May Day Parade
Another treat we used to really enjoy was the ‘May Day Parade’
All the big business people, Haulage contractors, Brewers, would take part in a procession from the ‘Guildhall’ the bottom of Wind St. to Victoria Park for judging by the Veterinary profession. Mr. Gladstone Davies, Mr. Stanley Pike, and Mr. Stewart with some of the Elect of Horseflesh owners. Messrs. Weaver & Co., John Evans & Dyer Corker & Bevan, The Swansea United Brewery, the Swansea Old Brewery, Powlesland & Mason were in the heavy class for shire Horses in Pairs in wagons. This heavy class was a wonderful sight in itself, then there would be tradesmens classes of all description, Van horses & even traps, fishmongers and Butchers turn outs. All out in the parade for valuable prizes, such as Bowls and Cups all silver, what a competition to be entered in.
The harness of the heavy classes, martingales, side straps, leading reins, names straps & cockade or bells on the top of the bridle, the mains and tails of the horses had ribbons of red, yellow & green plaited into them. The drivers wearing bowler hats did look very smart and were very proud to be at the head of the horses or in the driving seat the drivers after hours of cleaning. The brasses, buckles, even the chains were burnished the hoofs oiled & polished, the vehicles painted and lined, with the firms name in bold lettering, caused any one to stand and admire (you would not see anything of this nature to day Rolls Royces etc would not have a look in.) Then after the procession to Victoria Park the judging would take place in a big ring, the entrants going around, under the strict judgement of the judges and what a cheer when the Verdict First Prize to so & so Second to so & so, until all classes were judged. On a fine day all the brasses shining and the proud action of the horses was a sight I will never forget.
There were four saddlers shops in Swansea at the time one up by the palace in High St. one in High St. Arcade, Benjamins in Portland St. and Ben Evans who had a full size model of a horse, with a full set of harness on, in a window in Caer St. opposite the St. Ives Hotel.
After writing about the ‘May Day Parade’
There were 3 Livery Stables in Swansea Rossers, Pikes & Bullins. I was very interested in a team of horses it comprised of Thirty Eight.