Coronation and other Royal celebrations
in Leverstock Green During the Twentieth Century
22 June 1911, Coronation of King George V

Celebrations of the Coronation took place all over the Hemel Hempstead district. It is unclear from  the Gazette report of those which took place part in Leverstock Green whether they occurred on the day or at a later date, as they weren't reported for two weeks.


A long list of successes in regard to Coronation celebrations in the villages in this district has been chronicled, but few were more thorough and passed off more harmoniously than those of Leverstock Green .

This little village proved its loyalty by highly creditable displays.  The committee, with the Vicar, the Rev. A. Durrant, on the bridge, and the schoolmaster Mr. T H Ford on the helm, spent many hours of careful thought and discussion in arranging details, with the result that the celebration proceedings were carried out without the slightest suspicion of a hitch, and in a manner which reflected the utmost credit on the organisers, and gave every satisfaction to those who participated in them.

At 9 am there was a choral celebration, and two hours later a goodly number attended a special service conducted by the Vicar.  A procession was formed on the green soon after one o'clock and in it were included boy scouts, girl guides, schoolchildren and others dressed in costumes both elaborate and delightfully humorous.  The "Pied Piper" headed the procession, which wended its way to Northend Farm, where a meadow was at the disposal of the officials and also a barn, in which the feasting took place.  In the meadow all kinds of sports were indulged in by the more youthful members of the community.  There was a diversion in the form of a May (pole) dance by sixteen school children, who showed evidence of careful and very considerable training at the hands of Mrs. Ford.

Tea began at 4 o'clock.  The guests were arranged in batches according to seniority, and nearly 600 were entertained at 8 p.m..  Mr. O. Webster distributed the prizes to the successful competitors in the sports, and those who had gained awards in the fancy costume competition.  Dancing was indulged in for an hour to excellent music by a string band arranged by the Vicar, and composed of local performers, and who gave an exhibition of their owners during the afternoon.  After the National Anthem had been sung and vociferous cheers given for the King and Queen and ajournment was made to the village green, where a huge bonfire was lighted and blazed away merrily for some time.  Amongst the officials who worked so energetically may be mentioned: Chairman the Rev. A. Durrant; hon. treasurer Mr. W C Child;  hon. secretary Mr. T H Ford; general committee, Messrs P Webster, C. Ingham, Wed., R W.Wright; W W Sears, Mears, J. Bailey,  junior, A. Seabrook, W. Parkins, T. Parkins, Goodenough, T. Perkins, and J. Hallett.  A sum of about £40 was collected for the celebration and it was unanimously agreed that the money had been spent in the best possible manner. [Gazette 8 July 1911 p.7]
Coronation of King George VI  12th May 1937.
The Leather Bottle  dressed for the coronation 1937
Funeral of George V, 28th January 1936

Some Leverstock Green residents went to London for the funeral of George V.
Visit of Queen Elizabeth II  20th July 1952.

Friday 11th July 1952 - Extract from the Diary of Reginald Allen Shuffrey of Leverstock Green Farm: "We note that flag poles are being erected on the Green for the Queen's visit."

Thursday 17th July 1952 -   Further entry in diary of Reg. Shuffrey:

    "Went to the Library.  They are putting up flag poles by the Post  Office and other men are cleaning up the road verges.  We put up our flag pole outside the farm."

Saturday 19th July 1952 - Further entry in diary of Reg. Shuffrey:

    "Everyone getting ready for the Queen's coming here tomorrow and crowds are expected and everyone very excited."

Sunday 20th July 1952 - The Queen visited Hemel, principally to see the first stage of the residential building of the new town at Adeyfield, and to lay the foundation stone for St. Barnabus' Church. At this time the new church at Adeyfield was still to be part of the parish of Leverstock Green, and Rev. Philip Thomas (Perpetual Curate at Holy Trinity), along with Rev. P Stokes (Priest-in-charge at Adeyfield) were presented to the Queen in what has now become Queen's Square. After her official tour at Adeyfield, it had been aranged that the Queen  would drive to Leverstock Green where they would change from the open-topped car, to a different car which would take them home. Reg Shuffrey recalled in his diary:

    "We took up positions to see H.M. the Queen at 4.45.  She stopped opposite the bus shelter for about a minute only.  Betty (his wife)was in a seat nearby allotted to old people. Tony and Margaret  (his son and daughter-in-law) stood on boxes behind.  I stood by boundary post opposite to Rendalls and took photographs."

