This week marks the culmination of celebrations to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with an array of events planned for the weekend.
From Trooping the Colour to a party in front of Buckingham Palace, millions of Britons are preparing to take part.
Now, a new film collection released to celebrate the Queen’s 70-year rule shows the pomp and pageantry of previous jubilees.
Included is a clip of Queen Victoria arriving at St Paul’s Cathedral during her Diamond Jubilee in 1897, when film was in its infancy.
Also seen are uproarious celebrations that took place in Stepney, in London’s East End, in 1935 to mark King George V’s Silver Jubilee.
Another clip shows a carnival that processed through Clacton, in Essex, during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977.
The collection of more than 50 clips has been put together by the British Film Institute. Named Jubilee on Film, it show how royal celebrations have been captured on video cameras for the past 125 years.
The collection also charts the development of film itself, going from grainy black and white clips shot by professionals to clearer colour filmed by ordinary Britons.
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee – 1897
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, on June 20, 1897, brought the fledgling film industry to London. The first motion picture had been captured by French filmmaker Louis Le Prince just nine years earlier.
More than 40 cameramen from around the world attended Victoria’s milestone, which came 33 years after the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert.
Filmmakers all looked to document the official procession at various locations along the route to provide an official record of the ceremony that they could sell to nations across the world.
Another clip in the BFI archive shows a different part of the procession as it passes through Westminster. It showcases the Queen’s Life Guards and the Royal Horse Artillery.
As had been her custom since the death of her husband, Victoria wore mourning black as she continued to be gripped by grief.
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, on June 20, 1897, brought the fledgling film industry to London. The first motion picture had been captured by French filmmaker Louis Le Prince just nine years earlier. Above: The Queen is seen in her carriage with her daughter Princess Helena and daughter-in-law Alexandra of Denmark as it processes through London to St Paul’s Cathedral
The film that gives a fleeting glimpse of the Queen shows the moment that Her Majesty arrived at St Paul’s. It also gives a snapshot of the thousands of spectators that lined the route. Some were seen hanging out of windows whilst waving handkerchiefs
Another clip in the BFI archive shows a different part of the procession as it passes through Westminster. It showcases the Queen’s Life Guards and the Royal Horse Artillery
Victoria and her daughter Princess Helena and daughter-in-law Alexandra of Denmark – herself a future queen – took part in a parade in an open carriage along a six-mile route from Buckingham Palace to St Paul’s Cathedral.
The film that gives a fleeting glimpse of the Queen shows the moment that Her Majesty arrived at St Paul’s. It also gives a snapshot of the thousands of spectators that lined the route.
Some are seen hanging out of windows whilst waving handkerchiefs.
Victoria, who was then little more than a month short of her 77th birthday, was considered too old to struggle up St Paul’s’ stone steps in front of the huge crowds.
Officials did consider building a ramp so that her carriage, complete with its detachment of horses, could go into the cathedral.
Instead, the service was held in her presence outside the church.
She said of the day: ‘No-one ever, I believe, has met with such an ovation as was given to me, passing through those six miles of streets… The crowds were quite indescribable and their enthusiasm truly marvellous and deeply touching.
Queen Victoria is seen posing for an official photograph to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 1897. By then, Her Majesty was reaching her 77th birthday and was crippled by arthritis
‘The cheering was quite deafening and every face seemed to be filled with joy.’
Victoria had been feted to an even greater extent ten years previously during her Golden Jubilee. But the Queen took more of a backseat on the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.
The event marked the first time that its name had been used in the context of a 60th anniversary.
At the time of Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the British Empire was at its zenith, with 450million people under Her Majesty’s rule.
Not only was she Queen of the United Kingdom, but also of India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and many other nations.
King George V’s Silver Jubilee – 1935
On May 6, 1935, the country celebrated the Silver Jubilee of King George V, Queen Victoria’s grandson.
He had come to the throne in 1910 after the death of King Edward VII.
George’s Silver Jubilee was a major broadcast event on radio and was carried by the BBC, European broadcasters and NBC and CBS in America.
