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Saturday, 2 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee

On this day 59 years ago the Coronation of our Queen took place - she acceded to the throne the year before on 6th February 1952 hence the Diamond Jubilee takes place this year but we are to celebrate it on the date of the Coronation rather than in February (hardly conducive to street parties in the UK!)

I still have the local paper from back then and thought you might be interested to see bits of it.  I was living at my grandfather's in the Forest of Dean when the coronation took place and if you click on Childhood in my list of post headings you will see more about life back in the 50s should you be interested.

The weather forecast for this weekend is for cloudy weather with the possibility of showers and not as warm as it has been this past week - not so different to how it was on Coronation day - nothing much changes and here in the UK we are used to having "rain on our parades"!!! (If you click on the photo you should be able to read the little article)

I couldn't help but notice how different this paper is to the local paper (The Western Gazette) this week which I show below.

How different it looks for a start we now have colour photography - it's odd how little colour we had in our lives back then even our homes seemed to be furnished in shades of beige and brown, paintwork was often brown or dark green and if not then a deep cream and things got so dirty too what with coal fires and so on.

The layouts in our magazines and papers are now so different and far less formal. We have different typefonts and are much more creative.

This article interested me and brought back many memories.  It speaks about living conditions back in 1952 and reminds us that Britain was still recovering from the war - I remember how much bomb damage was still in evidence then.  We still had food rationing and tea didn't come off ration till October that year - imagine us not having unlimited tea!  We Brits to whom tea is a national drink and the answer to all life's problems having only limited supplies!  The paper says that our standard of living back then was what would now be regarded as Third World - only 1 in 3 households had a bath, 1 in 20 had no piped water - young people today probably cannot imagine it.  Only 10 percent of homes had a telephone installed (and those were often a shared line) Who remembers having to go to the telephone box and put your coins in and then press button A to speak to anyone - remember too always pressing button B just in case the previous caller hadn't got through and had forgotten to get their money back?

Notice the price of a day trip to London by train - only 26/3 which would be about £1.32 in decimal coinage.  Now you'd be lucky to do it for less than about £40!  This brought back memories of travelling by train though and how filthy it always was.  Trains being steam driven in those days one always arrived feeling dirty.  London was a dirty place too what with all the smoke belched out by factories and homes whose only form of heating was probably a coal fire.  I remember as a teenager in the early 60's visiting my aunt who lived in London and how dirty I got after a day on Oxford Street - if you used a hanky you could see just how much black dirt was breathed in!  The lace on my petticoat (yes we all wore one then) was grubby and cuffs always got grimy too!  I was a country child though so the smog and dirt of the city was a novelty rather than a constant in my life.

So to anyone who hankers after a vintage lifestyle or talks about the good old days - it wasn't all so wonderful you know.  And the past 60 years have brought many changes some good and some not so good and this weekend will be a time for many of us to reminisce no doubt.  Do take a look at the Diamond Jubilee card on the Jacquie Lawson web site if you can - it made me smile


  1. That was an interesting post Jane,, thank you! I wasn't around when The Queen became Queen,,, I found the JL card very amusing,, made me giggle,, thanks for sharing!!
    Have a nice weekend.

  2. What a shame we aren't able to be there to join in the celebrations. It would be great to be in London for them.
    If you ask my Mum and Dad they wouldn't go back to the "good old days " for anything.
    Loved the card. Enjoy the celebrations. Are you joining any street party?

  3. Love this glimpse into the past. Really, who would want to go back? We tend to idealize it, forgetting that life isn't perfect at any point in history.
    Have a wonderful celebratory weekend!

  4. Very interesting, thank your for sharing. I lived in Suffolk when she had her silver jubilee and loved the street parties and bunting. I so which I could be there now to see the streets decorated again. I love reading your stories of your childhood again.
    Have a lovely weekend!

  5. Goodness me, that almost made me relive my early life, very similar anyway! Thanks for the memories.

  6. Thanks for such an interesting post Jane. I remember my mum saying they all piled into a neighbour's house to watch the Queen's Coronation - they were the only family on the street to have a TV and they relished showing it off!

    I have very fond memories of the Silver Jubilee when we had a huge street party where we lived in London. The sense of community was immense, things are so different now ... so, yes I do hanker a bit for the good old days.

    Have a great weekend.


  7. On Coronation Day I was on holiday in Wales with my parents. We had to trot round the village to keep waving at the procession as we were almost the only people not actually in it!

  8. Thank you for a lovely post. When QE2 was crowned I lived in rural dorset without electricity, mains water or mains drainage but we did have a telephone. We have progressed so far materialy but lost morality and kindness as a nation.

  9. Excellent post Jane - of course my sisters and I are lucky to have had a very happy childhood by the sea in North Wales and my Mum says they were her happiest days as a young wife and mother. Yes, I know, I know, we mostly only remember the good times!

    Love the seaside post too. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving such lovely comments.

  10. Tea and toast- we thank the brits!
    The queen has lived through a lot of change, I bet the streets of London are fabulously decorated, wish i could have seen it!

  11. What a glorious old paper to still have and compare to what we have now!

    Loved the humour in the e card - just wonderful.

  12. hello jane!
    you must be somewhere near-ish to me as thE Western gazette is also my local paper!
    nice post- very interesting!

    Leanne x

  13. Hi, Jane! Just found your blog via Helen Philipps. And what a beautiful blog it is! Love your Jubilee post. It`s so interesting see old paper and even read them :o) The old paper looks so romantic and stylish. Thank you so much for sharing.
    P.S. Please, came to enter into my little giveaway, if you like of course :o)
    love from Russia

  14. A lovely post Jane. I always enjoy the posts when you saunter down memory lane because your recollection is so vivid and true. I remember the Queen making the first trunk call from the Bristol telephone exchange sometime in the late 1960's so I grew up with 'press button A, push button B' although for the life of me I can't remember what you had to do.You're right about our rose coloured glasses view of the
    1950's. The passage of time has a habit of blurring the reality. As one of those individuals who has never known anyone but the Queen on the throne this was a great reminder of a great event. Thanks!

  15. Thank you for such an interesting post, Jane. It made me realise just how much things have changed...and yet how some things haven't changed at all! Seeing the old newpapers was fascinating....
    I hope you have had a lovely time over the Jubilee weekend and enjoy the rest of the celebrations.
    Helen x

  16. A wonderful post! This has brought back so many memories for me. As a child, we had a bath but no running water so we had to fill up buckets of hot water from the ascot in the kitchen which was upstairs and carry it down to the next level to fill the bath!!! We didn't have a phone either and had to use Betty's at the end of the street! Lovely J L card at the end of the post too! x


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