The annual procession and sports day


In 1910 there started an annual procession that marched from Maypole Estate to 'GLYNs Field' or, as it later became known, 'CAMERONs Field', Broomhills. The event was held during the summer school holidays and was exclusively for the benefit of the local children. It was a time of festival and fun for everyone living on the estate and a chance for them to get together. Each year a 'Committee' was elected to organise and run the event. This event finally melted away in the 1960s.

Below is 'Glyns Field' / 'Camerons Field' / 'Broomhills Field' where the sports days took place

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

The occasion was pre-empted by much excitement and preparation by both children and adults alike. Costumes were made for the 'Masquerade and Fancy Dress'. Games had to be organised and devised for the 'Sports' that were to follow the procession. Food and drink had to be prepared for consumption in 'Broomhills Hall'. Great care was taken to ensure that children of all ages, sex and ability could take part - from the 100 yards, to the 'egg and spoon' and 'three legged' races. There were even 'tug o war' contests held separately for both boys and girls. Prizes were awarded in every category and the 'Committee' made sure that all children - even absent ones - received a prize of some sort.

There were speeches and live music was performed on a gaily decorated stage. The research and subsequent labour of love into the history of the Maypole Estate was fired originally upon seeing two sepia coloured photographs, supplied by the late Winnie BLACKMAN. They depicted a procession of children and adults in all manner of costume marching along the Old Bexley Lane c1919.

Miss BLACKMAN was unable to give me any details as to the year of the photographs or the names of any of the faces thereon. On countless occasions since first seeing them, I have imagined those little children and their proud parents marching up the lane. Driving along the same stretch of road now, 80 years or so on, it is difficult for me not to see them, still. Faintly laughing and softly transparent, they march in slow time and forever young.

It was 8
years since originally seeing those photographs that I had the pleasure of speaking to another elderly ex resident - Mrs Ruth Entwhistle nee LENNOX (Sister of the late Gordon Lennox). During her recollections she pulled out a copy of a newspaper cutting dated 31st July 1914. The cutting is reproduced below. Upon closer examination the description began to strike a chord. I took the cutting home and closely inspected the photographs supplied by Winnie. It was with hope and later great exuberance that I realised the event described in the cutting was undoubtedly the same event that had been captured on film all those years ago.

I could now date the photographs - and put names to some of the faces that had been frozen in time. The newspaper cutting brings to life the mood and feeling of the event. It faithfully reproduces an account of the day.

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Photograph above taken on Saturday 25th July 1914
and below samelocation in 1997

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

and now, below, 100 years later . . . .

