Sunday, June 02, 2013

In a golden coach

What were you doing on 2 June 1953? I was an over-excited seven year old, crammed with dozens of other children into a neighbour's living room, watching the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on a nine inch television screen. The  country hadn't seen such festivities since VE Day, eight years earlier. Our streets were decorated with red, white and blue bunting, interspersed with gold coloured cardboard crowns. We had street parties and games and the whole world seemed to be a happy, fun-filled place, especially as sweet rationing had ended a few months earlier and we children were given bags of sweets and chocolate.

The young queen brought hope to the nation still suffering the after-effects of war. The ubiquitous song of that time sounds corny now but it really was on the lips of everyone from schoolchildren to bus conductors, shopkeepers and roadsweepers.

  Of  course, the television coverage that we watched was in black and white and the tv screen was tiny but it was still magical. We were to see the splendid colourful spectacle in the cinema later. 


Coronation fever seemed to last for months. Our school year always ended with a "Field Day." We walked in procession with brass bands, banners and morris dancers to a field several miles away where our parents had been busy erecting stalls for the sale of cakes, fizzy drinks and ice cream. There were swing boats and roundabouts, coconut shies and hoopla. We had dancing displays and races; it was one of the highlights of our year. My class was chosen to present a pageant of the coronation. The golden coach was replaced by a flatbed trailer. Bernadette Beasley was chosen to be the Queen and I was one of her six ladies-in-waiting. (That's me standing behind her majesty)

The pictures, like me, show signs of their age but they bring back very happy memories of a lost time of simple, innocent enjoyment. I lost touch with all the other children in these photos when I moved to a different school but I know what the real queen has achieved in the 60 years of her reign; few people can match her devotion to duty - all her promises fulfilled. 

10 comments:

  1. 'What were you doing on 2 June 1953?'

    At 4 weeks old I expect I was having my nappy changed. LOL

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    1. I guess you don't remember much about it then, young Cath!

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  2. Hi Maureen - lovely memories. I can go one better than Cath. I came into the world as the queen was being crowned. For a while, being a 'Coronation Baby' made me a (very tiny) local celebrity and I had my photo in the local paper with half a dozen others. My sister (6 at the time) has just sent me her recollections - a very different time - and we're planning a trip to WEstminster Abbey this summer as our own celebration.
    Ali B

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    1. Happy special birthday, Ali. I hope you have a wonderful time visiting the Abbey (and some nice eatery, I trust!). I expect my memories are tinged with the gold dust of childhood and distance but it does seem like a very different world that we lived in back then.

      Have you seen Andrew's post on the Trading Post on the dabbler? If you haven't been yet, we really must make a date to meet up there.
      Maureen

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  3. How did I miss this Sunday? I just came over to say thank you, thank you! Oh happy day, my Slightly Foxed quarterly just arrived! I've read the spring edition all through, some twice and have been watching the mail for this one. Lots of good reading for bed tonight. Thank you, dear friend.

    And delightful post. I vividly remember watching the black and white t.v. broadcasting of the Coronation. I was enthralled by that young woman. Still am. I watch everything on our Public Broadcasting TV that is about her. Read many books and devour the pictures, especially when her corgis are in the picture with her. Watched every movie. Her part at the Olympics was spectacular!

    Thank you, dear friend! I hope the weather there is nice and good gardening days and that your husband's back is getting better,
    Dewena

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    1. My copy has arrived, too, Dewena. I'll be reading it in bed tonight. I'm so glad that you like it as much as I thought you would.

      We have had a lot of tv programmes about the Coronation and it has been good to reminisce. I have noticed that the corgis have not been in evidence in recent years. They used to feature prominently in photographs. Perhaps they are too old now or maybe young ones are camera shy!

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  4. I love this post because everything about it is what I find charming about your country. <3 Also, I can relate to your "A Bit of a Grumble" post. A few months back, I had been waiting for a package I had to sign for. I received a notification of when it was coming (so I knew to be home). No package. Rather, a sticker on the door saying "Sorry, we tried to deliver, but you weren't home. We'll try again tomorrow, same time." I WAS HOME!!! Next day, no package. Sticker, "This is the second time we've tried to deliver. If you are unavailable tomorrow, you will have to drive to our delivery station in the city to pick it up." Third day. NO PACKAGE. STICKER. "Since you are unavailable, you have to come to us." NO I WON'T!!! I wish I could say there was a kind voice on the other end of my phone call. There wasn't. Day four, UPS man actually knocked this time. All's well that ends well, I suppose. :)

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    1. I suppose pageantry is the one thing that we still do well, Jodi.

      My sympathy for your experience with the parcel non-delivery. I was walking down the road where my daughter lived in London one day when I saw the delivery van parked outside her house. The mail man was walking from one house to another pushing "You were out..." cards through letter boxes without ringing any doorbells or taking any parcels from the van. I think it must be a widespread activity - my apologies to any honest delivery people who might see this!

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  5. Maybe 'corny' but still the song made me cry. I like innocence without cynicism and sarcasm. I love the field day activity. Think of walking on and on like that. You lived in the Miss Read books. Lucky. Really.

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  6. Hello Maureen
    Just dropped in to say hello - lovely to see you today. Hope all is well and you have something to say soon
    Cathy

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I love to read your comments and promise that I will reply as soon as I can leave my garden, sewing room or kitchen!