#OnePlaceCelebrations: Sion Floral Bazaar 1902

The new Sunday School at Sion was opened in 1902 at a cost of £5000. A floral bazaar was held on four days in October 1902 to help defray costs. It was hoped that over £1500 would be raised by this event, a hefty target at any time but particularly so in 1902.

This four day extravaganza had an opening ceremony each day with hymn, followed by luncheon. The hymns were:
'Oh God our help in ages past'
'Sing to the Lord a joyful song'
'When His salvation bringing, to Zion Jesus came'
'Triumphant Lord, thy goodness reigns'

There were a number of unspecified stalls, two staffed by the ladies of the church and congregation, one by the young ladies, one by the children and one by the young men. In addition there was a flower stall and two refreshment areas:

  • The refreshments and Geisha tea room, serving plain or meat teas and hot suppers. Plain teas were 6d, meat 'extra', presumably depending on availability.
  • The Grand Oriental smoking club with tea, coffee, cocoa and 'tobacco and cigars of the finest quality'
There was a wide range of entertainments provided throughout the event and provide a good insight into what was deemed to be suitable entertainment in a religious setting at the turn of C19.
  • Musical events included orchestra, a range of vocal performances including local soloists, secular and church choirs.
  • A comedietta, 'Trouble at the telephone', the text of which is available here.
  • A cinematograph of coronation pictures (presumably Edward VII), lantern exhibitions
  • Conjurer, thought reader, phrenologist,
  • Talking dolls, ventriloquist, Punch and Judy, Pierrots.
  • 'Thwama, the Egyptian oracle and mystery', whatever that was.
  • Phonograph
  • Fairy well
  • Ping pong tournaments.

Possibly the best is the 'Shooting jungle in the gallery. The prospect of the lads of the church getting to shoot over the gallery onto the assembled throng below doesn't bear thinking about.

The list of permitted entertainments is interesting. It is often thought that religious observance in non-conformist circles at that time was stricter than that seen today but it would be surprising if a Baptist church now allowed thought readers and phrenologists. The head of the School committee at this time was one Henry Barnes. Springhill resident Eileen Taylor, a Sion attender as a child, recalled that the response of the elder folk of the church to virtually any change or modern suggestion was 'Henry Barnes would never have allowed it'. Well it seems Henry Barnes actually allowed quite a bit on his watch. There were some standards though, as the programme stipulates 'no raffling'.

And nobody today would charge to show pictures of the coronation!

The amount raised is unknown but a second Bazaar was held in 1926.