Hove Edge old folks in for a treat

Hove Edge Old Folks Tea - early 1950s
Hove Edge Old Folks Tea - early 1950s

A highlight of the Hove Edge calendar was the annual Hove Edge Old Folks’ Treat, an event which began almost 130 years ago.

This event was started in 1885 by four local gentlemen after holding a meeting in the Old Pond Inn to start what was to become an annual gathering when the elderly residents of the village could get together for tea.

Ladies were all dressed in their finery to serve an array of cooked meats. There was a strict order at the annual teas with the more mature helpers dressed in even finer finery would look on at the end of the tables guarding the tea urns as if they owned them. There was an almost unwritten rule of apprenticeship doing a few teas before you were allowed to stand at the end of tables.

Teas came and teas went all run like a well oiled wheel - no hitches or problems that was until 1937.

The first of the committee meetings to discuss the fiftieth anniversary was held on Monday, March 2, 1936 at the Zion Chapel Schoolroom when the elected twelve members attended with Harry Hirst in the chair.

The Hove Edge Ward boundary area was spilt up into seven areas with a member of the committee representing each area.

It was decided that the anniversary tea should be held on May 5, 1937 and seeing as this was a special occasion the maximum to be spent on extras was set at £25 and each guest be given a half pound of tea from the Brighouse Co-op, two ounces of St Bruno Flake tobacco and a one pound tin of Turnwrights toffees as they had received in past years.

The meeting set a limit of 200 people to be catered for. Local dignitaries were invited along with the Mayor and Mayoress Councillor and Mrs James Wood JP.

The final meeting before the event allocated everyone their job - particularly the ladies.

The evening entertainment was provided by the Novelties Concert Party of Pudsey. To commemorate the oldest male and female attending and the oldest married couple attending would be given five shillings.

One month later a special meeting was called to discuss the gifts for those guests attending but a point of order was called regarding something considered quite serious at the time. Was it misappropriation of funds? No. Was it theft? No. Was there some suggestion of impropriety or scandal? No.

So what was all the trouble about - a member of the committee who will remain nameless not only ordered but purchased a birthday cake without bringing the proposal to the committee first. The initial reaction was quite strong to say the least with a proposal that was seconded that the un-named gentleman should pay for the cake out of his own money. An amendment put forward that the committee pay for the cake through the ‘Treat’ funds was proposed and approved. The 50th anniversary Treat was finally attended by 185 residents. Mr and Mrs Knobbs, an 85-year-old Mrs Harrison and 87-year-old Mr H.Wistow each won the their five shillings.

This photograph from the 1950s shows the arrival of some of the guests. Sadly through dwindling numbers of people coming forward to join the committee, the last Hove Edge Old Folks’ Treat was held on May 4, 1993.