Liverpool F.C. Theatrical Gala 1897

February 11, 1897
Some years ago the citizens of Liverpool hit upon a merry method of making money and a noble way of spending them. The football gala then instituted proved an immediate success, and our local charities have since benefited annually to an average extent of €300. Last year the amount the amount distributed was no less than €525, and reasonable hopes are entertained that the proceeds of yesterday’s carnival at Anfield, will be almost equally satisfactory. Snow, frost, rain, and hail have baulked the promoters of previous galas. Yesterday all such drawbacks were absent, and though in the morning there was an ominous suggestion of fog, noon brought with it a clearer atmosphere, and afternoon a faint suggestion of sunshine.

Early in the morning the ladies and gentlemen engaged in local pantomime commenced their journey towards the ground of the Liverpool Football Club. The procession of brakes, waggonettes, cabs, donkey “shays,” and vehicles still more curious, attracted the attention of a large crowd who had assembled on the flags of St. George’s Hall, in St. John’s-lane, Lime-street, and Queen-square. Messrs. Henochsberg and Ellis exhibited two notable conveyances.

The spectacle, replete with interest and amusement for those who have revelled in the excellent pantomimic and music hall fare provided this season, was not a gratuitous one, for persuasive prepossessing ladies claimed largesse on every hand, and their masculine colleagues, the majority of whom were clad in raiment grotesque beyond description, wielded collection boxes, into whose capacious mouths an ample flood of copper poured.

Clayton-square was really the mustering point, and here another dense crowd had assembled. The route chosen was via St. John’s-lane, Manchester-street, Dale-street, Castle-street, Lord-street, Church-street, Ranelagh-street, Lime-street, London-road, Moss-street, Brunswick-road, West Derby-road, Queen’s-road, Oakfield-road, and Anfield-road.

The football ground was reached without accident, though a wheel parted company with one of the brakes in Manchester-street, rendering a hasty alight necessary. From noon there was a continuous flow of visitors to Anfield, trams and buses being crowded to the utmost extent permitted by the regulations therein made and provided. The enclosure was thronged by thousands of spectators early in the afternoon, and it is highly creditable to the Anfield officials that so little discomfort was experienced at the pay gates.

One of the events of the afternoon was a football contest between the Liverpool team and another including a large number of prominent pantomimist. The Combination team did service for the Liverpool, donning the red shirt of their League seniors, and they were faced by about 30 of the most extraordinarily-attired devotees of the game ever seen on a football field. Miss Lottie Collins set the ball in motion with a characteristically vigorous kick, and a ludicrous exposition of the winter sport ended in a victory for the mummers by three goals to one.

The gala was a success from the view of amusement, and a satisfactory result may be anticipated. Much was certainly due to the efforts of Messrs. J West and J Roby (hon. secretaries), Mr T Bush (hon. treasurer), Messrs. W Houlding and Lewis Peake (vice chairmen), Alderman Houlding (chairman), and the Lord Mayor (Alderman Hughes), who, in the capacity of president, paid a prolonged visit to the gala and manifested the kindliest interest in the progress.
(Liverpool Mercury: February 12, 1897)

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