After yesterdays post about the Robinson family, and the fact it was they that built the town hall it felt right to carry the theme on with these great pictures provided by Dave Williams.
The Town Hall was erected in 1883-4 at a cost of £10,000. The foundation stone was laid by Mr Thomas. Ashton, the first mayor, and the building was opened by the second mayor, Mr. Edward Hibbert. The Town Hall Clock and Bells were generously presented by Mr. Joshua Bradley, a retired spinner, who for some years occupied a seat on the Council.
One of the earliest events to which "The Mayor, Aldermen, and Burgesses of the Borough of Hyde " lent the dignity of their presence " in state " was the-
LAYING OF THE FOUNDATION STONE OF THE TOWN HALL
This important function took place on Saturday, June 30th, 1883, when, in the presence of a large and enthusiastic assembly and in beautiful weather, Mr. Thomas Ashton (then Mayor), discharged the principal duties of the ceremony. The event was hailed as a red-letter incident in the affairs of Hyde, and the actual laying of the stone was preceded by a procession in which bands of music, the various friendly societies, the Sunday schools, the members of the Corporation, and other representative bodies took part. Practically all Hyde turned out to assist in the demonstration and the town presented a lively appearance. The streets were thronged with people, every business place displayed flags and bannerets, and the front of the platform where the main event of the day was enacted, was lavishly decorated with over 500 flags and streamers of every conceivable hue. The various public bodies taking part in the procession, amounting altogether to some 3,000 people, assembled in Crook's Square, off" Union Street, at 3 o'clock. The procession was led by the Borough Band and the Hyde Corps of the 4th Cheshire Rifle Volunteers. The Mayor, who wore his gold chain and badge, brought up the rear. At the principal scene of operations the Mayor was presented, by Mr. Alderman John Thornely on behalf of the Town Council, with a handsome silver trowel, with which his Worship proceeded to lay the memorial stone. Before finally adjusting the stone the Mayor placed in the cavity underneath it, a tin box containing a copy of the Charter, an abstract of the accounts for the previous year, a list of the Councillors and officers of the borough, copies of the local newspapers, and a few of the current coins of the realm. The conclusion of the ceremony was marked by the firing of cannon at the back of the platform and the playing of the Hallelujah Chorus by the united bands.
In due course the laying of the foundation stone was followed by the formal
OPENING OF THE TOWN HALL.
This ceremony was described by the newspapers as " the most gorgeous pageant that the town had ever witnessed. Not even the oldest inhabitant could call to mind a ceremony of such magnitude, calling together in one mass so vast a concourse of people."
The new municipal buildings were formally opened for the transaction of public business on Saturday, June 27th, 1885. For some weeks previous to the opening, the Town Council had been making preparations for a demonstration upon a scale worthy of so important an event. The efforts put forth resulted in a procession which more than trebled anything of its kind before in point of numbers. It was comprised of the following :
Fourth Cheshire Rifle Volunteers 100
Hyde and Ashton Fire Brigades 20
Primitive Methodists, Hyde 420
New Connexion School, Hyde 320
Grand United Order of Oddfellows 350
St. George's Church Sunday School 775
St. Thomas' Church Sunday School, and St. Andrew's 738
Hyde Independent Sick and Funeral Society 100
Zion Congregational Sunday School 440
Flowery Field Sunday School 290
Independent Order of Oddfellows 350
Baptist Sunday School 120
Rosemount Sunday School 340
Union Street Sunday School 431
Ancient Order of Foresters 454
Hyde Chapel Sunday School 230
Wesleyan (Newton) Sunday School 218
National and United Free Gardeners 672
St. Mary's and St. Stephen's 400
St. Paul's, Roman Catholic 400
Wesleyan (Hyde) Sunday School 274
Methodist Free Church Sunday School 207
Loyal Order of Ancient Shepherds 399
Newton New Connexion 127
Trades Council, Freemasons, Gentlemen of the Borough, Town Council and Officers 200
There were, however, considerable additions to these numbers and as eight bands also took part in the march, it was computed that at least 10,000 persons joined in the popular demonstration. A sum of £250 was subscribed to meet the expenses, and out of this sum the Corporation were enabled to present each child with 6d. towards a treat in commemoration of the event, whilst 6,000 medals were struck, containing on one side an admirable representation of the Town Hall, and on the reverse, this inscription, "In commemoration of the opening of the Hyde Town Hall by the Mayor, Edward Hibbert, Esq., June 27th, 1885." Prizes were offered by the Weavers' Association for the " handsomest print dresses worn in the procession," and various other inducements to contribute to the successful issue of the proceedings were held out.
