Melcombe Road Party

Coronation Celebration

We have to thank Margaret Key (nee Sargent)  for the loan of her pictures of a Street Party in Melcombe Road. This was to celebrate the Coronation of Her Majesty the Queen in 1953.

Her brother John is in the centre of the group photo –

All school children were also given a copy of the souvenir book ‘Royalty in Essex’

Editors Note – Nine years after this original article was published we were delighted to see the comments below from David Jiggens recalling his memories of the party.  A fitting tribute in this year of our Queen’s platinum jubilee.

This one includes the Chairman of Benfleet U.D.C., R.P. Brittain, J.P.
....All the children have Coronation Mugs, have you still got yours?
Margaret is seen in action (and eventually winning) the slow bicycle race.

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  • I was born in August 1950. One of my earliest recollections of being on the Planet and in Melcombe Road, South Benfleet was attending the street party held in our road in June 1953 to celebrate the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2nd.

    In the photograph of the children sitting at the tables, I am the small blond-haired boy kneeling (apparently) in front of the then Chairman of Benfleet Urban District Council, Mr J.P. Brittain)

    I remember that Melcombe Road was closed off for the special day and strung along with flapping homemade colourful bunting. Down the middle of the road, right outside our ground floor flat, No 39A, was a line of decorated tables with a coloured paper tablecloth(s?), that were laden with homemade cakes and other fancy treats.
    I also remember vividly that there was an older boy, he was probably only about 8 or 9yrs old, dressed in an army-type khaki-coloured uniform, loudly and proudly stomp-marching on a low small square wooden platform, in time to the tune ‘Soldiers of the Queen’ that was being played loudly on a nearby unseen gramophone. It is very rare now to hear that tune, but if ever I do, I am instantly transported back to that sunny, magical day.

    70 years later, and almost to the day, I was over the Moon to stumble across these photographs of the actual event on this website

    In the photograph of some of the children who attended the event standing against a hedge, I am the 2 yrs. and 9 months-old toddler in my Mum’s arms at the right of the picture. It is a wonderful image and one that I would like to add to my family tree images.

    Now having the benefit of photographs of the actual event, I can see that the ‘Marching Boy-Soldier’ who marched loudly and proudly to ‘Soldiers of the Queen’, wasn’t actually dressed in the authentic-looking Army uniform that I have always remembered, and his rifle turned out to be just a stick. Hmm. I am now doubting some of the other stuff that I have remembered. Can I trust some of the detail in my memories? 🙂
    Coincidentally, The Sargent family, who lived directly over the road to us in Melcombe Road and had a horse-drawn mobile greengrocery business that they ran from their bungalow, also lived a few doors away from us when we moved to the 3 bedroomed council houses in Hall Farm Road, South Benfleet.

    By David Jiggens (04/06/2022)

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