Seven Sisters School - May Queens




 The English tradition of crowning the May Queen does indeed seem to have its roots in the 19th century and was fuelled by the popularity of Tennyson’s poem “The May Queen.” It seems to have evolved from a practice of selecting a “Lord and Lady” or “King and Queen” for a festival, carnival or just for the day. Gradually women and girls became the focus and the May Queen celebration, by the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, involved the coronation of a local girl or young woman who would preside over events with a group of “ladies’ to support her.

Today the May Queen is a girl who must ride or walk at the front of a parade for May Day celebrations. She wears a white gown to symbolise purity and usually a tiara or crown. Her duty is to begin the May Day celebrations. She is generally crowned by flowers and makes a speech before the dancing begins. Certain age-groups dance round a Maypole celebrating youth and the spring time


By coincidence, over a period of a few weeks, we recived 3 photographs of the annual May Queen ceremony that took place at Seven Sisters school in Tottenham. We decided to create this small feature to showcase the photographs and recognise this annual event that was once a regular ceremony in many schools not just in Tottenham but throughout the country.
This photograph was sent by Vanessa Giles (nee Benson) who once lived in Beaconsfield Road.This was the May Queen event in 1958. Vanessa says she can still remember some of the kids names. She is the flower girl sitting on the right as you look at the photo. The May Queen was Sandra Willets from Westerfield Road

This photograph was sent by Pam Gillespie (nee  Money) who once lived in Nelson Road.
This is the May Queen ceremony in 1957 and Pam recalls that May Days were big at Seven Sisters Infants and the sun, of course, always shone! Mums were expected to provide the dresses and Pam says we loved dressing up.
The May Queen was chosen from the top Infants' class. In my year, 1957, it was Jacqueline Mulvaney (I think she lived on Clyde Road at the Beaconsfield end, overlooking Clyde Circus) and I was one of the attendants (holding the flag on the right of the photo that I am attaching)
My sister Susan was May Queen in 1955 and Susan Pennell who also lived in Nelson Road (at number 6) was the Queen in 1956.

This photograph was sent by Sue Rowley (nee Money) who once lived in Nelson Road. Sue was crowned the May Queen in 1955. Sue recalls that May Dyay celebrations were still going strong when she left Seven Sisters 1973 after teaching there for three years. She can remember Darryl Benson (Vanessa's brother) who was once in the same year as Sue.  


Pam Gillspie can remember that it was a tradition at Seven Sisters school to sing a song very similar to one on the following link from a school in Norfolk:

Article prepared July 2018