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Picture of the Month - June 2013

In honor of the anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, we're looking at a photo of Stratford's coronation decorations 60 years ago.

Helen Hargest

Earlier this month the Nation celebrated the 60th anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd June 1953 in Westminster Abbey. The weather was kinder than 60 years ago, although it certainly hasn’t been a “flaming” June. The Thames river pageant to mark 60 years since the Queen’s accession in June 2012 was memorably wet and cold! In 2013, the British government has introduced austerity measures during the current global recession, whilst in 1953, the country was suffering from a period of austerity following the Second World War. Nevertheless, the people of Stratford-upon-Avon were determined to celebrate the Coronation in fine style!

“Stratford has every reason to be proud of its Coronation look. Crowns are everywhere – big ones, little ones. That on the traffic island at Market Cross is of course the pièce de resistance  – it has been erected by the Borough Engineers’ department.” (Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, 5th June 1953),  This crown is shown in the photograph below, which comes from our Local Collections' Photographic Archive.

Stratford Coronation

The Herald reported the celebrations at great length; “Like millions of people who thronged the Coronation route itself, those who took part in street parties refused to be daunted by either the chill air or the sharp, frequent showers, and not one of the parties was cancelled.” Many streets were decorated with bunting and some had organised fancy-dress parades and special teas for the children. In Shakespeare, Great William and Mulberry streets, “18 dozen bottles of pop” were drunk! In Park Road, a pram race was held and in Bull Street, Mrs. Burford donated a giant, 20 pound cake.  Despite the disappointing weather,  which affected the procession of boats and the firework display in the evening,  it appears that a very good time was had by all!