In honor of the Queen’s upcoming Platinum Jubilee, MyHeritage users shared their most extraordinary, never-before-seen photographs taken during the celebrations of Her Majesty’s Coronation Day back in June 1953, and the stories of the people featured in them.
The photographs were brought to life using the MyHeritage photo tools, including MyHeritage In Color and the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer.
While the coronation ceremony was held at Westminster Abbey, millions of people from across the Queen’s realms and the rest of the Commonwealth were celebrating the historical event in the streets with family, neighbors, and friends. Street parties included happy feasts, tea and coronation cakes, fancy dress competitions, and more.
Jean Flannery from New Zealand was 8 years old on Coronation Day. She shared photos taken at Bletchley, South-East England, where she used to live with her family:
“My mother made the costumes for the fancy dress contest, largely from crêpe paper,” says Jean. “My costume was ‘Red, White and Blue,’ with a Coronation crown. My 4-year-old sister Carole’s costume was ‘Hip, Hip, Hurray!’ and my 9-year-old cousin Ken was a ‘Royal Herald.’ I felt very miffed that Ken went on to actually win the competition in an outfit made by my mother.”
“The pictures were taken in our back garden, with my Dad’s cabbages and the neighbor’s washing as backdrop!” she laughs. “We all shivered in our costumes, as the day was very cold for June — and it rained too. But it was still a truly special day for us to remember.”
“There were town celebrations as well as individual ones,” Jean recalls. “We went to a children’s party in one of the local church halls. There was a celebratory tea for us with sandwiches, jelly, and cake. All the children were given souvenir Coronation mugs and plates. Flags and bunting were to be seen everywhere.”
“One of my birthday presents that year was a big, round Coronation jigsaw puzzle,” adds Jean. “In the middle was a picture of the Coronation itself, and around the edges were scenes from the Queen’s life. Although difficult, it was a really good puzzle.”
Colin Wills from England was also 8 years old on Coronation Day. “The Street Party was organized by the residents of the Warwick Road Hill on what was then the outskirts of Banbury in North Oxfordshire,” says Colin. “They all moved into these new Council Houses almost simultaneously in 1947, only two years after World War II ended.”
Back in 1953 there were no shops where you could buy or hire a costume, so everything had to be handmade. My Mother in her wisdom decided to dress me up as a Coronation Cracker made with red, white and blue crêpe paper and white ribbon. A novel idea in keeping with the occasion, but not very practical if you want to see in front of you, very fragile and a tendency to tear. Sadly I didn’t win the competition, but did manage to keep my costume intact for this photo.
There was a good spread for us kids to get stuck into like Spam sandwiches, fancy cakes and lemonade. The adults no doubt swilled the food down with Banbury Ale. Such a contrast to a few years before when everything was on ration.
Every building in the land was decked out in the patriotic colors of red, white and blue bunting and Union Jack Flags in anticipation of the big day.”
Pamela Smith grew up in Liverpool and was 6 years old on Coronation Day. This photo was taken at a street party on Cambria Street, where she grew up:
“I am the seventh from the left, at the back row — sitting at the table, wearing a triangular hat,” says Pamela. “My little sister, Patricia, sitting to my right, was nearly two years old, and my 13-year-old brother, Charles, is the young man wearing a tie, three to my right.
“Cambria Street was inhabited by a working-class population,” Pamela explains. “It was a close-knit community, popping into each other’s homes regularly, and the adults sharing a drink at the local pub situated at the top of our road. Many of the neighbors would care for each other’s children and were commonly referred to as aunties. The parents would organize street outings in the summer and hire buses to take everyone to the seaside,” she recalls.
“The preparations for Coronation Day’s street party had been ongoing for months by our community,” Pamela remembers. “I was 5 when the Queen’s father died, and I remember that when the radio broadcasted the notification of his death —“the king is dead” — my initial reaction was strong. It was a very somber news broadcast, and I instinctively knew that it was a historical moment.”
Melvyn Bull was 10 years old on Coronation Day. This photo features him (far left), his brother Rodney, age 6, and other children from his grandparents’ tenement at Adelaide Place, Hampshire:
“We lived in a different area in Fareham,” says Melvyn, “and on the special holiday for Coronation Day we came to celebrate with my grandparents, and enjoyed tea and great cakes.”
Melvyn adds that 4 years later his family moved to Rhodesia, and in 1964, they moved to South Africa, where they still live today.
The following Coronation Day photos from Paula Glazebrook were taken on St. Mary’s Road, Edmonton, North London:
““The coloured photo is my Grandmother Rachel White with my brother David to her right, my cousin Stephen in the middle and my brother Alan on her left,” says Paula.
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Source: My Heritage