The Mayor was justifiably proud of St Ives’ small but magnificent contribution to the national spectacle.
Mayor Marion Pearce visited the Infant Welfare Centre at Bedford Road to present inscribed silver spoons to Susan Chamberlain of Norway Square and Dawn Jones (Corva Road), both born on the eve of the Coronation. The town’s only Coronation babies (or more likely their mothers) also received inscribed silver Coronation beakers, fashioned with the handle in the shape of a lion and a unicorn.
The youngest child at each street party also took home a special memento, in the form of a 1953 Coronation Crown worth 5 shillings.
Stephen Bassett, then living in Tregwary Road and shown here with his mother Daphne, was 6 months old when he received his coin from the Mayor.
Stephen, St Ives harbourmaster until 2018 with his Coronation Crown in its black plastic case.
The Royal Mint issued a quarter of a million 1953 Coronation Crowns. Although the coin was removed from circulation at the end of 1953 it remains legal tender, its value converted to 25p after decimalisation in 1971.
The obverse side shows The Queen on her horse Winston in uniform as Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards during the ceremony of Trooping the Colour, with crowned EIIR monograms at either side.
The reverse side has a crown in the centre of an emblematical cross formed from a rose, shamrock, leek and thistle. In the angles are shields bearing the arms of the England, Northern Ireland Wales and Scotland.
‘FAITH AND TRUTH I WILL BEAR UNTO YOU’ is inscribed on the coin’s edge.
Less exclusive but equally appreciated were glass beakers given to all children living in the borough. Most were distributed by the Mayor or her deputies (Mr and Mrs T. Bryant) at school.
Among those to enjoy a mayoral visit were pupils of St Christopher’s, Infants and Juniors School, St Ives Secondary Modern School, Halsetown Infants School and Brush End School in Lelant. Some children had a glass tankard instead of a beaker.
St Ives Old Cornwall Society President Frank Stevens with his beaker and a Coronation ceramic mug, mass-produced for commercial sale with slight design variances.
Five years before she became Queen on her 21st birthday in 1947, Princess Elizabeth made a radio broadcast from Cape Town which included the famous promise:
‘I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.’
Happily, hindsight has shown that life to be VERY long, resulting in a longevity as monarch that is unfinished but unsurpassable. Queen Elizabeth only visited St Ives once, on 17 May 2013. It is fitting testimony to her enduring popularity and the esteem in which she is held that the reception and crowds that day were as enthusiastic as they were 70 years ago.
LONG MAY SHE REIGN
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.