Whit Walks in Chesterfield

According to Wikepedia: As the first holiday of the summer, Whitsun was one of the favourite times in the traditional calendar, and Whit Sunday, or the following week, was a time for celebration. This took the form of fêtes, fairs, pageants and parades, with Whitsun ales and Morris dancing in the south of England and Whit walks, Club Days and wakes in the north. A poster advertising the Whitsun festivities at Sunbury, Middlesex in 1778 listed the following attractions:
On Whit Monday, in the morning, will be a punting match...The first boat that comes in to receive a guinea...In the afternoon a gold-laced hat, worth 30s. to be cudgell'd for...On Whit Tuesday, in the morning, a fine Holland smock and ribbons, to be run for by girls and young women. And in the afternoon six pairs of buckskin gloves to be wrestled for.
In Manchester during the 17th century the nearby Kersal Moor Whit races were the great event of the year when large numbers of people turned the area into a giant fairground for several days. With the coming of industrialisation it became convenient to close down whole towns for a week in order to clean and maintain the machinery in the mills and factories. The week of closure, or wakes week, was often held at Whitsuntide. A report in John Harlan and T.T. Wilkinson's Lancashire Folk lore (1882) reads:
It is customary for the cotton mills etc., to close for Whitsuntide week to give the hands a holiday; the men going to the races etc. and the women visiting Manchester on Whit-Saturday, thronging the markets, the Royal Exchange and the Infirmary Esplanade, and other public places: And gazing in at the shop windows, whence this day is usually called 'Gaping Sunday'.

According to Chesterfield Local the first Chesterfield ‘Whit Walk’ took place in 1850. Only four Sunday Schools took part in the original event but it was the foundation for something much bigger.


Whit Walk - Foljambe Road, Chesterfield

Ann Frost's Grandma Agnes Mary Harper (little one closest to the boy - she's in white with a hat in and blonde hair) possibly in Foljambe Road in Chesterfield. Taken about 1908/9.

Thanks to Ann Frost

whitwalk - 1926 - Derbyshire Times

Whitwalk - 1926

Thanks to Derbyshire Times

Whit Walk

Whit Walk - Jessie Sanders walking.

Thanks to Sue Barfoot-Ball

Procession of Witness that was taken circa 194-48

Procession of Witness - 1947-48

Thanks to Derbyshire Times

Whit Walk Sue Barfoot-Ball

Chesterfield Salvation Army Junior Timbral Brigade - 1950

Thanks to Sue Barfoot-Ball

Sunday School children from The Gospel Mission Church in Brampton wait to set off from the Market Place for the procession around town.

Sunday School children from The Gospel Mission Church in Brampton wait to set off from the Market Place for the procession around town. 1950

Thanks to Derbyshire Times