy apartment in which it occurred we have already described. The reader has only to imagine it brilliantly lighted, white cloth stretched over

the dancing area, and that area itself covered with a flood of such rich dyes As makes earth near as heavenly as heaven, and the scene is before him in its initial impression. When to the witching effect of colour he allows the effect of form, of bright, beaming human eyes, to have their way, the attractiveness of the scene becomes heightened. It was a splendid sight. Some 800 ladies and gentlemen, attired in the most brilliant and fantastic costumes, filled the hall and mingled in the mazy dance.

Costumes were adopted from every country and every age. The heathen mythology had been ransacked for appropriate characters. The wardrobes of the beaux and belles of Greece, Italy, and Spain; of Switzerland, Hungary, and Russia; of Turkey, China, India, and Western North America, had contributed to lend variety to the scene, while the dresses of the Tudor times, and those of the Charleses were everywhere to be seen. Four columns are occupied by one of the local papers in indicating only the names and characters of those who were present. All that money and taste could do to render the ball successful was done. The nobility and gentry of the county, of course, lent their countenance to it. Its arrangements were very perfect, and reflect the highest credit upon the gentlemen managers. This, in fact, closed the gay and memorable proceedings of the Guild Merchant of 1862, although there was, on the following night, a numerously-attended juvenile ball at the same place.

The Guild Book is now again closed, and will remain closed for twenty years. May the festivities of 1882 engage the hearts of a happier and better-conditioned people! A period of distress is not the worst thing that can befall a country. The demand for active sympathy betters those who yield to it; while a check in the temporal prosperity of those who are apt to become reckless and improvident is not without its salutary lesson.



Personally, I am curious do discover who the 'Special Correspondent' actually was. 

   

The Illustrated London News Volume XLI (41) - July to December 1862
The Illustrated London News Volume XLI (41) - July to December 1862


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