The BFI’s video from the 1935 occasion shows one of the many thousands of street parties that took place around the country.
On May 6, 1935, the country celebrated the Silver Jubilee of King George V, Queen Victoria’s grandson. Above: The King and his wife Queen Mary are seen on the balcongy of Buckingham Palace with their granddaughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret
The BFI’s video from the 1935 occasion shows one of the many thousands of street parties that took place around the country. It shows the people of Stepney in London’s East End jubilantly jumping up and down and cheering on their street beneath reams of bunting
One man is seen dancing and attempting to do a cartwheel whilst wearing a dress and paper crown, as residents crowd around him
It shows the people of Stepney in London’s East End jubilantly jumping up and down and cheering on their street beneath reams of bunting, before one man is seen dancing and attempting to do a cartwheel whilst wearing a dress and paper crown.
Surrounding him are Stepney residents who laugh as they enjoy the display.
A second clip then shows residents of the village of Great Hucklow, in Derbyshire, dancing in the street. Also seen are children from the village taking part in an egg and spoon race.
As with his grandmother’s Diamond Jubilee, the 1935 celebrations in London began with a carriage procession through London to St Paul’s Cathedral, where a thanksgiving service was held.
The Duke of York – the future King George VI – is seen with his wife and daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret leaving St Paul’s Cathedral after the thanksgiving service
Seen above is one of the thousands of street parties that took place around the country to mark the Silver Jubilee. Residents of a Manchester street sit beneath reams of bunting
It was followed by another procession back to Buckingham Palace, where the Royal Family – including a very young Princess Elizabeth – appeared on the balcony.
In the evening, the King delivered a memorable message from the Palace that was broadcast on radio across the nation.
At the time, Britain was a little over four years away from the Second World War, with King George having led the nation through the First World War 20 years earlier.
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee – 1977
Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee began on February 6, 1977 – the anniversary of her accession.
One of the videos released by the BFI that shows one of the thousands of street parties in 1977 was filmed in Clacton, Essex.
It shows an array of colourful costumes as residents turned out in their droves to parade through the town centre.
Some wore giant papier mache heads as carnival queens – including Miss Clacton Junior – appeared on giant floats.
The film was captured by amateur filmmaker Herbert Gregory.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee began on February 6, 1977. – the anniversary of her accession. Above: The Queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with Prince Philip and Earl Mountbatten of BUrma
The Silver Jubilee brought welcome relief to a country that was mired in debt and industrial problems.
In her 25 years on the throne, the Queen had witnessed a range of crises, from the Suez fiasco to the war in Vietnam and the threat of nuclear conflict amid tensions between the USA and the Soviet Union.
Whilst there had also been some highs – such as England winning the 1966 World Cup – the lows had also been significant. They included the tragedy of the 1966 Aberfan disaster, when coal spoil from a mine engulfed the village school.
In 1972, the Queen had celebrated her silver wedding anniversary, whilst her own daughter Princess Anne had married in 1973.
One of the videos released by the BFI that shows one of the thousands of street parties in 1977 was filmed in Clacton, Essex
It shows an array of colourful costumes as residents turned out in their droves to parade through the town centre. Some wore giant papier mache heads as carnival queens – including Miss Clacton Junior – appeared on giant floats
The film was captured by amateur filmmaker Herbert Gregory. Above: Another part of the procession seen passing through Clacton
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was a joyous occasion. Her Majesty conducted a tour of the Commonwealth before returning to the UK and giving an address to both Houses of Parliament.
She then toured Scotland before she returned to London for the high point of the celebrations. It included a Coronation-style parade through the capital in the 18th-century Gold State Coach.
Her Majesty travelled in the ancient vehicle to St Paul’s Cathedral for a service of thanksgiving. She also travelled along the Thames as part of a pageant and walked up Snow Hill in Windsor Great Park to light the first of a chain of beacons that stretched across the country.
