Lancashire Wakes Week

Robert Poole examines the continuity over centuries of a tradition in northern England.

There is no mistaking the lads and lasses of Lancashire [he wrote]. They dress like other people, but their speech betrays them. Their utter disregard of conventionality is a striking trait in their character. Every train bring.' huge crowds of them, with huge carpet bags, boxes, and bundle handkerchiefs, which they carry to their lodgings. These people mean business, and intend to play at least a week; in some cases ten days... It is the habit of half a dozen families to go the seaside together, and to take tea at each other's lodgings.

Hospitality, it seems, was another wakes tradition which was carried on in a new way in the resorts. The railways did not 'kill' the Lancashire wakes; they simply transferred it, lock, stock and barrel, to the seaside.

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