The days of the rushcart and the Morris Dancers, when people had to rely more upon themselves for their amusement than at present, are recalled by the death of Mr Fred Hanby, of Hanover Street, Mossley.
Mr. Hanby, who was 69 years of age, died at the Lake Hospital, on Saturday, and was buried at Mossley Cemetary, yesterday. He was removed to the hospital on Friday last for an X-ray examination for a suspected dislocated shoulder, but collapsed and died shortly afterwards. A widower, Mr. Hanby leaves three daughters and two sons.
He was a bother of Mrs. Fielding, the mother of Mrs. Leaming of the Friendship Hotel, and his sister, Mrs. Kate Twaite, of Stockport Road, died a short time ago. For some years Mr. Hanby was employed by the Carr Mills Co., Ltd., but he has not been able to follow regular employment for some time. He was a member of the Central Liberal Club, and here and in other capacities he made himself useful.
Mr. Hanby was a member for about 40 years of the Mossley Merry Morris Dancers, who, years ago frequently paraded the streets of Mossley and the surrounding towns and raised money for the District Infirmary and other charities. The last time they were seen in public was at the Mayor's Infirmary Carnival in 1934, when the late Councillor Percy Ogden J.P, was the Mayor.
Earlier, the Morris Dancers were accompanied by the rush-cart, which was generally seen at Wakes time. The rushes were gathered from Luzley and as far away as Stanedge, and the buiding of the rush cart in the form of an inverted "V" was generally the work of an "artist" in this line. The last time the rush cart appeared in the streets of Mossley was during the Mayorality of the late Alderman John Platt, 1919-20.
The Morris Dancers accompanying the rush-cart wore a bright dress consisting of a white shirt with velvet knee-breeches, white stockings and fancy clogs, with brass nail embellishments so well polished that one could see their face in them. The headgear was either a straw hat embellished with flowers, or a "jockey-cap".
Small jingling bells were fastened with a bunch of coloured ribbons to the side of the breeches at the knee, and the dancers carried a small stick or bunch of cord twisted and decorated. They not only appeared in public at Mossley Wakes, but they also visited Stalybridge, Saddleworth and other wakes fairs. Mr. Hanby occasionally acted as centre dancer.
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