The Silver Jubilee brought welcome relief to a country that was mired in debt and industrial problems. Above: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh kneel in prayer at St Paul’s Cathedral
Arike Oke, the BFI’s director of knowledge and collections, said: ‘Working to fulfil the promise of our Royal Charter to promote moving image arts as a record of contemporary life, while also sharing the stories of yesterday and today, the BFI National Archive’s collections are for everyone, anywhere.
‘The free Jubilee collection comes at a time when we at the BFI begin to look ahead to the future, exploring new ways to connect with audiences, creators, and the wider public.
‘I hope that we hear back from the public on how the Jubilee collection touches them as we delve ever further into ways to deepen and enrich the connections between people and our moving image heritage.’
How Britain celebrated the Queen’s Coronation Day in 1953: New colourised images bring the nation’s jubilant street parties to life as 20million watched on TV to see Her Majesty crowned at Westminster Abbey
- The Queen was crowned at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953, with Britons crowding around televisions
- Thousands of street parties took place around the country to celebrate the momentous occasion
- New colourised photos show families celebrating with parties in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and London
To mark the Queen’s Coronation in June 1953, there were thousands of street parties across the country – just as there will be this coming Sunday as Britain celebrates Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee.
Britons young and old turned out in their droves to celebrate as the Queen was crowned in an incredible ceremony inside Westminster Abbey that was watched by an estimated 20million people on TV.
Now, heartwarming photos showing the 1953 street parties have been colourised and enhanced to mark the Queen’s 70 years on the throne.
They show families in Buckinghamshire, North Oxfordshire, and Wimbledon and Edmonton in London. They give a small snapshot into the joy of the occasion.
The Britons who featured in the photos have recalled their memories of the street parties.
Jean Flannery, who was aged eight on Coronation Day, shared photos taken in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, that showed her in a paper crown and dress.
Now aged 77, she recalled how her mother had made costumes for her and her cousin for a fancy dress contest, but she was left ‘miffed’ when her relative won instead of her.
Colin Wills, from Banbury, north Oxfordshire, who was also aged eight, said he was dressed by his mother to look like a ‘Coronation Cracker’ in a costume made from ‘red, white and blue crêpe paper and white ribbon.’ A hilarious group photo shows him with his head and shoulders obscured by his cracker-like costume.
Heartwarming photos showing the 1953 street parties to mark the Queen’s Coronation have been colourised and enhanced to mark Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne. Above: Jean Flannery (left), then aged eight, with her sister Carole, 4, and cousin Ken, 9, in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire. The trio were taking part in a fancy dress competition, with the costumes made by Ms Flannery’s mother
Colin Wills, from Banbury, north Oxfordshire, who was also aged eight, said he was dressed by his mother to look like a ‘Coronation Cracker’ in a costume made from ‘red, white and blue crêpe paper and white ribbon.’ A hilarious group photo shows him with his head and shoulders obscured by his cracker-like costume. Above: Mr Wills is seen in the centre right of the image with the cracker on his head
The images were colourised by ancestry firm MyHeritage, using a tool available on its website.
Ms Flannery said: ‘My mother made the costumes for the fancy dress contest, largely from crêpe paper. My costume was red, white and blue, with a Coronation crown.
‘My four-year-old sister Carole’s costume was ‘Hip, Hip, Hurray!’ and my 9-year-old cousin Ken was a ‘Royal Herald.’ I felt very miffed that Ken went on to actually win the competition in an outfit made by my mother.’
The photos of her were taken in her family’s back garden, with her cabbages grown by her father and neighbours’ washing as the backdrop.
She said they ‘shivered’ in their costumed because it was ‘very cold’ for June and also rained. But she added: ‘It was a very special day for us all to remember.’
As well as her family’s celebrations, there were also town-wide parties to mark the Coronation.
‘We went to a children’s party in one of the local church halls. There was a celebratory tea for us with sandwiches, jelly and cake,’ Ms Flannery said.
