Farnworth Park – Official Opening – Route Procession – 1864
All along the route of the procession the cheering of the spectators was of the most enthusiastic character, and it must have been deeply gratifying to one accustomed to far other scenes to receive such an ovation from the industrial classes of Lancashire. To a foreigner or a stranger to the district the good temper and order of the masses congregating together must have been very surprising. There were no soldiers to keep the people in due subjection.
The bands of volunteers and the yeomanry took their places in the procession, as did other citizens. Some fifty policemen were all that were necessary to prevent any overcrowding upon the line of march. One hundred thousand people were out for a holiday; but there was no drunkenness, and there were no breaches of the peace. The people preserved the peace for themselves, and demonstrated how free institutions and industrial occupations; the absence of the baton and the bayonet foster individual self government, and repress the tendency to lawlessness and disorder.
The scene in the Park during Mr. Gladstone’s address was one never to be forgotten by those who witnessed it. The autumn sun was shining in a cloudless sky; the trees around were clothed in leaves of russet and gold and crimson; “flushing into decay;” the lake lay still and calm, and bright; dazzling as molten silver. The terrace platform, capable of accommodating upwards of 600 persons, was crowded with “Lancashire witches” in their gayest attire; a perfect galaxy of beauty. In front stood the donor of the Park, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chairman of the Local Board; on either side the representative men of the county; the High Sheriff, the Mayors of the neighbouring towns, eminent political leaders, members of Parliament, magistrates, ministers of religion, and below the platform, and as far as the eye could reach, a dense mass of human beings, numbering from 85 to 40,000; silent every one, as if spell-bound, with upturned face gazing upon the speaker, straining to catch every syllable he uttered, and only now and then giving expression to their feelings in loud and ringing cheers. The grandeur of the spectacle; its moral sublimity; cannot be expressed, and its memory will never be effaced. It is not necessary to dwell upon other aspects of the day’s proceedings…
Excerpt from Proceedings at the Opening of Farnworth Park – 1864
Further Reading and External Links
Farnworth Park Archive Pictures