Chesham celebrates!

Well Chesham did it again! After a soggy coronation on the 6th May the great and good of Chesham town came out to celebrate His Majesty’s Coronation on Sunday 7th; thankfully by lunchtime the sun was shining. The whole town was buzzing, what an atmosphere!

The museum had a stall in Market Square shared with the Friends of Chesham Cemetery. We had some interesting memorabilia from previous coronations, including old newspapers and photographs from earlier town coronation celebrations, some dating back to 1911!

Newspaper covers and other media celebrating previous Royal events. Some of the front pages mention Edward; there is a Jubilee magazine and the Daily Mirror with a photo of Queen Elizabeth and family with the headline Happy

Later in the afternoon we were lucky enough to have a visit from the Mayor Majid Ditta and the Deputy Mayor Wilford Augustus so naturally we had a photo shoot with volunteers from both organisations!

Chesham Mayor and Deputy Mayor standing next to two men and a woman

Alongside our coronation artefacts we were also asking people to fill in question cards to record their memories, thoughts and feelings about the Queen’s coronation in 1953 and Kings Charles lll’s Coronation.

We had a great mix of answers and opinions, here are a few examples:

What do you remember about the coronation in 1953?

‘Standing outside HMV in Oxford Street, in front of a policeman with rows of armed forces in front. The most memorable moment was seeing Queen Salote of Tonga pass by in her open carriage in the pouring rain. Absolutely marvellous day!’ (Aged six and a half at the time).

‘Mum and dad took us up on the bus. The crowd was so deep that we couldn’t see a thing. I remember that you could buy card board periscopes. The message then came across – the policeman said ‘Let the children come to the front’. We saw the whole procession.’

How are you celebrating the coronation weekend?

‘I have a very busy weekend going to the Chesham High Street event which is fantastic. I am now going to my sister’s for a party’

‘We are here from Toronto, Canada. We are celebrating with family and feel honoured to be here to celebrate the newly crowned King and the importance to the British heritage. God bless the King.’

‘Watching TV, going to the street party and eating food.’

Aged 8 – ‘ Coming to Chesham and having a sleepover’

If you had one word for British Monarchy it would be

We had a great selection of words, no rude ones!

Kindness, Amazing, Valuable, Special, Scandalous, Expensive, Irrelevant, Exhausted. My favourite was from a three year old ‘I like him’.

Some of our volunteers also recorded their memories for us.

Tony Eustace:

 I was 13 at the time. Coronation Day, I seem to remember, started grey and damp and at the time I was living with my parents and sister in North London. My father had recently bought a state-of-the-art Ferguson 14 inch black and white television that looked more like a piece of furniture than a TV set. 14 inch was a big screen for that time and we turned it on. There was only one channel at that time, BBC. We sat with the whole family and a friend my parents had invited from Germany, to watch the events of the day.

I had been given at school a souvenir coronation booklet and a small replica of the anointing spoon which I still have. I am not sure what happened to the book. Incidentally the actual anointing spoon is the only piece from the 12th century that has been used at the coronation ceremony as Charles I had sold a lot of the regalia and Oliver Cromwell melted down the rest. The day after the coronation we all took the Green Line bus to London to see the decorations put up for the coronation and a walk around Westminster Abbey with hundreds of other people. Some days after the big day we went to Hackney to see the Queen pass in her car, as she was doing a tour of the London area and also the whole of my school went off to the local ABC Cinema to see the coronation on the big screen in COLOUR!

From Eleanor Phillips, who asked her neighbours…

My neighbour David is 90.  He was just four at the time of the coronation of King George VI. He remembers sitting on his father’s shoulders when the royal couple visited Norwich shortly after the coronation and thought the King was a policeman because he was wearing a naval uniform. And another neighbour – Eileen – who is also 90 says she wasn’t interested in the Queen’s coronation because she was getting married 19 days later!

Pat Kent

 I was 16 and at school in London then. The London schools were each given an allocation of standing spaces on the Embankment to watch the procession. There was a ballot and I was successful. It was a very cold and wet day and we had to be there quite early. We saw the processions of minor royals and other important people, not the Queen, who went down Whitehall, but it didn’t matter. It was still all very exciting.

However, the memory that has stayed with me was the carriage containing Queen Salote of Tonga. It was cold and wet but she had the hood down so that we could all see her and she looked so happy, laughing and waving. We all waved and cheered.

When that was over I caught the tube back to West Hampstead and went around to my friend’s house. Her parents had bought a TV especially. My mother was there, and as many friends and neighbours that could squeeze into the room. I arrived there just in time to see the Queen being crowned and all the aristocracy putting on their coronets. It was very moving.

A while later I wrote to the Queen saying how much I had enjoyed it all and received a reply from a lady in waiting. We also had an Elizabethan pageant at school and all received a special book entitled The Growth of London.

Do you have a story to share?

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When Queen Elizabeth II drove through Chesham

Did you know that in 1952 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was in Chesham? Were you there? Do you remember it? Read about what happened in our blog.

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