Coronation Day 1911

The Coronation of King George V took place on June 22nd, 1911.  Depending upon which report you read in the local paper, the celebrations that took place in Rhyl were either successful or disastrous.

The Rhyl Record and Advertiser described the day in detail:  the morning procession, the afternoon procession, the illuminations, the elaborately decorated streets, fireworks on the pier, the bonfire on the sandhills opposite Chester Street, a tea for the school children and the sports on the promenade – see photograph below.

However on a different page in the paper was this report:
“We shall have something to say on this subject in our next issue.  Meantime we can only say that they were of the most unsatisfactory and slipshod nature, and reflect anything but credit on those responsible for them.”  Oh dear.

The following week there were indeed more column inches devoted to this, the report was entitled “The Coronation Muddle at Rhyl”. The report was damning, ending with the paragraph “We seldom remember anything more unsatisfactory in the history of Rhyl, and if only that we may long be spared the humiliation of such another day, we heartily pray Long Live King George V.”

The main complaints were to Rhyl Council, who were accused of dealing with the Coronation celebrations in a “perfunctory manner” and limiting the expenditure to £150.  The council had not held proper meetings, but had given carte blanche instructions to the General Purposes Committee, which the report said “they have done in characteristically blundering fashion”.  Whilst householders did their best to decorate their premises, the Town Hall and other public buildings were almost bare of “flagtorial embellishment”.  The processions were not well organised, “a poor and feeble effort”.  Regarding the illuminations: “when darkness set in the town, instead of being ablaze with illuminations, was as forbiddingly dark and sombre as on a dreary wintery Sunday night”  Oh dear.

So much history is viewed through rose tinted spectacles it is refreshing to be reminded that events could be disappointing and disagreeable in “the good old days”.

Full-length portrait in oils of George V. Coronation portrait by Sir Luke Fildes, 1911 Photo credit: Wikipedia

George V reigned until his death in 1936.  He was the second son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales – later King Edward v11, and the grandson of Queen Victoria.



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