the ten giants
Kings and queens, triumphs and tragedies, victories and defeats. And a fat load of pie making. This is the story of the ten giant pies that put Denby Dale on the map.
The first pie
(is the deepest)
In the summer of 1788, King George III was in a bad way. The monarch who famously ‘lost’ America was suffering from bouts of ‘madness’, now thought to be a symptom of a genetic blood disorder. But he managed to recover later that year, just in time to stop the House of Lords passing the Regency Bill.
And how did he celebrate? That’s right. With a massive pie.
Actually, the second giant pie was made with two sheep, twenty fowl and half a peck of flour. It was baked to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. By all accounts, it went down a treat. Unlike Napoleon’s welcome home party…
Against the grain
To fight the high price of imported grain, and with the disastrous fall in food supplies during the Great Famine in Ireland, the government repealed the Corn Laws (Importation Act 1846). Denby Dale celebrated with its third giant pie.
Pie in the sky
It’s the thought that counts, as they say. But you try saying that to a crowd of patriotic pie lovers when their lunch goes rotten. It’s not easy, as Denby Dale found out in 1887…
To celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, the village had grand plans of making the greatest pie that ever lived. That was until they left it in the sun all day to go bad and had to bury it in a nearby field. So much for good intentions, eh?
The second coming
Swallowing its pride after the fiasco the week before, Denby Dale baked the Resurrection Pie on 3rd September 1887. And this time, the village ladies took charge. It was a huge success, with over 2,000 happy guests full to busting with pie.
To mark the 50th anniversary of the Repeal of the Corn Laws (Importation Act 1846), Denby Dale thought it only right to dedicate lucky number seven in its honour.
It's a... pie!
The Infirmary Pie. Born August 24th 1928. 5 tonnes, 16ft long x 5ft wide x 15ins deep. This ‘little’ terror was baked to raise money for a cot at Huddersfield Infirmary. Of course, this was back in the days when the NHS relied solely on voluntary contributions.
Royal blood, sweat and tears
The eighth giant pie almost never was. Nearly called off because of post-war rationing, it was created to ring in the birth of four royal babies and served to 30,000 people. Sadly, the event was marred by tragedy when four of the event’s organisers lost their lives coming home from London after filming a programme about the pie.
200 years young
There are giant pies. And then there are GIANT pies. Baked on the 3rd September 1988, the Bicentenary Pie was the biggest yet. In fact, Guinness World Records recognised it as the largest meat and potato pie in the world. Served by 170 people and sold for £1 a slice, it took two days and 90,000 people
to scoff it.
The pie to end all pies
5 tonnes of beef, 2 tonnes of potato, a tonne of onions and 200 pints of bitter: how’s that for a shopping list? Baked on 2nd September 2000, the Millennium Pie was the biggest ever at 40ft long by 9ft wide by 3ft deep. It managed to feed 22,000 people, with Barnsley’s own Dickie Bird doing the honours of cutting the first slice.