A 20-Hour Joy-day, 1937
Hooray Hooray, it’s a happy holiday! It’s a 20-hour joy-day! To be more precise, it’s May 1937, the week before George VI’s coronation, and The Mirror couldn’t be more excited. I have the overseas edition of The Mirror, which was a week’s worth of newspapers bundled up into one edition (the overseas edition was out a week later, so the dates are actually those of Coronation Week itself). We moaned about the coverage of the last Royal Wedding, but this was something else. Nearly everyone was trying to get in on the act. (By the way, I’ve not been able to scan everything in the paper, it’s quite delicate in places, so the not so good bits are photos that might not be quite as clear.)
Firstly, the reason for George being King at all – Edward and Mrs Simpson. 12th May 1937 was originally Edward’s coronation date and, when he officially abdicated, the same date was kept for his brother. There’s lots of sweet, romantic pictures of the couple, and seemingly no disapproval at all, in this paper at least.
Here’s the schedule:
There are many ways to celebrate the day, as the Very Reverend Edgar Rogers rather tolerantly points out. He might be singing hymns, but he doesn’t mind if you’re getting completely blotto instead. In fact, is it just me, or is there a bit of a homoerotic vibe going on here? I’m imagining he has a secret passion for a “bit of rough” neighbour of his who likes a drink – all that talk of “he-manness” and everything.
And, along those lines….
It seemed like all the nations of the world wanted part of it. Nazi Germany was no exception, with Hitler giving George a special honour and sending a present.
Generous Ovaltine gave its workers an extra week’s wages to celebrate the occasion:
The Mirror had a special song commissioned, with a tune by Ivor Novello, no less.
Planning to get a good spot for the procession? Hyde Park was specially open all night on 11th May for overnight sleepers – here’s some tips:
But don’t bring your car:
Working underground? There’s still no excuse to miss the event!
You’re not patriotic enough unless you’re eating the correct food for the occasion.
Eat Nestle’s chocolate (in the days when everyone called it “Nessles”):
Or perhaps you fancy a Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp? I know I do. It’s a Kit Kat now, by the way.
Drink beer! I love how this isn’t an advert for a particular company, it’s just that YOU’RE BRITISH SO DRINK BEER. From 1429 (that was Henry VI’s coronation) to 1937, beer has been going strong. I don’t know what they had before 1429, though.
Stuck in a crowd waiting for the King to go past? Eat some specially shaped cheese triangles:
And smoke some special coronation fags while you’re at it:
And finally, the new King pardons a murderer to mark the occasion, for some reason (welease Woderick). Well, he only stabbed his 20 year old fiancee to death, poor lamb. At least his “grey-haired” mother gets to see him again: