When Hartlepool celebrated the crowning of its new Queen

A Coronation fair in Hartlepool.
A Coronation fair in Hartlepool.

Sixty-five years ago this month, Hartlepool was joining the rest of the UK in some of the most historic outbreaks of national fervour ever seen.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was celebrated in great style in the town and even civic figures hadn’t seen the like before.

The Dyke House School Coronation display in 1953.

The Dyke House School Coronation display in 1953.

Today, we look back on the celebrations in Hartlepool.

Borough engineer JS Miles summed it up.

“The town is looking as well as anyone can ever remember it,” he said in June 1953.

“Everywhere people individually have made tremendous efforts and the traders as a whole have done their best to add to a brave show.”

The town is looking as well as anyone can ever remember it. Everywhere people individually have made tremendous efforts and the traders as a whole have done their best to add to a brave show

JS Miles, Borough engineer

It was an outpouring of love for the Royal family and it seemed everyone wanted to be part of it.

Seaton Carew was “alive with illuminations,” said the Northern Daily Mail at the time.

There were 4,000 fairy lights in the resort “complimenting the celebratory bonfire which was lit on the town moor”.

Staff at the council’s parks department had worked hard to put the finishing touches to magnificent displays in Ward Jackson park, Burn Vallery Gardens, and Victory Square.

The front page of the Mail in June 1953.

The front page of the Mail in June 1953.

They did it with “all the workers offering a silent prayer of thanks for the kind weather in the run-up to the event,” said the Mail.

There were fantastic views of white and blue hydrangeas, red salvias and blue pansies and a rose bloomed in the Coronation garden in Hartlepool.

But it wasn’t just corporate Hartlepool which got in on the act. Pretty much everyone wanted to show their support.

“As well as the near solid roof of flags, bunting and streamers which linked the two sides of the street in Alma Place, the railings at the front of the houses were decked in red, white and blue paper with every door and window coloured in the same way,” said the Mail.

And more than £90 had been raised by the 25 houses in the street to throw a party, with enough left to buy a memento for every resident of the street.

Mosley Street was “awash with memorabilia” and schoolchildren throughout the town got two sets of Coronation souvenirs. Who remembers them?

Schools were only open for a couple of hours that day and they used the time to hold special celebrations - a hymn, prayer and Coronation song in most cases. Dyke House School had its own Coronation display.

For the pupils who lived in colliery villages, a special train was laid on to get them home from school in Hartlepool in time for the parties.

Binns had a front page advert in the Mail that day – saying it had ‘served through nine reigns’ – and so did tobacconist Andrew C Watt of Church Street who was selling Brummel cigarette lighters at 5 shilling and sixpence.

And in another front page advert, Bruce Moore’s was selling Royal Enfield bicycles.

What are your memories of the Coronation? Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk