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Special Video – Wedmore Remembers the Coronation Day

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Wedmore Remembers the Coronation Day

  • Hazel Hudson (Wedmore Village Historian)
  • Cilla Cutler
  • Robert Douglas Thorpe
  • Ann Amesbury
  • Vera Banwell
  • Angela Inger
  • Harold Stone
  • Sue Burton
  • Jean Hamlin
  • Other residents generously shared Coronation mementos such as newspaper, scrapbooks, local photos, mugs and souvenir programmes which were filmed and placed within the film.

From the Isle of Wedmore News Magazine:

Memories of Coronation Day in Wedmore – 2 June 1953
Wedmore church bells woke me up at dawn, looking out of my bedroom window I saw it was a rather dark, dreary wet day. Luckily it dried up later. There was a United Service in St Mary’s at 8.30 am. We were going to be busy in our house in Combe Batch as we had invited neighbours and friends to come and watch the Coronation on our television as we were the only family to own one on the road. Squeezing as many chairs as possible into our sitting room, a large crowd soon gathered around the set. It was very small but we had a magnifying glass on it to enlarge the picture. Televisions were also set up in St Mary’s, in the Legion Hall in the Borough, this was the room above the Gifted Company shop and the George room now called Table 8.

We all settled down to watch the Coronation except my mother Winifred who seemed to spend most of her time providing tea for everyone. Mum didn’t miss out because weeks later we went to Cheddar Cinema to watch the Coronation film. After the programme had finished we had a quick snack and then we were ready for the rest of the day’s activities. Our family was going to be very busy again taking part in several ways.

‘Ye Olde Wedmore Fayre’ was set up in the Borough. It was to be opened by ‘Local Dignitaries’ who met in the George yard before setting off around the Square in Ernest Couzens’ pony and trap. The ‘Dignitaries’ were members of the Parish Council suitably dressed up for the occasion. The Mayor was my father Cecil Puddy, dressed in ceremonial robes. Around his neck he wore as a chain of office the emblem of Wedmore’s Friendly Society, it was hanging upside down. The local schoolmaster Alan Vickery was a bewigged lawyer, and Bill Tucker the blacksmith was a schoolmaster.  They processed around the Square accompanied by two comic Port Reeves who was heavily disguised with large beards and Kenneth Banwell as a policeman.   Arriving in the Lerburn the Mayor pronounced the Fayre open.

There were various stalls and sideshows. My mother ran a sweet stall with her friends Barbara Puddy and Stella Hull. Small booths had been set up and people paid sixpence to see what was in them. In one was my father, who was now dressed as Wedmore’s fattest schoolboy, he was squeezed into my brother’s Sexey’s School blazer and shorts and had a small cap perched on his head. In another stall, Stan and Tom Puddy were offering a prize to anyone who could hammer a nail into their piece of wood. No one could get one right in as the wood was just too hard.

At 3.30 pm the vicar Revd Morgan, along with the chairman of the Parish Council, Ernest Morgan, unveiled a commemorative plaque by a newly planted yew tree in the churchyard. Among the crowds watching was St Mary’s choir.

During the afternoon schoolchildren did country dancing and then all children went for a tea laid on in the Church Schoolroom, now the Village Hall. Pensioners were given tea in the George room, and those unable to attend were taken food. Everyone else could partake of the buffet tea put on in the Borough between 4.30 and 7 pm. Floral Dancing was held in the Borough in the early evening and later on, Old Time and Modern Dancing were enjoyed until 9 o’clock when the Queen’s speech was relayed across the village.

We all joined a torchlight procession up Lascot Hill at 9.45 pm to see the huge bonfire lit, followed by a splendid firework display. Those who still had energy danced in the Borough again until midnight. It seemed a wonderful day had been enjoyed by all. The Wedmore schoolchildren were each given a souvenir mug; I still have mine.
Hazel Hudson (Village Historian)

Special Thanks to Marianne Smith and Jan Daintree and Mickey Cee (video creator) for all the hard work in the production of the video.

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