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Ormskirk Gala

Ormskirk Gala

Gala Day in Ormskirk 1904

Gala Day in Ormskirk 1904

Ormskirk Gala Day was held during August each year for many years. The organising committee made advance preparations throughout the summer months with several committees set up to ensure the smooth running of this very popular event.

Mr J.J. Balmforth, the ironmonger of Aughton Street, presided  over the General committee, an Entertainment Committee  made sure that a circus was booked and all necessary plane were put in place to accommodate  the whole Circus in the Gala Parade and provide the venue on the Victoria Pleasure Grounds.

The Procession and Turnouts Committee set  about organising the order of the parade to include Tradesman’s and Farmer’s Turnouts, that is, a wagon or cart pulled by a team of Heavy or Working Horses, with the wagons and carts decorated to various themes.  These were judged in a series of classes and an entry fee of between 1s and £1 with monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places of between £1 and £5 depending on the class.

Sgt Major James Ikin Nunnerley

Sgt Major James Ikin Nunnerley

Entries were limited to Master Tradesmen living within a 1 mile radius of the Market Cross and all other entries could be from within a 6 mile radius of the Market Cross.  This was to allow entries from tenants from surrounding farms to enter their own turnouts or decorate a cart for the Tableau procession.

Apart from the monetary prizes, special prizes were to be awarded by the following committee members and town businesses:  Mr J.J.  Balmforth, a pair of carvers valued at 21s for the winner of the Tradesman’s Master Class  for Heavy Horse Turnouts;  Mr James Arnold Williams, provision dealer of 31 Burscough Street promised a prize valued at 21s for the winner of the Single Heavy Horse Turnout;  William Gilbert, Draper, of 10 Moor Street also promised a 21s prize to the winner of the most humorous float or tableau.

There was also a fancy dress on a quadruped category for both adults and children and a bicycle fancy dress parade with a baby show held in the Corn Exchange.

This would have been an amazing parade with the whole town and all business premises along the main streets being elaborately decorated for the event.

Thomas Hough, winner of the children's fancy dress competition, with Sgt Major Nunnerley's medals

Thomas Hough, winner of the children’s fancy dress competition, with Sgt Major Nunnerley’s medals

The winner of the children’s fancy dress on a quadruped was a young man named Thomas Hough (1895 – 1985) who is shown in the picture dressed as Charge of The Light Brigade survivor Sgt Major James Ikin Nunnerley, who had a Gents outfitters shop at 27 Moor Street. The photo is taken at the rear of the Queens Head Hotel, Moor Street on the day of the Gala. Thomas is wearing a miniature uniform of the 17th Lancers.  Thomas is also wearing Nunnerley’s medals.  The photos belong to Thomas Hough’s son-in-law Bob Hanley.


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