Published: 8 June, 2012
• THE Diamond Jubilee celebrations prompt me to recall my memories of Coronation Day, June 2, 1953.
I was 10 years old and lived with my family in Somerset.
I had an older cousin, married to a railway worker at King’s Cross, and they lived in one of the flats at Culross Buildings, in Battlebridge Road, so the invitation to stay with them in London for the Coronation was eagerly taken up.
My mother, father, elder sister and I arrived the day before, excited enough at just being in the capital city. How unsophisticated we all were half a century ago.
The indifferent weather meant we watched the Coronation on television.
In the evening we all headed down to the Embankment for the much-anticipated fireworks.
I remember the crowd pressing all around us, my mother feeling frightened and me trying uselessly to push the immediate offenders away from her. For a lad from rural parts it all seemed awesome.
Between the two events there was a party in the Culross Hall at the far end of Battlebridge Road.
I won the street race – from the hall, the length of the Buildings, round the street lamp and back to the hall.
I was given a Coronation mug even though I wasn’t local. I got another one later back home in Somerset.
I got too excited at the party and was sick, but I don’t remember it spoiling things for me.
My cousin’s husband was a highly capable DIY man and improvised swags, flags, sashes, an ER shield and royal photographs to decorate the windows in loyal fashion.
For a small boy the attraction of the trains and the activity in the rail yards was a real bonus. And the gas holders – I’d never seen so many.