Todmorden's Mayor and Mayoress 1950-1951

On Friday 26th May 1950 Edwin Boothman was appointed Mayor of the Borough of Todmorden for a twelve-month term. This page gives details of the Mayoral Year in the form of photographs, press reports and invitations and other formal documents. An album containing these and other photographs has been donated to Todmorden  Library - a scanned copy can be accessed from the link at the bottom of this page.

These first two formal photographs show Edwin and Bertha and Edwin with his father William Boothman. Sadly Edwin’s mother Sarah had died in 1949 and so was unable to enjoy her son’s big year.

26th May 1950 - Mayor’s Day

After a nomination dated 2nd May 1950 (see above), the Mayor was officially appointed at a Council meeting on the morning of Friday 26 May 1950. An article from the front page of the Todmorden News and Advertiser entitled "Good Neighbourliness in the Town" describes the Mayoral Inaugural Ceremony and reports Edwin’s speech almost verbatim. The original typescript of the speech with hand edits, which was presumably used by Edwin on the day is available here - Edwins speech.

This short press cutting entitled Mayor Making provides a summary.

MAYOR-MAKING - As emphasised by the new Mayor Of Todmorden, Coun. Boothman, at the banquet held last Friday, no question of wealth or position influenced the appointment of an individual to that high office but it was due solely to our democratic system whereby a man was chosen by the electorate to represent them on the Council. Todmorden Town Council chooses its Mayors in order of seniority of service, a method with which everyone can agree, and it avoids that party bickering which is seen on some Councils, The success of this method can be seen in the quality of men elected, for Todmorden has almost invariably been served with distinction, and there is no doubt that Coun. Boothman made a good impression on those who were fortunate enough to be present at last Friday's functions. He claims he is no great orator but he has a sincerity of purpose, which will endear him to the hearts of the ratepayers. At the Council meeting Coun. Boothman appealed for good neighbourliness and an absence of selfishness in our relations with each other. As has been the custom in recent years, a number of schoolchildren were present, and the Mayor tried to educate them in the constitution of the Council. The ceremony of Mayor-making, with its old-time pageantry, would no doubt be full of interest to the children who would appreciate the splendour of the Mayor's robes and chain of office, but they would probably find it difficult to follow the routine procedure of 'the Council business which followed.

26th May 1950 - The Mayoral Banquet

In the evening of Friday 26th a banquet was held in the Town Hall, when the Mayor and Mayoress entertained a large number of guests representing the civic and business life of the borough. 

Among those present at the banquet were Edwin’s father, William Boothman and two of Edwin & Bertha’s children - Muriel (accompanied by her husband Dave) - see the invitation below) and her brother John.

There was an extensive report in the Todmorden News & Advertiser (Tod paper) entitled “Britain’s Survival Depends on her People” giving full details of all the speeches.

Alderman P Sutcliffe who proposed the toast to the Mayor referred to a previous item that had been in the Tod paper under the headline “Cornholme Provides New Mayor”. This piece was published when Edwin’s appointment was announced (there is no date on the clipping) and gives a detailed biography.

28th May 1950 - Mayoral Sunday

The following Sunday - 28th May was Mayoral Sunday with a procession from Portsmouth Recreation Ground to Vale Baptist Church. An account of the event was given in the local paper: Mayoral Sunday


The Mayor-Elect (Councillor G. E. Boothman) Invites members of H.M. Forces, the Police and Special Constabulary, County Fire Service, members of Public Bodies, Societies and Organisations and Burgesses generally to meet him at PORTSMOUTH RECREATION GROUND, on SUNDAY, 28th MAY, 1950, at 9.30a.m. so as to leave there at 9.55 a.m. prompt to join the Mayoral Procession to VALE BAPTIST CHURCH for Divine Worship at 10.15 a.m. For the convenience of those attending special buses will run leaving Eastwood and Walsden at 9.00 a. m. and Todmorden at 9.11 and 9.30 a.m. In the evening of Sunday, 28th May, the Mayor-Elect will attend CASTLE GROVE METHODIST CHURCH for Evening Service at 6.00 p.m., and will be pleased to meet at the Church entrance any persons who may care to accompany him on that occasion.

  June 1950 - Toc H Visit

This press cutting - probably from Tod paper - describes the visit of a group of inner city children.


Over 50 children from the streets of Hyde, Manchester, and Dunkinfield, made up the party entertained by the Walsden branch of Toe H last Saturday. The children; chosen by the Family Service unit of Manchester and Salford and the Mayoress of Dukinfield, travelled to Todmorden by coach and were taken to Centre Vale Park. They were accompanied by members of the Dukinfield branch of Toc H, with whom Walsden has collaborated in organising the trip. The children, unused to spaces of grass and wooded hillsides, explored the park, and to their delight, discovered a bird's nest containing eggs.

