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Bream, the Maypole c.1910

Bream, the Maypole 1917 (42k)

This postcard was postmarked 9th October 1917 but the photo was probably taken closer to 1910. It shows the Maypole with a small boy standing next to it. This Maypole was subsequently removed being judged a traffic hazard. It was about 40 ft high and had a weather vane at the top. W. A. Camm reports that his grandfather bought an old pole prior to 1900. The Maypole was pulled down by the county council on 7th November 1925, being judged a source of danger to motor traffic.

A Maypole was once a common sight in English villages. It was the centre of the May Day festivities on the first day of May each year and was often only set up for the day. The May Day dancing and celebrations were remnants of pagan festivals.
Among a sample of advertisements placed by Bream businesses from 1902 is one for Richard Heighway's Maypole Stores which is the first building on the right. This was later to become an early Bream police station.

The Maypole in the photo was described in a newspaper cutting from the mid 1880's just after it had been erected: "The total length of the pole is nerly 49 feet, of which a portion (about 6 feet) is embedded in the ground. It is constructed of oak, and the lower part is very massive.It is spliced at some distance from the base and of an octagonal form. The four points of the compass appear at the top, also an arrow for showing the direction of the wind. The whole is well made, well proportioned, and stateley, and reflects considerable creditof the contractor, Mr J Dobbs, and Mr Phillips (of Lydney), the latter of whom made the substantial and shapely ironwork at the summit".

Local newspaper 13-11-1925: "The Maypole has long been one of the old landmarks of the place. At one time the village fair was held round it and in the space adjoining and in the writer’s recollections it was the main trysting place of young men and maidens of the village. The county workmen arrived on Saturday last (7th November 1925) and without any ceremony proceeded to haul it down. Its removal has stirred many memories of the happy past and recalled many pleasant associations with the past in which the old Maypole lent colour".

A Maypole inside the school

Above: A children's Maypole inside (Bream Infants?) school.

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