Biddulph Carnival 1965 - 73
Art at the Arms – Presents: “Next Year We Dig The Hole” Biddulph Carnival)
Written by G. Davies.
A public meeting was held in 1965 to explore the possibility of building a swimming pool for the town. a committee was formed with Councillor Machin as chairman; he also donated land at Cote Ground Farm as a suitable site and this became the destination for the Carnival procession and the festivities that followed. Traction engines featured prominently, ten took part in 1966, thanks to the participation of the North Staffs and Congleton Traction Engine Club.
The first Carnival in 1965 raised £950 for the fund. There was great local support from textile firms, schools and organisations who entered decorated floats. The procession took an hour to pass by starting at Wharf Road car park. A big attraction was the Bentley limousine once owned by Lady Docker, the notoriously spendthrift wife of a Government minister. There was a prize draw for a Mini Minor car the competition being to guess the mileage on a gallon of fuel - 54+miles. A collection of pennies along the route yielded 4½ cwt. In the arena were displays of gymnastics, model airplanes, pony rides and a barbeque. During the year that followed many fund-raising events took place: dances, garden parties, Santa in his Grotto and the election of a Carnival Queen to preside over the next Carnival, which was to be 'Bigger and Better' than the first.
In 1966 there was a week of festivities, culminating in the parade of more than 50 floats. Cowlishaw Walker's 'Thunderbird 2' made up of 2,000 paper flowers took first prize. The Grange, then an Orthopedic Hospital, recreated an operating theatre with 'Go to Work on an Egg' an advertising slogan of the time. (They held open days to benefit the swimming pool fund). The Carnival went from strength to strength and in 1968 included spectacular floats from Congleton's carnival the week before. Complaints that it was 'too quiet' prompted invitations to various bands: Berisfords, Rock music, Kerry pipers, military, jazz and Scots bagpipers. The fund had reached £10,000, a third of the required sum.
The first sponsored walk took place on Sept. 28th 1967. The 15 mile course took in both sides of the valley, up to Mow Cop then back via Biddulph Moor. The 350 entrants gained £1,750 and only slightly less when the event was repeated the following year. The fund standing at £19,000, Councillor Quinn had the confidence to state at the A.G.M. that 'NEXT YEAR WE DIG THE HOLE' and an architect was approached for plans. The remaining £10,000 was harder to raise however and althought the site was officially handed over on Oct. 17th 1969, the first turf ceremony did not take place until July 12th 1971, when it was hoped to complete the project in 15 months.
Biddulph Swimming Pool opened on __________ 1973.
The site was to be taken over by Staffordshire Moorlands and redeveloped as the Leisure Centre as we now know it in May 1995.
The Swimming Pool Committee wound up in 1992, having succeeded in raising £45,000, far exceeding the original target. The balance was used to provide a hoist for disabled bathers.
Reproduced online from the original typed text by Mrs. G. Davies.