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How Craven marked the Queen’s silver jubilee in ’77
9:10am Saturday 2nd June 2012 in Craven History
We are about to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Queen Elizabeth II acceded to the throne on February 6 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation took place in Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953 and she is now Britain’s second longest serving Monarch. Now, as the diamond jubilee celebrations get under way, student Laura Brockbank looks back at how the country and Craven marked the Queen’s silver jubilee in 1977.
The year saw plenty of joy and action amongst the streets of England, with the Queen’s silver jubilee bringing the nation together. Street parties were seen all over the country.
Celebrating her 25th year of accession to the throne, the Queen started the celebrations with her family at Windsor on February 6. However, the true celebrations didn’t begin until the summer.
During the year, the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh travelled 56,000 miles, visiting 36 counties and travelling extensively overseas. The Queen wanted to meet as many of her people as possible. No other sovereign had travelled as far.
The true climax of the celebrations began with the Queen lighting a bonfire at Windsor, starting off a chain of beacons across the UK. A service of thanksgiving attended by heads of state and former prime ministers saw the Queen, dressed in pink, arrive in a Gold State Coach at the St Paul’s Cathedral.
Attending a lunch at Guildhall, the Queen declared: “When I was 21 I pledged my life to the service of our people and I asked for God’s help to make good that vow. Although that vow was made in my salad days, when I was green in judgement, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.” The lunch was followed by a procession back to the Mall, which was televised and seen by an estimated five million people.
The parties did not stop there, however.
It was recorded that there were 4,000 parties across London alone – and Craven had its fair share of celebrations too.
The Craven Herald brought out a special Royal Silver Jubilee edition of the paper. The front page – usually reserved for small adverts – was devoted to pictures of the royal family and a look back at the Queen’s 25-year reign.
There was also a copy of a telegram from Buckingham Palace, which was received by the Craven Herald. Written by a private secretary, it stated: “Please convey the Queen’s sincere thanks of the readers and staff of the Craven Herald and Pioneer for their kind and loyal wishes on the occasion of Her Majesty’s Silver Jubilee.”
The paper also gave a page to the pictures of the local jubilee gala queens.
They included: Addingham - Elizabeth Ann Harrison; Earby - Catherine Boock; Glusburn and Cross Hills- Joanne Hollis; Lothersdale - Andrea Garstang; Skipton - Julie Wareing; Barlick and Earby Round Table - Judith Hannam; Horton-in-Ribblesdale - Anne Marie Lazenby; Rathmell - Elaine Mitton; Silsden - Victoria Wrigglesworth; Bradley - Janet Maude; Gargrave - Beverley Spensley; Ingelton - Karen Gregory; Salterforth - Carol Machell; Steeton - Janet Elaine Woodhead; Cowling - Julia Riley; Littondale - Mandy Foster; Settle - Terry Moore; Sutton-in-Craven - Jillian Porter.
Across the districts, street parties were thrown and community events organised.
These included the Jubilympics, organised by Barnoldswick and Earby Rotary Club. The games comprised five-a-side football, target golf and a beer tent – “in other words something for everyone,” said the Herald. And at the end of the day, 10,000 metre race winner David Hargreaves was crowned king.
Fancy dress competitions were held in what seemed to be every town or village, with plenty of participation.
With a special stage built adjacent to the chapel at Skipton Castle, entertainment lasted the whole of Tuesday and was hailed a great success.
Not to be out done, Skipton Rugby Club held a jubilee It’s A Knock Out, with towns going up against each other in various rounds, including tower of strength and jubilee jousting, where “knights” on pantomime horses had to burst balloons. The event attracted more than 1,500 people and the winner was Bingley.
Elsewhere, Carleton held a concert in the village hall and games outside.
Among the fun on offer was wellie-throwing, penalties and knock out cricket. Just down the road, Lothersdale staged a best decorated house competition. The joint winners were Mrs Towell and Mrs Rushton. And, in Embsay, historical tours were organised, culminating in the opening of a jubilee exhibition by the High Sheriff of Lancashire.
Giggleswick was decorated with bunting and an evergreen arch spanning Church Street was decorated with shields made by primary schoolchildren.
Farnhill Parish Council planned a commemorative new seat to be placed on the canal bank.
Other events included the presentation of jubilee mugs, dances, raffles, fun fairs, fancy dress parades, fell races and bonfires that would have put Guy Fawkes night to shame.
As the Craven Herald stated: “After weeks of preparation and intensive last hours of practical work, the royal jubilee celebrations passed off in triumph.”
Even the weather was better than expected, which resulted in “vast, spontaneous rejoicing”.
But, not everyone was celebrating. There was a less than festive feeling at Skipton business JT Kerrigan, whose jubilee flags had been targeted by vandals three times.
They put up a notice saying they would like to have taken part in the celebrations but hooligans in the town had made it impossible.