Two of the most popular and memory-evoking annual events in the calendars of both Kiveton and Wales have been the carnivals and pantomimes. Most of the photos here relate to Wales Chapel, because of the vast photograph collection made available to us by Roy Staniforth, who you can listen to in the Oral History section. There are some photographs of Kiveton and if you have any more please get in contact with us.
Carnivals, Gala Days, Feast Days and Fairs are traditionally understood as an important part of mining communities. This was certainly true for a very long time in Kiveton and Wales, where the carnival was at the centre of the village calendar and took a grand route. At one time, the carnival stretched from Hard Lane in the East, all the way to Wales Bar in the West, down to Waleswood and then all the back to the Reccer. This was a journey of several miles.
As old photographs show, this was a very special event, packed with floats and with thousands of local people lining the streets. It was a ‘sight to behold' as Esme Cartwright remembers. It was also the day when the Carnival Queen would be crowned amongst great pomp and circumstance, a real honour for girls in the village. There were sports on the Reccer, including weird and wonderful teams in fancy dress, one of which can be seen here with the railcars of the Kiveton Park Coal Company in the background. These carnival days raised a significant amount of money for good causes, mainly in the inter-war period for Sheffield Hospitals.
The Carnival continues and it is great testament to local volunteers that it is still going strong, despite the horrific paperwork and administration which is now involved due to the constraints of health and safety legislation and the wealth of paperwork demanded by the licensing authorities. The carnival is much smaller now, a fraction of the size it used to be, but it still remains a focus for the local community, importantly so considering how many carnivals and gala days have now been lost forever, from mining communities across Britain. The History Project was proud to put together a modest float for this year's carnival: Roger Bass pushed naked through the village in a miner's bath on loan to us from the People's History Museum in Manchester, on a trolley on loan to us from Worksop B & Q!
‘The pantomime has become a real institution in Kiveton Park and Wales, an impressive achievement by all the men, women and children who have acted, sung and played throughout the years. The person who deserves most credit for the pantomime is Roy Staniforth - it was Roy who, during the Second World War, wrote and directed the first Wales pantomime at Wales Primary School. It soon flourished and is now too big for local venues! Each Christmas time and often in between, coach loads of Kiveton and Wales audiences go to Sheffield City Centre where Roy and his cast entertain them for hours on end. After many decades of hard work, not just in relation to the pantomime, Roy was presented with his MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace, in recognition for his contributions to this community - a well deserved award indeed.'