Local History Society

 Memories - Coronation, 1953





Photo by Studio Carr of Fancy Dress competitors in front of the 'Swan' on Coronation Day, from Reading Local Studies Library



‘How the Coronation was celebrated in the Villages’

Reading Mercury, Saturday June 6th 1953


On Thursday last week Arborfield School celebrated the Coronation with a display of dancing, singing, physical training and a fancy dress parade. Commemoration trees, presented by Mrs. Simonds, were planted by Mrs. Simonds and Mrs. Howard Jones, who were later presented with bouquets and souvenir trowels. Before leaving, each child was given an engraved beaker.

Coronation Day itself opened with an open-air service conducted by the Rev. J. F. A. Wicksteed in the British Legion field. This was followed by the televising of the Coronation ceremony for 100 old age pensioners at The Swan, by permission of Mr. Durling.

The chief event of the afternoon was the fancy dress parade, which assembled in the village street, and in which "Guardsman" E. Middleton was a topical winner in the vehicle section with his replica of Windsor Castle. After judging by Mr. and Mrs. Fleming, the parade moved off to the British Legion field, headed by an amateur band dressed in assorted costumes, and armed with equally assorted instruments. Here children’s sports were organised, and after tea at the Village Hall there were adult sports, and a Ladies V. Gentlemen cricket match.

The evening concluded with an open-air broadcast of the speech by Her Majesty the Queen, followed by a firework display and a bonfire organised by the Boy Scouts.

First-Prize winners were:

Best decorated house, Mrs. Brown, Emblen Crescent;
large garden, A. Jarvis;
small garden, R. Hamblin;

Children (group), Nursery Rhyme: David, Ian, Christopher Inglis;
Children (individual): John Bull, David Newport;
Adult (group) Family: Mesdames Aitchison, Allen, Bell, Kent;
Adult (individual): Fortune Teller, Mrs. Gutteridge.

Children’s races:
Boys under 5: Jimmy Wilkinson.
Mixed, 5-7: Leslie Totton.
Girls, 7-10: Margaret Saunders.
Boys 7-10: Graham Wootton.
Girls 10-12: J. Barr.
Boys 10-12: J. Patterson.

Egg and Spoon:
under 5: Mervyn Saunders.
5-7: Linda Rickard.
Girls, 12-15: Clare Borgins.
Boys, 12-15: M. Long.


On Sunday Barkham Church was filled with a congregation which included 500 troops from the garrison, at a service conducted by the Rev. C. C. Roycroft.

In order not to compete with adjoining villages the main celebrations were held on Monday evening, but were sadly marred by the weather. However, a fancy-dress parade was held and later marched through the village headed by 14 Gordon Boys’ Pipers, and this was followed by fireworks and a bonfire.

To commemorate the occasion old age pensioners are being presented with a picture of the Queen and a perpetual calendar, while school children will have a replica of the anointing spoon. Winners of the adult fancy-dress were Mr. and Mrs. Wilkinson.

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