Coronation Year, 1953, and my best friend’s dad

The coronation was heralded as marking the coming of a new Elizabethan Age. Famously, it was television’s big breakthrough (we shouldn’t overdo this, my family got their first tele in the mid-‘sixties). What it certainly represented was a feeling of national unity behind the monarchy. In the Britain of the ‘sixties, there was an almost uni seal reverence for monarchy. My liberal/left parents regarded the openly republican MP Willie Hamilton, born in Houghton-Le-Spring, as little short of a traitor: my dad thought he should be shot.

Coronation year was seen as a year of singular British achievement, even if two of these men were Nepalese and a Kiwi.

It was also the year of the Matthews Cup Final, when the greatest sporting hero of the age finally won the cup (then more important than the league).

And Sir Gordon Richards won the Derby.

They even cleaned Big Ben, and the man with the buckets is my best friend’s dad.

And still going strong.

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