Accession & Coronation of King George VI


When Edward VIII abdicated on 11 December 1936, his brother Albert became King and took the name George VI. He was crowned on 12 May 1937.

 

The following description of the celebrations to mark the Coronation of King George VI is taken from the town's official commemorative booklet.

A Town’s meeting, called by the Mayor earlier in the year, elected a large representative committee to make the necessary arrangements. Miss Audrey Fletcher was nominated as May Queen, and it was decided to hold the festivities on the Broadwater Cricket Ground, the gift of the Mayor and Mayoress to the Borough.

The following acted as chairmen of the main committees :‑Councillors G. D. Brown (Procession), F. W. Patrick (Broadwater), J. A. Patton (Decorations) and C. F. Ringe (Finance). The Mayoress, with a committee of lady helpers, undertook the Children's Teas. The Deputy Mayoress (Mrs. A. J. Dunn) and Miss W. E. Wilkinson of the Godalming County School were in charge of the Costumes and Chariot of the May Queen and her attendants.

The programme included a Military Band, the decoration of the streets, a Grand Carnival Procession from the Old Town Hall to Broadwater, the Crowning of the May Queen, Teas for School Children, a Fun Fair, Sports for Adults and Children, Dancing, Fireworks and many other forms of amusement.

Unfortunately, however, the Procession, which had never within the memory of the oldest inhabitant been surpassed for size, splendour or originality, had scarcely formed up when the first of a series of thunderstorms broke, which literally " drowned out " the proceedings. The children sought refuge in the Regal Cinema, where they were entertained by an impromptu performance. Later, as many as possible were conveyed through the deluge to the Tea Tent at Broadwater even the Corporation dust‑cart being utilised for transport!

Nothing further, was possible that day, but Godalming refused to be daunted. In response to the Mayor's appeal, costumes were dried vehicles redecorated and, on the following Monday, the Procession took place, headed by the Mayor and Hon. Secretary on horseback, appropriately dressed as a Town Warden and Town Clerk of the time of Elizabeth, from whom the town received its Charter in the year 1574. In brilliant sunshine the thirteen‑year‑old May Queen was crowned by her father in the presence of an enormous crowd at Farncombe Recreation Ground, where the Annual Whit Monday Sports were being held.

A Voluntary Band, under Mr. W. J. Radlett of Charterhouse, proved an excellent substitute for the Military Band, which had had to cancel its engagement. The proceedings were wound up by a display of fireworks after dark, and the postponed sports for adults and children were held about a fortnight later.

 

 

The Borough Council collected together many photographs of the town's celebrations and other contemporary subjects. The album can be seen in the museum's Local Studies Library. Many of the photographs were issued in a commemorative booklet.

This photograph shows the procession for Coronation of King George VI in 1937 just about to set off from Ockford Road.

 
Godalming Borough Council's Coronation Album, 1937, p12A

 

 

The procession for Coronation of King George VI in 1937 passing the Pepperpot.

 

Godalming Borough Council's Coronation Album, 1937, p14

 

 

Children await the judging of the dressing-up.

 

Godalming Borough Council's Coronation Album, 1937, p19D

 

 

This is 102 High Street decorated for the occasion.

 
Godalming Borough Council's Coronation Album, 1937, p30A

 

 

The north side of the High Street decorated for the Coronation of King George VI in May 1937.

 
Godalming Borough Council's Coronation Album, 1937, p27A

 

 

 

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