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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
Your 1950s: The Coronation
Coronation 1953
The Magazine is compiling a people's history of modern Britain - featuring your written memories and photos. We've had a tremendous response, starting with the 1950s.

It was the decade of the Coronation, the end of food rationing and the Suez Crisis.

Few events of the period stand out in the memory as much as the crowning of the young Queen Elizabeth II. At the time, it was regarded as the start of a new Elizabethan Age in arts and culture.

We had an overwhelming response to our request for memories of the 1950s and it's been a great start as we begin to build our people's history in the coming weeks. Next week, the 60s.

Here is a selection of your observations about the Coronation, on 2 June 1953.


My mother put a maypole up in the garden for the coronation and we twined red, white and blue crepe paper round it. Then it rained and the colours all ran. We went up to London in my grandmother's car to see the decorations for the coronation, but all I remember (I was three) was breaking down on the Edgware Road. J Jacques, Guildford

Spam sandwiches, jelly & ice cream and handed a Coronation mug at a street party in a local grain merchant's warehouse (it was a dull wet day).
Bryn Jones, Lichfield, Staffs, England

We used to dance in the village hall from noon till sundown. I remember doing that when the queen was crowned -what a day! She was all our heroes, us young ones.
Chris Hipkiss, Old Woking, Surrey

Winning a Coronation cup and saucer at the Coronation Day sports on the top of Frodsham hill and going on the helter-skelter for the first time. I was five years old
Barry Kimber, Cheshire, UK

Watching the queen's coronation on TV with a room full of people as we were the only ones in the road to have a TV. My father's car which had a slide back sun roof and when I came home from hospital at the age of five having had my tonsils out I was allowed to stand up and try to look out of the sun roof - while he was driving! It would never be allowed now!
April D'Arcy, North Queensferry, Fife

MORE 50s MEMORIES
I remember being taken to my uncle's house to watch the coronation on a very small fizzy screen and not really understanding what was happening. I also remember Union Jack tea towels being hung from our windows and we had a picture of the Queen (a centrefold from a newspaper) glued to the back of a tray and standing in the front window.
Sheila Ferguson nee Richardson, Maidstone Kent

I was born in 1945 and I remember the Coronation as if it was yesterday. Our next door neighbours had a tiny bush television and everyone around crammed into their living room to watch the Coronation. We had a street party and all our mums made food and we had tables down the length of the road. We were all dressed in white dresses with red white & blue sashes and we all had union jack flags. In those days we had some great times. We did not have lots of money as children have these days but boy did we enjoy life and we never ever felt deprived of anything. If only things were the same today!!
Dorothy Greaves, Blackpool

I remember the rain on Coronation Day, riding on the front of my dad's pushbike in the rain to see the parade in the nearest village, then crying when we got home because the flagpole he'd fashioned from a clothes line prop had fallen over.
Chris Goodwin, Northampton
I was born on Coronation Day - my dad made sure of that by taking my mum for a long walk on 1st June. I was born upstairs at 1pm while the neighbours were downstairs watching the ceremony on television. Mum refused to call me Elizabeth Ann as was expected.
Janet Baxter, Rushden, Northants

I am British, but have lived overseas most of my life. My earliest memory was having all the neighbours in to watch something on our tiny screened television. The weather was awful and a few days later we had a huge party in the street. I was three years old at the time, and it was much later when I learned that the event was the coronation of our Queen.
Paul Ashlin, New York, New York, USA

I won the local fancy dress competition on Coronation Day dressed in red, white and blue crepe paper hat and skirt with labels off old wine bottles (I was a Coronation Spirit) aged seven. There was only one TV in the village so very few of us saw it. Toys were a rarity due to small income - I was heartbroken when I was sick on Joey my material teddy bear in red cord trousers and green jacket and he had to be thrown away.
Christine Hewitt, Prudhoe, England

When the Coronation came, I was just 3.5yrs olds, we had a street party in my grandmother's street (Ivy Road, Cricklewood) us kids dressed up, I was a pillar-box, have a picture somewhere, sweets had just stopped being rationed and we had a big parade of the fancy dress contestants. It was a wonderful day, warm and sunny, I believe, lots of cream cakes and sandwiches squash for the kids and tea for the adults. Oh, those were the happiest days when a young child.
Peter Smith, Weymouth

The day the King died I was with my mother and grandmother in Hannington's department store in Brighton. I was wearing a brown woollen coat with velvet collar and a matching cap and we were climbing a narrow back staircase in the shop when an assistant called out: "The King is dead! The King is dead." Everyone went very quiet. Coronation Day, 2nd June 1953, was also my fifth birthday and my family went to my great aunt's place, a Brighton nursing home. She had a television in one corner of the room and so we watched the coronation on TV, the first time I had seen TV. We had a picnic lunch on the lawns outside. The following day my parents took me to London for the first time. I remember seeing the troops marching too and from Buckingham Palace where I believe they were receiving medals. Sometime in the afternoon we were on the Embankment and heard that the Queen and Duke were to pass by and so we joined the crowds massing along the pavement. Being small I could see little and so a mounted policeman who was one of a number keeping us on the pavement leant down from his saddle, picked me up and plonked me down in front of his horse between its forelegs. I had a wonderful view!
Ashwyn Smyth, Billericay

I was born in March 1948 One of my early memories is going to see the Queen in Glasgow after her Coronation. My brother and I were taken from our mother and told to stand in line with lots of other children after we waved our flags and the Queen had gone past we were left to find our mother on our own.(My brother is two years older than me and was a very shy child) we seemed to be waking around for a very long time in amongst crowds of people and my brother started to cry a policeman spoke to us and said he would help us to find our mother he lifted me onto his shoulders so my mother would be able to see me which she eventually did. I don't think people today would allow this to happen to there children in such a large crowd. I enjoyed all the excitement and the policeman was very nice to me.
Anne Armstrong , Glasgow Scotland

I am Scottish living in USA. My memory of the 50s was almost my first memory and certainly my first major disappointment. I was not yet four years old in February 1952 and my father was taking me to see my first film at the cinema. I even remember the name of the movie, "Francis the Talking Horse." Imagine my disappointment after getting all the way into town to find the Cinema closed! King George VI had died and all places of public entertainment were closed in respect. I was gutted! Since my father worked shifts and the film was only showing for three days, I never did get to see it.
Joe Docherty, California Missouri, USA

I remember when I was I think seven (1957) the Queen & Prince Phillip visited Hereford. We were walked from school to the local football ground to see the Queen. It took ages to walk there & ages to finally be seated on the grass. The Queen arrived in an open topped Land Rover. She did a couple of circuits of the pitch as we all waved & cheered. She waved back a few times, then left. I remember thinking what a lot of bother to see someone for only a minute!
Ray Borge, Hereford


Thanks for sending in so many memories. Those which haven't made it to print this time could form part of the BBC's Memoryshare project, to be launched later this year. More details here.



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