Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in Belford


Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee portrait

Queen Victoria celebrated the 60 years of her reign on 22 June 1897. In Belford events stretched over 3 full days. St. Mary’s Church Tower was decked out in red, white and blue on Saturday evening, in preparation for a special commemorative service on Sunday, 20 June.

The Church Service

Before the Church Service began, the Northumberland Fusiliers, Belford Volunteer Company, paraded along the High Street to St. Mary’s Church, accompanied by members of the Ancient Order of Oddfellows. The Vicar, the Reverend Charles Robertson, preached ‘an appropriate address’, and the congregation joined in the National Anthem.

Monday, being a day of work, was quieter, but it seems likely that both shopkeepers and home owners used the lull to decorate their premises appropriately with flags.

Jubilee Day

Reverend Charles Robertson

Tuesday was the actual day of the Jubilee. At the Workhouse, the inmates were given a ‘sumptuous dinner’ of  roast beef, plum pudding and beer, hosted by Charles Robertson, assisted by his son, and the Workhouse Medical Officer, Dr. Coldstream with his wife. At the end of the meal, the Vicar proposed a toast to the Queen, and after various other toasts and speeches, the occasion was brought to an end with the National Anthem.

For the children, Jubilee Day was a general school holiday. The Squire, George Dixon Atkinson Clark, provided tea for all the children on his estate and those attending the village schools. The National School children had theirs at their school,  and presumably the Presbyterian children were given theirs at their school. The Jubilee Band played music in the High Street. Once tea was over,  the children and the Band moved to the Crag where sports were held.

Jubilee Day National School Log Book extract

Evening Entertainment

John Robinson, the blacksmith and cycle merchant from the High Street, had organised a great bonfire on the Crag, to be lit as it started to draw dark. Between 9.00 and 10.00 in the evening, the villagers gathered there, and at 10.00, the bonfire was lit, by Mrs. John Wright (formerly Grace Brown from Chatton). Mrs Wright was the wife of the blacksmith, John Wright, whom she had only married 10 days earlier. It was her position as the most recently married lady in the area which led to her being asked to light the bonfire.  There was also a firework display, and dancing on the Crag continued into the early hours of Wednesday.

Belford Crags scene of the celebrations

Other Celebrations

Local celebrations were not confined to Belford, nor were all purely in honour of the Queen. Mrs. Redpath of Easington Demesne laid on a special Jubilee dinner for her friends and employees, followed by a dance; at Outchester Manor, Mrs. R. W. Stobbs arranged for the farmworkers’ children to enjoy tea and games before being sent home with Jubilee mugs, oranges and sweets; and at Bellshill, Miss Arthur presented all the householders with a parcel of tea. Back in Belford, the occasion was used to make a special presentation to the Misses Broomfield, owners of a girls’ boarding school in the Village. They were presented with a purse of gold, and a silver teapot  inscribed: ’Presented to the Misses Broomfield by friends and former pupils as a mark of respect, and in commemoration for the fortieth year in which they have with ability and Christian principle conducted a ladies’ school in Belford’.

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