SILVER JUBILEE CELEBRATION 1935
Researched and written by Christopher J. Hogger
On May 6th 1935 the nation and the Empire celebrated the 25th anniversary – the Silver Jubilee – of King George V’s accession to the throne. It was a wonderfully sunny day and had been declared a public holiday. Celebrations were staged all over the country besides in London.
For George and his wife Queen Mary the principal event of the day was the Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral. They were brought there in the State Coach past cheering crowds of hundreds of thousands of people. Inside, before their arrival, the atmosphere was quiet and suffused by sunlight streaming in through the south windows.
George was wearing the uniform of a Field Marshall, rich red in colour and brightly contrasting with his pure white shoulder bows signifying the Order of the Bath. Mary wore a blue Garter ribbon over a dress of light pink. They sat initially in rose-pink chairs. Along the entire Nave stood Yeomen of the Guard bearing gleaming halberds. The King and Queen then rose and moved to the footstools in front of them where they knelt in prayer. The congregation also knelt while a voice from the choir spoke prayers for the couple, for peace and for all humanity. The congregation then rose for the singing of the Te Deum. The couple were then blessed, again kneeling, by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The National Anthem was sung and the King, Queen and dignitaries began processing down the nave. The Mayor of London bowed to the King and raised the Pearl Sword of the City of London. The procession then continued to the doors and out into the sunlight to waves of cheers from the thousands waiting outside the Cathedral.
The King and Queen were then driven back to Buckingham Palace amid glorious panoply. At right they are seen passing along the Embankment which was festooned with decorations. It was just the first of many further carriage processions undertaken by the King in different parts of London as the month progressed.
Back at the Palace, George and the Royal Family appeared on the balcony before the crowds, repeating this several times later that week. On this Jubilee day George pressed a button at the Palace in the evening and so initiated the lighting of an immense beacon in Hyde Park; this was the signal for great numbers of similar beacons to be lit across the country, the Scouts playing the leading role in this feature of the nationwide celebrations, including those in Effingham.
The day’s events in London are presented to good effect in the following YouTube Pathé film which has the voice-over of the King’s public address, although the sound quality leaves something to be desired.
British Pathé : The Royal Silver Jubilee.
Preparations for the Jubilee began in earnest at an Ordinary Meeting of Effingham Parish Council on February 22nd 1935 at which the following minuted decision was made:
Silver Jubilee Celebration. This was considered a matter for public deliberation and [it] was decided that a Public Meeting be called by posting notices, & letters should be sent to the various local organizations acquainting them of the project & inviting their attendance. It was left to the Chairman, Messrs. Nottage, Butcher & the Clerk to arrange a date as early as possible.
Accordingly a public meeting took place on March 11th at which the main aims and features were proposed and a Jubilee Celebration Committee elected to progress the matter.
At its next Ordinary Meeting on April 1st the Parish Council agreed to contribute a grant for the event, being “the sum equivalent of a half-penny rate on the productive rateable value of the Parish”. It was further agreed that the Council should advance £10 immediately.
Two days later the Committee wrote the following letter to the parishioners setting out details of the celebration and inviting donations.
Evidently the Committee consisted at least of Mr Joseph Stewart Adams, Sir Guy Meyrick Mallaby Mallaby-Deeley, Mr Ivor Alexander Whitworth McGowan and Mrs Maude (née Burgess) Whale.
From the Effingham Council School’s log book we see that the school was closed on both the Jubilee day and the following day:
This entry was made by the head teacher Mr Adams who – as seen above – was also serving as Chairman of the Jubilee Celebration Committee. Despite what was written opposite, the log book does not contain the Programme, only various newspaper cuttings.
The Programme of Events can be viewed in full via this button:
This copy bears Mr Adams’ handwriting. We do not know to whom he sent it but it was among several items that had been found in the (new) Rectory at Effingham and donated to ELHG; perhaps Mr. Adams had sent it to Rev. Floud, the vicar of St Lawrence Church.
In outline, the day’s events were to be as follows:
• thanksgiving service at St Lawrence Church
• children’s Fancy Dress assembled at the school then judged at Yew Tree House
• planting of a ‘Jubilee Tree’ (an English chestnut) in the School playing field
• procession via the St Lawrence Shrine to the Fete Ground
• parades, sports and teas
• presentation of souvenirs
• stoolball match
• bonfire, community sing-song and carnival dance
Should the game of stoolball be unfamiliar, here is a brief introduction filmed in 1940, from British Pathé:
British Pathé : Stoolball Match in Kent, 1940.