Paula Glazebrook with family on Coronation Day, in St. Mary’s Road, Edmonton, North London. She is seen with her brothers Alan, David and Bernard Skeggs. In front of the family are cups of tea in mugs emblazoned with the Queen’s royal cipher
Melvyn Bull (left), then aged 10, is seen sitting next to his brother Rodney, aged six, along with other children during a Coronation Day party at Adelaide Place, Fareham, Hampshire
Jean Flannery is seen posing in her fancy dress costume during the celebrations to mark Coronation Day. The photos of her were taken in her family’s back garden, with her cabbages grown by her father and neighbours’ washing as the backdrop
Ms Flannery’s cousin Ken, then aged nine, is seen posing in his costume in her back garden. The little boy is dressed as a royal herald
Paula Glazebrook’s sister Heather is seen being held by her aunties, named June and Pat, during a street party in Edmonton, North London
Residents from Ms Glazebrook’s street are seen posing for a group photo beneath reams of bunting during their street party
Ms Glazebrook is seen with her brothers Alan, David and Bernard during the street party on Coronation Day in 1953
‘All the children were given souvenir Coronation mugs and plates. Flags and bunting were to be seen everywhere.’
Mr Wills, who is now aged 77, said: ‘Back in 1953, there were no shops where you could buy or hire a costume, so everything had to be handmade.
‘My Mother in her wisdom decided to dress me up as a Coronation Cracker made with red, white and blue crêpe paper and white ribbon.
‘A novel idea in keeping with the occasion, but not very practical if you want to see it in front of you, very fragile and has a tendency to tear.
‘Sadly I didn’t win the competition but did manage to keep my costume intact for this photo. There was a good spread for us kids to get stuck into like Spam sandwiches, fancy cakes and lemonade.
‘The adults no doubt swilled the food down with Banbury Ale. Such a contrast to a few years before when everything was on ration.’
Whilst rationing – imposed during the Second World War – had not come to a complete end by the time of the Coronation, restrictions on sweets, chocolate, eggs and cream were lifted beforehand, although sugar was still limited.
Residents from Ms Glazebrook’s’ street in Edmunton, north London, are seen again during the jubilant celebrations held to mark the Queen’s Coronation
Another colourised image, sent by Pamela Smith, who is now aged 75, shows the party on her street in Liverpool in 1953. Mothers and fathers are seen lined up in a row as most of the children sit at the giant table. Ms Smith, then aged six, is seen sitting eighth from left on the back row of the table, wearing the triangular hat. Sitting to her right was her sister Patty, who was nearly two. Her brother Charles, then 13, is seen wearing a shirt and tie third from right of Ms Smith
A photo sent in by Colin Evans shows a family celebrating Coronation Day in South Wimbledon. Seen above them are rows of bunting
Mr Wills recalled how the street party he was involved in had been organised by residents who had moved into their council houses in 1947, just two years after the end of the Second World War.
The party took place on a concrete driveway that had been built along with four houses for local policemen.
One of the officers, a Sergeant Howkins, is shown in the images standing next to the home he lived in.
Mr Wills added: ‘Every building in the land was decked out in the patriotic colors of red, white and blue bunting and Union Jack Flags in anticipation of the big day.’
Pamela Smith, 75, from Liverpool, is pictured with her brother and sister sitting at an enormous table during a party on their street.
She said: ‘The preparations for Coronation Day’s street party had been ongoing for months by our community.
‘I was five when the Queen’s father died, and I remember that when the radio broadcasted the notification of his death, my initial reaction was strong, “the king is dead”.
‘It was a very somber news broadcast, and I instinctively knew that it was a historic moment. The coloured and enhanced photograph is outstanding, the colours certainly make you feel like time has stood still.’
Roi Mandel, Director of Research at MyHeritage.com, said: ‘These colourised photographs offer an extraordinary peek into a great moment in history.
‘Black and white images don’t quite do justice to Coronation Day as it is remembered by those who were there: bursting with colour.
‘Every building in the country was decked out in red, white, and blue; the Union Jack flew from every window and rooftop; public spaces were covered in splendid decorations, and the processions were adorned in magnificent costumes.
‘Using MyHeritage technology to breathe new life into these photos seems to make them more true to the spirit of the day, and to the memories of those who experienced it.
‘The best part is that anyone can use this technology to instantly bring old family photos to life and celebrate the past in full, vivid colour.’
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