Redbridge residents remember the Queen’s Coronation ahead of 60-year anniversary

A tea party held in Kingdon Hall, Grange Road.

A tea party held in Kingdon Hall, Grange Road. - Credit: Archant

Sixty years ago on Sunday, the world watched in awe as a 25-year-old Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen in an elaborate ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

Those who saw the spectacle of the Coronation will never forget it and while six decades have passed, many still remember the gatherings they attended or what they did to celebrate.

Street parties were held all around the borough in an abundance and the Recorder documented in detail what went on and what made the day so special for residents.

Ernie Kemp, 68, lived in Grange Road, Ilford, and attended one of the many parties pictured in the newspaper.

He said: “A special tea party was held for us children at Kingdom Hall but the party went on well into the early hours. As a child you don’t take too much of it in and I wish I had appreciated the celebration more back then. I still have the Coronation mug I was given.”

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It was reported that more than 20 houses took part in activities in Grange Road, including a ladies garter competition, and a knobbly-knees competition for the men.

Mr Kemp added: “During the Coronation neighbours invited you into their home. Not many people had a television, so we all crammed into a small living room to watch the process on a tiny 9-inch set.”

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One lucky 13-year-old got the chance to line the processional route along with a select few from his school.

Bernard Chaplin, of Headley Drive, Gants Hill, said: “We were up at 5am and had to meet at the school with packed lunches. My mother made sure that I was up extra early.

“Our position was in the Jubilee Gardens. Despite the weather being drizzly, the day passed so quickly. We were constantly cheering the film crews and road sweepers, who were continually tidying the route.”

Mr Chaplin knew the importance and felt it an honour to be part of the Coronation.

He said: “When the procession passed we had an excellent view of the Queen, as well as other dignitaries. A special cheer was reserved for the Queen of Tonga in her very bright dress and open carriage, with no umbrella in sight.”

Share your memories of the Coronation and get in touch by calling 020 8477 3800, or email You can also share your memories on our community forum,

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