Royal fever swept the town 110 years ago

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ROYAL fever is not just a modern tradition.

In the early 1900s, Hartlepool was gripped by the impending crowning of Edward VII and his wife Alexandra as King and Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Empire.

The ceremony took place at Westminster Abbey on August 9, 1902. But in the weeks leading up to the big day, the town was awash with memorabilia and bunting.

The pages of the Northern Daily Mail were proof of just that, and yet Hartlepool and the rest of Britain were going through rough times – just as we’ve all experienced over the last few years.

This week, we focus on how the coronation had its effect in the town.

A quick glance at the pages of the Mail were all you needed to know that Hartlepool was ready to party.

The front page was filled with adverts for bunting. At Dickson’s, in Lynn Street, balcony decorations were being sold for one shilling and sixpence a yard.

Gilt crowns and coats of arms were going for six and a half pence each.

At Bennison Brothers, in Murray Street, they boasted they were “clothiers for hard times” and had ready-made garments for the people of Hartlepool to celebrate the Royal occasion in fashion.

They were just as keen at M Robinson and Co, in Lynn Street, where flags were flying off the shelves,

The town was also celebrating with live events. The Grand Theatre was holding the “sensational drama” The Guilty Man. At the Empress Theatre, the play was The Rajah of Rajanpore, starring Constance Bellamy and a team of burlesque dancers.

And Hartlepool had a programme of Coronation-themed events listed. A service at Christ Church was planned on Coronation day, followed by schoolchildren marching through the town with the 4th Durham Volunteer Band leading them.

A children’s sports day, Punch and Judy show and a historical pageant was also planned.

And to finish the day, fireworks were to be set off from the Victoria Road pleasure ground, followed by a lights display at 10.30pm.

To make sure everyone enjoyed it all, the Hartlepool Electric Tramways company announced that the shipyards and factories of Hartlepool would be closed for the day.

But the enterprising people at the Central Grill and Bar promised they would stay open to feed revellers.

Also in town, a best-dressed house competition was being held in the south east ward of West Hartlepool.

The particulars of the competition said entries could only be received from properties where the yearly rent was £18 or less.

Family Roots would love to hear from anyone whose ancestors were involved in any part of the royal occasion.

Did any of your relatives play a part in the town’s commemorations or perhaps even had a role in the Royal events in London.

Ring Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377, or email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk