“The Giant Axe has a special place in the hearts of generations of youngsters who would descend on the field on Easter Monday, ready to cheer on their schools in robustly fought football and netball knockout contests. Most would go to the Easter Field, as it was popularly known, armed with an impressive array of eggs, boiled extra hard by mum, who would also paint them in a variety of brilliant colours. They were called pace eggs, named, apparently, after “pacha”, which is Latin for Easter, and were treasured with the same loving care as some people did their Faberge alternatives! Hordes of boys and girls would carefully unpack their eggs before rolling them at speed across the grass, the aim being to reduce any oncoming eggs to a sorry heap of fragments! Great fun, especially if your eggs emerged crowing with success. Then it was down to the really serious business of supporting your school on the field of play. We would urge our team ever onwards, shouting and cheering until we were hoarse.
This was a unique festival, made possible by one of Lancaster’s great benefactors, William Smith, a compassionate, visionary philanthropist who invested so much of his own money into good causes, the festival being one of them.”
Terry will look at the history of the festival reliving the memorable days of youth and every month an article and a series of photos will be added.
Following two years of research through the archives of the Lancaster Guardian in the Lancaster Library I produced a book celebrating the life of William Smith, Mayor of Lancaster in 1891-92. There was never any intention to put the book on general sale as I felt that it should reside in the Town Hall alongside the wonderful portrait of William Smith with other copies being placed in the Lancaster Museum and the Lancaster Library where anyone could arrange to read the book at their leisure. Obviously all twelve chapters can be be read on this website over a period of twelve months.
Click here to read more.