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“It’s First O’ May Tomorn”

Date: 1977

Its First O May Tomorn - George Mainwaring – Rochdale Artist

George's Notes

Evening on the last day of April and the stable is a hive of activity, for everything must be ready for turn-out first thing in the morning because there will be many critical eyes. Old-timers with a life-time of experience will be casting a searching eye on everything.

The first three days of May were always set aside for the dressing-up of horses, with, of course, emphasis on the first day, and there were many men who worked all night to ensure that everything was perfect. Horses were groomed and curry-combed, hooves carefully gone over and dressed and feathered feet given special attention. Red, white and blue ribbons were braided into manes and tails, together with rosettes. Collars were given a new coat of blacking and polished. Hames and other steelwork burnished, and decorative brass work on bridles and martingales shone like gold.

One result could be seen when little groups of old men, well past their working days, gathered in places where traffic (horse-drawn) was heaviest and gave weighty opinion of the work performed.“Sithee lad, how them showlders are put together;‘e doesn’t need ony trimmin’ up as fur as a’m concerned”.

George Mainwaring

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