Memories of events in Queen Elizabeth II’s reign
The Queen’s Accession –
Memories of 1952
Viv Alcorn: “I was 9 years old and living in West Hendon and attended a tiny Church of England girl’s primary school. Our headmistress came into the classroom one morning and told us that King George VI had died and we had a new Queen. Then we ‘older’ girls walked to Hendon Town Hall.
“As we stood outside with the crowd on the pavement the Town Crier rang his bell and introduced the Mayor who then announced the death of the King and called out ‘GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!’ three times.”
The Queen’s Coronation –
Memories of 1953
Peter Lansdown: “I took my A level exams in 1953; and was at the Coronation Review at RAF Odiham with over 500 aircraft, including Meteors, Canberras, etc. I remember sitting on the grass (yes, on the grass) watching England vs Australia Test at Lord’s (Hutton, Compton, Graveney, Benaud, etc).
“And, of course, Coronation Day, 2nd June. We got up at 4am, the tube train was packed, and by 6am thousands of people and police were filling the streets. The news of Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay’s conquest of Everest was filtering through – what a present for the Queen! I remember the rain – at last the procession and the Golden Coach carrying the Queen hove into view.”
John Hawley: “My father was lucky in a Coronation Sweepstake for places on a stand on the park side of Marble Arch. My mother, sister and I were thrilled, but less so when we heard we would have to rise by about 6am on Coronation Day. We had a long wait in the pouring rain to see the Golden Coach and the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh pass. There were the ‘periscopes’ people had purchased to get a better view and others doing amusing things whilst waiting.
“I think, as an eight-year-old, I didn’t quite have the sense of history I would have at a later stage in life and I don’t recall any build-up to the Coronation at my school. I do think it was an error for the news of the Everest climb to have been released on Coronation Day, which was wonderful, but it shifted the focus from the main event.”
Viv Alcorn: “It rained all day. All the family crouched around my Auntie’s 10 inch TV.”
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee –
Memories of 1977
Sue Midgley: “In 1977 I was teaching in a secondary school in Herne Bay, Kent. Some of my sixth form students desperately wanted to go to London to be part of the Jubilee celebrations and I was persuaded to organise the trip.
“Having secured their parents’ permission and with the Head Teacher’s blessing we embarked on our adventure. On the afternoon of Monday, June 6th we boarded a train from Canterbury to London armed with sleeping bags and food. We had decided that a good place to be was Ludgate Hill as that was the route the procession would pass on its way to St Paul’s Cathedral.
“Having bagged what we thought was a good spot on the pavement we ate our food and settled down for the night. However, there was little chance of much sleep. Throughout the night the crowds began to grow and the atmosphere was electric with people singing and vendors selling flags to be waved in the morning.
“At about 5.00am on Tuesday June 7th the street cleaners appeared and were greeted with cheers from the crowd. The excitement was building. Later the City of London Police appeared to line the route. They were very friendly and promised to leave a gap so we would still have a good view in spite of their height. I could hardly believe the coincidence – the policeman who positioned himself in front of our group was the brother of a good friend of mine!
“The procession to the cathedral was lengthy; there were numerous carriages carrying foreign dignitaries and members of the royal family. When the cheering rose to a crescendo we knew that the Queen’s carriage was close. When it passed by us we cheered our heads off and waved our Union Jack flags.
“Later we moved to the opposite side of the road hoping for another glimpse of the Queen. We were not disappointed as Her Majesty walked down past the crowd when she left the cathedral and we were very close to her; it was a magical moment for all of us.”
Viv Alcorn: “Standing with a friend outside South Africa House we saw Her Majesty go by in bright pink outfit on the way to St Paul’s Cathedral.”
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee
– Memories of 2002
Graham Bartram: “I was working for the company that was creating the website for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee tour and we had to do the launch in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. We were allowed to drive up to the main door in the inner courtyard, from which it was only a short flight of stairs up to the Throne Room. I set everything up, with the screen in front of the thrones and went to plug in the power – only to find that Buckingham Palace still used round-pin 15amp sockets! In the end we had to borrow an adaptor from the cleaning lady, which she normally used for the hoover.”
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee
– Memories of 2012
Graham Bartram: “I was working on the Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant – I was in charge of all the flags. We had to check the Royal Barge to ensure that her captain could see past the Royal Standard at the prow, and get a special warrant from the Defence Secretary to allow the civilian barge to wear the White Ensign at the stern. I watched from the Albert Bridge, next to where the Royal Barge was moored. It started raining as the pageant began, but I remember Her Majesty and Prince Philip stood for the whole pageant, and the beautifully embroidered seats that had been made specially were never used. The spectacle was incredible and seeing all those flags made me so happy.”
The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee
– Memories of 2022
Alan Jones: “In the New Year our street started to talk about the Jubilee and how we could celebrate it. But, before we knew it, April/May was here and not a lot achieved towards the big day. I selected my committee and so it began. We applied for road closure and insurance. Closure was granted for Sunday which meant we partied hard on Saturday night indoors.
“Sunday was the children’s day when they had an egg and spoon race, sack race, and running races in order of age. For this they all received medals. The adults had their turn with football, sack race, basketball, three legged race, netball and tug-of-war. The children then got their bikes, scooters, anything else on wheels and took over the rest of the evening, safe knowing that the road was closed.
“There was no time to stop for food – it was eaten on the go. By 8pm they were ready for bed, as were the mums and dads. A great day was had by all. My thanks go to my committee and all the friends and neighbours who took part in the Cottingham Chase Jubilee Celebration.”
Graham Bartram: “My sister was selected to represent Dorset Girl Guides at the Platinum Jubilee Pageant on Sunday 5th June and had a ticket for one of the stands and I agreed to go in to London with her and just watch the events from St James’s Park. We both had a great afternoon watching the pageant and I even caught a flash of green as Her Majesty came out on the balcony as we all processioned down the Mall.”