Gibsthwaite jugglers

Where’s the brass band you ask? Well it is actually within the roped enclosure in the foreground, playing suitable martial music to accompany the biennial Gibsthwaite Athletics, Sports, Horticultural and Industrial Show in September 1905, where the highlight of the five-day extravaganza, apart from the weak beer on tap throughout, was the parade of the one-armed single-pinned jugglers. Prior to their hand-to-hand battles in the arena, they show their mettle by standing upright with their passive arm clasped behind the head (in the manner of their upcoming fighting position). The first one to break rank, either due to extreme fatigue, by passing out, or being unable to take any more of the music of the local Gibsthwaite Mechanics Institute Mission Brass Band, is eliminated and excluded from the sports later in the afternoon. The adjudicator, standing in front, holds the ceremonial juggling pin – a representation in the form of a piece of wheat straw held in his right hand. The parade marshall stands on his right, with the symbol of the local druids (a thistle) in his buttonhole. A past master of single-pinned juggling, he is allowed to head the static parade and wear the bowler of mourning for those that lost their lives in previous “juggles”.

Gibsthwaite jugglers’ static parade

Note – the veracity of all of the above should be regarded as highly suspect! [GH]

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