Newsletter #57 16th April 2021

PCC News of the Week:

It looks like Penryn Week is being cancelled this year and hence we won’t be able to hold our annual exhibition as we would normally do, however Victor has been contacted by the town council with the possibility of holding an exhibition during Fair Day (Saturday 28th August) so it may be possible dependent upon what other events run on that day.

Meetings

  1. Last night’s meeting consisted of a look and critique of this week’s Lockdown images.We had a really fine set of images in this “Open” category and some useful comments were made.

  2. Next week’s Zoom, will be a “Show and Tell” around the theme of “Don’t be a 5 ft photographer”. Members are invited to send in 3 or 4 images taken of the same subject but from different viewpoints. i.e. High/Low or otherwise ! If you can, size the images as usual 1600 px for landscape orientation and 1200 px max for portrait or square.

Competition News

  1. The placings for this week’s open competition were 1st Carol, 2nd Victor and joint 3rd Julia and Wendy, so well done everyone for a great set of images. No competition next week but as a reminder we need to “Spin the wheel” for new subjects.

  2. Still coming up on the 29th we have the Image of the Year – Colour, Black and White and Off-Camera (no manipulation) and the judge is an ex-Penryn CC member Kevin Leah

Guest Author – Wendy Bate- Text and Photos Some History of Helston Flora Day

Held on May 8th every year, unless, the 8th falls on a Sunday or Monday, in which case, it would be held on the previous Saturday. Although, it is called Flora, the correct name is Furry, but Flora has been accepted. It is a pre Christian ritual. It is essentially a Spring Festival, expressing the joy of spring over winter.


Helston Flora Day Band

There are four dances, throughout the day. The first four dancers in the set, all have to be born in Helston. They are invited to take the lead by an invitation from the Stewards of the Dance. The day starts at 6-30am with the bells of St. Michael’s Church, ringing out across the town, to start off this wonderful day. All the dances are led by the Band, followed by the Mayor and Stewards of the dance, then, the dancers. 7-00 am, The Morning Dance. (also known as The Servants Dance, many years ago). When the town clock strikes 7am, Helston Town Band, all wearing Lily of the Valley in their hats, strike up to the beat of the Big Base Drum and the dance begins from the Guild Hall. This dance is the same for the 5-00 pm. dance, which is the last dance of the day. They dance through the streets, shops, houses and gardens and take a slightly different route to the other dances. The Ladies wear pretty summer day dresses, gloves, and Lily of the Valley corsage. The Gents wear Grey trousers, White Shirts, black shoes, the Green Flora day Tie, and Lily of The Valley. You have to be 16 years of age to take part.


Helston Flora Day servants dance

9-45am, The Children’s Dance. The first Children’s dance was added in 1922 and all the children meet in the old Penrose Road school playground, ( now a car park, in Wendron Street), and the top of the school walls are decorated with Bluebells and greenery. Each year, a different school takes the lead of the dance. Each school has different flowers in thegirls’ hair, which represents which school it is and they all have to wear white dresses and shoes and the boys white shirts, white trousers and shoes.

Helston Flora Day Childrens dance

This dance is performed mainly on the street and only going through a few larger gardens in the town before returning to Penrose Road School. More than 1000 Children take part and the Band splits in two along with other band members from nearby places, to swell the numbers in each section to help out. With more schools in the town now, it can be difficult for the children to hear the music and so recordings of it are played at various points in the dance. Meneage Street fills completely with children, as they proceed up and down.

12-00, The Midday Dance (The principal dance of the day). You have to be 18 years old to take part. Leaving from The Guild Hall. Gents, wearing Morning suits, Grey Top Hats, grey gloves, black shoes and Lily of The Valley in their Button holes.

The Ladies wear, long, colourful dresses, with large hats, gloves and Lily of the Valley corsage. The first set, being Helston born, is invited to take the lead by a written invitation from the Mayor and Stewards. (Again, because so many want to take part, the Band splits into two, to accommodate all the dancers). The dance leaves from the Guild Hall, dancing through shops Houses and Gardens, (although, not so many now, due to Health and Safety), and return to the Guild Hall, at the end of the dance. The National Anthem is played by the band at the end of the dance and all the dancers stand to attention to sing inside the Guild Hall. ( Spectators outside in the streets join in too). On leaving the Hall, Stewards stand at the entrance with upturned top hats and the gents place money in them in thanks for the privilege of dancing with all proceeds going to the Flora Day Association.


Helston Flora Day Midday dance

5-00pm, The Servant’s Dance leaving from The Guild Hall, the dancers take almost the same route as they did at 7-00am. and finish at The Guild Hall. In all, the Band and the Mayor, walk 16 miles throughout the day, as each dance is around 4 miles long.

The Hal-An- Tow. Apart from the dancing, at 8-30am, is the start of the Hal-an-Tow. This is a re-enactment of the slaying of The Dragon by St. George. St Michael is then introduced with a song and slays the Devil, releasing the townspeople from evil. The words of the song, “ A Summer is a come o, and Winter is a gone O”, and this ritual is thought to be the sole survivor of the original festivities. This performance is performed at various strategic points around the town. The actors are dressed in greenery,( looking a bit like Robin Hood men) and the Ladies, who now take part, wear dresses and flowers and greenery in their hair. Today, it is a very noisy experience, blowing whistles and banging tambourines. I believe the Meneage Actors now take part in it and so it is a much larger gathering. Years ago, it was just school boys from the senior schools and male teachers who took part and it wasn’t so noisy.

To Be Continued ! See you next week Cheers Derek & Wendy