11am Friday 19th July 2019 – Peace Day ceremonial tree planting in West Park
Although hostilities ceased in November 1918, it was not until the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919 that the Great War officially ended. To mark this event, celebrations were held; in Britain, 19th July 1919 – Peace Day – was declared a public holiday.
Celebrations in Macclesfield were held at Park Green and in the public parks, where there were entertainments and fireworks, and an oak sapling was planted by the Mayor and Mayoress using a ceremonial spade.
To mark the centenary of Peace Day, Macclesfield Town Council planted an oak tree in West Park at 11am on Friday 19th July, near the walled memorial garden. Representatives from the Macclesfield and District WW1 Centenary Committee and members of the public attended the ceremony (in spite of the torrential rain), and the ceremony was carried out by four children from Parkroyal Community School, who read a speech:
Good morning. We are the head girls and head boy from Parkroyal Community School and we are honoured to have been asked to speak at this ceremony today. On behalf of Macclesfield Town Council we would like to welcome you all here today to this tree planting ceremony to commemorate Centenary Peace Day.
On 11th November 1918 at 11am the First World War fighting ended and the Armistice was signed. The official end of the war was on 28th June 1919 upon the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and, in the following weeks, celebrations were held across the world. In Britain, Saturday 19th July 1919 was named Peace Day and declared a public holiday. Millions watched a Victory Parade of 15,000 troops march through the streets of London to Buckingham Palace.
In Macclesfield the main celebrations took place on Park Green and in the local parks – there were speeches, entertainment and a firework display. On the Wednesday before Peace Day, the Mayor of Macclesfield presented all the schoolchildren with commemorative mugs. On the day itself, the Mayoress planted a commemorative oak sapling in the local parks. The silver spade used for the tree plantings was supplied by Mr H D Edwards Jewellers on Mill Street and will be used for today’s ceremony. To mark the centenary of Peace Day and the official end of the war, Macclesfield Town Council have arranged today’s ceremony where an oak tree will be planted.
The Council have also sponsored an exhibition called ‘World War One – the Aftermath’ which is taking place throughout July at Macclesfield Library. This exhibition was devised and produced by the Macclesfield and District World War One Centenary Committee who have been working hard since 2013 to organise events to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Most recently poppies have been displayed in houses across Macclesfield where men who died in the war had lived.
We would like to thank both Macclesfield Town Council for funding this tree for today’s ceremony and the World War One Centenary committee for all their hard work over the past 6 years researching and putting together this fascinating exhibition.
A plaque has been placed at the foot of the tree to commemorate this historic event.