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below c 2008

Procession Location c2008
Newspaper cutting July 31st 1914
"A lady in male attire representing the Town Crier went round the Maypole Estate at midday . . . . . . . . . proclaiming 'the day of (days?)' to the residents who had been looking forward with great interest to what has now become an annual institution. With a powerful bell and a loud voice she warned all and sundry of the penalties that they would incur 'by order' unless they turned up alive and ready to share in the merriment. It was the fourth anniversary of the masquerade and sports and proved a great success, thanks to the active spirits who made the arrangements. Everybody concerned entered with zest into the fun and frolic, the children enjoying themselves, of course, most of all. Mr and Mrs J SAUNDERS . . . . . . as chairman of the committee . . . . . . . . . . . secretary and Mrs C Parker, treasurer. The committee, divided into two sections, had charge of the sports and superintended the tea which was provided by Dartford Co-operative Society in the Hall of 'Broomhills' by kind permission of Mr Lewis E GLYNN, a field being reserved for the gala. Members of the general committee were Messrs, Lockyer, McDonald, G Rose, Tucker, Waterman, F Piper, Parker, Saunders, Speck, Lucas, Oakley, Lynn, Dearsley, Wellspring, Burt, Row, F Parker, Spittles, Fielder, Taylor, and Loveland. Mr F Piper was chairman of the sports committee, Messrs. Piper and Tucker the handicappers, and their assistants Messrs. Rose, Lucas, Oakley and Taylor.
The Fancy Parade
Mrs Gray as "Town Crier" preceded the parade, which introduced singularly grotesque as well as artistic contrivances in fancy dress. No fewer than thirty-one prizes were given of the value of £12, the Misses Glynn judging . . . . . . . The successful competitors were:-
Fancy dress, home made --- 1, Girlie Baxter, Irish Colleen; 2, Norah Thomson, powder puff; 3 Elsie Partridge, flower girl; Nellie Springall, calceolarias; D. Sharman, Marjorie Jibb, Kitty Rowe, Nellie Partridge, and Mabel Welch.
Advertisements --- 1, Nellie Warr, Reckitt's Blue; Ivy James, Cadburys Chocolate; 4 Jack Room, cherry blossom; 6, Polly Skevington, Neaves Food; Dolly Colgate, Winnie Elliman, and T Elliman
Comic dresses --- 1, Frank Piper, Mephistopheles; 2, Colegate and Bush, prehistoric men; 3, Freddie Piper, soldier; 4, Mary Rowe, bricklayers labourer; 5, Harold James, John Bull; 6, Arthur Springate, pierrott; 7, Bobby Waterman, organ grinder; 8, Sidney Burke, red, white and blue.
Cycles --- 1, Ronnie Wellspring; 2, Norah Clark, rickshaw; 3, Lily Burke, decorated perambulator; 4, Willie Saunders, Sunlight Soap; 5, D Winchcombe, perambulator; 6, Ivy Gray, jockey on donkey.
Among others Mr W. J. Gray as a Scotsman in kilts, was prominent.Miss F Phil. . . . . Mr. F. Dearsley as the Mad Hatter; Mrs Burke, a nurse with perambulator; Miss Cataline Gray, Zebra grate polish; Mrs Russell, Bryant and Mays matches; Mr Spittles, horse and jockey; Elsie Burke, patchwork; Phyllis Elliman, Maypole Tea; . . . . Elliman, soap; Miss Elliman, monk; . . . . . . . . . . . . .Clark in an elaborate cycle device representing harvest; Geo Lennox, canary; Ilma ? Room, fairy; Kitty and May Room, bride and bridegroom; Lillie Partridge, Father Christmas; B. Waterman, organ grinder; Queenie Baxter, Irish Girl; and Miss Jibb representing "black and white" a famous. . .s Whisky. It should be borne in mind that . . . .(ald?) made a rollicking clown and kept the youngsters in constant amusement.
The Sports
Swings, Maypole dances, and a variety of sports were the attractions in the field, and music was supplied by a miniature orchestra consisting of a piano and violins on a gaily painted stage under the direction of Mr Lennox. The committee made a point of giving a prize to every child, including absentees from illness or any other cause. Mrs Glynn distributed the prizes, and, in response. . . . . . . . . . Mr. Glynn expressed his pleasure that they were all friends and neighbours in his grounds on that happy occasion, the success was entirely due to their energetic committee. He hoped to see them all again another year. The committee express their thanks to the donors of prizes. The winners at the sports were as follow:-
Marathon race - - 1, F Dearsley; 2, Fielder; 3 Lynn.
440 yards boys,-- 1, C. Rose; 2, R Baxter; 3, Jibb; 4 W Oakley; 5, W Proudfoot; 6, R Fielders; 7, W Saunders.
100 yards girls, 1, Connie George; 2, E Sherman; 3, N Warr; 4, N. Partridge.
80 yards boys, 1, A. Elliman; 2, Stan George; 3, G. Colegate; 4. P. Skevington.
80 yards girls, 1, Winnie Speck; 2, Mabel Welsh; 3, Alice Blackman; 4, Ruby wellspring
70 yards boys, 1, A Taylor; 2, L. Marsh; 3, F. Piper; 4, L. Partridge.
70 yards girls, 1, . . . . . . . 2, Ivy James; 3, Alice Wood; 4, Mabel Burt.
High jump, 1, C. Jibb; 2, W. Proudfoot; 3, C. Rose; 4, C. Burt
Balloon race, 1, Nellie Warr; 2, Elsie Marsh; 3, Marjorie Jibb; 4, Elsie Barber.
45 yards boys, 1, Tommy Warr; 2, W. Taylor; 3, A Lockyer; 4, H James.
45 yards girls, 1, J. Mason; 2, E. Smith; 3, N. Sprighall; 4, N. Wood
25 yards boys, 1, P Ivy; 2, S. Burt; 3, L. Colegate; 4, J. Hogan.
25 yards girls, 1, C. Elliman; 2, N. Thompson; 3, Jessie Taylor; 4, D. Barber.
Three legged race, 1. Cliff. Rose and Clem. Burt;2, F. Hogan and P. Skevington; 3, C. Jibb and Rex Baxter.
Egg and spoon, 1, B. Taylor; 2, Elsie Sherman; 3, Nellie Partridge; 4, D. Henn.
Potato race, 1, Sydney George; 2, H. Lennox; 3, .Stanley George; 4, Frank Piper.
Skipping race, 1, Winnie Speck; 2, Mabel Welsh; 3, C. McKean; 4, Alice Blackman.
Sack Race, 1, C. Jibb; 2, W. Bush; 3, Stanley George; 4, Rex Baxter.
Needle and thread, 1, Connie George; 2, Elsie Sherman; 3, Ethel Colegate; 4, Winnie Speck.
Boat race, 1, D. Taylor; 2, C. Parker; 3, J. Proudfoot; 4, H. Proudfoot; 5, E. Dolton; 6, W. Sherman; 7, Fred Piper; 8, P. Lynn and C. Ivy (tie).
Obstacle race, 1, H. McKean; 2, F. Smith; 3, G. Speck; 4, F. Cutler.
. . . . . (Cardea's Special ?) 100yards, girls over 14 -- 1, Olive Jibb; 2, O. Baxter; 3, F. Hambling.
Tug of war -- Boys, T.Dolton, C. Dolton, C. Burt, S. Parker, R. English, J. Lynn, J. Mandy, G. Lennox, R. Woods, T. Ford, C Chantry, H. Ringrose, J. McDonald.
Tug of war --Girls, E. Sandford, W. Elliman, E. Burt, D. Burt, L. Burt, E. Longley, J. Webb, A. Woods, M. Clark, V. James, A. Dolton, Mary Parker, J. Wickins, Q. Wickins, B. Ford, V. Mason, A. Sherring, M. Wood, G. Winchcombe, F. Winchcombe, M.Row, W. Blackman, E. Stevens, H. Shaw, K. Russell, E. Chantry, M. Parker, A. Ford.
Maypole Dancers -- May Parker, Nellie Warr, Elsie Barber, Alice Blackman, Connie George, Elsie March, Emma Sandford, Nellie Partridge, Florrie Baxter, Marjorie Jibb, Rosie Bush, Minnie Colgate, Gladys Ivy, Elsie Partridge

