On February 6th 1952 King George VI died in his sleep and Queen Elizabeth inherited Great Britain and the Empire. She was coronated on a rainy and damp June 2nd at Westminster Abbey as protocol dictated and as almost all her predecessors since 1066. It was a ceremony with all the pomp and circumstance that only the British  can achieve.

I lived in a suburb of Manchester where bomb damaged buildings still stood and empty spaces along the streets bore witness of the airborne , deadly, nightly visits by the Luftwaffe.

I recall that in 1953 – sweet rationing ended

All rationing ended in 1954 – 9 years after the war ended:

On June 2nd. all the new Monarchs subjects were granted a days holiday so my Dad decided to go for a day trip to Chester. The journey started on a No. 62 bus

[ok the pic shows a service 53 – but lets not get too picky!].

Its route passed St Mary’s Church along Jackson street, passed the famous Hulme Hippodrome then onto City road. It then turned off Mosley street at the rear of the Midland hotel, outside the concourse to Central Station.

The train eventually arrived in Chester after passing through the Cheshire countryside. The cows stood in groups next to hedgerows and beneath overhanging elm tree branches. A sure sign that forwarned rain – so me Dad said. Mother sat opposite him and rolled her eyes!

One for next weeks York train fest enthusiasts – Chester General Station

It was raining when we arrived – a steady Manchester drizzle had followed us. 

Eastgate, Chester [On a sunny day.]

We walked the ancient streets and memory tells how people gathered at the windows of the few radio and tv dealerships, watching the pictures from Westminster of the coronation. On screens incidently no larger than modern day laptops!  

We ate a heart dinner at an anonymous cafe before returning home – why do journey’s home appear to take less time than the outward journey?

The above pictures are from the vast internet reservoir but these picture below appeared in the national press on the 3rd June 1953 and they remain in my own memory banks.


Tenzing Norgay on the summit of Mt Everest. Photograph taken by [Sir] Edmund Hillary, 29 May 1953.

Queen Salote of Tonga

Who rode in an open carriage despite the rain thus winning the hearts of the sodden wellwishers on the route..

This glimpse from the past is of course a year early

coronation coach june 2 1953

but hey it might interest someone .. somewhere.


4 thoughts on “CORONATION DAY: 2 JUNE 1953

  1. I remember being there, sat on my fathers shoulders. We lived in married quarters in Cricklewood. Some of my earliest memories.
    Interesting post Laird. But wouldn’t go there today, just to stand on a bridge in the rain, to watch someone pass by who doesn’t even know i exist !!!

  2. An interesting little snippet Laird and I do like all the photographs used. I was only three and lived in Rhodesia at the time, so don’t remember much of the coronation. But one thing still sticks in my memory and that was of everyone singing God Save the Queen at the start and end of the movie showing in the Cinema.
    Keep well.

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