Today is the 1st of August – Yorkshire Day. It was first celebrated in 1975 when the Yorkshire Ridings Society adopted the day to protest about the historic borders of the county being faffed about with. The significance of the date has its roots in 1759, when after the battle of Minden, Yorkshire troops wore white roses as a tribute to fallen comrades. It’s also the anniversary of the Slave Abolition Act of 1834, which Yorkshireman William Wilberforce helped come to pass. Tykes don’t need an excuse to celebrate where they are from, so It’s only in the last ten years that the day has really entered the consciousness of the county’s 5 million inhabitants. There seem to be more events every year – quite a lot of them involving pork pies (bought from a butcher, not a baker), beer and the Mayor of Wetwang. The border changes still rankle – Saddleworth, for example, now sits just inside Lancashire but always has a defiant white rose sticker on the town’s sign. When Oldham council remove it, it’s back again the next day. In the old East Riding things were worse – the Humberside signs were regularly uprooted by JCBs or even blown up with explosives – events celebrated by local poets and folk singers.
I’m Yorkshire to my marrow, and proud of it. Today I stuck a small flag on the back of my Vespa for the ride in. I’m working tonight so I’ll postpone my celebrations until sunday when I’ll be supping Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery Bitter with my Spanish mate Gonzalo – so, happy ‘Jorkshire’ day.