You might have noticed there’s something big on this weekend. There’s bunting on campus, union flags on the streets in Central London, headlines about who gets to attend and how many people will watch - it’s hard to miss the Coronation is happening. Naturally we took this as an opportunity to look into the LSBU Archives to see how we marked previous Coronations.
This is actually slighter harder than it sounds! For 1953 we have this fantastic photograph of Borough Road decked out for the coronation (below), but with no student magazines for the dates around the Coronation and very little mention in the minutes (which mainly cover official University business rather than external events), we don’t know very much else about how LSBU celebrated.
The Borough Road building was also the Coronation of George VI in 1937, including floodlighting for the evening - images appeared in the student magazine (above). At the time we had two trade schools attached to the Polytechnic, and the Girls’ School had a trip to watch the Coronation procession. The school holidays were extended by a week for the celebrations, and two mistresses escorted forty of the girls to the Embankment. Many more of the school were able to take part in a visit to Windsor Castle then a boat trip to Hampton Court to mark the occasion.
In both 1902 and 1911 the Royal Procession went down Borough Road, so we took full advantage. The 1902 Borough Polytechnic News notes that there were stands set up outside, and that the King was seen to speak to the Queen as they passed the building - clearly a sign that he was remembering being President of the Council involved in fundraising for the south London polytechnics.
For 1911 the Polytechnic took advantage of their experience from 1902 and made an arrangement to let out the building so that it could be used for viewing the procession. The archives has a copy of the plan for how the seating would be arranged, including all the prices for hiring a room and which windows cost the most money to be close to! If you look at the detail on the plan below you can see how the seats were laid out with marked places for standing.
Why not tell us how you plan to mark the Coronation, if you do?