Saturday, 13 February 2016

Looking back on Vera’s big carnival day in 1936

LAST weekend saw the staging of carnivals at Ulverston and Walney but we have turned the clock back to 1936 to bring you the story of Barrow’s 1936 carnival queen.

Vera Nicholson, then Wright, of Moor Tarn Lane, Walney, is now 91 but has strongmemories of her special day.

Looking through her album of news cutting, photographs and a thank-you letter from the mayor, she recalled how her home in Keith Street, Barrow, was decorated before she was collected by coach for the parade.

She was chosen as only the town’s second carnival queen at a ball attended by 600 at the Public Hall which used to stand in Cornwallis Street.

The new queen was crowned by the first Barrow carnival queen, Marjorie Poles, at a ceremony held in Barrow’s football grown on a stage decorated as a castle.

She said: “It was exciting. It was quite an event.”

Vera was only 15 and hadn’t started work when she entered the carnival queen contest.

She said: “I had just left school. I wasn’t supposed to enter but I was told to go for it because by the time I would be crowned I would be 16.”

A report of the event from the Evening Mail of 75 years ago noted: “The queen, with her Tudor escort, made one of the most striking pictures of the day – from leaving home in the marvellously decorated Keith Street to the end of the pageant at Holker Street in the evening.”

The queen’s Tudor pageant was produced by Leslie Webb from the light ordnance drawing office at Vickers helped by colleagues from his department and the tracing department.

The Mail noted: “There was much interest displayed in the carnival queen’s state coach, erected by the sheet metal department and joiners in the engineering department at Vickers-Armstrongs.”


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