Tag Archives: New Year

Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions

On Boxing Day, usual tradition has it that almost the entire town goes out, to catch up with friends and prolong the festive fun.  To many it is the favourite day of the year.

It seems to be a local tradition that doesn’t happen elsewhere, or if it does in limited areas.  It’s a Scarborough tradition, a festive occasion which is termed “Ladies Day”. There are various explanations as to how it came about, but the most common held one is that the fishermen’s wives were given the day off to go for a drink after they had worked really hard in preparing and delivering Christmas.  So the pubs opened to give them a place to relax after the previous days festivities.

Although it’s called “Ladies Day” still, it is now for everyone to enjoy.  The pubs usually open at 11am, everyone is in hight spirits and happy to talk about the good and bad of their Christmas. It’s also a time to catch up with people you see every day, or the ones you occasionally see.

There is also the other traditional events we are talked about in the other blogs:
Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions (Harbour Raft Race)
Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions (Mile of Pennies)
Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions (Fishermen vs. Firemen football match)

On Boxing Day, people meet up with friends and go round the pubs from 11am onwards – as you can imagine there’s a good chuck of drinking time and fun.  Extra police are on hand, although I haven’t seen any trouble since I started the Boxing Day tradition.

For everyone the Christmas build-up is intense that once presents have been opened and the turkey eaten it can seem a bit of a let down, however in Scarborough it is not.

Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions (Harbour Raft Race)

Usually hundreds gather around the Scarborough seafront to enjoy the annual boxing day festivities which have long been a tradition of the town.

Last year’s harbour raft race, in aid of the Fishermen and Firemen Fund, did not fail to entertain the crowds.

The raft race involved the usual festive frolicking between teams – and some of the spectators – who bombarded each other with flour and egg.

From the 20 teams that took part the triumphant winners were the Honolulu Hookers. The team, who all dressed in drag for the event, were proud to admit they also averaged the oldest participating team.

Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions (Mile of Pennies)

A long-standing, traditional annual event, organised by the Fisherman and Fireman’s Charity. Join in the fun of lining up your coppers along the kerb, from next to the Lifeboat House, all along the seafront!

People are either asked to donate their pennies, or add them to the long line of others that have already been laid.  Each year it roughly earns £300 for the Fisherman and Fireman charity.

Scarborough Boxing Day Traditions (Fishermen vs. Firemen football match)

Each year people congregate on the South Bay beach in Scarborough. They watch the Fishermen versus the Firemen football match and then usually move on to the Harbour quayside to watch the Crazy Raft Race. Few know the history and origins of these traditions. Most wonder why the Fire Brigade play against the Fishermen. They just watch the comedy football match.  It’s all played in good humour though at times it resembles a rugby match rather than football. The half time is characterised by a team talk complete with cigarettes and cans of beer. At full time scores are settled and players from the opposing team are dragged to the sea and dunked. The good humour continues in the local pubs throughout the day and night.

The story begins in 1893 when huge storms raged on the North east coast. The gales began on the 16th November and continued till they reached Hurrican force on the 18th. There were many ships on the coast. In fact the whole of the Scarborough Fishing Fleet was at sea. Many were away from the heart of the storm in Scottish waters. Slowly the fishing smacks returned to port one by one.

No news was bad news though as one of the smacks – the Evelyn and MAud still had not returned. A report had been received that it was in Bridlington Bay but this proved false. On the 2nd December wreckage was washed up at Easington near the mouth of the Humber. A lifebuoy from the Evelyn and Maud was found. The Lifebuoy contained a piece of whalebone with the words “Ship going down. Sinking fast Evelyn and Maud”. Mrs Mann stated that this was the handwriting of her husband.

The vessel was declared lost and reports were published in the newspaper. The regular skipper of the Evelyn and Maud was John Cross.  He did not sail on this occasion.

With so many of the fishing community widowed and orphaned a fund was set up by the Mayor GL Beeforth. On the 13th December a list of subscribers were published in the newspapers. A football match was organised by three local skippers – Dawson, Snowball and Newland. It was played on Christmas morning between the Fishermen (skippers, mate and deck hands) versus the Firement (the stokers, engineers and cooks). There were 1,500 spectators and a collection raised £9. The match was played at the Ebor football ground. Overall the charity raised £289 when the fund closed on 31st December. The money was placed in savings bank on King Street and the money handed out bit by bit when needed by the families.

Skipper Dawson became a mainstay in the early years of the Football match.  He wore grotesque costumes and so started the tradition of fancy dress. Now comedy outfits are worn. Hats must be worn at all times. The referee blows his whistle if a player is hatless. Often players will pinch the hat of the opposing team players and bury them in the sand.

