Jubilee Hampstead 1887, a modern perception - HAMPSTEAD HEATH - 2016***

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Jubilee Hampstead 1887, a modern perception


'What marvels are associated with the glorious reign of Victoria the Good!' enthused the Hampstead and Highgate Express, while all over Hampstead posters in bold blue print announced a public meeting in the Vestry Hall, HaverstockHill, on 17 February 1897 'to consider as to the best means of celebrating the completion of the 60th year of the glorious reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria'.  

Indeed, almost every editorial of the 'Ham and High' from January to June mentions the preparations being made.  

'The secret of the sure hold which Her Majesty has on the affection of her subjects lies in the simplicity and pure English habits of her private life and her swift, warm and iympathetic association not only with the joys but especially with the sorrows of the humblest of her people,' stated the 'Ham and High'.

The inhabitants of Hampstead indeed lived sufficiently close to London to be able to go to see their Queen on numerous occasions . 
In addition, Barratt records that she herself visited the village frequently, in her youth, to ride on the Heath and later to bring her children there. 
G. W. Potter remembered her 'coming morning after morning' from Finchley Road to the Heath and then back via Heath Street or Holly Hill to London. 

Two or three  children were generally with her in the carriage. 
The latter was drawn by four horses, but her retinue was of the smallest, an equerry or a single outrider. 

On one occasion, impressed no doubt by the fine air of Hampstead, the Queen even considered Rosslyn House, on the site of Lyndhurst Gardens, as a nursery for her children. 

In the latter part of her reign Victoria used to drive up to Fenton House to visit her ladies-in-waiting, Baroness Gray and Lady Abercrombie , who lived there for a time. 

Hampstead's connection with the Queen was thus fairly close.  

Although some people wanted to build a Jubilee Drill Hall for the Rifle Volunteers, most had already decided before the meeting that they wished to direct all their energies towards raising money for three Hampstead medical institutions: the North London Hospital for Consumption (now the  National Institute for Medical Research), the Hampstead Hospital at Nos. 1 - 3 Parliament Hill (Later the Hampstead General and now the Royal Free), and the Hampstead Nursing Association. 

Ladies tried to use their charms to extract money from households and a dynamic ladies' collecting team organised by Miss Catherine Ray of Danehurst , 32 Willoughby Road, toured Hampstead. 

The 'Ham and High' instiĀ­tuted a sixpence fund 'to enable our poorer neighbours, schoolchildren, domestic servants and others to have a share in contributing to the relief of the sick and suffering in commemoration of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee'. 

The fete was to be held in the grounds of Kenwood Farm, rented from Lord Mansfield by the Express Dairy Company. 
At a cost of 1/- for the opening and 6d for the rest of the time, the grounds could be entered in three places - from Parliament Hill Fields, near the tumulus and near Highgate Ponds, and from near the Viaduct Pond. 
Carriages were to drive along the road across the Heath from opposite Well Walk and thence across the cinder path to the grounds.

Fete accompli!
The opening ceremony took place in a big marquee in the grounds at 2.00 on 21 June and was full of pomp and ceremony, with a great many speeches, votes of thanks being capped by votes of thanks. 

Thus the MP for Hampstead, E. Brodie Hoare, thanked Lady K nutsford for opening the fete and was himself thanked by Mr J. S. Fletcher, JP, LCC, before Viscou nt Knutsford thanked them for their thanks.
Then the celebrated Prima Donna', Madame Amy Sherwin, sang the National Anthem Oater to be joined by the exotic person of Madame Lottie Williams) with the Hampstead Academy Choir and the choirs of the Orphan Working School and the Sailors' Daughters' Home (99 Frognal) joining in the chorus. 
A great many other school choirs took part - the Boy Pipers of the Royal Caledonian Asylum, the girls of the Soldiers' Daughters' Home (Rosslyn Hill), the Fleet Road Board School, and the Heath Street British Schools, while other musical and dramatic entertainments were mounted by enterprising individuals. 

As well as countless renderings of the National Anthem, many other patriotic songs by British composers were popular such as 'Victoria Our Queen', 'The Queen', 'God Bless Her', 'A Song of Jubilee'. 

There were also dramatic performances such as 'Asking Papa'. 

There were three tents in all and two platforms. 

The crowds flocked in, 13,782 over the three days in blazing sunshine. 

Refreshments were on sale and on the platforms either the band of the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteers played or else Carr and Weston 'the comedians of the wheel', gave 'the greatest knock-about cycling act in the world'. 
The North End handbell ringers put in an appearance and the Fleet Road Champion Choir put in several. 

Apart from singing, children performed Swedish dances, dumb-bell exercises and physical drill. 
Music, ranging from the drum, fife, and brass of a Grand Military Tattoo to handbells, was always in the air, mingling with the shouts of men sliding down greasy poles as they tried to reach a leg of mutton perched on the top. 

Steam roundabouts puffed and rifles popped on the shooting ranges. 
There were swings, coconut shies and donkey rides. 
Spectators could glide from 'roll or bowl a ball a penny a pitch ' to the Armada Cantata to Hampstead Clown Cricketers playing a 'capital' match against the Nondescripts . 

Bonfire night, Hampstead's Jubilee beacon was built near the flagstaff at Whitestone Pond on the same site as the 1887 bonfire. 
Wood for it had been gathered from old shops recently pulled down to make way for additions for the Workhouse at New End. 

The spectators sang the National Anthem, accompanied by the band of the 3rd Middlesex Rifle Volunteers in the bandstand and the Hampstead Orpheus Band. 
Then everyone gave three cheers and a twenty-one-shell salute was fired from a mortar, while coloured rockets were sent up. 

The fire burned all night and all around could be seen the lights of the beacons at Wembley , Harrow Weald, Pinner, Hendon, Brockley Hill, Shooters Hill and even distant Windsor. 

The Boer War began in 1899, the Queen died in 1901.
It was more than the end of a century.

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