This year 2022 is marked by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the seventieth anniversary of her accession to the throne in 1952, following the death of her father King George VI. Bottesford will be joining in the great national celebration that is planned, but how have past Coronation and Jubilee festivities in the village been remembered? Our main source of information has been searches of the Grantham Journal in the British Newspaper Archive, supplemented by additional material where possible.
1838 – Queen Victoria’s Coronation
1862 – Queen Victoria’ Silver Jubilee
1887 – Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee
1897 – Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee
1902 – Coronation of Edward VII
1911 – Coronation of George V
1935 – King George V’s Silver Jubilee
1936 – Coronation of George VI
1953 – Coronation of Elizabeth II
1977 – Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee
2002 – Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee
2022 – Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee
Our searches have not uncovered information about village celebrations of all these events, which does not mean that there weren’t any. They have as yet yielded nothing related to the Coronation of Queen Victoria in June, 1838. Of course, the Grantham Journal did not exist at this date (it started in 1854), but searches of the Leicestershire Mercury have failed to find any reports from our corner of the county.
Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, 1887
The Grantham Journal (GJ) did record meetings and events marking the Golden Jubilee, 1887. The following transcriptions can be compared to scans of the original articles (displayed by the National Newspaper Archive).
Jubilee celebrations in 1877 took place from Easter to August Bank Holiday, and evidently were generous and enjoyed by all, the August event drawing in visitors from across the region. There were also proposals for more permanent memorials to the jubilee year in the form of a Victoria Hall and clock tower, or a produce-market roof for the village Cross and Stocks, but sadly none of these appear to have been built.
GJ March 1887 The Queen’s Jubilee. – A favourable opportunity is presented to the inhabitants of this populous village to manifest their loyalty in commemoration of the Queen’s Jubilee, an eligible building site being offered for sale suitable for the erection of a spacious hall which might be utilized for a mission hall, a lecture or concert-room, or for holding tea and other meetings. As the proposed building would be situate on the road to the railwaynstation, the edifice might be improved and rendred more ornamental and useful by the addition of a clock tower, furnished with a correct time-keeper, with outside dials legibly figured that “those who run may read.” We understand that a public meeting will shortly be convened for the purpose of taking into consideration the Jubilee memorial, when the “Victoria Hall” scheme will probably be brought before the meeting.
GJ 5th March 1887 The Queen’s Jubilee – On the afternoon of Thursday, the 24th ult., a public meeting was held in the Boy’s School-room for the purpose of taking into consideration the best mode of commemorating the Queen’s Jubilee. The meeting was numerously attended, chiefly by wealthy and influential ladies and gentlemen of the village. As soon as all were seated, Canon Norman rose and said that as England and her wide dominions were governed by a woman, he woud propose that the Lady Adeliza should occupy the chair which was unanimously agreed to. Her Ladyship said that they had met to manifest their love and loyalty to the best Soveraign that had ever reigned. Her Majestoy’s good qualities as wife, mother and friend, were enumerated by her Ladyship, who at the close of an eloquent address, requested those present to consider in what way they could show their loyalty. Mr A.H. Hickson offered a suggestion that a Jubilee feast to the inhabitants should be given. Mr W Norris proposed that a public clock should be placed in the School-room. The Victoria Hall, tower, and clock scheme was also put forward. As nothing definite could be decided upon, a Committee was appointed to collect subscriptions. Amongst the suggestions which have been made by villagers were – a stained glass window in the east end of the Parish Church, a recreation ground.a model lodging-house, a couple of Church bells, and an alteration in Dr. Flemings’s hospital, giving each inmate separate apartments. The Committee was appointed as follows – Miss Vincent, Miss Maltby, Miss D. Green, Miss Brook, Miss Hickson, Miss Hambling, Miss Kettleborrow, Mr J Wright Mr V Green, Mr A Hickson, Rev R Norman, Mr R Kettleborrow, and Mr W Norris.