Monday 21st July 1952 -  Sadly, Mr. Shuffrey was not very successful in recording the Queen's very brief visit on film, and recorded in his diary:

    "I only got the headlamp of the Queen's car and the tail of the one in front!"

Fortunately for our records, other people were able to get some slightly better snaps of the proceedings.
There were plenty of flags and bunting.
Everybody waited goodnaturedly for the Queen to arrive in her open-topped car (below) and change to another car for the journey to St. Albans for a service in the Abbey.  Special Constable Walter Ayre, a.k.a. the village schoolmaster was on official duty.
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, 2nd June 1953
Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee Celebrations, Monday 3rd June 2002.
31st May 1902 - The Gazette published details of the Borough's plans for Coronation celebrations to take part in Hemel Hempstead finishing at Gadebridge Park on June 21st 1902.  Major proceedings included a carnival procession organised for Hemel Borough starting at Two Waters, and ending at Gadebridge park with lunch, sports and prize giving in the afternoon and fireworks at dusk. Amongst the long list of festival ideas was the following information:


Although not a rich district the inhabitants are not going to let the occasion pass unnoticed and a capital programme has been arranged.  There will be services in the church at 9 and 11; At 12.30 a dinner will provided at Northend farm for men and boys over 13, Athletic sports commence at 2 pm, and a tea will be given to all inhabitants at 4.  At 9.30 there will be a procession to the green and a bonfire will be lit at 10.  Entries for sports close on June 21st. 
[Gazette 31st May 1902]

24th June 1902 - This was the day set aside for the King's coronation, however, unfortunately the King contracted appendicitis and by the day of the Coronation was only just recovering from an operation to rectify the problem which had developed into Peritonitis.  Despite the specific request of the King that the various feasts, and celebrations around the countryside should continue, most such arrangements were in fact cancelled.  Unfortunately this in turn led to riots in Hemel Hempstead and Watford ( and possibly elsewhere in the country) as special dinners had been laid on for the poor who were disappointed at the last moment.  Leverstock Green residents, however, bucked the trend and continued with its celebrations despite the postponing of the Coronation itself. The following is the report of these activities which appeared in the Gazette:


Unlike the large majority of towns and villages in West Herts. the inhabitants of Leverstock Green  proceeded with the celebration of the Coronation  in accordance with the official programme as arranged, and on Thursday the village was en fete from early morn till dawn.  AZ right royal time was spent buy old and young and the day will ever be remembered by those who shared in festivities.  At 9 am there was a celebration of Holy Communion in the church, the school children attending to sing the choral part to Morbecke's tunes.  At 11 o'clock matins and an intercession service took place with special psalms and hymns.  After this a procession was formed of school children, decorated arts, cycles etc. And some of these were evident proof  of much taste and labour.  The feeding arrangements were a very important part and these began at 12 noon when all men and boys were given a hearty dinner in the barn at North End Farm.  Tickets for refreshments to the value of 4d and a ¼ oz packet of tobacco were distributed to each man.  The school children were given a meat tea at 4 o'clock and the women and girls sat down to a similar meal afterwards. There was an abundance of estables and no one was allowed to go short in this respect during the day. In the afternoon a series of athletic sports took place and these created considerable interest.  The results were: 100 yards race for boys under 15  1st J Seabrook, 2nd G Solesbury,  3rd B Wilson, 100 yards for girls & women over 15: 1st L Durrant, 2nd M Hart, 3rd E Sharp; 100 yards for girls under 15: 1st H Hart, 2nd P. Cox, 3rd S. Cole;  Wheelbarrow race: 1st M Latchford, 2nd F Barnes; 100 yards for men over 40: 1st S Solesbury, 2nd W Freeman,  3rd J Winch; 100 yards for men and boys over 15: 1st W Wells, 2nd, S Perry, 3rd M Latchford; quarter mile handicap 1st W Wells, 2nd F Taylor, 3rd M Latchford; Sack race 1st F Taylor, 2nd M Latchford, 3rd A Dell;  One mile cycle handicap 1st W| Parkins, 2nd  L. Seabrook,  3rd W Leno,; Stone picking race for men and boys: 1st H Hall, 2nd A Turner, Obstacle race: 1st M Latchford, 2nd G Wheeler, 3rd, W Dell.  Quoit tournament. 1st A Woodwards, 2nd  A Romsey.

