There was great excitement at Oxford Gardens School as we prepared for the Coronation.
In my class it was decided that we should make a fabric panel to portray the most important people taking part in the ceremony. ” My ” person was the Duke of Norfolk. He would be wearing a velvet robe, in purple, a colour which I thought quite marvellous. My teacher, Miss Tongs, gave me a piece of wide purple velvet ribbon to work with and I can remember holding it and stroking it, almost reverentially. Touching velvet even now still conjures up the same glorious feeling.
We also learned all about the Coronation ceremony, the regalia, its traditions and symbolism, and who would do what and when, and who to look for and so on.
On the day of the Coronation itself I was invited to our next door neighbours to watch their television as we did not have our own. We all sat glued to the – really tiny – screen and then I was invited to stay to lunch. I remember eating cold cooked cauliflower very, very slowly.
At School we had a fancy dress party, our outfits depending on begging, borrowing and raiding dressing-up boxes and our mothers’ sewing abilities. At the end of the party we each received a small commemorative glass mug, which still sits at the back of a cupboard after all this time.
We were also included in the nationwide Coronation celebrations.
The whole school – and presumably other local schools too – was taken to help line the route of the royal tour of London.
We were taken to a spot near St. Helen’s Church, although I suppose the Church wasn’t there then, and we stood near the junction of St. Quintin Avenue and St. Helen’s Gardens. We then waited ages and ages and ages, or so it seemed at the time.
Eventually, at a given signal, we all began to cheer, and a large car flashed by. It presumably held the Royals but I don’t actually remember seeing them, perhaps I blinked!
My memory is of a very long wait, a deflated sense of occasion and the rear view of an extremely large, black car, a far cry from all the pomp, glitter and ceremony experienced at the Royalty Cinema in Lancaster Road, and certainly not that much fun when you are under ten years old.
Jennifer Godin, May 2005