‘Spelling Bee’ Competitions in Broadway in the 1890s

‘Spelling bees’ or spelling contests are a great American tradition, however, as early as 1876 there were newspaper reports of ‘spelling bees’ across towns and villages in the United Kingdom.

In the 1890s regular ‘spelling bee’ competitions were held in the village of Broadway in Worcestershire. One such competition took place on Saturday 12th January 1892 during a meeting of the village’s Congregational Guild. Held in the British Schoolroom, Reverend S. Clarke, conducted the ‘spelling bee’ and members of the Guild were divided in to two classes. In class 1, eleven entered the competition and they were given 20 words that had appeared in a recent copy of the ‘The Daily News’1. Miss Ida Morris spelled the most words correctly and was awarded first prize. In class 2, there were  five competitors and the words were selected from the opening chapter of ‘Genesis’. The prize for that class was awarded to the winner, Mr Arthur William Folkes2.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:

  1. The Daily News, founded in 1846, is famous for its founding editor, Charles Dickens, who remained in the post for only 20 days but continued to write occasional columns for the paper.
  2. Arthur William Folkes (1871-1905) was born in Broadway, son of William Smith Folkes and Alice Folkes (nee Parker). He married  Rosina Ellen Frances in 1897 and died. aged 33, in 1905. His brother died in the First World War and is commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial (see Broadway Remembers).

 

 

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Next Meeting: Monday 19th November ‘The Allahakbarries: J.M. Barrie’s Coarse Cricket Matches’

The Allahakbarries, Broadway, CotswoldsOur next meeting and talk will take place on Monday 19th November in the main hall of the Lifford Hall starting at 7pm. During the meeting Committee Member, Michael de Navarro. will be giving an illustrated talk on the J.M. Barrie’s celebrity cricket matches held in on the village green in Broadway from 1897 to 1899.
Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting and non-members are welcome (£3 on the door).