Back in Time 1887: Historical answers on the front of a postcard

This picture of Market Square 126 years ago shows Aylesbury's celebrations of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee
This picture of Market Square 126 years ago shows Aylesbury's celebrations of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee

This view comes from a faded postcard I bought recently with no information on the back.

When I scanned the postcard into my PC and enhanced it a date appeared in the bottom right – 1887.

Normally postcard views date from 1900 so it was surprising to learn how early it was. The scene was shot by local photographer Samuel G Payne.

He had been recording local scenes and events in Aylesbury and the surrounding area since the 1860s. This view of Market Square shows the celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee on June 21, marking her 50th year on the throne. It was an opportunity for everyone to dress up in their best clothes and decorate the buildings with bunting. The main attraction of the day was the roasting of a pair of oxen on spits which is what the cloud of smoke is all about.

A total of 1,655 people had bought tickets to attend dinner in the square under two large tents. About 300 were served each time at five long tables.

What an amazing day it must have been. I wish I’d bought a ticket!