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VE3 Day Burnley's Great Victory Carnival (6 of 8)

18 Aug 1945
Burnley, various

VE3 Day Burnley's Great Victory Carnival (6 of 8)

Summary of very long article 18th August 1945, with 6 photos from same date.
The scenes of celebration surpassed anything of the kind seen in the town before. In contrast to the restrained VE day celebrations, the town's people gave full vent to their feelings of relief and joy at the official announcement on Tuesday midnight of Japan's capitulation. On Monday the whole of the town was on holiday but the holiday-makers contented themselves with listening to the band concerts or watching the cricket match at Lowerhouse.
On Tuesday thousands waited up for the Prime Minister Attlee's broadcast at midnight and then anyone sleeping was awoken by the fireworks, ringing of church bells and noise of merry-makers and people made their way to the Town Hall which was floodlit by a beam from the fire station on which a huge electric V-sign was illuminated. Bonfires lit up the sky.
It was sober rejoicing. with dancing and singing. Some younger people climbed onto bus shelters and danced and women using kitchen utensils formed a sort of jazz band. A girl with an accordion led community singing from the Town Hall steps. It was long past midnight when the merry-makers went home, knowing they had two days holidays to come, but the women were up early shopping for food with shops besieged and long queues.
Wednesday's rain washed out the planned band concerts. In the evening crowds gathered and danced to music amplified from the Town Hall, and as night fell special lights were switched on. There was a huge bonfire on Fulledge recreation ground constructed by the Highways and Cleansing Departments. Back at the Town Hall by 10 o'clock appeals had to be made for people to move further down Manchester Rd. to allow space for dancing as more people joined after leaving the cinemas, but everything was so orderly, the Police were able to join in the celebrations. An American soldier and his partner did some "jitterbugging". The enjoyment carried on unabated until 1.30 am when after "Auld Lang Syne" and the National Anthem, the crowd dispersed quietly and quickly, having been told there would be dancing again the next evening. Pubs were given permission to stay open until 11.30 but many sold out before that. Soldiers in uniform on leave were warmly greeted.
The tumult of Wednesday's rejoicing was not renewed until late on Thursday, although there were children's parties everywhere. Throughout the day the editorial department of the Express was inundated with requests to send reporters and photographers to these gatherings which would have required a small army of both to do so. Fairly typical was the tea party organised by Mrs. Kirkham for about 30 children from Nairne Street and neighbourhood which consisted of a large potato pie, dozens of cakes, chocolate biscuits, fruit, trifle etc., and a mineral for each child. Mrs. Riley cooked two pan loads of chips. Each child received a shilling. With better weather there were fairly large audiences for the bands in Scott Park and a concert party in Towneley Park. Again there was dancing outside the Town Hall and at one point a piano was taken into Manchester Rd. from the Fire Station, and there was community singing. The crowd dispersed at 12.30.
On Wednesday evening Pike Hill residents held a field sports for the children and a bonfire with local ladies providing supper and music. The victory dance in the Mechanics' Institute on Monday night yielded £33 to the Mayor's fund and £50 came from the Auxiliary Fire Service dance.
There were thanksgiving services at St. Stephen's on Wednesday. Ex-Servicemen and those on leave are to hold a Thanksgiving service in Queens Park tomorrow afternoon with a parade from the Fruit Market, a march past after the service and then they will place a wreath on the cenotaph in St. Peter's Churchyard.

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