Coronation Day 1953

Memory Lane: Memories of Coronation Day, 2nd June 1953

Coronation Party Northolme Road

It was through a chance meeting with a complete stranger that we were able to buy tickets for the Coronation. The stranger turned out to be the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and he sold us two tickets at £4 each. Nowadays, this seems very cheap but in 1953 it was almost one week’s take-home pay!

We booked in at a B&B in Sussex Gardens and arrived there about 4 pm the day before – left our luggage and then strolled down the Mall to Buckingham Palace. All the streets that the Royal procession would take the next day were dripping with decorations and packed with people from all over the world. Thousands of people had already taken up their positions for the next day with blankets, sleeping bags and cooking stoves – ready to spend the night on the pavements. We had a meal in one of the Lyons Corner House cafés – wonderful eating places, sadly now no more.

As we had to be in our seats at 7 am the next day and needed to be up at 5 am we returned to our B&B. It was a sleepless night because the B&B was full of noisy Welsh people who sang all night! We arrived in our seats at 7 am and the Royal procession would not arrive until around 1 pm. It was raining, it was windy and it was cold – a typical June day in fact! Our seats were under the plane trees in Piccadilly and we thought the trees might shelter us slightly from the rain but as each gust of wind blew the trees shook their rain on us. No one cared – everyone was happy and great cheers went up when we heard the announcement that Hillary and Sherpa Tensing had conquered Everest. Then the Royal procession began to appear, starting off with military from all over the Commonwealth, all branches of the UK services, and masses of dignitaries from other parts of the world. Then the most wonderful sight of all – the fairy-tale golden coach drawn by eight Windsor Greys with the newly crowned Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. She looked radiant and the cheers for her were deafening. I especially remember Winston Churchill lolling back in his carriage looking happy and content and the Queen of Tonga in an open carriage in spite of the rain, so fat and jolly and waving to everyone.

When the procession had passed, we rushed down Constitution Hill along with thousands of others and found ourselves in front of Buckingham Palace. We were packed like sardines in a tin while we waited for the appearance of the Queen on the balcony. The rain had stopped at last, the balcony doors opened and out came the Queen. The crowd went wild, cheering and singing and men throwing their hats in the air. They would never get them back – the wind blew them all over the place. The Queen made another appearance about 9 pm, so more cheering and throwing of hats by those who still had them!

We wended our way back to the B&B exhausted, happy and full of pride and joy to have been part of this wonderful day.

Bobbie Waddington

HLHS Newsletter February 2010.

The Coronation, 1953

From the HUDC Minutes 4 November 1952

‘A letter was read from Mr K Crompton, 43 Springville Avenue, Hessle, stating it was the intention of the residents of Fishemore and Springville Avenues to hold a children’s party on 6th June 1953, and asked for permission to use the piece of land in the centre of the avenues for the party.

Resolved: That particulars be noted and the letter passed to the Housing Committee for attention.’

2 December 1952

‘Preparation for coronation week

All church bells to peal at approximately the time of the coronation.

A telegram of loyal greetings, and a loyal address on vellum to be sent.

All residents to be asked to wear a buttonhole or posy.

A booklet with a stiff cover to be made to include all celebrations – price to be agreed at a later date.

The engineer to report on a suitable site to plant commemorative oak trees.

A ball to be held at the Town Hall.

The parish churches to be floodlit during coronation week.

A concert and tea to be organised for the old people on the Friday of coronation week.’

6 May 1953

‘Souvenirs for the children, all 3 wards to supply the same thing:

40 gross of afternoon teaspoons have been ordered from Messrs. Thomas Ward, Sheffield, at a cost of 9 shillings and sixpence per dozen, less 3 and a quarter per cent for prompt payment, plus 33 and a third per cent purchase tax.’

28 May 1953

‘Children’s fancy dress carnivals to be held in each ward and Dunswell: £25 to be given for prizes between these wards and Dunswell, amounting to £6 5 shillings each.

The price for the old folks’ teas is 3 shillings per head.

Certificates to be given as prizes for the children’s sports.’

Newsletter July 2010

Coronation Party, Springville