The decorations were on a most elaborate and extensive scale. Venetian masts, flags and streamers without number, made the reserved square in front of the building gay with colour and the tradesmen and others throughout the town decorated the streets with bunting, floral designs, and mottoes. At least 20,000 people from the surrounding towns and villages pouredinto Hyde to witness to opening ceremony.
The processionists met in Crook's Square, whence they marched through the borough in the order above given. The Sunday Schools were headed by their banners, and the various members of the secret orders were resplendent in their regalia, whilst some of the orders were further represented by "tableaux" of an attractive kind. The Foresters were headed by members in costume as " Robin Hood " and " Little John," with various attendants in Lincoln green, bearing the old style " English bow of yew." The Shepherds, too, were represented by emblems of
In the rear of the procession marched the Corporation, represented on this occasion by the following Councillors and Aldermen in their respective places :—
J. Broadbent. E. Hollingworth. H. Booth.
J. Alcock. J. Hall. W. Chatterton.
T. Shepley. G. Brownson. A. Haughton.
J. Higginbotham . E. Shaw, F. Drinkwater.
W. Hibbert. R. Hibbert. H. Barlow.
J. Mycock. J. Higginbotham. J. Oldham.
Aldermen Cheetham, T. Thornely, J. Thornely, C. Swindells.
The route, which was most lengthy, extended from Crook's Square, down Foundry Street, Market Place, Market Street, Newton Street, Flowery Field, Bennett Street, to Cheshire Cheese, Ashton Road, Commercial Brow, Commercial Street, up Cheapside, Lumn Street, Back Lane, to Clarke's Arms, Hyde Lane, to Town Hall. It was found that the procession itself was of such magnitude that the last files were only just leaving the front of the Town Hall, when the head of the procession had arrived at the foot of Commercial Brow.
At the conclusion of the walk the whole body of processionists and sightseers were massed in front of the Town Hall. Here a handsome presentation key was handed to the Mayor by Mr. Thomas Ashton. The key contained the following inscription :—" This key was presented to Edward Hibbert, Esq., Mayor, at the opening of the Hyde Town Hall, June 27th, 1885."
The Mayor, having unlocked the door, entered the building, and in a few moments re-appeared upon the balcony in front, from which he addressed the crowd. After several speeches had been delivered the great concourse of people united in singing the " Old Hundredth," with which the day's proceedings (as far as the general public were concerned) terminated. A luncheon was given by the Mayor, in the Town Hall, during the evening, at which most of the local notabilities were present.
The rejoicings and excitement, however, did not die down until a late hour, and the streets continued to be thronged with people. Ballad mongers, with specially composed and printed ballads, did a roaring trade, singing their wares to the accompaniment of the banjo and other minstrel instruments. The chorus of one of these ballads ran thus, and was not altogether an inappropriate description of the occasion :
Flags and banners gaily fly
Shout, boys, hurrah !
Young and old for miles around
They're here today.
To join the grand procession,
And in the ranks to fall,
To march away to the opening
Of the Hyde Town Hall.
Many thank to Dave for all the time and effort in getting these pictures over the last year. The texts is from Thomas Middletons Annals Of Hyde...
I hope you don't mind the size of this post, but I really thought the pictures deserved to be kept together.. if you look at the detailing on some of the brickwork and stonework it is now showing signs of wear. I hope the powers that be are aware of this.