Bouncing Babies – 1907

The following story appeared on the front page of the Mid Sussex Times, Tuesday 21st May, 1907.

Yesterday’s Show at Burgess Hill

On Whit-Monday Burgess Hill had many visitors, from Brighton, Hove, Lewes, Haywards Heath and other places, and 1,500 of them went to the Victoria Pleasure Gardens, kept by Mr. E. Street. Some were interested in the swings, switchback, roundabout and lake boating, others in the music (by the Brighton Imperial Band and the Haywards Heath Quadrille Band) and dancing, but practically all were determined not to miss the “grand baby show” – that fine exhibition of plump, healthy, pretty, much-loved infants ranged along the stretches of tabling in the great dining hall. As was the case last year, when the show was inaugurated, the “little innocents” – who are musically at their best at mid-night and early morn – came from many parts of Sussex, and not a few of them had a good following of admirers, dressed up as the babies were in all sorts of finery. Why do people call them “bouncing babies?” Surely it is not because they take much of the bounce out of their parents? Listen to the remark of one tired-looking papa (pointing to a darling angelic form playing with its toes and sucking hard at a comforter): “There’s my little lump of trouble!” Trouble, indeed! Now look at that proud mother, walking up and down the room and shewing her little offspring, right and left, to envious women! It is the same child. The “little lump of trouble” has just brought her one of the prizes – a part of the five guineas offered by the proprietor of the grounds – and she is on good terms with the married women who have just acted as judges – “those women understood their business!” she declared – and with everybody else. The entries numbered 29, and the awards were as follows:–

Over six months: 1st, S. W. Knight, Gower Road, Haywards Heath; 2nd, B. Nye, Nye’s Hill, Bolney; 3rd, A. Marriott, Trafalgar Terrace, Brighton.

Special prize (given by Mrs. Ladd, of the “Potters’ Arms,” Burgess Hill): M. Stringer, 2 Beech Cottages, Hurstpierpoint.

Under six months: 1st, R. J. Anderson, Hove Park Avenue, Brighton; 2nd, I. V. Elliott, 5 Camden Terrace, Brighton; 3rd, E. Webber, 19 Married Quarters 2nd Bedford Regiment, Tidworth, Wiltshire.

Twins: 1st, 10s., N. E. S. Woolven and N. W. Woolven, Oxford House, Bolney (two of triplets).

Had the weather been as warm as at Easter there would doubtless have been a great many more exhibits, but as it was the competition was quite as spirited and close as the judges could have desired, and those ladies had no little difficulty in making the final selections. Although Mid-Sussex was well represented in the list of winners, it should be noted that none of the Burgess Hill babies came away with “flying colours.” The town might well and proudly boast of its record-low death rate, but what have local mothers to say of their failure to hold their own with “outside” women for prime infants? They have in this respect suffered “a great humiliation.” All the people who went to the Gardens appeared to highly enjoy themselves, the catering and other arrangements being perfect.


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