The Mayor and Mayoress (Coun. G. E. Boothman, J.P., and Mrs. Boothman) received the party at Roomfield School canteen, where they were entertained to tea. In a short address of welcome, the Mayor spoke of the work of members of Toc H and their endeavours and ideals, "to love widely, to build bravely, to think fairly and to witness humbly"; ideals of fellowship which resulted in service to the community such as that visit to Todmorden by children who, through no fault of their own, are denied some of the simple pleasures of life.

At the conclusion of the Mayor's address, Patricia, a 9 year-old member of the party, who had previously been impatiently waiting “the Lord Mayor's speech" at her own request, and fortified by the presence of Mr. John Whitehouse, chairman of the Dukinfield branch of the Toc H, strode up to the Mayor and thanked him for a happy time and a lovely tea. The Mayoress added another treasure to the child's memory chest when she surprised her with a kiss.

The rest of the evening was spent in games and competitions in the canteen. Chance remarks overheard by members of the Toc H intimated that few if any had ever been near to anyone approaching the dignity of Mayor, and the Mayoral chain induced one young member to ask if the gentleman was the King.

July 1950

This photograph shows Edwin presenting prizes at some event. On the back is written “July 8th 1950 Tod Park”. There are no photographs in the album for that date nor any paperwork so the nature of the event is unknown.

Other July events that are in the album (avaialable from the link at the bottom of this page) include a Lancashire v Yorkshire boys cricket match on 1st July (photos 10 & 11), a presentation to Mrs Lowe at Cornholme School on 13th July (12) and some civic function at Ossett on 16th July (13).

August & September 1950 - Princesses Royal

This letter from Clarence House dated 15th August is in reply to the telegram sent by the Mayor to congratulate Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on the birth of their second child Princess Anne (born 15th August 1950) - later to become Princess Royal. 

The invitation to the service at York Minster also involved a contact with Royalty as the service was in the presence of the current Princess Royal - who at that time was Princess Mary - only daughter of King George V.

(Princess Royal is a style customarily (but not automatically) awarded by a British monarch to his or her eldest daughter. The style is held for life, so a princess cannot be given the style during the lifetime of another Princess Royal - which is why Queen Elizabeth II never held the title). There have been seven Princesses Royal in total. The currently holder of this title is The Princess Anne, Princess Royal, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II who received the title in 1987.)

Christmas 1950

There were two different formal Christmas cards from the Mayor - one from the Town Hall and one from the Mayor’s Office. The only Xmas celebration recorded of is this Mayoress's Old Tyme Dance on 15th December

1951 - Events - February - April

Among the events of 1951 were balls in Halifax (see album photo) and Barnsley in February, an Old Time Dance and the visit of Sir John Cockcroft in March (see album photos) and a major event in Harrogate on 10th April when the Princess Royal was given Freedom of the Borough. The latter event obviously involved planting a tree for the borough of Todmorden as the photographs below are dated on the back April 10th 1951 with the signature of E Horsefall. He was the Mayors Assistant and responsible for all press articles and photographs.

The programme from a dinner in Batley in April 1951 is interesting as it has the names and signatures of all the attending worthies.

(The Princess Royal was also styled Princess Mary of York and lived at Harewood House in Leeds until her death in 1965 - hence the connection with Yorkshire towns.)

1951 - Festival of Britain May

Edwin & Bertha were invited to London for the 1951 Festival of Britain celebrations - to a service of dedication at St Pauls on 3rd May and the South Bank Exhibition on 4th. This would have been a major event, especially for Bertha who had rarely travelled beyond Yorkshire.

3rd May 1951: King George opens Festival of Britain

King George VI has inaugurated the Festival of Britain and opened the Royal Festival Hall on London's South Bank. The festival has been organised to mark the centenary of the Great Exhibition of 1851. It is intended to demonstrate Britain's contribution to civilisation, past, present, and future, in the arts, in science and technology, and in industrial design. After a special service attended by the King, Queen Elizabeth, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret and other senior members of the royal family, King George declared the festival open in a broadcast from the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.

After the devastation and resulting austerity of the war years, the Festival of Britain aimed to raise the nation's spirits whilst promoting the very best in British art, design and industry. Some criticised the event as a waste of public money but the South Bank exhibitions attracted 8.5 million visitors in five months. The Millennium Dome built some 50 years later pulled in 6.5 million in the 12 months of its controversial existence. Of the various buildings constructed on the South Bank site such as Skylon and the Dome of Discovery, only the Royal Festival Hall remains. But other arts venues have sprung up around it, namely the National Film Theatre (1952) and the Royal National Theatre (1963), Hayward modern art gallery (1968).  A year after the festival opened, King George died and was succeeded by his eldest daughter Elizabeth.


The final programme is from a reception on 1st June at Longford Hall, Stretford (in Greater Manchester). This barely fell under the remit of Edwin’s Mayoral Year as he would have handed over to the new Mayor, Fred Fielden at the end of May.