The Ball Game and Carnival in Atherstone

Ball Game, 1988
Photo courtesy of Friends of Atherstone Heritage

There were other community things that the factory got us involved in. Every year that I worked there we would sign the ball that would be used in the Atherstone Ball Game. It would get passed around the factory floor and we’d all put our name to it. The ball game was always such a fantastic event. I remember the evening before you’d wander down the high street and everyone would be boarding up their windows in anticipation of the event.

A changing game

The game has changed a lot in recent years though. I remember when I used to go before the big game would start there would be a half an hour kick around for the kiddies and then a half an hour kick around for the ladies. This was much nicer as the actual game could get quite rough and those allocated times meant you felt part of it without risking life and limb. We used to watch the ball game from the top floors of the shops along the high street. It was tradition that we’d chuck sweets out the window when the game was going past. Then all the local kids would flood in and scrounge what was left.

We used to do projects for the Atherstone Carnival as well, one year we made roses out of napkins in red, white, and blue. I think that was the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, everything that happened that year felt patriotic, even the carnival itself. It took ages to make those roses though, they covered the entire float. We were making them for a year before the carnival, just after the last carnival had ended. It was a right celebration though, Bill Maynard came and crowned the carnival queen.

A changing town

The town has changed a lot in my time. A lot of what used to be on offer has now closed or turned into something else. I reckon there used to be about 40 pubs on offer that you could go to around Atherstone, now in the centre there are only maybe two. Likewise we used to have a post office in the town centre but its become something else now. We used to have two lovely cinemas as well, The Palace and The Regal. I still love Athertstone but a lot of it has changed in the time I have been here.

This article was published as part of the Warwickshire in 100 Objects project, part of Warwickshire Bytes.

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