Gawthorpe village needs a new maypole

Gawthorpe needs to find a new maypole before the current one collapes.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 23rd June 2013, 9:00 am
Gawthorpe Maypole being put up in 1953.
Gawthorpe Maypole being put up in 1953.

The Maypole Committee said maypoles have historically lasted about 30 years before needing replacing.

And they are hoping a company could donate a new maypole to replace the current one, erected in 1986.

Brian Wilding, of the committee, said there were no immediate dangers that the maypole was ready to collapse.

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But he said it was better to be safe than sorry.

He said: “We’d like a replacement as soon as possible.

“There’s a pub it could fall on, and a shop and some houses, and we’d rather act now instead of waiting for signs of wear and tear.”

The maypole is the centrepiece of the village’s history and is still used in the annual coal race and maypole procession events.

Mr Wilding added: “It’s so important for bringing people into the village.”

The current maypole was originally a 57ft pylon, donated by the Yorkshire Electricity Board.

They took it to Morley to be treated which, it was hoped, would prolong its life for 40 years.

It was then taken to a warehouse in Chickenley, where it was stored and painted.

Cranes were used to hoist it into place on March 8, 1986.

In 1850, a villager called Mr A Pollard bought the first recorded permanent maypole for the village.

Before then, a birch tree from local woods had been cut down and used as a maypole each year.

A group of people who lived near the Waggon and Horses pub, known as ‘Streetsiders’, sawed down Mr Pollard’s maypole after a dispute with the committee.

And they damaged another maypole in the 1880s, again with a saw during the night.

They were disturbed during an attack, but the maypole was left so weak that it was blown down in gale force winds a few nights later.

If you can help the committee, please call 01924 218990.