December 31, 1893
The custom of ringing out the old year and ringing in the new is rapidly becoming a festival of some importance in Liverpool. Apart from the many social gatherings held at home, thousands who delight in seeing the finish of one calendar and the commencement of its successor appear to regard the occasion as one demanding some outward demonstration, which takes the form of street processions, accompanied by not a little boisterous action.
From an early hour Sunday evening, many pedestrians could be seen wending their way along the main arteries of the city to a central point (usually Church-street), where, about midnight, the proceedings assumed the character of a regular Babel. It is certainly a matter for regret that when the occasion happens to fall on the Sabbath more consideration is not shown by the demonstrators for the feelings of the general public.
Sunday evening numbers of lads and girls, armed with concertinas, melodions, tin whistles, and drums, marched through the leading thoroughfares, and made night hideous, not caring for the fact that they were passing places where divine service was being held, or respectable residences unaccustomed to such unmusical sounds.
Furthermore, the disgraceful horseplay between youths in an exited state, which appeared very general, greatly distracted from the pleasure accompanying the old custom of extending the welcome “Happy New Year.” Bands of young men with blackened faces, and attired in the most ludicrous fashion, paraded the streets, followed by hilarious young women and children, who conducted themselves as on a great holiday.
Certainly little trouble was given to the police, who seemed to believe that so long as the enthusiasts remained inoffensive they might have their fullest so-called enjoyment. The pealing of the bells and the whistles from the vessels in the river as midnight passed was the signal for general compliments, and the handshaking which ensued was very hearty. Many mirthful young folks remained about the streets until an early hour Monday morning.
At the majority of the places of worship in the city night watch service were held, and, as usual, were attended by large congregations. An indescribable scene took place in Church-street, opposite St. Peter’s Pro Cathedral, immediately on the pealing of the bells announcing the arrival of 1894, and the behaviour of the multitude which through that thoroughfare was such that the police are of opinion these demonstrations should in future be checked.
(Liverpool Mercury: January 1, 1894)