The Folly Flâneuse visited the old church by the river at Bishopthorpe recently and found a new item for her blog. What is this about? Well, the blog is described as “Rambles to, and ramblings about, follies and landscape buildings.” Click on this link to find out:
It was a grand day, the whole village turned out – they were in a mood to party. Bunting and flags were spread across Bishopthorpe’s Main Street, trestle tables were piled high with food, and a place was found for Mrs. Walter Paver’s special “Peace” cake which reached three tiers high. Children and adults dressed in a colourful array of fancy dress costumes portraying Charlie Chaplin, Irish colleens, admirals, nurses and soldiers. This last was a reminder that the war remained fresh in the mind for many.
Hostilities in the terrible 1914-1918 war had ceased at the Armistice on 11 November 1918 but, officially, the war did not end until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in June the following year. To mark the end of the war the government decided that Peace should be celebrated nationally with a public holiday on 19th July 1919. On that day thousands of people gathered in London and watched 15,000 allied troops take part in a victory parade.
London was not the only city to rejoice. In York a water carnival was organised with events taking place throughout the day. The press reported that “animated scenes were witnessed on the river”. Animated indeed as hundreds watched displays and swimming contests taking place between Lendal and Scarborough Bridges. This was followed by a water polo match and great excitement was caused by high diving performances from a parapet on Lendal Bridge. The Minster bells pealed for an hour at noon and again in the evening; shops, businesses and the Mansion House were gaily decorated, flowers were used in abundance. Parades marched through the streets and bands played on the Knavesmire and river-side walks.
A peace festival for York children was postponed until the summer holiday in August. Likewise, many villages and towns held their own peace celebrations during that month. Bishopthorpe schoolchildren were granted an extra week’s holiday and therefore the village’s own peace celebration was held on Tuesday, 19th August. The children enjoyed their tea sitting at tables set on the highway outside The Ebor Inn. Each child was presented with a specially decorated Peace mug, a bag of sweets and nuts and a slice of Mrs. Paver’s cake.
This was not only a jamboree for the children. At six o’ clock about 200 adults sat down to a “sumptuous repast”. As well as the fancy dress competition, numerous races were held including “Cockerel” races for married men, married women and children. Later in the evening Rex Johnson, who had won the slow bicycle race, revived in time to play piano for the dancing. The party concluded with a good display of fireworks.
To mark the centenary of this unique episode in Bishopthorpe’s story, a small collection of photographs will be displayed at Bishopthorpe Library throughout July and August.
Please call in and see how the villagers celebrated their well-deserved Peace.
Bishopthorpe Community Archive
The Yorkshire Post: Mon. 21 July 1919, p10
Yorkshire Gazette: Sat, 23 August 1919
Archbishop of York’s School Log Book 3: 24 July 1919
Bishopthorpe Community Orchard and Heritage project
This is a Heritage Lottery funded project which aims to highlight Bishopthorpe’s orchard heritage and create a new community orchard for the village. The project runs from 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019 and the grant award is £8,900. The project is being run by volunteers on behalf of the Parish Council.
The community orchard site, on the edge of Ferry Lane playing field, has now changed beyond recognition!
It has been fenced and carefully prepared with the help of many keen volunteers and with guidance from Jonathon Short of Ainsty Landscapes, and has been sown with a mix of native perennial wildflowers and grass seed. It is very difficult to create a wildflower meadow, as wildflowers quickly get overtaken by grasses on fertile soils. But we are hoping a few wildflowers will grow: species like knapweed, ox eye daisy, yarrow, common cat’s ear, self-heal, red clover and vetch, which are a bit more robust. Yellow rattle will also help keep the grasses in check. In the first year we are not expecting any to flower, as the site will need to be cut regularly to keep on top of the flush of weeds – in particular Himalayan balsam which is abundant on this site. Himalayan balsam is actually not too difficult to get rid of as it is an annual species and seeds only survive for about 3 years in the soil. Last year it was hand pulled before it seeded, so only 2 years to go!
The orchard is big enough to fit in about 16 ‘half standard’ fruit trees, which will eventually grow to a height of about 4 metres. The Heritage Lottery grant requires 10 trees to be planted by the end of October, when the project ends. This is not great timing for planting fruit trees which are supplied as ‘bare root’. However, we have found a way round it by buying 1-year old trees this winter from Roger’s Nursery in Pickering and potting them up. They will be looked after by Brunswick Organic Nursery over the summer.
There has been a lot of interest in the varieties of old fruit trees found in the village, and we are keen for the new trees to reflect that (as well as be tasty to eat!). The varieties we have bought are:
Belle de Boskoop
This leaves scope for about 6 more, which may well include some plums. This time next year the first blossom should be showing!