Trees planted in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee

The Jubilee Committee of 1897 – From their minute book

On April 15th 1897, Morton Parish Council met to set up a Jubilee Committee made up of members from the Parish Council, School Managers and parishioners.

The first meeting was on April 27th with an all-male committee under the chairmanship of Revd. Maltby. Their first proposals for the celebration were to plant two trees – one by the churchyard pond and the other in school yard, a free tea for children under 14 and to raise money for a tea for the poor and aged. At this point they realised that they needed ladies on the committee.

Further ideas included a church clock but this was deemed to be too expensive. The committee decided to invite Mrs W.B. Jackson to plant one tree and either Miss Jackson or Mr Bertie Jackson the other – at a later date they changed their mind and invited Mrs Sitwell to plant the second tree.

They decided to order 300 mugs and to join in the scheme, which would see bonfires lit all over the country.

On May 13th the ladies proposed that the free tea should be for everyone in Morton and four days later they elected a Tea Committee. At this point it was decided to look for 3 musicians and these (unspecified) musicians were to be employed from 6pm to 3am at a cost of 8 shillings each (plus refreshments).

Fireworks were also ordered. A Sports Committee was also formed and these wily souls decided to meet in the Sitwell Arms. Meanwhile the main committee was ordering mugs at 2 shillings and 9 pence a dozen.

The day was planned with precision. The children would assemble at 2pm to parade. Mrs Maltby and Mrs Goodwin would distribute mugs. Tea would be served at 3pm on Mr. Vardy’s lawn followed by games until 6.30pm. The adults’ tea followed at 4.30pm and the children’s sports were to be followed by a Ball in school at 8.30pm. It was noted that “children to disperse with an orange”. The bonfire would be lit at 10pm and a policeman would be on duty to ensure all went off safely.

The ringers were to be paid £1 for ringing on Jubilee Day.

In addition to the two trees mentioned earlier, 8 lime trees were to be planted on Friday October 19th at 3pm: two below Station Inn and the rest on the footpath side between the Station Inn and the Station. However the future supervision of these trees was handed over to the Parish Council. For the two trees to be planted by Mrs E.L. Wilmot Sitwell and Mrs W.B. Jackson spades were to be purchased bearing the inscription “Morton Diamond Jubilee”, to be presented by Revd. Maltby with an “appropriate address”.

Sadly the minutes do not describe the event itself. The final meeting of the Committee was on November 10th 1897.

The £1.2s.6d remaining in the fund was to be used to purchase tea urns.