Jubilee mirrors town’s efforts of 60 years ago

12-501       Old jubilee pics, Hemel Hempstead.
12-501 Old jubilee pics, Hemel Hempstead.

This week’s Jubilee celebrations echo the events of 60 years ago when the Queen ascended to the throne.

The following year, in 1953, when her coronation took place in front of thousands in London, the borough of Hemel Hempstead held its own celebrations.

12-501       Old jubilee pics, Hemel Hempstead.

12-501 Old jubilee pics, Hemel Hempstead.

A timetable of events was included in a souvenir programme printed for the celebrations spread over several days.

These included a special united coronation service at St Mary’s Church in High Street on Sunday, May 31.

A peal of bells rang from the church on Tuesday, June 2 to start the main day of events.

Later activities included a carnival procession through the town leading to Gadebridge Park.

The Queen’s speech was then broadcast for all to hear and a bonfire was lit afterwards.

This was followed by a special coronation display of fireworks.

In a foreword of the programme mayor and bailiff Alderman H. Christopher said: “The coronation of a King or Queen of England is always a very great and proud event in the history of this nation but the coronation which we are now celebrating, the coronation of Her Gracious Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, is of particular moment to all the people of Hemel Hempstead because the visit of Her Majesty to this borough, on July 20, 1952, is still fresh in our memory and her charm and grace on that occasion endeared her to us all.”

As Mr Christopher said, the Queen had visited the town the previous year meeting a range of dignitaries.

In the main picture, taken in Hemel Hempstead, the Queen can be seen greeting William Clegg, who was the chief estates officer for the development corporation.

He oversaw the first part of the new town development.

Ronald Oblein, of Warners End Road, is the son-in-law of Mr Clegg and kindly supplied the photograph.

The programme of events in Hemel Hempstead to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation has been supplied by Pam Fleming and her husband Neil who now live in Highland Drive.

Pam, who is now 67 and lived in Adeyfield in 1953, remembers attending a street party and coming first in the fancy dress competition.

Neil, who is now 68, lived in Markyate at the time and managed to attend three parties for the coronation.

The programme was passed to Pam and Neil from Neil’s mother Elsie Fleming, who was the chairman of the Hemel Hempstead rural district council.