There were also a number of races for the children, and sweets etc. were freely scrambled for. One of the prettiest scenes during the day was the Maypole dancing by the school children and ribbon dances and flag drill were equally attractive. N The Children had been trained for this by Mrs Ford for this pleasant and enjoyable past time for themselves as well as the onlookers. While at teas the children were presented with Coronation Mugs.  A piano organ was engaged for the day and those kept the children lively, while in the evening the Marlowes Drum & Fife Band visited the field and played for dancing.  The festive occasion wound up at a late hour and with an illuminated procession for the Green.

Much praise is due to the hardworking committee and willing band of helpers, and special mention should be the Vicar, Messrs Ford, Child, Sears, Finch, Leno  and Hart.  Mr Cartwright sent a large bag of sweets, and Messrs W  E Bailey, and W Reeves generously gave a quantity of cakes etc.
[Gazette 26th June 1902]

9th August 1902 - The postponed Coronation of Edward VII took place on August 9th and there were huge celebrations in Hemel Hempstead.  As no further comments were made about any  Leverstock Green celebrations I presume that this time, having enjoyed their celebrations on the original date, the inhabitants of Leverstock Green contented themselves with joining in the Hemel Hempstead jollifications.
The Leather Bottle dressed for the Coronation 1937
Leather Bottle Dressed
for the Coronation 1953
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At Leverstock Green

The coronation at Leverstock Green will long live in the memories of all the inhabitants as a day of 12 hours enjoyment, in which young and old were entered for.
Not once was the festivity allowed to lag, from the assembling for the fancy dress parade at 1:30 pm, to the last waltz in the dance at the Village Hall at 2 a.m., and the efficient way in which the time table was adhered to would have done credit to any town.
The proceedings began at 9:30 with a special Coronation Service  conducted by the Rev. T.A. Binns.  The Church Lads’ Brigade and the Girl Guides under  Mr. W. Ayre, paraded to a church that was nearly full.
At 1:30, one hundred competitors assembled opposite the village green for the fancy dress parade.  Costumes bright, patriotic, and sometimes extremely humerous, and these provided a striking contrast to the dull grey of the sky.
Among the entries was one of the Duchess of Teck (Queen Victoria’s mother) portrayed by Mrs Ayre, and is interesting to note that the full length dress that she wore was a 100 years old.
Even if the weather was dull it was certainly not infectious – some 200 people, in fact all the village must have converged on the Village Green to fall in behind the Boxmoor Silver Band , who, with stirring marches, led the way to the school playground.
Here Maypole dancing and massed singing were indulged in,  The centuries old Maypole Dance was carried out by the girls of Leverstock Green School, with all effectiveness, while for the massed singing conducted by Mr Ayre, “England”  “Land of our Fathers”  and “Loch Lomond” were sung.  At the conclusion the strains of the National Anthem resounded over the village, sung with feeling by everyone.
The procession forming up again marched to the sports field lent by Mr Ison, where to the background of old tunes played by the band, the various races were run.
While those were in progress all the inhabitants of the village over 60 years of age, were having their turn in the Parish Hall, over 40 sat down to a sumptuous repast.
There was an interval in the sports programme at 4:45 when the children adjourned for their tea, during which they were presented with souvenir mugs.  
It was during the interval that the rain which had been threatening all day, fell, but the end of the tea saw the sun breaking through the clouds once more.
Sports were resumed until 8:30 and then just as darkness was falling at 9:30, the 15 foot high bonfire on the village green was lit, to the accompaniment of  a firework display given by Messrs C.T. Brock & Co.
The celebrations at this hour, were by no means over, for the younger generation at least, and from 10 till 2 pm a dance was organised in the Parish Hall.  The Arcadians, a local band, supplied the music and  the MC was Mr. Leat.
The arrangements for the whole day were under a Coronation Committee of which the vicar (Rev. T A Binns) was chairman and Mr Ayre, secretary.
The fancy dress judges were: Mrs J Bailey, Mrs F. Cunningham, Mrs. Ayre (Upcot), Mrs Purves, Mr. S. Clark, Mr/ T, Ingham.
The prize winners were:-

