Maypole dancing at Methley Flower Show or Carnival
Maypole Dancing by the girls of Methley in the Cedar’s field on the occasion of Methley Flower Show or Carnival, (Flower Show c 1912, Carnival c 1925). In the background, on specially constructed stands, relatives, friends and other villagers assembled. On the right is the Brass Band in attendance. The girls wear white for dancing.
Methley Carnival was a great day for the village. The first Carnival was on Aug. 21st, 1909. Later it took place on the first or second week in July, Saturday becoming Carnival Day and Sunday became Infirmary Sunday, collections from the villagers and profits from the Carnival being donated to Leeds Infirmary.
The Carnival attracted a wide audience and included a procession through the village and decorated floats, comic bands, fancy dress parade and a Br ass Band (Altofts Band in later days after Methley Band’s demise).
After the Parade, everyone assembled in Embleton’s Field for fancy dress competitions, country dancing, children’s sports, figure marching and judging of floats, comic bands etc. The event was organised by the Methley Infirmary Committee in aid of the local hospitals at Hightown and Leeds.
Carnivals flourished in the 1920s and early 1930s. Between 1949 and 1954 the Methley Branch of the British Legion held carnivals, usually in the Cricket Field. After the carnivals were discontinued many local organisations held their own garden fetes during the summer.
Councillor Fred Lunn of Green Row, Methley suggested a revival of the Carnival in 1968 but this did not succeed. In 1999 the British Legion held a Carnival and in May 2000 a Millennium Carnival was successfully held by a Committee led by Mrs May Walker.