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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation

On 2nd June 1953 Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth. There were great celebrations in United Kingdom as well the British Commonweath countries. In UK those who were at home were able to watch the coronation ceremony at Westminister Abbey London in black and white television. In Malaya, British North Borneo, Sarawak and Brunei, there was no television then. Anyway, each British colony had their own celebration. Public and commercial buildings were decorated with Queen Elizabeth II photo, a crown and two Union Jack flags. There were also archways built across the roads with the words "Long Live The Queen". Parade and march past were held at the Padang with the Governor taking the salute. Floats sponsored by commercial firms and Chinese clans and associations made their ways along the main thoroughfare in the City during the day time as well as at night. I remembered our scout troop built a structure by the side of Stamford Road canal to watch the float passed by from the padang towards Victoria Street. After the parade there was a big traffic jam. Click here for the Big Jam. Singapore General Post Office issued special coronation evelopes and stamps to mark the occasion. My pen pals and I exchanged photos showing the celebrations carried out in our own hometown. I got mixed up with the photos as I forgot to mark them. You have to guess the States where each photo was taken. It is easy to recognise KL.




























































This coronation envelope is about 56 years old.














11 comments:

professor said...

It was a bit of a surprise when my aunty (in her 70s) told me she took part in a float during QE II Coronation celebrations in 1953. So I asked her for "evidence". She showed me black & white photos of her dressed as one of the mermaids holding a staff. I think the float was about some sea neptune. On that photo I recognized some buildings like the former Maritime Bdlg and HK Bank Chambers in Collyer Quay.

Apparently she helped my uncle who was a member of a Chinese pugilistic clan association.

PChew said...

Your aunt must be in her late teens or early 20s. How time flies.

unk Dicko said...

Lovely pictures and lovely post!
I was only 6 years old then and remember that my siblings and I climbed up to our rooftop, near the chimney,to watch some fireworks in the distance. It was so long ago and so different a world back then.
Thanks for the nostalgia,Philip.

yg said...

i was already living in a kampong then, so i don't have any memory of the coronation. but, until today, i can still remember the lyrics of the british national anthem "god save the queen". if i am not mistaken, we had sung "god save the king" before that. is it correct, mr chew?

PChew said...

unk Dicko, thanks for remindintg me of the fireworks. It's at the finale of the celebvration.

Yg, you are correct that we sang 'God Save The King' before Queen Elizabeth II reigns. I can still sing the whole anthem. I also remember that the British National Anthem was sang at the end of the show in all cinemas. On the screen was a Union Jack flag. The people who stood up while the anthem was played, were the British nationals, soldiers and obedient civil servants.

unk Dicko said...

The fireworks!!!
If I remember my late father told us that that very night itself there would be fireworks in the sky.And he said they will fire from near Clifford Pier. In Cantonese, he said," Wong Kar Ma Tau". Though we were in Geylang then, we could see the fireworks very clearly as there were no high-rise buildings ( back then) to block off our view.
That was the 1st time I saw such a fireworks performance...yes,1953!

PChew said...

yes, in those days all fireworks were at Clifford Pier which was earlier known as Johnson's Pier.

Icemoon said...

Hmm, I wonder whether Clifford/Johnston Pier was known as Wong Kar Ma Tau - 皇家码头 - in the past. We call it 'red light pier' now.

PChew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PChew said...

Yes, Cantonese called the pier 'wong ka ma tau' in their dialect.

Snow said...

Very nice photos and memory..
I have My Grandpa(From Burma) photos attended "Scout service at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle" during Queen Elizabeth II coronation. The photo date was 26th April 1953 Sunday. In one of the photo, the Queen and british soldiers were so tall and my grandpa was barely their chests level. He was honour to attend as representative from Burma and he was a british soldier during Japanese time.