Liverpool F.C. Theatrical Gala 1896


February 13, 1896
Fortunately for the charities of Liverpool, the weather was as good as its word yesterday. For several days before it had been pleased to promise to begin its best behaviour when the members of the theatrical profession at present engaged in the city were to combine in sportive mood to entertain the public in a new capacity, and, whilst, a doing, to put money into the coffers of the various local charitable institutions that are so usefully employed.

The event is an annual one, and is furthermore – one of the most popular of the year, but on several previous occasions rain has somewhat damped its success. In former years something like £300 has been raised by the generous efforts, but the indications are that the result of yesterday, what with gate receipt, collections in the streets of the city, and on the ground of the Liverpool Football Club at Anfield, will be a still more “handsome one.”

The term “great carnival” that figured on the programme was appropriate, for it was a carnival of fun and gaiety from the very opening to the very finish. At noon a large crowd assembled in the Queen’s Square to witness the forming of a procession which afterwards paraded the principal throughout fares of the city.

The route taken was from St John’s Lane to the most numerously attended arteries of the city, and in every street through which the procession passed there were large crowds of onlookers. Ohmy’s band marshalled the procession and in immediate sequence came several equestrians attached to the circus, costumed in the arb of the “ring.” Waggonettes and brakes drawn by horses of mettle, and in some instances “ribboned” by members of the fair sex, came next in order, and conveyances of decidedly miscellaneous character were occupied by gentlemen of the theatrical profession, and by others who wished to add the success of the movement for the cause of charity. The band of the “Indefatigable” provided music during the progress of the procession, and subsequently, from a prominent place one of the grand stands at Anfield, rendered in very good style a programme of band music. Whilst crowds in the street were cheering the progress of the procession, a vast concourse of people was assembling at the ground at Anfield, and the seating accommodation for which that area of football is celebrated was occupied long before the principals frolic came on the scene.

Meanwhile, not to get behindhand with the programme, a youths’ football match was contested, the participants representing the north and south of the city. The north (or voluntary schoolboys) obtained the victory by three goals to none. Mr Roach, by the way, acted as referee, whilst Messrs Jno Gunning and A McDougal were linesmen. When the juvenile football contest was over there was a considerable increase of animation.

Ladies and gentlemen who had taken part in the procession needed a rest, but it was a brief one, and the sports’ programme was commenced before the large assembly that had gathered had had time to become impatient. There were a good many events on the programme, and they were carried out in due order. The “side shows” attracted the most attention. Sounds of music were heard from different parts of the ground, and improvised minstrel troupee, “wanging” guitars, and holding out the inviteable collecting box promenaded from one end of the enclosure to the other.

“The contest of the century,” a football encounter sturdily, but still very mirthfully, contested between pantomimic artists and members of a Liverpool League team, practically ended the proceedings.

It may be added that the costumes worn by the players in the football contest were supplied by Messrs Henochsberg and Ellis, of Islington.

The officals of the day were – Judges Messrs H. Lythgoe and F.T. Parry;
Marksmen, Messrs. John McKenna and R. Nelson;
Starter, Mr William Coward Briggs, chairman of the committee, Alderman John Houlding: chairmen and secretaries of sub-committees respectively, Messrs J. Brown and H. Pewtriell, A. Harford and E. Talbot, W. Houlding and J. McKenna, Henry Heard and Charles Gibson, R. Heard and L. Peake, R.E. Lythgoe and Frank Brettell, J. Griffiths and Benjamin Bailey. Mr A. Roby was assistant honorary secretary.
(Liverpool Mercury: February 14, 1896)

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