Documentary Photography: Diggle’s windy Whit Walk

Documentary photography – Diggle’s windy, wet Whit Walk to Uppermill in Saddleworth 

Large numbers of walkers turned out in their Sunday best for the annual 2013 Whit Walk in Diggle, despite the weather being extremely testing.

Even though high winds and driving rain caused serious problems, most people, children included, refused to let the conditions get in their way. Dresses and band jackets covered with raincoats gave some protection when huddled in groups but once the marching began, it was head down and grit your teeth. How the banner holders managed to stay on their feet holding on to poles and ropes, in gale force winds, was amazing. The photograph taken on Huddersfield Road, Diggle highlights the difficulties faced by the walkers.

See more documentary photographs taken during Whit Walks in Saddleworth here

To read more about life in Saddleworth visit

Whit walks[edit]

The excerpt below is taken from Wikipedia. Click here to read more.

Members of Westwood Moravian Church, Oldham, Lancashire, taking part in a Whit Sunday parade some time in the 1920s
The origin of the whit week processions of “Sunday school scholars” (which are still held to this day) dates back to 19 July 1821 when there was a procession of the children of Manchester to commemorate the coronation of George IV. On that day children of all denominations walked in procession from their schools and assembled at Ardwick Green to sing “God Save the King”. From then on the annual festival flourished and, in the course of time, St Ann’s Square became the assembly ground. The numbers continued to grow and this was moved to Albert Square in 1878.[4] Each Whit Friday, local churches or chapels in the region employed bands to lead traditional processions through the streets. Whit Friday was the “Scholars’ Walk”, or the Church’s Annual Day when the girls would have a new dress and the boys would have new trousers, and neighbours, friends and relatives would give a penny for their new clothes. The church officers, clergy and children carried baskets of flowers or ribbons attached to banners.[5]


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