Right here, Robin Longbottom examines how one group excelled when it got here to offering leisure earlier than cinema, radio and tv
BEFORE the arrival of cinema, radio and tv, if Victorian and Edwardian communities wished leisure they needed to make it themselves – and plenty of did so with nice enthusiasm.
Though one of many smaller villages in South Craven, Steeton excelled when it got here to group teams.
It had an orchestral society, a theatre group and two choirs, considered one of which – the Steeton Male Voice Choir – has thrived by means of to the current day.
Though a venue could possibly be problematical there was a alternative, relying on the manufacturing, of at the least three within the village – the Methodist Chapel in Chapel Lane, the Mechanics Institute on the prime of Elmsley Avenue and the village faculty.
The Steeton Orchestral Society had been based within the late nineteenth century and consisted of an orchestra made-up of native musicians.
Though they had been solely a small society, they had been completed sufficient to draw well-known solo musicians and vocal artistes to accompany their performances.
When the Mechanics Institute was opened, amid a lot pomp and ceremony, on Could 7, 1900, the Steeton Orchestral Society “gave a miscellaneous live performance, at which Miss Maud Sugden, Miss Kay and Mr Tom Youngster appeared as vocalists”.
Miss Sugden, a widely known soprano, had travelled a long way from Thornton, close to Bradford, while Miss Kay – who sang contralto – lived close by in Keighley. Each women had been a lot sought-after soloists for each private and non-private occasions. A few years later Miss Kay recalled that the non-public capabilities of native industrialists usually continued late into the night time and ended with “champagne flowing out of the carriage doorways” as visitors departed.
Mr Youngster, probably the most well-known Yorkshire tenor of the day, had come over from Calverley, close to Leeds.
In Could, 1909, the Steeton Choir travelled to London to carry out at Alexandra Palace. Eighteen-year-old Lena Baldwin, of Elmsley Avenue, Steeton, recorded the occasion on a postcard to her aunt: “Expensive Aunt, I’m spending Could time in London with the choir and we’re going to sing on the Palace.”
Performs had been additionally carried out by each the villagers and by teams from the encircling space.
In about 1910 the women and ladies of the village placed on a efficiency of a preferred play referred to as A Yorkshire Village Wedding ceremony. The characters had been performed by an all-female forged and the dialogue was in Yorkshire dialect.
Dialect performs had been extraordinarily fashionable and in January, 1915, two had been carried out within the corridor at St Stephen’s College.
The primary was referred to as A Rum and Tea Doo through which a bunch of girls collect for a day cup of tea and are supplied “just a little drop from a brown jug”. One after the other all of them succumb, Mrs Clarke being the final to give up, “ah nivver contact it at house fro yr finish to yr finish. Bud if t’others are havin’ a drop, ah’m noan bahn to be t’odd un aht.” Because the afternoon wears on they proceed to tear aside the reputations of the native physician and different village worthies.
T’Kal ‘Oil was the second play and takes place within the cobblers store of previous Sam Sidebotham.
It opens with the arrival of Tom Earby and Dozee Berry and a dialogue about how shoe soles and heels are worn down, significantly these of “T’timbertoed uns that walks like hens”.
While within the first play the ladies had been having tea and rum, in the second the lads had been roasting potatoes on the range and having “pertates an’ ale”.
Though the years following the top of the First World Warfare noticed a decline in musical and theatrical societies the Steeton Male Voice Choir, based in 1908, has continued to be a presence within the village.