At Hampshire Record Office we hold documents that provide insights into Coronations, and the ways in which Hampshire people have celebrated or participated in these occasions, going back at least to 1603 – and it is possible that earlier references are waiting to be discovered in sources such as borough corporation accounts. In this post we look at a few of the items we hold that record 20th-century Coronations from a Hampshire viewpoint. We are only providing here a flavour of the material held: much more detail can be discovered in council minutes and account books, parish magazines, local newspapers, letters and diaries, as well as photographs and cinefilms; why not visit our search room to find out more about how your own locality has marked Coronations?
King Edward VII was crowned on 9th August 1902. This photograph (above) shows the lavish decorations in Andover for the occasion. It is contained in an album of photographs collected by Francis Shaw of Andover, which also includes photographs of local celebrations of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, but the letters E and A on a façade in the distance make it clear that this picture relates to the Coronation of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra (160A12/B2).
In 1911 the Coronation of George V and Queen Mary was also marked by local celebrations; at Droxford a tree was planted near the Flour Mills (above), and a photograph was taken before the start of a fancy dress parade (below) (Kenneth Ward collection: 217M84/6, 20).
The date of 12th May 1937 had been fixed for the Coronation of Edward VIII, and after his abdication it was decided that his brother who had come to the throne as George VI would be crowned on the same date, with Queen Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother).
At Beaulieu, children from the village school formed a procession to mark the event (above), and gathered in the cloister of Beaulieu Abbey (below) (photographs courtesy of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu: HPP33/073, 075).
This photograph (below) shows a Coronation fete parade at Droxford in 1937 (Kenneth Ward collection: 217M84/20). The lorry bearing a loaf was that of the bakers Mansfields.
We hold a wide range of photographs and other material relating to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
A few of these items relate to people who witnessed the Coronation processions in London, such as this photograph (above) taken by Ann Vince, later of Lasham, who had a seat in a stand in Parliament Square; she recorded in her diary (below) that she had taken 23 photographs, and she reflected that she could not express in words ‘how wonderful’ the coronation was, ‘as it was more something felt in the heart’ (122A08/A5).
Most Hampshire people would have marked the occasion more locally, perhaps watching the ceremony on a newly-acquired television or attending a street party.
Barton Stacey was one of many Hampshire villages that arranged special events – in this case including the crowning of the parish’s own ‘Coronation Queen’ (60M70/PX6).
As many people did not have a television of their own, screenings were arranged in village halls, or those who had a television and a spare chair might be encouraged to invite a neighbour round, as at Petersfield (above and below)
Will you be attending a street party or other special event to mark the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla? We are hoping to collect photographs, video footage, posters, organising committee minutes, etc to record how Hampshire people have marked the 2023 Coronation. If you can offer any material relating to this event, or to Hampshire commemorations of previous Coronations, we should love to hear from you; you can contact us via the special form at https://www.hants.gov.uk/coronation (please follow the link near the foot of the page) or via this blog.
David Rymill, Archivist