Mother's Day

John Alexander Whitehead founded Mothers' day in England, in recognition of his own mother. The first Mother's Day was held on Tuesday, August 8th, 1916. Below the slide show is some text, which was taken from this pdf of a magazine article from the time.


MR. J. A. WHITEHEAD, of the Whitehead Aircraft Company, Richmond, is to be congratulated upon the successful result of "Mothers' Day," which was celebrated last Tuesday week, when Mrs. Whitehead and himself entertained some 300 or 400 mothers of soldiers and sailors at Hanworth Park, Feltham. It is unnecessary to say that the mothers thoroughly enjoyed their day's outing, for with Mr. Whitehead as host things could not be otherwise; from which it will be gathered that everything was thought out and executed with characteristic "Whitehead thoroughness." Mothers from all parts of London were conveyed by brakes, motor char-a-bancs, and cars to Hanworth Park, where a sumptuous lunch awaited them. After the repast various kinds of sports were put up, for which many prizes were offered. Aviation had its full share of the proceedings, for throughout the afternoon numerous machines flew over the grounds from a neighbouring aerodrome, whilst the event of the afternoon was the appearance of H. Sykes, with Mr. Paterson, on the Martinsyde from Hendon. On arriving over the grounds he executed a number of loops and tail slides, much to the delight of the spectators, and then the excitement commenced. It was originally intended that he should land in a field adjoining the park, but as this field was rather small and surrounded by trees, to say nothing of the unfavourable direction of the wind, this was by no means an easy matter. After several very plucky attempts, Sykes wisely abandoned all thoughts of landing there, and flew over the tree-tops, and we saw him descend out of sight some few fields away. It was not without some anxiety as to his safety that some of us ran across-country to where he disappeared from view, so we were much relieved, on arriving at the field in which he had landed, to find pilot, passenger, and machine intact. A policeman being put on guard over the machine, Sykes was conveyed back to the park in triumph, where he was received by Mr. Whitehead, who made a stirring speech to his guests on the importance of Britain's supremacy of the air, and also thanked the pilot for his flying visit and exhibitions. Then came tea, after which the sports were brought to a conclusion, and Mrs. Whitehead presented the prizes. "Mothers' Day" being also Mr. Whitehead's 41st birthday, the employees of the company made a presentation to their chief, which took the form of a rose-bowl with the following inscription engraved on it:— "Presented to J. A. Whitehead, Esq., at Hanworth Park on his 41st birthday, 8th August, 1916 (now known as Mothers' Day), by the employees of Whitehead Aircraft, whose names are inscribed hereon, as a mark of appreciation of his kindly thought and friendship towards all employees, who wish hereby to express their loyalty to their chief and their intention always to work for the best interests of Whitehead Aircraft." There were the names of about 1,000 employees on the bowl. The staff also presented a silver dessert service, and the complete Bombay edition of Rudyard Kipling's works. Many will remember "Mothers' Day". May there be many other such days, equally successful in the future.

John Alexander Whitehead can be seen in this video from the 0:00:30 second mark.

The following text was taken from a newspaper article. This piece is dated 1917, which was the year that the song, "Down in the dear old home", was penned by Archibald Joyce in dedication of John Alexander Whitehead*.



About a year ago the idea of "Mother's Day" was originated to do honor to the mothers of England by setting apart one day, on which, without any appeal to sect or creed, any selling of flags, or jingling of collection boxes, each might stand still for a moment in the hurry and bustle of every-day life and think, without fear of false sentiment, of the debt he owed his mother.

This year the day will be August 8. The Queen has intimated that she fully sympathises with the objects, and wishes those associated with it every success in their efforts. Queen Alexandra has also expressed her sympathy.

Next Saturday meetings will be convened by Lord Mayors and Mayors all over the country. Already the organizers have been notified of 300 fête days that have been arranged. On Saturday evening at the Palladium a song. "Down in the dear old home," composed by Archibald Joyce, and dedicated to Mr. J. A. Whitehead, the founder of "Mothers' Day," will be sung for the first time by Miss Alice Rees. On Sunday evening at the Palladium Sunday League concert a series of pictures a series of pictures referring to "Mothers' Day" will be given and a short speech explanatory of the movement. Five hundred cinemas will show "Mothers' Day" posters on their screens between the date and August 8.

It is suggested that each one shall keep Mothers' Day in such a way that he may let his own mother feel that she is not forgotten. If she is dead he can do something to help some other mother on that day, whose own sons may be out fighting and unable to give her some little pleasure or greeting. Mr J. A. Whitehead is the governing director of Whitehead Aircraft (Limited), the capital for the founding of which was advanced by his mother. As a tribute to her he set in motion the scheme to remind other men and women of debts they owed their mothers, leaving to their own inclinations their method of payment.

Down In The Dear Old Home, by Archibald Joyce

The sheet music for "Down In The Dear Old Home" has been unearthed. Pictures are as follows.