Yeovil Celebrates the 1911 Coronation

The 1911 Coronation

How Yeovil celebrated the coronation of King George V

 

George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. He was the second son of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and grandson of the then reigning British monarch, Queen Victoria. From the time of his birth he was third in the line of succession behind his father and his own elder brother, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale. From 1877 to 1891, George served in the Royal Navy, until the unexpected death of his elder brother in early 1892 put him directly in line for the throne. On the death of his grandmother in 1901, George's father became King-Emperor of the British Empire, and George was created Prince of Wales. He succeeded his father in 1910.

From the diary of Louisa Harris ....

"22 June 1911: Coronation Day. Celebrated in Yeovil in a manner worthy of the occasion. The town, for one of its size, was superbly decorated and the illuminations at night were charming. The weather, however, was not all that could be desired. There was a high wind and at intervals a little drizzle. Sidney Gardens, being much exposed in places to the former, they had great difficulty in keeping the lamps alight. However, on the whole, the effect was brilliant. There was a concert up there, commencing at 7:30. B [Louisa's sister, Bessie] and I went to it but the wind carried the sound of the voices away. We also saw the carnival procession in the afternoon which was a great success. We also viewed the decorations and illuminations in the different parts. B attended the service held at St John's in the morning. There was a public tea in Wyndham Field and tea there for the children of the elementary schools given by Mr Stiby who also presented each child with a coronation medal. We got back in time to see the kindling of a glorious bonfire on Summerhouse Hill. By prearrangement for all the bonfires, the signal for kindling was by a flight of rockets. From a back window we could see another bonfire away in the distance."

 

 

There was a special gathering of schoolchildren in Preston Park (see Gallery), despite the rain. Some events were interrupted by the poor weather but others were transferred indoors. Prizes of between ten shillings and £5 were awarded for the best decorated houses and business premises.

 

gallery


 

Edwardian Yeovil - the crowds in the Borough gather for the proclamation of King George V following the death of Edward VII on 9 May 1910.

 

The state portrait, by Sir Luke Fildes, of King George V on the occasion of his coronation.

 


From my collection

The procession passes through the Borough.

 


From my collection

Sunday school children assemble in St John's churchyard.

 

.... and other schoolchildren assembled in Preston Park - despite the rain.

 

The above rare commemorative medallion in my collection was given by Henry Stiby to commemorate the coronation of King George V (reigned 1910-1936).

The medallion is just over 38mm in diameter and 2.8mm thick. The obverse carries profile portraits of the king and queen with "KING GEORGE" and "QUEEN MARY" around the edge. The reverse carries the edge inscription "PRESENTED BY MR HENRY STIBY JP. YEOVIL" and a central inscription reading "CORONATION" above and "JUNE 22 1911" below a central motif of St George and the Dragon. At the very bottom is "LONG LIVE THE KING".

 

Children assemble in St John's churchyard to celebrate the coronation. Many of the children are wearing the medals they have just been presented with by Henry Stiby (see above).

 

High Street decorated to celebrate the coronation of George V in June 1911.

 

The Swan Inn (at left) in Park Street decorated for the 1911 coronation.

 

The photograph above was taken in 1911 when the Glovers Arms was decorated to celebrate the Coronation of King George V. In the doorway is William Bond, landlord at the time. You can tell by the fence in the lower right foreground that Reckleford was not very wide at this time.