Tuesday 2nd June 1953
Coronation Day did not bring the weather we hoped for but blustery winds with occasional squalls could not dampen the spirit of the people of St Ives.
While many stayed indoors to listen to the radio broadcast, with a lucky few watching on television, large numbers were out in town. Some went to the Parish Church to hear the Westminster Abbey service through specially-installed loudspeakers, others listened thanks to equipment set up near the Balmoral Café on Lambeth Walk, as heavy waves broke on the shore a few yards away.
The gun salute scheduled for 12.30 pm was unexpectedly preceded by the sound of maroons at 11.30 calling the lifeboat crew to duty following a message from a boat in distress in the bay.
Fortunately it soon reached the safety of Hayle and the crew was stood down. By this time a large throng of people were waiting for the salute of 21 rounds from three QF 3.7 inch anti-aircraft guns manned by crews of Royal Artillery regiments under the command of Major Trevenen ranged along West Pier, each gun crew of 6 men led by an N.C.O.
The sound of gunfire rang out when the clock struck 12.30, the time of the crowning of The Queen. Officers stood to attention with swords at the salute as the boom of the guns reverberated around the harbour, much to the consternation of seagulls on the water who rose from the sea to screech above the crowds.
Before the crews dispersed, the Mayor Marion Pearce complimented Major Trevenen on the smartness of the men and impressiveness of the operation, but as these letters to the St Ives Times show, not everyone was in favour of it.
Throughout the course of producing these pages, we spent many hours researching through the town archives and asking the public to bring any and all the information regarding the events that took place here in St Ives.
We hope you enjoy what we have gathered together and if you have any additional pictures, film, or memorabilia please bring it to the St Ives Library and we can share it on these pages. Any digital contributions to be sent direct to St Ives Archive.
Research and content kindly supplied by the St Ives Archive, newspaper extracts supplied by the St Ives Library and reproduced with the kind permission of the St Ives Times & Echo.
Colour images taken from John Gyles Stevens’ 1953 cine film and shown here courtesy of Frank Stevens.