I'll return to some of the royal celebrations from the earlier part of the 20th century in due course, but while we're looking at the 1953 coronation here's the Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald's version, in an article written in 1974, of the events of that day; with due thanks to them once more. Not sure if their list of street parties is entirely complete; I would be surprised if there weren't some in Stevenston , and this one at McKIllop /Dykes Place on Saltcoats also isn't mentioned : http://www.threetowners.com/images/McKi ... ts1953.jpg
Interesting in passing to notice that Jack Boyd, like RV Brown, also used to have his photographic studio in Manse Street.
I see we also have this picture on 3T of another of the Ardrossan parties: http://www.threetowners.com/images/Coronation_1953.JPG
WHEN TELEVISION TOOK OVER
The first week in June 1953 was one of those when it was all happening.
On the Monday, the 1st of the month, this newspaper attained its hundredth birthday — an event celebrated, its staff liked to think, by a meeting that evening of Stevenston Town Council; the announcement at dawn on the Tuesday that Edmund Hillary and Tensing Bhutia had climbed to the top of Mount Everest; the coronation that day in London of Queen Elizabeth; the production of a historical pageant in Ardrossan; and to round off the week, the "Queen of the Sea" gala at Saltcoats.
By the Saturday evening our staff of reporters — both of them — were glad to sit down and get their boots off.
Celebration of Coronation Day locally differed from previous national events in several respects — there was an absence of processions, children's sports and speeeches, and the streets were deserted. All this was due to one cause— television.TV had come to Scotland for the first time just over a year before. The first transmission seen locally was the funeral of King George VI, in 1952, and a year later still only a few people had TV sets in their homes. Despite the price of a set, which was to many people prohibitive, there was a tremendous rush to order them in time for the coronation.
Those who had sets, invited all their friends and neighbours who hadn't, to visit them for the day and join in viewing, and there were therefore hundreds of TV parties in private houses.
The town councils, in association with the new Old People's Welfare Committees, largely confined themselves to organising TV viewing facilities in local halls for the old people, and Castlecraigs, Ardrossan, the Beach Pavilion, Saltcoats, and Ardeer Hall, Stevenston, were packed to capacity with senior citizens watching the telecast.
In the afternoon, when the main ceremony in London was over, street parties were held for children — in Ardrossan at Winton Street, Rowanside Terrace, Millglen and Rashley schemes; and in Saltcoats at Manse Street, Wellpark Road and Auchenharvie Road. These parties were arranged by the residents in the areas themselves and consisted mostly of tea in the open air, games, and gifts for the children.
Ardrossan, however, rose to the occasion with a unique and notable event — a single performance of a pageant "Cavalcade of History" staged in Winton Park.
There were ten episodes and over 200 performers, portraying the ancient Scots, Wallace and Bruce, Mary, Queen of Scots, the Union of the Crowns, the '45 Rebellion,the world wars, and so on, and it was watched by over 3000 spectators in the park itself and hundreds more on Castlehill. The background was a castle wall with towers and battlements, the work of the Burgh Surveyor's Department.
On the evening of coronation day there were large bonfires on the Castlehill, Ardrossan, and on the Braes, Saltcoats, both the result of hard work by the respective Scout troops.
All that was 21 years ago —the last time on which over communities were called upon to participate in an occasion of national interest; so free buns and milk, huge bonfires and pageantry have by-passed two generations of children since then.
No doubt though, either at the Silver Jubilee in 1977 — or when Scotland gains independence perhaps, the locality will again rise to the occasion — and maybe somebody will come up again with some fresh ideas.