The Story of Heyford: A Concert in 1865 V3C6

A Concert in 1865

The poster shown opposite advertises a concert which took place in the village in 1865. An original of this poster is held in the Public Records Office at Wooton Hall in Northampton and it is to them that we owe our thanks for allowing us to reproduce it here. It raises several interesting points.

The School room
You could be forgiven for assuming that this might have been the Church Sunday School Rooms or the Chapel School Room. However neither of these buildings existed in 1865. Also the poster states that the room was ‘lent by Thomas Stanton for the occasion’. Thomas Stanton was the School headmaster at that time so the concert presumably took place in the School. However the current school building wasn’t built until 1879 so the concert must have taken place in the original school which stood on the site where the playground now is. The old school consisted of one room. Hence the concert took place ‘in the school room kindly lent by Thomas Stanton for the occasion’.

Those who left their homes when on fire
The concert was held ‘for the benefit of those who left their homes when on fire’. In the days of candle light, open fires, and thatched roofs, fire was a real hazard. With no insurance available for ordinary people, fire could leave a family destitute. Had there been a particular fire in the village or was the concert to raise money for more general funds to help fire victims?

The Blind organist
A key figure at the concert was Mr Beaver of Flore, the blind organist. We have a personal memory of Mr Beaver in the words of Bob Browning who was born in Heyford in 1892 and died in 1997 aged 104. Some details from this poster were published in the Prattler in May 1996 and Bob Browning responded with the following letter.

Dear Mrs Hamborg,

Many thanks for the Prattler which I find most interesting. I was interested in the May
issue which reported an item regarding a concert in the School—room in 1865 by Mr Beaver the blind organist.

Well, that gentleman taught my mother the organ and piano. When she was a girl she played the organ at Heyford Baptist Chapel and built up a good choir. When she was married the choir and members presented her with a marble clock and five oratorios which I still have and am very proud of. She often used to tell as children about the blind organist and how he used to walk from Flore to give her lessons. Some of us children wondered how he saw his way home in the dark. What a wonderful thing memory is!

Kindest regards and best wishes,

R. Browning



Extract from “The Story of Heyford” – Local book series published in the late 1990’s

Volume 3 of 4 | Chapter 6 of 17 | Page 12 & 13


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