On Thursday 17th March 1881, Henry DARLEY, 42, attended his first Spelling Bee, acting as Chairman for the social evening, held in the Spa Saloon, Filey.
Juveniles under fourteen were tested first. All the local elementary schools were represented and Florence PICKERING took the first prize and Tom SCRIVENER the second. I have no record of Florence but Tom was twelve-years old, son of one of the town’s doctor. Both children attended Mrs Holmes’ school.
A Miss “BRAWSHAW” of Beach House was victorious in the adult competition, with Mr RICARDO second. Neither is to be found in Filey Genealogy & Connections. Thinking the lady may have been wrongly transcribed, I looked among the Brayshaws and Bradshaws without finding a likely candidate.
The chairman said that they had two more prizes for anyone in the audience to compete for, and he would very glad for them to go on to the platform while the band was playing. Twenty-one competitors stepped forward, but many of them were soon disposed of, six of them coming down with “Oolite”. After that good stand was made, but eventually all the gentlermen succumbed, and only five ladies were left, when some most excellent spelling was gone through, and then another breach in the ranks was made, when the field was left to Miss MacCullen and Miss Latham. Between them the contest was most severe. The two were spelling upwards of ten minutes, when Miss Latham gave way, and Miss MacCullen remained the victor.
“Miss MacCullen” was almost certainly one of the McCALLUM sisters. Lucy Eliza, 39, was headmistress of the school she ran at Clarence House, West Avenue, with younger sister Margaret. 34. Both ladies can be found on the FamilySearch Tree under the name McCULLUM. (In both the 1881 and 1891 censuses, Lucy’s middle name is Martha.)
A good bet for Miss LATHAM is Rose, 28, a Governess working for the NICHOLSON family where one of her charges was Maud. Aged eleven in 1881 this child would later marry the much older Arthur Nevile COOPER, vicar of Filey for fifty years.
During the evening several duets were sung by Miss MacCullen’s pupils, Dr. Haworth, and the Vicar [Rev. Cooper], accompanied on the pianoforte by Miss Latham.
The McCallum sisters put education before marriage but in her mid-thirties Rose married widower Thomas Newton HARRISON in her home village of Tattershall, Lincolnshire.
The Scarborough Mercury reporter ended his piece –
We understand that another spelling bee and a geographical bee will be held in about a fortnight. We hope that all who possibly can will go, as we feel assured that a more enjoyable evening has not been spent at Filey than on the occasion of the spelling bee.
The Spa Saloon would subsequently become Ackworth House and it has retained the name following extensive renovation. This morning it was unblemished in the morning sunlight – all the builders’ stuff gone and with furniture on the balcony shared by owners of favoured sea-facing apartments.
Wave 39 · Filey Bay
The Tide Has Turned
Alan Jones reports on the abuse of Zoe.