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Denby Dale Pie


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On special occasions, the people of Denby Dale, West Yorkshire, bake a pie—eighteen foot long, six foot wide, and eighteen inches deep. The 1964 pie, to celebrate royal births, contained three tons of beef, one and a half tons of potatoes, and half a ton of gravy, and 30,000 people had a piece. The money raised built the village hall, known as Pie Hall. The occasions chosen are nothing if not eclectic. The first great pie was made in 1788 to celebrate George III's recovery from his mental illness, the next was for the Battle of Waterloo (1815), and another for the repeal of the Corn Laws (1846). The 1887 version, for Queen Victoria's Jubilee, was found to be bad when opened, and a replacement had to be baked in a hurry. The 1896 pie was a jubilee for the 1846 one, and in 1928 it was to raise money for the local Infirmary. In 1988 they baked a bicentenary pie, and held parades, funfairs, and helicopter rides, and 50,000 people bought £1 tickets to ensure a piece of the pie. A similar custom took place in the 19th century at Aughton (Lancashire) (N&Q 7s:2 (1886), 26).

David Bostwick, Folk Life 26 (1987/8), 12–42;Smith, 1989: 125–9;Kightly, 1986: 100.


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