|CORONATION DAY - JUNE 1953
YOU KNOW THE KING IS DEAD ?
I can remember those words as vividly today as I did as a
seven year old child on that February day in 1952 when King George VI died. It was
Atter, who then lived at number 15 Summerhill Road, who stopped and told the group of
assembled children the tragic news. Obviously we did not understand there and then the
full significance of what she had told us but, in the days that followed, it certainly
became more apparent.
From the stark
headlines that appeared on the front page of the following days newspaper, and then the
steady stream of bulletins broadcast on the radio. Since few people had Televisions at the
time, the radio was the focal point for news, music and your evenings entertainment.
I think it was at this time that I first became aware of Winston Churchill. Being the
Prime Minister of the day, his name was constantly heard on the radio bulletins.
months that followed the talk was now of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
In those early post-war years this was a time of great excitement for the children of
Summerhill Road. People were making plans for street parties and special activities at
schools. I have some vague memories of The Festival of Britain in 1951 and
being given a jig-saw puzzle of the Exhibition area on the South Bank in London, but the
Coronation was different with so much activity going on. This was also the time when many
people purchased their first television sets since the event was to be televised live to
at school were each presented with a commemorative mug, plate and glass ( I still have the
mug and glass to this day) and, since the conquest of Mount Everest also occurred in early
1953, I can remember being taken on a party from school to the ABC Cinema at
Turnpike Lane to watch a special film of the event.
Coronation Glass & Mug 1953
West Green Road - Coronation 1953 - Coronation 1953
In the weeks and days preceding the Coronation, Summerhill Road took on a distinct carnival atmosphere. There were flags and bunting decorating most houses and streams of flags stretched across the road. Like many kids living in Summerhill Road at the time, my brother Ray, sister Chris and myself were badgering our parents to buy the flags and decorations with money they could ill afford to spend, although we never appreciated this fact at the time. But the end results were splendid and very worthwhile for the whole road was ablaze with colour and you could feel the buzz of excitement in the air
A Children's Scrap Book for the Coronation in 1953
There were a
number of different street parties taking place in various parts of Summerhill Road, but
our family attended the party at the house of the Potters who lived at
number 22. They had had a Television set installed and I can remember between 30-40 people
peering to get a view of a ghostly picture displayed on a small nine-inch screen. This was
the first time we had seen so many members of the Royal family and numerous Kings and
Queens from across the world. It was an occasion for a display of public pageantry and
since the war.
CORONATION PHOTOGRAPHS - WEST GREEN ROAD TOTTENHAM
It was wonderful to see the decorations and bunting along West Green Road along with the shop window displays and many peoples houses.
As I recall
it was a damp grey day, but once they had cleared away the table and chairs from the
party, there were games and music out in the road. There were also races planned for both
children and adults and I can remember Bob Corbyn from number 16 coming a nasty tumble in
his race resulting in some terrible cuts and grazes.
DAY 1953 - BACK GARDEN 22 SUMMERHILL ROAD
Back Row: Billy Potter, Fred Potter, Alf Corbyn, George Potter, Dickie Corbyn
Bottom Row: Connie Corbyn, Ted Glynn, Bobbie Corbyn, Tommy Corbyn, Bill Potter
|It's amazing to think that we have since had both the Silver Jubilee in 1977 and the Golden Jubilee celebration in 2002. Having moved from the area over 36 years ago nothing can erase the evocative memories of the Coronation in 1953. I know that the recent Golden Jubilee celebrations were very successful and its pleasing to know that the friendliness and neighbourly spirit of the residents of Summerhill Road continues to this day !
|SUMMERHILL ROAD - GOLDEN JUBILEE PHOTOGRAPHS (2002)
|SUMMERHILL ROAD - DIAMOND JUBILEE PHOTOGRAPHS (2012)
TELEVISION SERIES - THE REEL HISTORY OF BRITAIN
In April 2011 I was invited by the BBC to attend the filming of a programme presented
by Melvyn Bragg relating to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I was asked to recall my
memories of the events leading up to the Coronation and how it was celebrated in Tottenham.
Films of the Coronation were shown in a Mobile Cinema parked on Horseguards Parade, London
Article Written by Alan Swain 2002
Updated and redesigned Feb 2022 to include Golden and Diamond Jubilee Photographs 2012
Updated to include Coronation Decorations West Green Road and 'Reel History of Britain' April 2023