Festival planned to celebrate Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

editorial image

HARTLEPOOL could be transformed into a 1950s wonderland to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year.

Officers at Hartlepool Borough Council are currently working on a range of plans for a 1950s-themed festival to mark the 60 years since Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne.

It is planned to fund the event using the £64,000 budget set aside for the biennial Maritime Experience festival, plus income from traders and caterers.

The festival, which would take place over the weekend of June 2 to June 5 next year, would be held at the Hartlepool Maritime Experience car park, Town Hall Theatre and Borough Hall.

Ideas include a film festival at the Town Hall, a large performance tent with a mix of 50s dancing, music and comedy, costumed characters roaming around the site and a classic cars display from the 1950s.

There could also be a 50s diner, a street party for schoolchildren, a 50s-themed exhibition in the Museum of Hartlepool, a fashion show, cookery demonstrations and roving famous look-a-likes including Winston Churchill and the Queen.

There are also plans to reproduce the former music venue, the Queens Rink at the Borough Hall with a matinee and evening show, while the Wingfield Castle paddle steamer could be transformed into a 50s style rock ‘n’ roll boat.

The Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport recently contacted all local authorities outlining the announcement to create a four-day Jubilee weekend next year.

Councils have been told that any events should be funded from existing budgets or by generating income.

The last event to be held in Hartlepool on a similar scale was Dockfest, which was staged in 2009 ahead of last summer’s tall ships event.

Independent councillor Hilary Thompson, portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism, will discuss the proposals at a meeting next week.

In a report, John Mennear, the council’s assistant director (community services), said: “The content of the event is to cover a broad cultural spectrum including theatre, dance, music, film, popular culture, fashion, sport, literature and food.

“Sponsorship will be sought from local companies and in particular organisations with a link to any element of the 50s theme or who may have an anniversary at this time.

“HBC’s own venues will be used to keep costs reasonable and income generated from ticketed events at Borough Hall and Town Hall Theatre will contribute towards offsetting costs.”

On the same weekend there will be a spectacular outdoor concert held at Buckingham Palace and the lighting of 2,012 beacons across the UK and Commonwealth.

The portfolio meeting is due to take place on Tuesday, June 21, at 10am at the Civic Centre.