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Jean Miller, then eight years old, celebrated the Queen's coronation in 1952 at a street party in Woodingdean, England. 'My sister and I wore our coronation dresses, especially sent to us for the occasion by our grandmother in South Africa,' Miller tells The Globe. (Courtesy of Jean Miller)
Jean Miller, then eight years old, celebrated the Queen's coronation in 1952 at a street party in Woodingdean, England. 'My sister and I wore our coronation dresses, especially sent to us for the occasion by our grandmother in South Africa,' Miller tells The Globe. (Courtesy of Jean Miller)

'The very first time I saw a TV': Readers remember the coronation Add to ...

Last week, Globe communities editor Amberly McAteer asked readers for their memories of Queen Elizabeth's coronation as she marks 60 years on the throne. Thanks to all of the Globe readers who sent in their stories:

"I was almost eight years old in Woodingdean, England. We all crowded into the house of the one family on the street who had a television set and watched the magic... Then we had a street party and my sister and I wore our ‘coronation dresses,’ especially sent to us for the occasion by our grandmother in South Africa. We had ice cream, played games and were given coronation mugs."

Jean Miller (pictured above at the street party)
Shelburne, Ont.

"I was in kindergarten at the time of the coronation... My uncle took me to the Oxford Theatre in Halifax where we saw a colour film showing the Queen's coronation. I was amazed at the parade with the mounted soldiers in red uniforms and especially the horse-drawn carriage carrying the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth."

Frank A. Himsl
Coldbrook, N.S.

During his recent trip to Regina, Prince Charles told the audience that he had an RCMP uniform as a child, and he has a photo of his younger self dressed as a Mountie.

"My father, who was the master tailor of the RCMP, made this miniature uniform to be presented to Charles on the occasion of his mother's coronation."

Irene Duy
Ottawa

"We made a special trip to England for the Queen's coronation - I was seven at the time... My mother got quite irritated with me when I said I thought the Eaton's Santa Claus parade was just as good. But in hindsight, I realize how lucky I was to be there."

Teresa Woods Snelgrove
Shanty Bay, Ont.

"I was five and my father took me to the local hotel to watch the coronation on TV. It was the first TV set in the small village where we were living back then, and it was the very first time I saw a TV."

Paul-André Fournier
Laval, Que.

"I was six – there were no televisions in our Brantford neighbourhood, but my parents were determined that our family should participate in this historic event. They rented a television from a local dealer for the day, and our living room was packed with as many friends and neighbours as could stuff themselves into the space. Quite the memorable introduction to the TV age."

John Kruspe
Toronto

"My most vivid memory of the Queen's coronation is that it was the first time we watched something on television. Our school rented a TV and the whole student body was traipsed down the street to the church basement to watch the pictures of the event. It seemed truly amazing to be able to see something so soon after it had taken place."

Sheila Hart
Canim Lake, B.C.

"As a 10-year-old boy living in Montreal West, we were asked to produce a coronation scrapbook. Scrapbooks were not my thing but for the coronation we were all into it in a big way. Unfortunately the scrapbook has not survived the sands of time."

Bruce Murdoch
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

"I was a Canadian student at the University of Edinburgh at the time. My sister wrote me offering a ticket in the outdoor stands for the coronation... In spite of the heavy rain, the crowd was thrilled and the procession was a great display of grandeur and colour. The timing was perfect – and I was touched."

Hugh A. A. Rose Cloyne, Ont.

"Because my father had done design work on the arches over the Mall, we had tickets in the bleachers for the procession route. One of my parents devised a small periscope so that we could see. I would have been five at the time and I do recall getting a short glimpse of the carriage... Pretty exciting."

Rosalind Bell
Ottawa

"I was five years old and remember standing at attention when I heard 'God Save the Queen' for the first time. When the anthem was over, I asked my mother why we wanted it to rain over the new Queen."

Fred Hall
Victoria

"My mother was a war bride from England so the Royal Family and our British heritage were very much part of our lives. The film of the Queen's coronation came to a theatre near us in New Westminster, so she and my uncle took us to see it. I was five years old, my brother was three and my sister was a baby.

"I was absolutely enthralled with the pageant and couldn't take my eyes of it. I talked and played coronation for weeks afterwards. Recently I watched it again on TV and was just as enthralled."

Catherine O'Brien Maple Ridge, B.C.