This section of the 1934 Ordnance Survey map shows the sites relevant to the event. Near the top is Effingham Council School (later St Lawrence Primary) coloured green; its playing field, in which the Jubilee tree was planted, lay to the north of the building, being the plot numbered 215 on the map.
The Shrine, commemorating Effingham servicemen who fell in the Great War, is marked here by a red dot near the entrance from Church Street (‘Upper Street’ on the map) into St Lawrence churchyard.
The house coloured deep blue near the bottom of the map is Yew Tree House, the home of Mrs Nina (née Lambert) MacNair. Her lawn, where she carried out the judging of the children’s Fancy Dress competition, may have been the area coloured light blue at the back of the house. Her lawn may also have extended over the plot numbered 199b; our knowledge of who owned which plots in this era is very incomplete.
The Fete Ground was probably in the area coloured pale green. In the Programme of Events the venue was named Pit Carn Field, as it also was in newspaper articles describing the event. Two years later, however, when Effingham celebrated the Coronation in 1937, the Programme then used the name Carn Pit Field, as also did newspaper articles describing that event. Meanwhile, ELHG has in the past occasionally heard residents refer to the site as Madge’s Field.
There are other issues relating to the location of the Fete Ground and to the names attributed to it. These are discussed on a separate page on this website bearing the title ‘Madge’s Field‘.
Here is how the Coronation celebration was remembered by Mrs Lena (née Keeling) Bridger who at that time, with her husband Harry, ran The Village Stores in the Street; this extract is taken from the recorded interview made by her daughter Mary:
Lena: Then there were the Silver Jubilee celebrations for King George V, do you remember what a very hot day that was? Baking hot, everyone was so thirsty. We had a fancy dress parade around the village, with the village band led by Mr Stewart Adams as the drum major with a walking stick. Mr Street, Mr Pole, Mr Patten and Mr Stovell in the band paraded, finishing in Madge’s field. Then they had a comic football match and sports et cetera. And everyone was so thirsty they drank gallons of lemonade.
Mary: I think it all ran out didn’t it, the lemonade?
Lena: Yes, in the shop and there wasn’t any. Then of course outside the school a tree was planted by Stewart Adams.
Mary: Everybody was given a mug.
Lena: Oh yes.
Lena’s reference above to the village band was probably mistaken, as there is no reference to the band to be found in the Programme or in various newspaper articles about the day’s activities. Nor is it consistent with the photographs we possess of the procession to the Fete Ground. The band did feature in the Coronation celebrations two years later and newspaper accounts of that occasion describe the band as having been “resuscitated” for this purpose after a lapse of many years. Her reference to the comic football match was probably also mistaken. Again, there is no mention of it in the Programme or in the newspapers, but a comic football match did take place in the 1937 Coronation celebrations. So her recollections, recorded over thirty years later, of these two events had apparently become muddled.
The following account was written by someone who took part in the Jubilee celebrations as a young child, Margaret Mary (née) Nicholls (later Pratley, finally Biles) who was born in 1924. It is contained in a handwritten ten-page essay entitled My Career in the Effingham School which she wrote on April 1st 1938, in the last year of her schooldays there:
The Fancy Dress Competition
We are fortunate to possess a few photographs of the Fancy Dress competitors – click them to enlarge:
Above, the left-hand picture shows Mary Elizabeth Procter, a quite tall girl born in 1928, possibly in the gardens of The Lodge before or after the official activities; in this period she was living with her parents Thomas Maurice and Marie Charlotte in a flat on the first floor of the old stable block in The Lodge grounds, having come to live in Effingham earlier in the year, or just possibly in 1934. The middle and right-hand pictures were taken on Mrs MacNair’s lawn at Yew Tree House. The girl dressed as a nurse may have been Sheila R Turner. The girl standing with her in the right-hand picture was Violet Edith Jane Biles, also born in 1928 and living at 2, Victory Cottages.
In this line-up on the lawn at Yew Tree House we see Mary Elizabeth Procter standing second from right; we have been told that the girl standing second from left (ignoring the partially-seen girl at extreme left) may have been Victoria Carr who was then living at “Eskdale” in Strathcona Avenue, although another candidate (on the grounds of her looks strongly resembling those in later life) is Margaret Mary Nicholls, mentioned above as having been dressed as a Red Indian; standing fourth from left was Violet Edith Jane Biles.
