On the day of the procession, arrangements had to be changed due to the incesently heavy rain which fell mostly unabaited for the duration, with the route being shortened to be more direct instead of the 5 mile around Oldham route originally planned.
The Sunday schools with albeit reduced numbers amassed around the town ready to join the procession, waiting at their Sunday schools for the the order to move. However they were then told that as the weather was so bad, the scolars would not be allowed to take part in the procession.
The procession set off from the Town Hall at fifteen minutes past twelve in the afternoon on August 28th 1865.
There were 1300 people taking part in the procession, including the eight bands, which would have been swelled had the weather been fine.
The various orders, schools and associations, exclusive of gentlemen of the town, public bodies and officials would have been as follows, judging by the estimate of numbers sent on to the Park Committee previously.
Blue Coat scholars and band - about 60
Foresters (the appointed renezvous Radcliffe Street) - 700
Shepherds (St. Peters Street) - 600
Grand United Order Of Odd Fellows (Waterloo Street) - 1900
Temperance Society (Retiro Street) - 700
Independant Order Of Odd Fellows, Manchester Unity (Greaves Street) - 600
Hope Chapel Sunday School (Queen Street) - 400
George Street Baptist Sunday School (Queen Street) - 400
Primitive Methodist Sunday School (Queen Street) - 300
Independant Methodist Sunday Schools (Queen Street) - 300
Wesleyan Methodist Sunday Schools (Clegg Street) - 500
Kagged School (Queen Street)
Shoemakers Association (Church Lane) - 60
Hollinwood General Improvement Association (Church Lane)
Parish Church Sunday Schools - from 200 to 500
St. James Church Sunday School - 200
The order of the procession was somewhat changed to suit the altered reqirements of the day.
It was arranged as follows
Body of Police
The 31st Lancashire Rifle Volunteers
The Corporation Band
The Mayor, Ex Mayor and Town Clerk
The Borough Members
The Clergy and Ministers of All Denominations
The County and Borough Magistrates and their Clerks
The Architects and Landscape Gardener
County Court Registrar
The Revision Assessors
The Ward Assessors
The Corporation Officers
The Church Watdens
The Burial Board
Gentlemen of the Town
Teachers and Friends of the Church Schools
Teachers and Friends of the Wesleyan Schools
Independent Order Of Odd Fellos, Manchester Unity
Teachers and Friends of other Sunday Schools
Coal Miners Association
Grand United Order Of Odd Fellows
The re-arranged Procession route
The route actually followed by the procession, accompanied by the bands of music playing lively tunes with banners and the decorations and insignia of the various secret orders , was along High Street, down Manchester Street, on King Street, and Union Street, to its junction with Clegg Street. From there across the bridge which crosses the Lancashire and Yorkshire Line of the Central Station, across the yard of the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway, down Sheepwashes Lane and across the wooden bridge to the entrance gates, where a stand was made and the procession partly arranged before the entrance, while the ceremonial of presenting the key to the Mayor Josiah Radcliffe, Esq., took place.
Opening of the Park, Final Ceremony
The key, of steel and gilt was inscribed around the rim on one side, "Preented to Josiah Radcliffe, Esq., Mayor by the Park Commitee on the occasion of his publicly opening Alexandra Park." and on the other side around the rim, the words "Borough of Oldham, August 28, 1865" and in the centre, the Coat of Arms of Oldham.
Presentation of the key to the Mayor, Josiah Radcliffe, Esq., was made by the Chairman of the Park Committee, Mr Councillor Bradford, for the opening of the Park gate.
The gate was thrown fully open, and the procession made it's way to, in and around, the refreshment room, where the final ceremony of opening Alexandra Park, Oldham was performed
Antique Wood Engraved Print Of The Opening of Alexandra Park In 1865
Alexandra Park Opening, still under construction but nearing completion, shown above with the
Procession making its way up the promenade to the Refreshment Room in the distance for the
final opening and final round of speeches for the day.
Banners and Insignia of the various Orders are on show, together with one of the Bands in the foreground following people resplendent in their finery, most carrying opened umbrellas to help protect them from the inclement weather which had not let up all day.
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