Remembering the coronation

Sidmouth celebrates the Coronation in 1953.
Picture taken from the book Around Sidmouth, by Les Barry and Gerald Gosling.

Sidmouth celebrates the Coronation in 1953. Picture taken from the book Around Sidmouth, by Les Barry and Gerald Gosling.

Archant

As the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee fast approaches we look back at the celebrations in Sidmouth to mark Elizabeth II’s coronation in 1953.

Six decades ago the mood was very different, celebrating the first year of a new era, compared with the reflection of a long-lasting reign in 2012.

But the celebrations were much the same in style, with street parties organised all over town, and the Market Place was decorated with bunting.

Pictures survive from the get-togethers at Arcot Road, Salters Meadow, Manstone Square, Primley, Road, Sid Road and Orchard Close in Sidford.

They are all re-printed in Around Sidmouth, and show despite the hot weather, the Primley Road street party had trademark pessimism for the British weather, and held their party indoors.

The photos also show how well they were attended, with clear enthusiasm for the new young Queen, and the pictures from the party in Sid Road clearly show the celebrations went well into the night.

It was the first televised coronation ceremony from Westminster Abbey, and local halls in Sidmouth installed televisions which enabled locals to see the Queen be crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

As a town Sidmouth named the gardens at Blackmore in honour of Elizabeth II’s coronation, the council having it bought it back a year previously.

Including the large house, outbuildings and land, it was sold for £2,500, with the hall then demolished and the gardens, as near as possible, restored to their original layout.

The Blackmore Hall Coronation Gardens were officially opened on July 18, 1953.

Sidmouth is gearing up for another milestone celebration for the Queen, and residents can only hope they match those to mark the start of her reign.

Images and text from Around Sidmouth, compiled by Les Berry and Gerald Gosling, and The Book of Sidmouth, by Ted Gosling and Sheila Luxton.


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