JG 12th March 1887 The Queen’s Jubilee. – The proposal to erect a permanent memorial in this town in commemoration of the Queen’s Jubilee has given rise to numerous suggestions, both practicable and impracticable. One of the latest is to enclose the old stone Cross with its appendages, the parish stocks and whipping post, within iron balustrades or railings, with a view to preserve these antiquities from further desecration and ruin. Another idea is to restore the Cross, and roof it over for a butter and vegetable market. The Cross is probably the oldest erection in this village, and is known to have been in use when Bottesford was a market town, It is recorded in the “History of Bottesford” that “There was formerly several Crosses in this parish – one in Easthorpe, one at the end of Back Street, which is considered in Wenbeckthorpe, and other parts: these were for religious purposes in Roman Catholic times. The Cross of Bottesford is of a different description: it stands in the middle of the town, and has four flights of steps for those who came to market to rest their goods on for sale. There is the arms of ord de Roos on two sides of the square: the other sides are so disfigured that what was on them is not legible. It undoubtedly was erected by Lord Roos”. The suggestion to preserve or restore these interesting relics finds much favour among the parishioners, especially those of antiquarian tastes.
Despite the aspirations expressed by the good citizens of the village, none of the proposals appear to have been carried out. Nevertheless, the Jubilee was marked by festive events including the Church tea and concert on the 16th April, then in June village celebrations in Bottesford and Easthorpe (probably Muston too, but reports of this have not yet come to light), and “last but not least” on August Bank Holiday weekend the camp meeting of the Leicestershire Volunteers Regiment held at Blackberry Hill (Belvoir Castle) which included hilarious sports and other entertainments as well as more feasts and ale.
On 16th April 1887 the GJ included a long article was published describing the Church Tea and Concert. – Easter Tuesday will be a memorable day in this notable year in the annals of the above village, and the festival in connection with the parish church, celebrated on that day under brilliant auspices and with signal success, may be regarded as a worthy commemtoration of the Queen’s Jubilee. The endowed schools were prettily decorated for this interesting occasion by Mr Marston, with the Union Jack from Belvoir Castle, and a tasteful arrangements of flags, banners, and bannerettes. In compliment to the Primrose League, the window on the north side of the platform was draped with hangings of the polular hue, and a trophy of pretty banners was suspended over the west window and tastefully arranged. …. The total number who participated in the social meal was four hundred and thirty. The Bottesford Band voluntarily attended and kindly rendered a beautiful selection of music with taste and effect. …. Concluding address [was given by] the Rev. RM. Norman; “God save the Queen.”
[Note that this transcript is abridged: the original can be viewed on the British Newspaper Archive subscription website, or on Find My Past subscription website, or by permission to consult the archive kept by the Grantham Journal itself].
GJ 25th June 1887 Celebrations in the Villages … the GJ included a whole page which works its way through vale villages outlining their jubilee celebrations. Bottesford was represented by a long articl [too long to transcribe easily] which starts: Bottesford The Jubilee was celebrated in this village on Tuesday, the 21st inst., under most brilliant auspices and with unequivocal success … John Widdowson preluded the festival at break of day by firing a feu de joie near the ancient cross … the populace was aroused at about five o’clock by the Bottesford Band … at twelve o’clock the inhabitants assembled at the Cross and formed in processional order, followed by the Band, then prayers, feast, ale, sports, fireworks and bonfire on Beacon Hill … “The Jubilee will long be remembered in this village.”
GJ 2nd July 1887 Bottesford and Easthorpe … the festive rejoicings were continued on Wednesday the 22nd ult., in the hamlet of Easthorpe … tea and cake …sports and amusements. On Thursday 23rd ult., at Albert St, Albert-bridge-road and Clover-nook, Bottesford, entertainment, dancing, ….
GJ 6th August 1887 Leicestershire Volunteers in Camp – For the ninth time, the 1st Volunteer Batallion of the Leiestershire Regiment assembled in camp on Saturday last, and for the third year in succession Blackberry Hill was the locality selected. …. A canteen was provided, a marquee for concerts, and other entertainments, and another marquee in connection with the Bottesford Coffee Tavern, the caterers for light refreshments, …. On Sunday evening … rain and hail accompanied with loud peals of thunder and vivd flashes of lightening. …. Monday – Bank Holiday – opened gloriously … thousands of holiday-folk made their way to Blackberry Hill to witness regimental sports … those from neighbouring villages followed by immense streams of humanity brought by rail from Leicester, Market Harborough, Melton and other places. … flat race, cartwheel race (half mile, wheels provided), 100 yards with bucket of water on head, egg and spoon race, wheelbarrow race, goose race (officers), sword feats [described in detail] … followed by drills which were the ‘serious business’ of the camp, also a sham-fight and inspection by major-general Daniell.
Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations, 1897
At 6am on Tuesday merry peals were rung on the church bells and were continued throughout the day. Flags and bunting etc. were in gay profusion everywhere and neatly constructed arches of flowers spanned the various gateways fronting the village street.
At noon the village brass band discoursed some inspiring and patriotic tunes. Dinner was provided in a barn and cart shed kindly lent for the occasion by Mr. Richmond, both buildings being beautifully decorated. The bill of fare of roast beef, with Yorkshire pudding vegetables, plum pudding, cheese etc. Ample provision was made for teetotallers, as well as for the lovers of home-brewed ale.
After the cloths had been removed at two o’clock, Mr. R. Norman reviewed the principal events of the Reign, ending with God save the Queen being heartily sung, led by the band. Various amusements were provided for the afternoon’s enjoyment. At 4 p.m., the children were entertained to tea, and in the evening an excellent programme of sports was carried out. Many persons then repaired to the barn, where Jubilee songs and selections from the band pleasantly beguiled the time until nearly midnight.
On Sunday the thanksgiving services at the Parish Church was well attended and the Rector and the Rev. E. Farmer preached appropriate sermons. The whole village looked gay with flags.
On Tuesday the great day was signalled by ringers and the band. At midday the schools were utilised to supply all the men and boys (nearly 400) with a substantial dinner of beef and ham etc. At 4 pm all the women sat down to a capital tea. Meanwhile sports were proceeding in Mr D. R. Daybell’s field. After tea a splendid round of amusements was afforded by the mirth-provoking sports and races. A greasy pole was climbed successfully by C.Tinkler and a tug of war brought proceedings to a close. The band played for dancing till after nine when most people made their way to the bonfire on Daybell’s Hill. Mr A. Hickson looked after the fire and a capital blaze accompanied by the sending up of rockets was afforded. “God save the Queen” was heartily rendered round the flames.
On Wednesday, due to the liberality of Mrs Hickson, the children had an enjoyable time. The children gathered at the Cross and made their way to the Manor where Mrs Hickson presented each child with a commemorative medal – 300 medals in all. The children went back to school for tea and after tea sports were organised and at the end each child was presented with a bun and an orange. The day ended with a large company indulging in more dancing to the strains of the band.
A permanent memorial was to take the form of a clock to be erected on the National School (these days known as the Old School). The menorial clock is still working today, albeit with an electric mechanism. There was also a proposal to erect a bracket lamp on the school beneath the clock, not least to allow the time to be read during the night, but this does not appear to have been carried out.
King George V’s Coronation, 1911
Planning meetings were held from February to May, as reported by the Grantham Journal. In addition to appointing sub-committees for dinner, tea, sports etc., there were proposals to provide commemoration medals, fireworks, a bonfire, church bell peels, tea for children, tea for ‘the poor’ and out of work, obtaining a memorial patent fire-extinguisher for the village, and for erection of three public lamps at sites on Grantham Road, High Street and Chapel Street.
Some of the most memorable pictures in our archive record these celebrations, clearly a year to remember.
King George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935
After Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, the next Royal Jubilee was not until King George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935. We have few details about celebrations of this in Bottesford, but it is clear that they did take place. The Grantham Journal informs us that In March, Bottesford’s annual parish meeting discussed the Jubilee commemoration, and it was agreed to call a further public meeting to make arrangements. Then, on the 1st June the Journal reported that there was a financial surplus of £38 from the village celebrations, which could be spent on a public playing field.
Celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in 1953
The Queen acceded to the throne on the 6th February 1952 on the death of her father, George VI, and was crowned on the 2nd June 1953 at Westminster Abbey.