The Planting of the Jubilee Tree
The tree-planting ceremony began with some brief speeches. Presumably composed before the event, they were subsequently written down by Mr Adams on three pages of the school log book. Here is a transcription of them:
Public Speeches in Effingham on Jubilee Day. 6.V.35
at Planting of the Jubilee Tree in the School Playing Field.
Mrs Stewart Adams
“I very much appreciate the great honour which has been conferred upon me, this day, by planting this tree in behalf of the Parish of Effingham to commemorate their Majesties’ Silver Jubilee. For you, boys and girls, I hope this tree – which is a symbol of Strength and Beauty – may ever remind you, that you should always endeavour to cultivate Strength in your body and Beauty of Character.”
by Doris Moore, Secy to Head Master
“Governess, the children would be pleased to mark your Jubilee years of service willingly rendered and of duties, faithfully fulfilled. This bouquet, please accept as a small token.”
by Chairman of Celebrations Committee [Joseph Stewart Adams]
“Madame, in behalf of the Committee, I offer you our thanks for graciously consenting to carry out this duty in behalf of the Parish. You are pleased to say it is an honour conferred. We regard it as an obligation from us which is your due for service to this parish, and the children who know you so well and appreciate your work, confirm this.”
“I feel sure that the wish of all present here today is that your efforts in behalf of the young may long continue.
We congratulate you upon the past and thank you, yet expectant of further honoured service.”
“Governess” was the title by which Mr Adams’ wife Florence was usually known. She was the other principal teacher at the school.
The bouquet was given to her by a pupil Doris Edith Moore, born in 1921 and then living with her parents Bill and Rose Edith at 4, Victory Cottages. She is described above as “Secretary to Head Master” so may have assisted with the school administration. In her short utterance Doris alludes to the teachers’ own “Jubilee years of service”, on account of their having taught at the school for 25 years since their first arrival in Effingham at the beginning of 1910.
There was evidently a professional photographer present as we have a number of photographs of identical size and quality showing the planting of the tree and the start of the procession, and one of these bears the studio logo “A. Warren, The Crescent, Leatherhead”.
Here are the ones showing the planting – click them to enlarge:
At top left Florence is pointing to the tree, whilst at top right she is being given the bouquet by Doris Edith Moore. Below is a close-up of the central figures seen in the bottom-right picture; this has been annotated in order to facilitate identifications.
Ralph Edgar Street, head gardener at The Lodge and the Marshal of the Jubilee celebrations
Rev. Harold Arthur Floud, Vicar of St. Lawrence Church
perhaps Miss Betty Whale, one of the Stewards
Marion (née Canning) Floud, wife of Harold Arthur Floud
Florence (née Weaver) Adams, the “Governess” of the School
Father Francis Edward Bird, priest at Our Lady of Sorrows, the Roman Catholic Church
Nina (née Lambert) MacNair, Adjudicator of the Fancy Dress competition
perhaps Guy Meyrick Mallaby Mallaby-Deeley, Chairman of the Appeal Committee
perhaps Maude (née Burgess) Whale, Hon. Treasurer of the Jubilee Committee
Ivor Alexander Whitworth McGowan, Hon. Secretary of the Jubilee Committee
James William Pollard
perhaps John Thomas Bunce, Chairman of Effingham Parish Council
Joseph Stewart Adams, Head Master of the school and Chairman of the Jubilee Committee
Mr Adams’ notes in the School log book include these remarks about the actual planting of the tree:
“The circular hole for the Tree was dug by Alfred Lucas and John Evershed. The hole was filled in by Edward Pollard, Dennis Jackson, Ronald Tyrrell, Reginald Callen and Alfred Gleeson.”
Unfortunately the tree did not survive. On November 6th 1936 Mr Adams recorded that on that day he had planted another horse chestnut tree, “The Silver Jubilee tree having failed to establish itself”.
The Procession to the Fete Ground
The procession followed immediately after the planting of the tree, assembling in Lower Road outside the school. The Marshal, Ralph Edgar Street, had the duty of guiding the parading villagers along the route and generally maintaining discipline.
In this photograph we see Mr Street, either before or after the activities, standing in the Rose Garden in the grounds of The Lodge, where he had already worked for over a quarter of a century.
He lived with his family in a property (now long vanished) within these grounds known as the Lodge Bungalow which was situated at the corner of Lower Road and Church Street. The photograph of it below was taken much later, in 1960. The Jubilee parade would pass within a few yards of it on the way to the Church.
