Setting the scene for a Coronation celebration

Sixty years ago, as Hemel Hempstead geared up for Coronation celebrations, the pages of the Gazette were filled with advance notification of all the events planned to mark the milestone.

But that wasn’t all that was happening, and anyone browsing through our back pages of May 1953 will also quickly realise that – as Prime Minister Harold Macmillan would claim later in that decade – that most people had never had it so good.

The new town boom was beginning to kick in, and the good times were rolling.

A look at the advertisements is enlightening. Readers were being urged to invest in a new-fangled TV set – there were some available with 12-inch screens, of all things – while a cooker with an eye-level grill was a real status symbol and in an environment designed with cars in mind, a modern saloon was increasingly a must-have.

Houseproud new town residents needed no urging to keep their homes spick and span, and there was plenty of work to help pay the bills – the sits vac columns were filled with opportunities, many of them aimed at young people, both male and female, keen to make their mark.

But the war was still fresh in everyone’s minds, and even though victory had been secured nearly 10 years before local detachments of the Home Guard were still active, and recruiting.