Wednesday, 4 November 2015
Back in the day there were traditional holiday times. As the pumpkins are sold off cheap, Christmas decorations begin to fill the shops and Father Christmas scales Masson Mill it's interesting to think about holidays. Wakes Weeks were - and sometimes still are - a significant time in the calendar year. Originally connected to religious feast days they became associated with fairs and carnivals, a time to let your hair down and take a break from routine. In mill towns Wakes Weeks were also a time when the mills could be shut down for maintenance, the workforce laid off on an enforced holiday. The mill towns of Lancashire headed for Blackpool, filling the guest houses week after week as different towns took their breaks. Even school holidays were altered to fit in with the mills' working pattern. I know Belper has had a Wakes Day in recent years, and well dressings and sports days were all part of the festivities. I don't know of any Wakes Weeks in November, though of course we have just celebrated Halloween and the fair has been to Belper. In spite of the lack of a Wakes Week, I am about to go on holiday, so there will be no post from the North Mill next week. When I come back I am hoping to share some of the stories and experiences of our great team of volunteers. See you soon!