As we’ve all been enjoying ourselves celebrating HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee recently, it’s the perfect time to take a look back at how Tring marked the Coronation in 1953.
The weather spoiled many celebrations around the UK on 2 June 1953 when HM Queen Elizabeth II was crowned. And sadly, Tring was no different.
According to the Tring and District News, the participants in the procession were disappointed when they turned out of Miswell Lane and onto the High Street because the road was almost deserted. But happily ‘things brightened up when the procession reached the lower part of the town, where a number of people waited’.
The procession continued along Akeman Street and into the Park, where the various classes were judged. After the judging, a short outdoor service was held by the vicar and ministers of the Free Churches of Tring, and then the crowds were treated to a display of gymnastics by the RAF Physical Training Display team – who were ‘polished and performed with perfect precision’.
The bad weather affected the children’s sports competition, with few taking part – but all the children were given free teas, which was probably great compensation as England was still subject to food rationing following World War II.
The adult sports were almost abandoned, until a few hardy souls volunteered to take part.
Later an Old People’s Tea took place in Victoria Hall, with every participant receiving a quarter pound of tea courtesy of Alderman H J Jones.
There was a cricket match with a difference – as the ladies played the men (who played left-handed). The men lost by 36 runs and a wicket – maybe the ladies didn’t need the advantage anyway!
Later, the Scouts lit a huge bonfire, which was used to light flares for a torchlit procession to Church Square, where the National Anthem was played.
To finish the day of celebrations a dance was held in Victoria Square.
Richard Mansfield: ‘I was three – I had a crown on at the Woodland Close Party. My brother Derek dressed as a chimney sweep.’
Linda Swinnerton: ‘My scrapbook had a red cover with black pages and we were encouraged to cut out coronation articles and pictures out of newspapers and magazines to stick in them. There was a book with a cream-coloured cover with photos in it.’
Peter Anderson: ‘Over 25 of us crammed into Norman Jeffries’ back room, to watch the Coronation. He was the grocer in Frogmore Street, and the tele in a very large ‘wooden’ box had a very small screen, with a giant magnifying glass over it. We were all enthralled with seeing live moving pictures, even if they were in black and white and quite grainy.’