As we approach the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, one of our Archives & Local Studies volunteers looks back at street parties in Hammersmith and Fulham:
The first street parties were known as Peace Teas and held to mark the end of the First World War in 1918. Since then these community get-togethers have grown in popularity and been held across the country to mark important national events including VE Day in 1945, the 1951 Festival of Britain, coronations and jubilees of British monarchs and royal marriages.
The first Peace Teas were at a time of austerity so food was simple and consisted of whatever was available. In 1953 for the Queen’s coronation food was still rationed after World War II but households were given an extra pound of sugar and 4 oz of margarine for the celebrations. In recent years neighbours combined to produce feasts of sandwiches, sausage rolls, jelly and cakes, laid out on trestle tables reaching from one end of the road to the other whilst Punch and Judy and donkey rides entertained children.
For the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 a committee was formed in Hammersmith to coordinate events around the borough. Bunting and flags were fixed to houses, trees and lamp posts, and even kerb stones were painted in patriotic colours so roads soon became a sea of red, white and blue. The Illustrated London News sponsored a prize of £1,000 for the best decorated street in Britain, and it was won by Protheroe Road in Fulham.
Do you remember these celebrations, perhaps you are featured in some of these photographs? Do let us know. There are many more pictures of the Jubilee celebrations at the Hammersmith and Fulham Archives – come and take a look!
[Caroline, local studies volunteer]