"I was eight years old and my parents had taken me on holiday to Islay in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. There was a TV set at the hotel, but TV was very much in its infancy. We gathered round the TV set to see a flickery black and white picture of the coronation, commented on by Richard Dimbleby. There was only one channel, BBC...

"I still have the coronation porcelain mug I was presented with to commemorate the occasion. We also got a metal tin full of Smarties, but that is long gone!"

Keith Phillips
Holland Landing, Ont.

"Our school gardener came along with a wheelbarrow full of straw, and many beautiful china mugs in it. We each received one later that day at school. I still have mine!

"On the actual coronation day we were invited to go and watch it by a family that had a 14-inch television! That was really big back then and so we took the train to go to their house to watch. We had a picnic in the living room and all enjoyed the celebrations from beginning to end... I had met the Queen when she was Princess Elizabeth so for me it was extra exciting to see her crowned."

Fiona Hoey Chilliwack, B.C.

"I remember the street party on Lomond Drive, Dumbarton, Scotland. It was a very happy event with all the neighbourhood children receiving a mug with the royal crest, and the all the mums receiving a shot glass with the royal crest.

"We had listened to the coronation ceremony on the wireless (radio) at home before going to the party."

Christine McCandlish
Balfour, B.C.

"The day of the Queen's coronation was the very first time I watched television. I was 11, and my family was living in a small village in Sussex, England.

"The village church had found a television somewhere with a screen all of 15 inches, and installed it in front of the pews. Luckily the children were allowed to sit on hassocks at the front and watch the blurry black and white images. All the children were given souvenir coronation mugs afterwards."

Gail Rayment
Cobourg, Ont.

"Along with three other students, I decided to get out of London for the day and away from all the hoopla of what I considered to be a waste of money and insult to democracy.

"We went sailing at Burnham-on-Crouch and ended up on the river in an open dinghy in a gale. Coronation Day weather was foul! We ended up shipwrecked on a desolate island in the river estuary... Its only saving grace was a good old British pub where the publican took us sea-drenched wretches in.

"He fed us, provided dry clothes and provided a bed for me, the only girl in the foursome! Because of the coronation celebrations we could not be rescued until the following day, and we ended up joining in their Coronation Day celebration at the Pub which turned out to be great fun!"

Shirley Daventry French
Victoria

"My Anglican clergyman dad and I, aged seven, listened to the coronation on a little white radio - no TV in Edmonton. He had managed to buy a bound copy of the coronation music which is how we followed the service.

"Eventually the movie came to Edmonton and off we went. Much to my embarrassment, he stood up and cheered loudly when the RCAF marched past in the coronation parade. Everybody else's dad stood and cheered for the Mounties!"

Dariel Sparling Bateman
Calgary

"The coronation is one of my earliest memories of world events, as I was all of seven at the time. I remember the absurdly ornate carriage which carried the young Elizabeth to what became one of the most memorable reigns in British history."

Bob Gladish
Hamilton, Ont.

"I remember being in my pyjamas playing with others my age at the back of the crowded school auditorium in Stettler while the grown-ups were in chairs closer to the front listening to a scratchy radio broadcast of the coronation of the new Queen. Some of the dads were up on the stage playing with the radio to see if they could get better reception...

"It was a festive atmosphere with lots of cheering and clapping. I do also rememenber there was breakfast stuff."

David Page Stettler, Alta.

"My father handed me the special edition of The Daily Mail on coronation day and said 'take care of this'. I didn't.

"The entire edition was printed in gold. Like many, I watched television for the first time accompanied by neighbours, stacks of sandwiches and much tea. That was true awe."

David Hoe
Ottawa

"The coronation was the very first television program I'd ever seen. I was six years old in Norwich, England, and we gathered together at the house of a friend. Almost nobody had a television there, then.

"Through a glass darkly we saw a very fuzzy, crackly, small black- and-white fading-in-and-out-picture. But it was exciting and to me, at that age, something grand and mysterious. I recall the pageantry and the music, but not much else."

David Schatzky
Toronto

"I was in grade one at Inglewood School in Edmonton. We all were issued with small Union Jack flags and let out of school early."

Brian O'Neil
Innisfail, Alta.

"My mother was telling me about her father, who worked for the French postal service in Tunisia. They received a belinograph (a predecessor of the fax) image of the coronation in 1952."

Philippe Bellon
Toronto

Have a coronation memory? Share it with us in the comments.

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