Monday 15 June 1953

Television & The Official Film

The Coronation cemented the television’s place in our living rooms, with an estimated 20 million packed around sets viewing grainy, black and white images of the great event - but few lived in St Ives.

TV was very much in its infancy, with the Wenvoe transmitting station which provided 405-line VHF services to South Wales and the West of England only switched on in August 1952. St Ives, on the north coast of far south west Penwith, could receive a good signal depending on the weather and atmospherics – but there could be no guarantee on the day, as caveats in these adverts in the St Ives Times make clear.

Edward and Marjorie Drew were among the minority to own a set, and living high up at Treloyhan usually enjoyed good reception. Several family members came over from Penzance on the big day but they were unlucky, as Diana Mason (née Drew and 15 at the time) recalls:

‘A month earlier we had a very good picture for what became known as the Matthews cup final but for the Coronation it was very poor, like looking through a blizzard. We were just able to make out the principal figures and I remember seeing the crown placed on The Queen’s head, but it was very disappointing’.

Broadcast colour television was still some 14 years away but everyone was very quickly able to able to watch the event in glorious colour, appropriately at the Royal Cinema.

Admission was FREE if you were 70 or over, with transport if required!

Graham Jordan, who lived in the High Street, remembers seeing the film. The supporting programme featured the achievement of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay being the first to reach the summit of Everest a few days before. Graham also watched the Coronation evening’s edited TV highlights at his neighbour, Pearce the butcher’s house.