REMEMBERING THE CORONATION
I was only five years old at the time of the Queen’s Coronation, but I remember it vividly because it was the first major event in my life. The previous year I remember Joyce Gold, our near neighbour, calling my mother, also Joyce, through the letterbox with the words: "Joyce, Joyce the king is dead". Despite my young age, I knew from the urgency in her voice that something dreadful had happened. In the days following the king’s death I remember my mother squatting on the floor to compile a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings.
At the time we were living in Limbourne Avenue, a prefab estate which had been named after the ill-
I was attending Beacontree Heath infant school at the time and we all received a commemorative book Royalty in Essex, a cup, saucer and spoon. I still have the book and I am sure there will be many people who have copies as they were issued to every child in Essex. All of us kids also received a ticket for a free ride at the Coronation Funfair in Central Park – I still have that ticket as my parents could not afford to take us. One thing we did attend was the massive firework display in Central Park which ended with a huge memorable tableau depicting the Queen.
On Coronation day itself the whole family sat glued to the TV set recently acquired by my grandparents to watch the ceremony –one family member was absent from that gathering around the small flickering screen and that was my aunt Doris who was away performing with the Dagenham Girl Pipers.
John Blake April 2012