Pelsall's Victorian Christmas

Cllr Longhi, the late Cllr Cath Micklewright as Queen Victoria and David McNaulty

Children from Pelsall Village School and Queen Victoria

Christmas celebrations in Pelsall village got off to a start on Thursday 27th November 2003 as the Christmas lights in the village were officially switched on.

The event attracted lots of attention as crowds in the village eagerly awaited the arrival of Queen Victoria(the late Cllr Cath Micklewright).

Queen Victoria was joined by David McNaulty, executive director of Lifelong Learning and Community in Walsall Council.

The organiser of the event, Cllr Garry Perry was joined by ambassadors from local schools and the Victorian Committee who were gathered in their period costume.

As the crowds gathered, the children of Pelsall Village School set to reading the poem, 'T'was the night before Christmas', and later joined in with carol singing.

The big switch on took place in style with a countdown from 10 by the crowds following which, Queen Victoria and David McNaulty switched on the lights together.

The trees lit up and the village Christmas tree on the balcony of S Michaels Supermarket in the village High Street.

On Saturday 6th December, Victorian Christmas celebrations began.  Pelsall village was sent back in time from 9am to 7pm and what a fantastic success it was.

Despite the bitterly cold weather, Pelsall village was full of crowds all day at the event.

The success of the day has to be attributed to the organisers of the day and a day filled with non stop attractions.

Cllr Garry Perry, the Organiser of 'A Victorian Christmas in Pelsall' and the shoe shine boys

The day began with the launch of Pelsall Pride Partnership.  Following this, carols were sung by pupils from St Michael's School followed by a coffee morning at 115 Wolverhampton Road, Pelsall.

At around 11am, we were graced with the presence of Queen Victoria as she arrived by stagecoach, a truly spectacular entrance to the celebrations.

Everyone stopped what they were doing and stood back to line the High Street as she passed.

Queen Victoria's stagecoach led by Cllr Garry Perry

As Christmas card craft and Christmas stories got under way at Pelsall Library (staff seen above), Pelsall Ladies Choir began to sing on the common.

Geo. Turner & Sons occupied their shop window with a Christmas dinner fit for a Queen.

Maund's on Pelsall High Street also dressed their window in a Victorian theme.

As the Victorian market gathered pace, Victorian stalls offered their Victorian games.

At around 2pm a Victorian costume parade took place in the High Street.  It was at this point that all who visited Pelsall that day could truly appreciate the lengths people had gone to, to authenticate the day.

Different classes and occupations could be observed through costume.  There were maids, gentlefolk, a policeman, a chimney sweep and even Sherlock Holmes!

Old fashioned music was played throughout the day

At 3pm the ever popular Shire Oak Brass Band performed.

As a veil of darkness fell upon the day, a candlelight procession along the High Street began from Pelsall Village Library.  People taking part in the event included community groups, children and residents.

At 5.30pm, the Christmas carol service got underway.  So popular was the event that not only was the marquee packed, but countless numbers gathered all the way around the marquee to hear if they couldn't see a thing.

The service was led by St Michael and All Angels Church with massed choirs including, Pelsall Ladies Choir, Pelsall Ladies Choir, Pelsall Village School, Pelsall Musical Society, Shire Oak Brass Band, Pelsall Evangelical Church and Pelsall Methodist Church.

Father Christmas remained in his grotto all day in the village centre.

There was a children's treasure hunt and Victorian games were held by Pelsall Evangelical Church and Walsall Rotary.

Throughout the day there was a lot to do and see to experience Christmas in Pelsall more than a hundred years ago.

Real credit and congratulations had to be given to Cllr Garry Perry who turned his dream into a reality.