Monday, March 31, 2008

Easter Monday chair lifting

As promised, here are some photos and short videos from the Easter Monday Chair Lifting in Greenwich. Today has been so mild and spring-like that I find it hard to believe that this time last week we were having freezing temperatures, biting wind and sleet. Full marks to the Blackheath Morris Men for persevering with the Chair Lifting despite the adverse weather conditions.

The event took place at Cutty Sark Gardens, a big open space right by the Thames. The domed structure in the background is the entrance to the Greenwich foot tunnel that goes under the Thames, whereas the white spiky tarpaulin hides the restoration work being done on the Cutty Sark.

Finally, a couple of pictures from the centre of Greenwich. In this one you can see St Alfege's church, where the Archbishop of Canterbury was murdered in 1012 (talk about claim to fame).

And this is a traditional pub, one of many in Greenwich. As you can see, it really was bitterly cold and not like Easter at all.

I've had trouble posting all my videos via Google, so I've combined them in one and posted them on YouTube instead. Click here for more raucous chair lifting and Morris dancing!

1 comment:

Tinsie said...

Chair lifting is said to be an old custom, common all over Britain until a hundred years ago when the Church discouraged it, feeling it to be a parody of Christ’s rising.

The Gentleman's Magazine (1784) says: “The men lift the women on Easter Monday and the women the men on Tuesday. One or more take hold of each leg, and one or more of each arm near the body and lift the person up, in a horizontal position, three times. It is a rude, indecent, and dangerous diversion, practised chiefly by the lower class of people.”

As you can see from the photos and videos, far from being horizontal, the ladies were seated comfortably in a chair, and there was no rude or indecent behaviour - on the contrary, it was a lively and enjoyable event for participants and spectators alike.