The Grantham Journal recorded events in Bottesford in June 1953:
June 5th – Childrens’ colourful tableau at Bottesford. Awards were made for the best decorated houses: 1st Mrs H Guy (The Square), 2nd Mrs H. Bugg (Queen Street), 3rd Mrs Asher (Station Road); and for businesses 1st Mr Christmas (High St, garage),, Mr Monty (stores and café), 3rd Mr Haslam (Red Lion). The highlight of the day at Bottesford was a 43 ft bonfire on Palmer’s Hill, lit at 10 p.m. by Capt. Mould. Rockets were added to the huge blaze, and sandwiches were served round the fire.
June 12th – There was a colourful parade at Bottesford. A Coronation Award was given to Mr Peter Rawlins, son of Wing Commander and Mrs W D Rawlins of Easthorpe, for outstanding services to 125 Squadron Air Training Corps with which he is a civilian instructor.
June 26th – nine Bottesford lads accompanied by Mr Hunt returned from a cycling tour of Snowdonia; 119 children from the CE Primary School accompanied by parents and teachers visited London; the choir and bellringers enjoyed a Saturday outing to Windsor accompamied by Canon A.T.G. Blackmore, the churchwardens J.T. Ravell, F.H. Holmes, and the verger Tom Robinson, arranged by organist and choirmaster F.W. Carter.
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee, 1977
The Silver Jubilee was on the 6th February 1977, and celebrations took place across the country in the following months, especially on June 6th when Her Majesty lit the Jubilee bonfire at Windsor Castle.
The Queen’s Silver Jubilee was celebrated in Bottesford at the late Spring Bank holiday. The Grantham Town Band led decorated floats and miniature steam engines to Belvoir High School. Organisations with floats include the WI, Residents Association, Playgroup, Adventure Playground and Youth Club, the Bowls Club and Meals on Wheels. Organised events included ‘Catch the fast moving and well oiled pig’, wellie wanging and a Fancy Dress contest. Mr Alan Reed, head teacher at the Belvoir High School, organised a door to door collection that raised £105.02 towards the cost of presenting Jubilee Crowns to the children of the parish.
In Muston, Reverend Metcalfe presented Jubilee mugs to each child. Events here included sports, 5-a-side football, a Fancy Dress contest and a decorated bicycles competition. Ladies of the village organised a buffet meal in the Schoolroom followed by a disco.
Other celebrations included presenting the Playgroup’s Jubilee Queen and holding a Jubilee concert. The Forget Me Not Club held a Silver Jubilee lunch, at which the tables were decorated in royal colours and the guests ate pork pie, ham with salad, followed by trifle. The raffle prize was a Jubilee Plaque from Marcus Designs.
On Whit Sunday evening there was a Festival Service at the church and tea was served on the Rectory lawn.
To complete the celebrations, a flower festival themed ‘The Queens Jubilee’ was held in September and over £2000 was raised.
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee, 2002
The Golden Jubilee was on the 6th February 2002, after which Her Majesty began a tour of the Commonwealth on March 3rd, but most celebration in Britain took place in May-July 2002.
Bottesford celebrated the Golden Jubilee with a very varied programme.
Throughout the weekend from Friday to Tuesday, the church held a Golden Years exhibition. It depicted national events and memorabilia from 1952 to 2002 and included the life and times of Bottesford people. The bells rang before and after the Civic Service on Sunday and at 10 pm on Monday, the Millennium Beacon was lit on Beacon Hill.
The weather was glorious on Tuesday when the bell ringers took part in the national bell ringing celebration and the Jubilee Green was opened. The event included the Vale of Belvoir Lions classic bike and sports car show, a magic and clown show, the Scouts balloon race, Morris dancing by the Foresters from Nottingham and a fireworks display at night.
Events at the Red Lion included a domino knockout competition, a ‘Back to the 1950s’ exhibition and a 1951 theme day that featured a Jubilee Quiz. The Rutland Arms held a skittles competition and teams from both pubs held a tug of war over the River Devon. Street parties were held and a village football competition took place on the Village Hall field.
Which brings us up to 2022 and the Platinum Jubilee – watch this space!