I was delighted to get my book 'Carnivals, Contests and Cornations' out and available this week at long last. It was tempting to think, "well, that's that one done, onto the next project". No chance!
This morning I received the weekly 'Find My Past Friday' digest of new records released over the last seven days. A quick look at the British Newspaper Archive revealed that a lengthy series, covering most years of the Chester Chronicle between 1901 and 1977, had been released.
A quick search revealed, in a report of Chester Autumn Sports and Carnival 1930, quite a bit of detail about the colours of the costumes worn by most of the Altrincham troupes and a few others that year These details were something I had not had a great deal of success in locating during research for the book. The law of coincidence is at work again.
Another useful piece of information, that is not in the book, concerning the relationship between two of the Altrincham troupes was included in the report. It revealed that the Linotype troupe (featured on the front page of the book and started in 1930) was partly composed of Bensonians from the team which thad competed and won first prize at the same event in 1929. This left the Bensonian troupe having to field a young team and miss out on the prizes in 1930. I had for some time suspected that some of the Linotype dancers were also in the Bensonian troupe as there appeared to be similarities in personnel, and it is good to find that verified.
The text of the report is:
‘The first of the grand display of Morris dance troupes was Mobberley, whose members were in blue and white. The Bensonians (Altrincham), last year’s winners in their competition, were a youthful set of Morris dancers in white, orange and purple. So good were the Morris dancers this year that the Bensonians were unplaced. Linotype (Altrincham) Morris Dancers are a new group partly composed of Bensonians of last year. Linotype, who were in light blue, gained second prize. Undoubtedly, a striking display of dancing, and colours, with flashing “Shillalah” was that provided by the Stamford Prize Team, Altrincham. With such hearty competition, this troupe did well to gain first prize. The Clifton Morris Dancers, of Northwich, chose yellow and white as their colours. Ashfield (Altrincham) Morris Dancers were a picturesque crowd. Some were in black and white, and others in green.’
Chester Chronicle, 9 Aug 1930, p.4