Wootton Carnivals October 1897
Despite adverse conditions meteorologically a good number assembled to take part in the Wootton Carnival on Thursday evening last. A procession of masqueraders was formed near the school and the village and district was paraded, the Wootton Brass Band [under the conductorship of Mr. A. Coffen] leading. There was a large number of torches and the scene was one of great animation.
Confetti was much in evidence and the variety of costumes did credit to the designers. Everything passed off in a very orderly manner and the whole affair was considered a great success.1
Thursday 8th August 1898
The carnival attracted a large number of people and was judged a success by the organizers, other than a slight mist the weather was perfect, and the towns of Newport, Ryde and Cowes were well represented. The organising committee consisted of Messrs Brading [Chairman], Mew [Treasurer], Barton, Whitbread, Burgess, Luckham, Coffen [F], Coffen [S], Moody, Vanner, Gosden, Please, Souter, Groundsell, Taylor, Burgess, and Cook.
The procession started from the school [New Road] and lead by Wootton Brass Band dressed in naval and military uniforms proceed across the bridge to Kite Hill; then back, up the High Street and round the “Colony?” back through the village to the field at the top of hill. Houses and gardens along the route were decorated and illuminated with Vauxhall and fairy lamps, and also Chinese lanterns. The business of Messrs Souter, Mew, Harbour and the Sloop were also decorated for the event.
Another feature of the procession was the large number of illuminated torches, which added to the overall effect.
There were a number of tableaus in the carnival:
The first a car decorated to represent ‘Britannia’.
A boat on a trolley representing ‘Grace Darling’.
A float [car] decorated to represent a ‘Maypole’.
A car full of people dressed as ‘Gypsies’
The ‘Clowns’ band [10 people with instruments]
W. H. Brading and Sons, East Cowes lent three cars and these were decorated as:
The steam joiners at work. [six people]
The sons of Vulcan [3 people working forge and anvil]
A car represented paperhangers and decorators at work.
A float [car] representing a doctor with nurses, who carried collection boxes for the Royal Isle of Wight infirmary, the collection raised £5.10s.0d.
A car complete with four ladies dressed to represent the four seasons of the year.
There were many people dressed in costumes, examples:
Cooks, clowns, policeman, red Indians, a person wearing a mask to represent ‘Wootton Time’ [i.e. quarter to 8] and so the list went on.
After the parade there was dancing on the field, which was illuminated with Chinese lanterns, the music being provided by Wootton Brass Band, refreshments were available. Around 2000 people attended the evening’s entertainments and the day was a success.2
15th September 1898
15 Sept the committee has decided to collect for the Royal IW Infirmary on the evening of the carnival. With bands, dresses and cars a successful evening is anticipated. The committee under chair of Mr. E. Brading with Mr. L. Souter, hon. Sec are working hard. The carnival will be contained in the cricket field kindly lent for the occasion by Messrs Langton.3
Thursday 5th September 1903
Wootton well maintained its reputation, when the third carnival was successfully held. The beautiful weather favoured the event and this with special travelling facilities of the I.W. Central Railway Co., induced large numbers to visit Wootton from Newport, Ryde and intervening districts, whilst may journed by road.
The committee carried out the arrangements.
The procession was formed up in New Road and was headed by Wootton Brass Band under conductorship of Mr. Coffen, whilst in the procession were the St Paul's Barton Fife and drum band, with Mr F Wells as bandmaster, the band of the Binstead Boys' Brigade with Mr W Read in charge. Led by Miss Gallop on horseback in a brilliant cavalry uniform as "The daughter of the regiment" and Mr E Notton, in scarlet hunting coat, the procession of cars wended its way up hill to the cross roads at gravel pit and back via Stileclose to the village, thence to the field at Kite Hill, lent by Mr W Souter.
The first car was designated "Nursery rhymes", the characters being Red Riding Hood (L Lillywhite), Jack and Jill (T Langridge and Mary Langridge), Jack Horner (F Wavell), Fairy Good Advice (Rose Morgan), Little Miss Muffet (L Langridge), Mother Hubbard (Amy Drury), Little Bo Pee (Eva Drury), Union Jack (N Drury), Old Market Woman (Lily Smith).
Then came "Molly, I and the baby" (W Lock and Smith). The walking flower girls carrying baskets of flowers (A Grinham (queen) H and F Coombes, C, R, W and M Chatfeild, C Jackson, M Mowbray, D Jolliffe, A Sheppard all in characteristic costumes. tableau bearing "Snow Queen" (Miss Harding) and attendants Misses Thompson (3), Miss May Coffen.
"Britannia" (Miss Barton) guarded by soldiers and sailors (Messrs. H Guy, F Barton, F Langridge, A Way, W Way, R Burgess)
The four dominoes, Black Diamond (Miss B Cook), Hungarian (Miss Ida Barton), Swiss girl (Miss D Cook), Turk (Mr L Dibbens) tableaux of "Britannia" with Miss Harbottle and each corner stood representatives of England (Miss F Gridreon), Scotland (Miss Elsa Harbottle), Ireland (Miss B Pike), Wales (Miss H Kemp)
In the picturesque Fishbourne car, which was a fishing boat on a trolley, sat fishermen and fishwives. Messrs. Chappell, May, Shirley and Martin, and Misses Croadswell, Martin, Issott.
Another car bore Tyrolese (H Guy), Royal Horse Artillery (W Tarrant), Bright eyes (W Blake), Chinese Boxer (F Peach), Jester (R G Aley).
There were plenty of amusements for the pleasure seekers.
The proceeding continued until 11 pm when "God save the King" was played by the band.4
1. Isle of Wight County Press Saturday 2nd October 1897
2. This article is an extract from a report in the Isle of Wight County Press, 17th August 1898
3. Isle of Wight County Press, Saturday 17th September 1898
4. Isle of wight County Press, 7th September 1903