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Carnival parade was at its peak in 1930s

Minster Carnival in the 1930s
Minster Carnival in the 1930s

It has been many a year since carnival tableaux rumbled through Minster village, and we feel lucky to have secured these pictures, taken in 1932.

Just how long a parade it was we don’t know, but it did not lack variety.

We know traffic was much lighter then – no problem with floats having to squeeze between parked cars – but the hill is very steep as is Union Road, and the road from the Abbey Gatehouse to the King’s Arms is just one car wide.

And with horses, as well as cars and lorries, pulling the floats the short journey was tricky.

We imagine the start to have been in Queen’s Road, wending down into Baldwin, right into Chapel Street, through the narrow High Street, up into Union Road, down Brecon Chase then out into Wards Hill Road, allowing mobile patients in Sheppey General Hospital to watch the parade, and dispersing in Queen’s Road.

Sadly the snaps do not show faces so we can’t name anybody, but we can admire the floats.

The float in the picture on the right of this page looks like it might represent the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe (note the laces).

We wouldn’t mind betting there was an entourage of strangely-dressed adults, and banner carrying Minster Primary School children. Maybe Sunday School children too who attended the Abbey, nearby Methodist, or Minster Bethel Congregational churches.

The latter probably recruited the Girls and Boys Brigades into the ranks as well.

It is doubtful whether the carnivals continued through the war but they had been revived by the 1950s.

Minster girl, the late Elspeth Mundy (nee Middleton) took the title Miss Minster in 1955/56 with her friend Pamela Grimwade as her princess.

The girls were crowned in the grand manner at Warner’s Holiday Camp, The Broadway, Minster and the camp entered professionally-built floats in the parade.

Queenborough, West Minster, Leysdown and Eastchurch also had their own carnivals before joining in to swell the town’s big summer procession.

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