Anything she can do
August 1864 the Australian Margaret Douglas attempted to walk 1000 miles in 1000 hours at the Alhambra, Leicester Square. She failed but still managed the impressive feat of 850 miles.
September 1864 Mrs Emma Sharp walked at Quarry Gap, Bradford. She completed 1000 miles in 1000 hours by early November. It was rumoured that Mrs Sharp was £500 the richer through healthy gate receipts. 12,000 cheered her on the final lap.
November 1864 Mrs Elizabeth Lee commenced walking at the Warren House Race Ground on Lindley Moor Road. This sports’ ground – the field opposite the top of old Kew Hill - has long since disappeared. Mrs Lee, aged about 33 years and the mother of seven children, hailed from Bingley. She planned to walk one mile every hour but take rests and eat food (tea, bread, butter, mutton chops, cheese and chicken on the menu) every two or three hours. Thousands turned out to watch Mrs Lee although the reports state that she had no pecuniary advantage. Despite some concerns for her health Mrs Lee persevered. After the task was completed, just before Christmas, Mrs Lee stated that she next would walk 500 miles in 500 hours.
At the same time a Mrs Brooks was attempting to walk the same feat at Honley Race Course. Sadly she did not receive much enthusiasm from the locals. Her endeavours were dismissed as undignified and useless.
Not a Royal Visit
Queen Victoria visited Leeds in September 1858. About 200/300 travelled from Elland Railway Station to Leeds (not returning until 24 hours later) but for the many that stayed home a local celebration was enjoyed. St. Mary’s bells were rung and fired. A cart, heavily decorated with evergreens and well lit up, left Church Street in the evening accompanied by two bands and a large crowd. The procession proceeded to The Cross, up Westgate to the residence of John Hamerton, where the bands played popular tunes, concluding with the National Anthem and three hearty cheers for the Queen. They then proceeded up New Street, down Town Fields Lane, then along Southgate making their way to Castlegate. The bands stopped at the houses of noted residents to play a selection of music. Afterwards crossing over the bridge to Elland Hall, the residence of Mr Carstairs, where that gentleman delivered an address and regaled everyone in the ‘old English manner’. Throughout the evening various parties displayed fireworks and Bengal lights. The firing of guns and pistols was kept up for some time. Mrs Varley, landlady of the Savile Arms, suspended in the porch a crown worked in velvet and flowers (a relic of the rejoicings at the coronation of Queen Victoria). The streets were filled with people and the celebration equalled that held for the downfall of Sebastopol (Crimean War 1855).
David J. Glanfield
Greater Elland Historical Society