Memories of the Coronation

31 May

I was born when a King was on the throne of England, yet I remember nothing of him.

I do however remember the Queen’s coronation on 2nd June, 1953.

The King had died on 6th February, 1952 when the Queen actually succeeded the throne but it had taken till June of ’53 to prepare for all the pomp and circumstance.

I was 6 and lived in Ripon.

My Father was the Landlord of the St. Wilfrid’s Hotel in Ripon which was then on North Street, on the corner with Allhallowgate.

We had a television in the bar, but in those days children were certainly not allowed in Public Houses and it certainly was not the time of  ‘two television’ families so we thought at first we wouldn’t be able to watch the Coronation on TV.

Luckily a couple of doors away in North Street was the television and radio shop of  ‘Arthur Yates’. His elderly mother lived in a flat over the shop and she had a television. Now actually she may have even been younger than I am now but to a 6 year old, she was old!

All of the neighbours were invited and we sat round a 12 inch black and white television set.

I do remember the procession, the Gold coach, the uniforms, the horses.

I do remember the dulcet tones of Richard Dimbleby always speaking so calmly and grandly.

I do remember seeing Prince Charles who was such a little boy,  with Grandma (The Queen Mother) and Auntie (Princess Margaret).  Princess Anne was too young to attend.

I do remember all the ermine cloaked men and the maids in attendance in long white dresses and the shouting of  “God Save the Queen.”

I do remember all the Royal Family coming out onto the balcony of Buckingham Palace, the young children climbing up onto boxes so they could see over and wave to the throng in the Mall.

I remember having to be quiet and whether I actually was quiet I really cant remember.

I do remember eating party sandwiches and sitting on the floor in the flat over the television shop.

Now I can’t say I actually remember what was in the sandwiches but there would be boiled egg with salad cream, (I never tasted mayonnaise until my late 30’s), there would be tinned ham, (out of a triangular shaped tin), there would be tinned salmon (fresh salmon was another thing I had not tasted till my late 30’s)  and there may have been Spam. I certainly can remember the bread though and it was white sliced not in triangles, just cut in half, straight across the middle. I think there was cake too, probably a Victoria sandwich.

I remember the bunting up all over the streets, zig zagging between the houses, across the roads. There were street parties too, although we didn’t attend any.

There were celebrations at school and we were given a cup and saucer to commemorate the occasion.

I have it to this day.

One of these must have been my brother Richard’s, although he wasn’t old enough to go to school at this time, so where the second one actually came from, I don’t know.

I remember too,  going to the pictures a few weeks later, the Palladium in Ripon and watching the Coronation in ‘ glorious technicolor’. It was  Movietone News which was usually black and white but they pulled all the stops out, to show the British cinema-going public, how glorious and spectacular the whole remarkable event was.

Then there was a film made  in 1955 called ‘John and Julie’.  It was about two children who ran away to London to see the Queen’s Coronation. The film used footage of the Coronation and it sticks in my mind to this day.

I’ve just watched a clip of it on Youtube.  So dated but I still got the vibes that I remember from almost 60 years ago.

I am really looking forward to Sunday, 3rd June, 2012, to seeing the flotilla of boats sailing down on the Thames, with the Queen on board the launch which she previously used over many years when sailing on the Royal Yacht Brittania which is now moored at the Ocean Terminal, Leith, Edinburgh and a big tourist draw in Scotland.

This will be a amazing sight!

We visited London for a couple of days  in April last year and loved seeing all the trimmings for the Royal Wedding without actually being among the crowds for the actual wedding day.

                                                    The Mall April, 2011

                                           Outside the Palace April, 2011

                                                              More April 2011

I am looking forward to all the television coverage of the Jubilee Concert from Buckingham Palace on Monday, 4th June, 2012.

I applied for tickets and would have got to London somehow for the event.

I was unsuccessful!

The picnic baskets look wonderful.  I would have loved to be there again.

In all the changes over the last 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has been a constant in my life.

Send her victorious, happy and glorious , long to reign over us.  ‘God Save the Queen’


The memorabilia was kept by my Mum from 1953 until her death in 1992 when I became its keeper.


13 Responses to “Memories of the Coronation”

  1. Margaret May 31, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    What lovely memories. I don’t remember much about it but I do have a commemorative spoon

    • eviesgran June 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

      Thans Margaret. Its lovely to get comments on my blog.

  2. Cybèle June 1, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    what lovely memories. My first British royal family memory is Charles and Diana’s wedding – we happened to be on holidays in Britain when they got married, I was 10 and thought it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen. I have vague memories of the Dutch Queen’s coronation in 1980 but not as vivid as yours!

    • eviesgran June 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      Thank you for your comments Cybele. Really nice of you. x

  3. Ian Winterburn June 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    I too was six and in Ripon in 1953 and remember it well. Your comment about the Palladium was very poignant for me…my late father was the manager.

    • eviesgran June 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

      Thats interesting! How did you come across my blog? Through twitter? What is your twitter name? I seem to remember the name Ian Winterburn somewhere in the past but thats about all. Which school did you go to. I was Susan Potter in those day.

      • Ian Winterburn June 3, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

        I went to Holy Trinity….alas I lied in my first post!!! I was, in fact, 7 years old (almost 8) in June 1953. I shall plead old age as a defence. As regards finding the blog I did a Google surf looking for “Ripon, 1953 Coronation” or similar. I recognise your name too!

      • eviesgran June 3, 2012 at 9:29 pm #

        Dear Ian

        Aw well if you lied about your age, that’s why I couldn’t remember you too well. I went to Holy Trinity too and then Ripon Girl’s High School and then for my final year the school amalgamated with Ripon Grammar School and I went there for just a year. Its 50 years ago since RGHSchool closed so to commemorate it there is a reunion in the afternoon of 14th July at the Grammar school. Quite a few of us from the school year are going and I am looking forward to it. I moved away from Ripon when I was 19 and lived in the Dewsbury area since then. I lost touch with everyone until the invention of Friends reunited and after I added my name I was invited to a reunion 7 yrs ago and have at last got in touch with school friends from long ago.

        This internet is amazing. To think I write a little blog and people are actually finding it on Google! I am amazed.

        Thanks for reading.


  4. janet judge June 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

    so talented sue, another good write up, i am also looking forward to diamond celebrations, my claim is family boat was used to save people from Dunkirk no longer in the family, now on sunday its in the little boats named cordilla.

    • eviesgran June 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

      Ooh that is a great claim to fame you have. I am looking forward to watching the boats on Sunday 3rd June. Thanks for your lovely comments.x

  5. Kiwijo June 2, 2012 at 9:51 am #

    Exccellent post! My first memory of HRH was as in the 70’s (I was about 5 or 6 I think) during a Royal Tour of New Zealand and Australia. Their big black car drove past our house and the whole village stood outside and waved. :o)

  6. gemma June 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm #

    How wonderful! I love this entry and your memories are just lovely and nostalgic and completely heartwarming. The fact you still have your cup and saucer is truly special and shows the care your mother must have had when looking after your cherished belongings. Well done susan, keep blogging, keep tweeting x big love x gemma

    A.k.a. gemsyvivsnew

  7. Clare Porter-Carey (@LitlemouseLilly) June 4, 2012 at 7:15 am #

    Thank you for sharing 🙂

    My Mum got a commemorative spoon.

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