Period referred to: Start of the 20th century
Sound category: Social > Citywide celebrations
Title of work: Daily Mail
Type of publication: Newspaper
Author: Daily Mail
Year of publication: 1900
Page/volume number: 18 May 1900
The night of the relief of Mafeking
Mafeking is free! . . . At 9.30 last night the announcement came that the Boers had abandoned the siege . . . London simply went wild with delight.
Fleet Street, which, on ordinary nights, contains only its usual number of pedestrians, was, as if by magic, transformed in a thoroughfare crowded and jammed with an excited throng of cheering, shouting, gesticulating, happy people. Whistles were blown, even the innocent shovel that is used to stoke the May-Day fireplace was utilised for demonstrative purposes.
[At the Mansion House] the Lord Mayor received the news, and the two footmen, in their wild desire to display 'BP' [a large picture of Baden-Powell] to the empty streets, nearly dropped it on the head of an unsuspecting passer-by. One of them shouted excitedly: 'Mafeking is relieved'.
Instantly the cry was taken up on the omnibuses and the people came clmabering down in hot haste to hear the news repeated over and over again. Most of them stopped still as if it were too good to be true. Others rushed off into the byways, carrying the tidings further and further away, and all the time the streets became thicker with people cheering, shouting and singing.
Within five minutes of the announcement so unconventionally made by the Mansion House footman to the policeman below, the historic home of the Lord Mayor was surrounded by a crowd of no fewer than 20,000 madmen, all yelling: 'Mafeking is relieved!' or singing 'God Save the Queen' in all the notes possible to music.