May 1887, The West Briton and Cornwall Advertiser, Thursday
Helston Flora Day. Exhibition and Bazaar. Helston has
not witnessed a more successful Flora-day for many years than was
Tuesday's celebration of the ancient custom. A combination of various
happy circumstances brought about this result. The fact of the Helston
railway having been newly opened undoubtedly formed the principal
contributory cause. The passenger traffic on the new line was heavy
beyond expectation. Every train was crowded to excess, and in the
earlier part of the day many had to be left behind. All the railway
arrangements for the day were carried out without the slightest
accident. The weather was superb.
The sun shone brilliantly all day, but the heat was tempered by a
refreshing breeze. Then, in addition to the Furry dance - an ancient
ceremonial, the exact origin of which cannot be explained, although it
has, no doubt, an intimate connection with welcoming May month - the
dog and poultry exhibition, which, in recent times has become a
conspicuous feature in the Flora-day proceedings, was by far the best
which has yet been held in Helston. The bazaar in aid of the funds of
the Additional Curates' Socety, which has likewise become a part of
Flora-day programms, was also rendered fully as attractive as in
former years. Under such auspicious circumstances it was only what
might have been expected to find Helston gayer and fuller of visitors
than it has been for many a long day. The holiday seemed to be
thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. The ladies mustered in particularly
large numbers, and their light summer costumes contributed greatly to
the brightness of the scene. In accordance with ancient usage the
porches of the various hostelries were bedecked with evergreens and
boughs of trees. This practice is one of the oldest portions of the
custom, and reminds the folks of the present day of the times when the
lads and lasses of Helston made an early excursion into the country on
the morning of Flora-day and returned laden with foliage from the
adjoining woods. As carried out now-a-days Flora-day is a strange
mixture of things new and old, and while the leafy decorations carry
the imagination back to primitive times and rustic joys, the largely
patronised swing-boats and the merry-go-rounds with their organs
possessed of "brass mouths and iron lungs," present in large
numbers in the streets, give a very modern aspect to the fair.
"Furry dance" was well attended this year. This is a very
quaint custom, and consists of a number of couples dancing through the
streets, the ordinary law of trespass being for the while suspended,
as the dancers claim the right to enter any house or grounds without
being accused of intrusion. It is, perhaps, somewhat imaginative to
describe the performance as a "dance." The participators, in
pairs, form a procession, headed by a band, which incessantly plays
the original "Fury tune." At a certain point of the music
the couples indulge in a few spasmodic gyrations, after which walking
is resumed. The large company of ladies and gentlemen intending to
join in the Furry dance assembled on Tuesday in the Corn Excange, in
which the Church bazaar had just been opened. The company was larger
than has been seen for many years. Mr. E.P. Kendall and Mr. H.M.
Rogers acted as the stewards. The dance was led off by Mr. F.V. Hill
and Mrs. E.P. Kendall; Mr. E.P. Kendall and Mrs. W. Wearne; Mr. J.
Sydney Davey and Mrs. Boase; Mr. Heycock and Mrs. Montague Rogers;
Capt. Mainwarning and Miss Jackson; Mr. H.M. Rogers and Mrs. Farham;
Mr. Harris and Miss West. There were between forty and fifty couples.
After they had proceeded round the town the company adjourned to the
Assembly Rooms of the Angel Hotel, where a country dance concluded the
programme. During the afternoon several other parties enjoyed a Furry
dance. These singular proceedings - unique to Flora-day and Helston -
were witnessed by an enormous crowd of spectators.
The dog, poultry, cage bird, rabbit, and cat show held in the
Market-house was very successful. A report of the proceedings,
together with the prize list, will be found in the eighth page of
to-day's West Briton.
The bazaar in aid of the funds of the Additional Curates' Society,
which was held in the Corn Exchange, was most tastefully and
strikingly arranged. The stalls were named after the several rural
deaneries of the archdeaconry of Cornwall, namley: - "St.
Austell," "Kirrier," "Penwith,"
"Powder," "Pydar," "Carnmarth." Articles
for sale were sent in from all the deaneries except Carnmarth. The
stalls were decorated with extreme care and taste, and the goods for
sale were of a valuable and elegant description. The archidiaconal
secretary, Miss Bennet, of Tresillian House, St. Columb, worked most
assiduously in connection with the arrangements, the ruridecanal
secretaries present being Mrs. Vawdey (Kirrier), Mrs. Williams and
Mrs. Harvey (Penwith), Miss Glynn Grylls (Powder), and the parochial
secretaries of Kirrier, Miss Hill (Helston) and Mrs. Sutton (St.
Keverne). The ladies at the stalls were Mrs. Vawdrey, Miss Glynn
Grylis, Miss Ratcliffe, Mrs. F. Harvey, Miss Williams, Mrs. Coulson
Arthur, Miss Hill, Mrs. Taylor, Mrs. Wedlock, Miss Reynolds, Mrs.
Williams, Miss Hugo, Mrs. M. Richards, Mrs. Sutton, Miss Bullmore, and
Canon Tyacke, in introducing Mrs. Rogers, of Penrose, who was to open
the bazaar, said he wished to express his deep indebtedness to all who
had for many months been preparing the numerous articles on the
stalls, and who had expended much time and labour in the cause. - Mrs.
Rogers declared the bazaar open.
In the evening a ball was held at the Angel Hotel.
are four short films of the 2007 celebrations