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Annual Gala of the Rossendale Union of Boot, Shoe and Slipper Operatives

Why this is important?

It was a fabulous way for the community to come together in the years between the two world wars. There were prizes for such things as ‘The Best Sentimental Character’, ‘The Best Group of Juvenile or Adult Dancers, Morris, Country etc’.

There were sports prizes for sack races, 100 yards handicap, relay races. There was entertainment such as magicians, tumblers and comedy knockabouts. There was even a prize for anyone that could make the Hazel Grove Twins speak or smile!

How it connects to Rossendale.

The gala was organised and run by the Rossendale Union of Boot Shoe and Slipper Operatives. This was a trade union established in 1895 to represent the people who worked in the biggest manufacturing trade in Rossendale – the footwear industry.

At its peak (1945) the union had a membership of 9527. By 1995, however, membership had declined and it merged with another union. The gala, in 1926, would have been an opportunity to meet and have fun with workmates from across the Valley.

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