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Readers' 1930s royal souvenirs

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 30, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Souvenir for the coronation that never was: a compact commemorating Edward VIII

  • Souvenir tin for the 1935 jubilee of George V

  • Cigarette card Mrs Cartwright received shortly after seeing Queen Mary in a jubilee procession

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ONCE again Bugle readers have proved themselves quick to respond to a request. In our July 10 edition we asked for your souvenirs of the 1935 silver jubilee of George V and these are the first results.

Mrs E. Cartwright of Stourbridge wrote with her memories of the jubilee celebrations in West Bromwich 79 years ago:

"I can remember being on a 'float' for the parade. We were children from Dora Road and all dressed in various guises. I was a Lyons Maid waitress and we had a nurse and patient, cowboy, etc. I don't know if we got a prize or not.

"I also went to London to see a procession of the King and Queen and when my father opened a packet of Players, this was the card inside, just after the King and Queen had passed."

The official celebrations of George V's silver jubilee ran May 6-12, 1935. On May 6 a thanksgiving service was held at St Paul's cathedral and the following is taken from W.J. Makin's account of George V's life:

"The scenes in the streets as the procession drove to and from St Paul's demonstrated once more, but with an added fervour, the almost passionate loyalty of the people. Countless visitors from overseas vied with Londoners in their acclaim as Their Majesties drove slowly past the great stands with their gaily dressed occupants and the masses of spectators standing on the pavements, and there were special cheers for the little Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose."

Similar scenes were enacted over following days as the King and Queen processed from Buckingham Palace to north, east, south and west London and it was one of these processions that Mrs Cartwright and her father witnessed.

That jubilee year also saw West Bromwich Albion contest the FA Cup final with Sheffield Wednesday, losing 4-2 (see July 3 edition). Mrs Cartwright has good reason to remember the occasion:

"I have the autographs of the Albion team when they left the station on their way to London. Dad was stationmaster and had a photograph taken with them on the platform, which I am trying to trace."

Does anyone have a copy of this photograph of the Baggies' 1935 FA Cup team departing for the match?

We have more royal souvenirs from Sheila Cole of Darby End, Dudley. She brought to our Cradley Heath office this "Eve" tin decorated with pictures of George V and Queen Mary that had originally belonged to her mother-in-law Lily Cole.

We don't know what the tin originally contained, possibly cigarettes or chocolates; does anyone recognise the "Eve" brand name?

Sheila brought along another item that she had from her mother-in-law, a compact decorated to commemorate the coronation of Edward VIII – an event that never happened.

Edward VIII ascended to the throne on the death of his father George V on January 20, 1936. Plans for his coronation on May 12, 1937, were well underway when he abdicated on December 11, 1936, in the face of the growing constitutional crisis aroused by his wish to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. The coronation went ahead as planned, but it was his brother, the Duke of York, who was crowned as George VI that day.

Many companies had produced thousands of coronation souvenirs that were now useless. In many cases, the face of George VI was substituted for that of his brother but still lots of items could not be altered and were then sold as souvenirs of Edward's brief reign.

Readers with long memories may recall Sheila's mother-in-law Lily Cole. She appeared in the Bugle in 1973 with the "murder jug", the weapon used in a bloody murder in 1888. You can read the story and see a picture of Lily Cole with the murder jug on our website at www.blackcountrybugle.co.uk

Have you any more royal souvenirs? Contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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