Nowadays their are very few fishermen and no firemen. The last Steam Trawler left Scarborough in 1960. At one time fishing boats would fill the harbour. Now there are barely enough fishermen to form two teams. Yet the old fishing families still turn out. Some have turned out for years supporting the cause. Fred Normandale has featured in the match for nearly 40 years as either player or referee. Billy Blades has been a team Captain for many years.

The match has always been a good excuse for some hard drinking. Captain Sydney Smith (of the merchant Navy remembers one time when his father played in the match and brought him along. He was told to stand at the end of the bar at the Lord Nelson. Hours later he was still stood there forgotten!

In 1901 the Silver Cup was presented by George Alderson Smith. It is still in use today. In 1904 the teams started to wear the coloured shirts that are in use now. The fishermen play in white and the firemen in red. In 1908 the Mayor kicked off the match – a tradition that continues to this day.

A Comedy Band pays each year. In the 1920’s it was the Butts comic band. In 2004 it was Barry Hampshires Hamps Tramps street band. Other features include the mile of pennies where people put their pennies down on the pavement right along Foreshore Road.

In the age of the modern welfare state the charity is not really needed. But the tradition still continues. The money raised goes to the pensioners, disabled and sick from within the fishing community. They receive bags of meat at Christmas. But each year the charity match found some worthwhile cause. In 1897 £20 was given to Mrs Pashby whose son had just drowned in a recent gale. In 1896 £14 was given tot he local Seamens Mission. In 1903 money was donated to the hospital and to the Lightfoot charity.

Boxing Day Traditions article taken from (http://www.scarboroughsmaritimeheritage.org.uk/afishermenandfiremen.php)

Events in Scarborough (December 2011)

Dates Events Venue Times Contact
1st Life Drawing Classes Woodend Creative Workspace 18:30 to 20:30 01723 384511
Mince Pies and Mulled Merriment Scarborough Art Gallery 17:00 to 20:00 01723 384511
Scarborough Lunchtime Concerts 2011 Scarborough Library 12:30
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
2nd Roots and Routes Woodend Creative Workspace 09:45 to 16:30 07428 492896
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
3rd Festive Spectacular Scarborough Spa Complex 19:30 (01723) 357869
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 14:30 19:00 01723 370541
4th Mark Thompson in Concert Flower of May 13:30
Santa and Reindeer Parade Scarborough Town Centre 13:30
5th The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
6th The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 13:15 01723 370541
7th Sinbad’s Adventures Scarborough Art Gallery 10:30 to 11:00 01723 384511
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
8th Life Drawing Classes Woodend Creative Workspace 18:30 to 20:30 01723 384511
Scarborough Lunchtime Concerts 2011 Scarborough Library 12:30
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
9th The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
10th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:00 01723 357869
Gala Concert Scarborough Spa Complex 19:00 01723 357869
Manhattan Voices Concert St Mary’s Church 19:15 to 21:15
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 14:30 19:00 01723 370541
11th Saint Catherine’s Hospice Santa Dash 2011 Marine Drive 10:30
Santa Dash Scarborough Town Centre 11:00
12th The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
13th A Christmas Carol, told by Jacob Marley (deceased) Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:45
Ocean Colour Scene: The Moseley Shoals Tour Scarborough Spa Complex 19:00 01723 357869
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
14th Sinbad’s Adventures Scarborough Art Gallery 10:30 to 11:00 07428 492896
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 18:30 to 20:30 01723 370541
15th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 10:00 13:00 01723 357869
Life Drawing Classes Woodend Creative Workspace 18:30 to 20:30
Scarborough Lunchtime Concerts 2011 Scarborough Library 12:30
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
16th St Mary’s Market St Mary’s Church 10:30 to 13:00
The Nutcracker Prince Stephen Joseph Theatre 10:00 01723 370541
17th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
East Coast Open Scarborough Art Gallery 10:00 to 17:00 07428 492896
Victorian Christmas Party Scarborough Art Gallery 10:30 to 13:00 07428 492896
18th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
20th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
21st Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
22nd Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
23rd Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
24th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
Magic Mike’s Christmas Special Scarborough Spa Complex 18:00 01723 357869
26th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
27th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
Rotunda Christmas Walk Rotunda William Smith Museum 11:00 to 12:00 14:00 to 15:00 07428 492896
28th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
29th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541
30th Aladdin Scarborough Spa Complex 14:30 19:30 01723 357869
Blithe Spirit Stephen Joseph Theatre 19:30 01723 370541