This letter was in response to an article published on 1 June 1880, which was critical of certain aspects of the Beaumont Park sod cutting ceremony.
BEAUMONT-PARK AND THE FRIENDLY SOCIETIES.
To the editor of the Huddersfield Daily Chronicle.
In looking over your “Scraps and Hints” in last Saturday’s Chronicle, on the occasion of cutting the first sod in Beaumont Park, I find you make mention of the “friendly societies having made a miserable exhibition in the demonstration. Was it that having made provision for sickness they did not care to show their appreciation of a movement for preserving the public health?” Such expressions as the above call forth an explanation from some individual member of that philanthropic body. Firstly. Had there been sufficient notice given the members would have come forward in large numbers. Instead of only seven days’ notice, there ought to have been five weeks at the very least ; they cannot be called together in less time than that, as a majority of the lodges only meet every four weeks, and some of them on the first, second, third, and last Saturday in the month ; therefore it is very clear why there was such a miserable show of members of the friendly societies, and the charge lies at the very doors of those who have had command of the demonstration. Secondly. As to providing for sickness, and not caring to appreciate a movement for preserving the public health, I beg to say that there is not a class of men that is more willing to appreciate all kinds of movements that has a tendency of improving and preserving the public health at large than the members of the various friendly societies, providing that they have ample time given them to take up the matter. Trusting that some other member will have taken up this subject, who is better able to deal with it than I have done.
AN ODDFELLOW AND FREE GARDENER.
June 10th, 1880.
The Chronicle later printed a letter in response to this article.
SCRAPS AND HINTS
The first sod of the Beaumont Park was cut on Saturday afternoon by the wife of the generous donor. All who attended the place for the first time must have been struck with the fitness of the ground for a park. The only objection at present is its distance from the town but, with the aid of the railway and the projected tramways the park should be brought close to the people’s doors. Rounday Park, Leeds, and Peel Park, Bradford, are not so accessible as the Beaumont Park, and we have little doubt than when roads have been laid down, and the skill of the landscape gardener has embellished the spot, it will be a favourite resort of our artisans and their wives and children. Judging from Saturday’s speeches, the Corporation is very much obliged to Mr. Beaumont for his gift, and Mr. Beaumont, so far from thinking that he has placed the town of Huddersfield under an obligation, is pleased to feel that his generosity is appreciated. A connoisseur of demonstrations could find abundant material for criticism in the proceedings of Saturday. The Yeomanry and Volunteers took their part with imposing military pomp, but the Corporation went to the park in a very slouching fashion. a veteran police officer bore the mace, but there was nothing to distinguish aldermen and town councillors from the general public. Some went in batches in waggonettes, others drove their own conveyances, hired cabs did the locomotion for others. Then, manufacturers of teetotal liquors accompanied by trade vehicles came upon the scene. The Friendly Societies made a miserable exhibition. Was it that having made provision for sickness they did not care to show their appreciation of a movement for preserving the public health? The inhabitants generally were also indifferent about the demonstration. A flag or a piece of bunting was a rare sight. Huddersfield might have had a park given every year, so undemonstrative were the mass of the people. However, all’s well that ends well, and despite the blockade and capture of the select enclosure in the park, the proceedings on Saturday ended well. The speeches were in good taste, suggestive, and to the point. Mr. Beaumont and the Corporation were on good terms, and both being of one way of thinking as to the respective merits of Liberalism and Conservatism, avoided party politics with an amount of effort and skill that did them both credit. Master Beaumont, who was present, won golden opinions for himself, and it is possible that a long time hence he may figure somewhat prominently in the future life of Huddersfield.