We have just these two photographs showing the beginning of the procession – click them to enlarge:
The time shown here by the School’s clock was 2.25. In the left-hand picture the participants were apparently posing for the photographer just before starting off. In the right-hand picture they are on the move, clearly led by Mr Street together with the schoolboy Arthur Wells bearing the flowers to be placed on the Shrine. We have been told (by his sister) that he was Arthur James, born on December 23rd 1923 as the first child of Robert Wells and Lucy Violet Victoria (née Bullen) who had married at the start of that year. The School’s register shows that Arthur had been admitted in October 1928. His uncle, also named Arthur, being the brother of Robert Wells, had been awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the Great War but had been killed in action in October 1917; his name was one of those commemorated on the Shrine, as it still is today.
Below is a close-up of the leading group in the left-hand picture.
From left to right we have firstly, standing a little behind the rest, Mr Adams. Then Mr Street, prominent in his bowler hat, and to the right of him Nina MacNair and Arthur Wells, holding his flowers. To the right of Arthur is the young woman assigned No. 4 in the close-up of the tree-planting; she may have been Miss Betty Whale, standing next to the woman at far right whom we have conjectured to be Mrs Maude Whale.
Betty Whale was born to Maude in 1915. Besides being one of the Stewards she also had another special position on this particular day – it was her 20th birthday. The Press reported that:
“During the afternoon a hearty ovation was given to Miss Betty Whale, an Effingham girl, who celebrated her birthday on Jubilee Day.”
After their business at the Shrine, the procession probably paraded down Crossways, with Yew Tree House standing opposite, and then crossed The Street to enter Madge’s Lane.
The photograph on the right was taken at (or near to) the Fete Ground, and shows a girl seen earlier in the Fancy Dress competition – click to enlarge. She had clearly taken part in the “Decorated Perambulators with Babies” parade scheduled in the Programme to take place at the Fete Ground.
At the Fete Ground Mr Adams made another speech, this too recorded in his School log book:
by Chairman to the Village at The Fete
“Ladies, Gentlemen and children of Effingham and your friends – I am privileged to extend to you in behalf of the Committee and in mine, a sincere welcome. We are this day guests of the Parish of Effingham and it is the Committee’s wish that we all unite thoroughly to enjoy ourselves. If we do this, it would be just what Their Majesties most would desire – to be happy and to make others happy. This is not the moment for me to say any word of the wonderful work of the King and the members of the Royal Family over a long period. There is not a small child who does not know and I venture to say it would not be possible to find a gathering whose hearts are more loyal and affectionate to the Crown than ours. Suffice it to say, they set us a lead in shewing a truly Christian example of relieving the suffering, aiding the downcast and making life less drear for weary people. I am sure you would llike to know, our Committee have arranged that some measure of comfort and good cheer has been provided for the sick, the aged, the infirm and for those of this parish, who by reason of any infirmity, are unable to share in our joy this day.”
“We are met with a feeling of deep gratitude to the Giver of all Good things, and with the fervent prayer in our hearts of Long live the King. Then let us endeavour to follow that example of the Royal Household, so that wherever we go and whatever we do, the world may know there is someone to whom the burdened heart may pour forth its sorrow. Thus, we can have the conscious satisfaction of making this world a little better than we found it.”
Several newspapers reported Effingham’s Jubilee celebrations and Mr Adams stuck cuttings from them into the School log book; their precise publication dates are not given. The cutting shown below was published in The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser. Below this are buttons for two other cuttings.
After the event Mr Adams, in his capacity of Chairman of the Jubilee Committee, evidently sent out this letter of thanks to persons who had played key roles in the event.
In early June he also sent this more personal letter (signed also by Florence) to Mr Street’s daughter Rosa Helen, transcribed as follows:
Dear Rosa, when you smiled at me on Saturday evening I was not aware of the importance of the day to you, your mother did not say. But your father can’t keep a secret! Please let me wish you a greeting for your Silver Jubilee Birthday and may I express the hope that the happiness of your 1st Jubilee may be maintained and enhanced for succeeding jubilees ever remembering as I do that a bright gleam of sunshine arrived in Effingham on June 1st 25 years ago. You may not remember it – I do. Sincerely, J.S.A. / F. Adams.
Rosa Helen had indeed been born on June 1st 1910, thus arriving in Effingham in the same year that Mr Adams had.