Under 7 years: 1, John Anthomy, 2, Margaret Dell, consolation prizes Dianns Steers and John perry.
7-11 years: 1, Audrey Seabrooke; 2 Rita Powell; 3 Peter Pile; consolation prizes Rhoda Brigginshaw and Eric \perry.

11-15 years; 1, David Clark; 2 Richard Blackmore; consolation prizes Agnes Chatley & Edna Dell.
Ladies & Gents; Mrs Ayre (Duchess of Teck) and Mr. C. Brigginshaw (nurse).


75 yards. 5-7 years (boys): 1. C. Jones; 2, V.Langridge; 3 J. Lee.
75 yards. 5-7 years (girls) 1, B. McBracken; 2, V. Broadbear; 3. R Langridge
100 yards, 7-10 (boys): 1, F Broadbear; 2, R. Childs; 3, R. Langridge.
100 yards, 7-10 (girls) 1, P. Chatley, 2, S. Sawyer; 3, J. Catlin.
100 yards 10-14 (boys) 1, D. Blackmore; 2, Kempster; J. Daniels.
100 yards 10-14 (girls): 1, E. Hill; 2, B. Seeby; 3, J. Lawrence.
Ladies 26-35 years 1, Mrs Hopkins; 2, Mrs Langridge; 3, Mrs Perkins & Mrs Anthony ( dead heat).
Gents 18-30 years 220 yards, 1, R. Fordham; 2, H. Briggs; 3, G. Thorn.
Gents 31- 45 100 yards; 1, W Vaughan; 2, D. Perry; 3. M. Hiscock.
Veterans 45 and over 100 yards: 1, H. Taylor, 2, G. L. Faulden; 3. C. Brigginshaw.
Toddlers: 1, B. Brigginshaw; 2, B.Lee; 3, P. Dell.
Girls under 5: 1, E. Anthony; 2, A. Mann; 3, J. Marshall.
Boys 14-18 100 yards, 220 yards: D. Fountain, 2, L. Dell; 3. P. Smith.
Girls 14-18 100 yards, 1, J. Paige; 2, M. Matthews; 3. G Perry.
Boys 7-14 years slow bicycle: 1. D. Blackmore; 2, T. Daniels; 3, C. Langridge.
Girls 7-14 cycle race: J. Childs; 2. M. Paige; 3. A. Seabrooke.
Slow bicycle race over 14 years (gents) 1, F. Boatwright; 2, D. Dell; 3. T. Steward
Slow bicycle race, over 14 years ( ladies); 1, J. Seabrooke; 2, M. Matthews; 3, G. Perry.
75 yards ladies, over 35 years: 1, Mrs Childs; 2, Mrs. Langridge; 3, Mrs Parish.
Egg & Spoon (ladies) 1, J. Seabrooke; 2, Mrs Rance; 3, Mrs Nash.
Band race: 1, Mr Baynes; 2, Mr. Mayo, 3, Mr Cook.
Ladies Refreshments (Helpers Committee) 1, Mrs Lowe; 2, Mrs Brigginshaw.
Three Legged Race: 1. Fred Ison & Mrs Hopkinson; 2, Harry Taylor and Mrs Horwood; 3, T Miles and J Johnson.
[Gazette Saturday May 15th 1937]

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