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Maypole dancers - possibly from same year (1918) photo above

Random photographs - passtimes / activities - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath
Fancy Dress competition 1935 Broomhills - Gordon Lennox in the boat.
Courtesy of the late Gordon Lennox

and below - same location / trees 53 years later.

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below - procession Baldwyns Road 1950s. Mr Cruickshank far left and Mrs Potter (nurses uniform), Courtesy of Penny Smith

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below - as it is 50 years on

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Below - as it was c1910 - courtesy of Brian Poprter


The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Same procession as above but outside the cafe - note the conscripted soldier in uniform
Photograph courtesy of Penny Smith

Below as it is now . . . . 50 years on

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Sportsday Broomhills 1950s - Gordon Lennox high jump ? 'Buster' - tall man, Wendy Saunders to the left of him. 'Dickie' Balcombe (possibly Johnny Seymour ?) to the left of Wendy (hands in pockets) ?

Photo courtesy of Wendy Saunders

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Three legged race sportsday Broomhills 1950s
Photo courtesy of Wendy Saunders

and below as it looks in 2010

The annual procession and sports day - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Cross Country run c 1955 . . . . .

Random photographs - passtimes / activities - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

Cross country Broomhills c1955 ?. Believe man standing is 'Buster' from Denton Terrace. Can you identify any others ?

and below as it looks in 2008 . . . . .

Random photographs - pastimes / activities - History of Maypole, Dartford Heath

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