The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place on Tuesday 2 June 1953. There are notes about the local impact of the Coronation in 20th Century Trumpington (page 32), Trumpington Past and Present (p. 116) and the Parish Magazine. We are also fortunate to have a number of items of ephemera that were kept by Stanley Newell, who was a leading member of the British Legion at that time. These refer to celebrations in Trumpington, as well as in Cambridge and London. In addition, Annie Jackson has contributed information about the pageant put on by the Women’s Institute. We are also grateful for a copy of the Coronation Souvenir Programme from Richard Haynes.
If you or your family have items relevant to Trumpington and the Coronation, we would be interested in adding information to this page. It has been updated at the time of the Coronation of King Charles III in May 2023.
Trumpington Coronation Celebrations
The primary events in Trumpington took place from Sunday 31 May to Saturday 6 June, with a Souvenir Programme available for 2d. Officials such as Stanley Newell had a ribbon to wear during the celebrations, which were organised by a Committee chaired by the Reverend Thomas Young.
On Sunday 31 May, there were special services in the Parish Church and Free Church. On Tuesday 2 June, Coronation Day, the Coronation service was broadcast in the Church (radio broadcast). On Wednesday 3 June, local children held a Pageant. The procession started at the recently opened Fawcett School, continued through the ‘New Estate’ (Paget Road, etc.) to the grounds of Trumpington Hall, where there was a performance followed by tea and entertainment for children. On Friday 5 June, the emphasis changed to the over-60s, who were invited to their own tea and entertainment.
On Saturday 6 June, there was a Coronation Gala, starting at the Recreation Ground (King George V Playing Field, Byron Square) and continuing in the grounds of Trumpington Hall, with Spicers Silver Band. For the first hour, there was judging of decorated vehicles and fancy dress and a ‘comic’ cricket match in Byron Square and the Recreation Ground, followed by a procession to Trumpington Hall. In the Hall grounds, there were teas, side shows, sports, a parade of children’s decorated toys and a dancing display. Early evening, Trumpington Women’s Institute presented a Pageant of the Queens of England, followed by a concert and dancing and ending with a bonfire.
Trumpington Women’s Institute Pageant, The Queen’s of England
Annie Jackson writes that her grandmother, Beatrix Oldfield, who lived in Bentley Road, organised the costumes for this production and was also the producer (according to the newspaper cutting).
In a small red notebook, Beatrix Oldfield listed the various scenes, with the characters who were to take part, and added some (though unfortunately not all) of the cast members’ names. Beside each character, she listed the various items of costume they were to wear, with a note of who was to provide each item. She herself supplied many of the clothes; the rest were provided by VP (perhaps Mrs Viola Pemberton?) and other members of the WI.
Annie Jackson adds that she does not have photographs of all the scenes and some of the captions to the photos (and spellings of the names) are guesswork. If you can add further information, please let us know.
From Beatrix Oldfield’s notebook, amended copy 25 May 1953
I Modern Girl: Miss Swindale
II Boadicea: Miss Swann
Soothsayer: Mrs Smith
Daughter: Miss Stebbings (?)
III Eleanor of Castile: Jane Stubbings
Edward I: Harry Thomson
Attendant: Mrs Butler
IV Six wives of Henry VIII
Katherine of Aragon: Mrs Hudson
Anne Boleyn: Miss Shanks
Jane Seymour: Mrs Peters
Anne of Cleves: Mrs Ledbury
Katherine Howard: Mrs Pitman
Katherine Parr: Mrs Newell
Mary Tudor: Mrs Butler
Lady in waiting and two maids, no cast names attached
V Queen Elizabeth: Mrs Shanks
Puritan: Miss Grey
Four countrywomen: Mrs Peters, Mrs Finch (?Linch), Miss Dontle (?), fourth not named plus a country boy (also not named)
VI Henrietta Maria: Mrs Storey
Sabrina: Miss Peters
Lady Eleanor: Mrs Pamplin
VII Queen Anne: Miss Grey
Abigail: Miss Peachey
Duchess of Marlborough: Mrs Pagdon
VIII Queen Charlotte: Not named
IX Queen Victoria (young): Miss Pollock
Baroness Lehzen: Miss Priddon
Housemaid and cook
Queen Victoria (old): Mrs King
The British Legion organised a Coronation Service on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge, on Sunday 31 May 1953. The Women’s Section of the Trumpington British Legion held a supper to honour the Coronation, on Tuesday 16 June 1953. Speakers included Mrs E.G. Spivey (Chair), Mrs E. Spalding (Vice-Chair) and Major E. Saville-Peck (President). Stanley Newell represented the Trumpington British Legion at a Coronation Review of Ex-Servicemen and Women in Hyde Park, London, on Sunday 5 July 1953.
Coronation Memorial Garden
After the celebrations in Trumpington, there was £30 in hand in the Coronation Celebration accounts. The August 1953 issue of the Parish Magazine reported that the organising committee had agreed to beautify the corner of Shelford Road and Hauxton Road with shrubs, noting “This is of course part of the Churchyard but as that corner is never likely to be required for burials there seems to be no objection on that account”. This area is at the entrance to the Extension Churchyard, where there was an A.A. box. In the December 1953 issue of the Parish Magazine, the Vicar gave an update that “a very badly attended public meeting on November 12th unanimously approved the scheme for the permanent memorial of the Coronation”, “the corner of the Churchyard behind the A.A. box is to be laid out as a garden with flowering shrubs and a seat suitably inscribed” and that “the A.A. have kindly agreed to move the box to another site”. In the March 1954 issue, the Vicar added that the A.A. box had been moved and shrubs were to be planted within the next few weeks, paid for with the £30. A further £20 was needed to pay for the bench that had been ordered and was to be carved with “Elizabeth II crowned 2nd June 1953”. There was a further update in the Parish Magazine in June 1954, that Mrs Pemberton was to formally open the Coronation Memorial Garden on Sunday 6 June 1954. The Vicar praised the effort and added that “The whole business has been a delightful example of happy cooperation to produce a result of which, I think, Trumpington may be justly proud”. By the February 1955 issue, it was recorded that “the Coronation Garden looked well last summer”.
In later decades, the layout of the junction was revised, with an impact on the garden. Barry Thompson remembers the bench being in place. By the late 2010s, the last of the shrubs that had made up the garden had been removed. In 2017, the commemorative bench was in the entrance to the Churchyard; by 2022, it had been renovated and moved into the Churchyard. It has the text “Elizabeth II Crowned 2nd June 1953”.
Trees and commemorative plaques
A number of trees were planted to commemorate the Coronation at the Cambridge boundary, at the junction of Shelford Road with Cambridge Road, Great Shelford. There are plaques marking these trees on the west and east sides of the road. The tree on the west side of the road is still in place (2017 and 2022) but the one on the east side had been removed before 2017.