On Sunday 12th June the Queen’s 90th Birthday was celebrated with the Patron’s Lunch on the Mall.
My own family have been organising street parties in Shepherds Bush for over eighty years. For some unknown reason, just prior to the First World War, several members of the Baggett family and the Milstead family moved from Bromley in Kent to Gayford Road in Shepherds Bush. My grand-parents Harry Baggett and Florence Milstead married in St Saviours Church in 1917. I would guess that they celebrated the Armistice in 1918 but if they did, I have no family photos recording any festivities.
The first major street party my grand-parents organised was in 1935 for King George V’s Silver Jubilee.
It was a huge party and the cost of providing the tea for the children was just over £16. This amount also included a sixpenny piece (2 ½ pence) for each of the 120 children.
The following year the King died and in 1937 a further street party was organised for the Coronation of George VI.
Due to injuries he received in the First World War my grand-father was not a fit man. He died just before the start of the Second World War, at the young age of 42. My grand-mother briefly moved out of the Borough with her four children. Finding it difficult to settle she brought her children back to live in Thorpebank Road, Shepherds Bush; another road which apparently had a liking for celebrating as the following photo appears to show.
My mother Ivy and my father Gwyn were married in St Luke’s Church in 1944 and they also set up home in Thorpebank Road.
The war lasted until 1945 and in May ‘Victory in Europe’ was celebrated throughout the country. My grand-mother Flo and my parents were there to organise the VE Day street party.
The following photo is very interesting as it shows one of the four brick and re-enforced concrete air raid shelters that had been built in the road.
King George VI died in 1952 and Princess Elizabeth became Queen. In 1953 Thorpebank Road held a street party for the Queen’s Coronation. Wormholt Park School also held a party for local children – just as well as the street party got rained off.
My father died in the Jubilee year of 1977. Then in 1981 my grandmother died in Acton Cottage Hospital. For the next ten years I helped my mother raise thousands of pounds, which we used to give presents and parties to the 8o elderly patients resident in the hospital. My mother died in 1992.
In the following ten years there were no major events to warrant a street party. Leading up to the Queens Diamond Jubilee in 2002 a group of enthusiastic neighbours suggested having a street party and put out a request for volunteers. Family tradition kicked in and I found myself being one of the organisers.
As I had already done a lot of research on Thorpebank Road and the local area I also put on a history display on the day.
In April 2011 I helped organise another street part to celebrate the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton.
This time I put on an even bigger history display and word spread locally. Then six months later I was invited to put on a display in Wormholt Park to celebrate the Park’s 100th anniversary.
The following year we held another party for the Queens Gold Jubilee.
In keeping with the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 and her 90th Birthday Patron’s Lunch this year, it rained in 2012. But soon the sun came out and the party resumed.
Over the last four years many of our original 2002 organisers have moved away and sadly this year we were unable to muster enough volunteers to organise a party.
But I’m ready for the next party ……….
by Peter Trott
Hammersmith & Fulham Local Studies and Archives Volunteer