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Thread: Wakes week or May half term?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Default Wakes week or May half term?

    There have been a few references to Wakes week in previous discussions…

    Wakes week had its origins many centuries ago as a religious event, but in the 19th century it had become more of a secular event. It was observed mostly in Lancashire, and a few parts of Yorkshire and Staffordshire including Stoke on Trent. Factories would close down for a week and the workers were given a one week long holiday. Wakes week was always celebrated in June or July but the exact week was decided locally rather than nationally. Different towns would celebrate Wakes week in a different week in order to result in a staggered closing of factories across the region. It was common for families to visit a seaside resort during Wakes week.

    After state schooling was created in the second half of the 19th century, schools would also close down during Wakes week instead of the half term holiday in May.

    Although Wakes week was a prominent event during the 19th and early 20th centuries, by the 1970s heavy industry had declined and many of the factories which remained had abandoned the Wakes week close down, resulting in Wakes week being little more than a school holiday.

    The Wakes week school holiday instead of the May half term still existed in the 1980s but by the 1990s an increasing number of towns abandoned it in favour of the May half term following the National Curriculum and the standardisation of term dates in England. The last Wakes week school holiday was in 2006.

    Did anybody here ever have a Wakes week school holiday?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
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    UK
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    Default Re: Wakes week or May half term?

    My mum was from Blackburn and she used to tell me about Wakes Week
    Time flies like the wind, fruit flies like bananas - go figure!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
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    Nottingham, UK
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    Default Re: Wakes week or May half term?

    I was doing some research into the 1945 General Election a few years ago and I found out that some election results in some constituencies were declared a couple of weeks later due to local Wakes Weeks which I had hardly heard of - I assumed that it was a northern or Celtic (as in Keltic, and not Seltic) thing. We even seemed to have a north-south divide even back then it seems...
    I am now in my 40s (just in case anyone asks).

  4. #4
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    Stockport
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    5,045

    Default Re: Wakes week or May half term?

    Also in 1945 a lot of servicemen were still scattered around the world so there was a long period to bring back ballot boxes.

    My Grandad was in Egypt at the time he voted.
    The Trickster On The Roof

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    co armagh n/ireland
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    13,260

    Default Re: Wakes week or May half term?

    SO WAKES WEEK IS DIFFERENT TO THE MAY HALF TERM HOLIDAYS THEN.
    AS WE DONT OR DIDNT HAVE IT HERE.

    SO WAKES WEEK WAS JUST A WEEK WERE MAY HALF TERM IS LONGER OR AM I RIGHT?

    MUST ADMIT IVE NOT HEARD OF WAKES WEEK BEFORE UNTIL NOW.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Advertisements in newspapers with headings such as ‘Sea Bathing for the Working Classes’ would list Wakes Weeks and inform workers of the dates for their town to get away. Small towns would go in groups on the same week via train, whereas larger towns would go on their own or in smaller groups so as not to overcrowd Blackpool. Alex Askaroff, author of Tales from the Coast, highlights how things have changed: “So there we have it, Wakes Week, just a memory now for the few folk that has them.

    Read more at: https://www.lep.co.uk/lifestyle/nost...-on-wakes-week.

    “All gone now the mills, the way of life, the community spirit, friends in every street. Mind you, you can take the way of life – but you can’t take the memories. There will always be a bit of my heart in Blackpool.” A visitor in the 1930s, Stan Pickles describes how he visited from Leeds in ‘East Leeds Memories’. He says: “When we arrived at Blackpool all the young girls and fellows piled out on to the platform hugging suitcases, the majority dashing for the loo. It was a rare sight, the men looked like sheep just shorn with their ‘short back and sides’ and sporting grey flannels, the girls lovely in their gaily coloured frocks and loose jackets, all asking directions to their digs for the week.” Pete Wood, also writing for ‘east Leeds Memories’, visited in he 1950s. He reminisces: “In the mornings we would promenade along the front and listen to exaggerated accounts of the previous evenings happening under the pier. In the afternoons we would play football on the beach, squeezing the last ounce out of the sun. We were in and out of the sea every 10 minutes; if there was any pollution then nobody seemed to notice. The highlight of the day was the evening; this was the time to dress up in our full drape suites of midnight blue or black barathea, complete with half moon pockets, roll collars and Sackville one piece backs. Our hair would be slicked up and pulled forward Tony Curtis style with a DA at the back. When you walked into the night in a rig like that your heart soared as high as the tower – and you felt the world was your oyster.” A Mancunian cotton mill worker, Joe, who appears on the BBC’s ‘Nation on Film’ recalls the joys of Wakes Week; “I used to go with a lot of mates to Blackpool. We’d get on a double decker bus and play cards to pass the journey. We stayed at a guest house in the town and for a fiver you could have a week’s break. “It was the only time you held a five pound note. “You’d fold it up and put it in your top pocket and feel really rich, until you had to break it.

    Read more at: https://www.lep.co.uk/lifestyle/nost...week-1-4604632
    FOR THE HONOUR OF GRAYSKULL

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    1,952

    Default Re: Wakes week or May half term?

    In my neck of the woods I think it'd be fair to call it the the later or rather Spring bank. Regardless though it all makes interesting reding - the differing regional variant names I think

    80sChav

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