BADSEY - SELF-IMPROVEMENT ASSOCIATION
The annual feast was held at Mr H Keen’s cottage, on Old Christmas Day, when about 30 members sat down to “good hot roast and boiled”. The president, Mr John Phipps, took the chair, and after the usual loyal toasts, read a letter from the Vicar expressing his regret that he was obliged to be absent but heartily wishing the society success and as pleasant a meeting as the last. The toast of the evening, “Prosperity to the Badsey Improvement Society”, was proposed by the Chairman and responded to by Mr Jones in a rather lengthy address, in which he contrasted the position of the English peasant with that of the artisan, insisting on the great advantages the peasant enjoyed as to the time at his disposal and the nature of his work, and lamented his want of culture, indifference to literature, and the low estimate that was formed of him as shown by satirical periodicals and newspapers generally, and argued that this state of things should no longer continue, and although it was almost impossible to change the tastes of middle-aged men, the young men had now in their villages opportunities for reading and study equal to those of towns. After some practical suggestions as to the work of the society, and the absolute necessity of the young men so perfecting themselves in reading as to be able to understand what they read, the speaker proposed the “Officers of the Society”. Thomas Hall, in reply, showed the difference between the present time and when he was a boy, he having left school at five years old, and in his young days when men and boys met together it was generally to teach one another what they ought not to know. He congratulated the society on the state of their finances, for after paying the expenses of last year’s feast, buying Chambers’ Dictionary and other books, they had a balance in hand of £1 7s 6d. Many other toasts were drunk and suitably acknowledged, amongst others “The Visitors”, responded to by a Bretforton friend, who said he considered Badsey the parent society; they had established a similar one at Bretforton and they came to Badsey for rules and regulations. The health of the Rev T H Hunt was drunk with enthusiasm. Mr Jones, and thanks for his address (drunk with musical honours) called up Mr Jones, who apologised for the opinion he had first formed of them, and his regret that, believing them to be a branch of the Reform Association, he had called their place of meeting a sedition shop. A great number of songs were sung, and the proceedings passed off harmoniously and satisfactorily.