Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Celebrations

Past activities at Kings Newnham and Church Lawford

Photograph of two girls wearing straw hats with banners and dolls on bench [unknown identity] June 1897
Warwickshire County Record Office, CR4651/529/1

HM Queen Elizabeth II has just become the longest serving monarch of Great Britain, passing the record previously set by Queen Victoria who reigned for over 63 years and seven months.

Did you do anything special to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012? By their very nature, Diamond Jubilees don’t come along very often, so when they do it’s often a big community occasion. Here is an excerpt from an account of how Kings Newnham and Church Lawford celebrated HM Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee on Tuesday 22nd June 1897 (a public holiday), found in the Townsend Family collection at Warwickshire County Record Office (CR4651). It was written by Miss Julia Townsend to her niece Maude Townsend, who was then staying with family in Winchester [spelling and grammar as original]:

Miss Julia Townsend’s text

It was a fairly long day, I rolled out of bed 5.45 up into the store room, where we could see the church tower party & hear salute & bells, Newnham was not behind, we had a salute from top of the hill!…

Mr Rose put a flag on the top of the elm tree at the corner of the park & the roofs of many of the cottages. There was not much sitting down time from 5.45 a.m till 1. a.m. Wed: I do think all went off very well. the food was very satisfactory…

it was a great hurry afterwards to get down to Lawford, we were obliged to clear all away from our open dining saloon. Got to Law: 8 p.m. the children’s performance was really very wonderful… The sports were very successful… I only saw one the worse for beer… he said to me “I am going to see the Newnham bonfire now” I said yes I should start at once if I were you.

The next day [Wednesday 23rd]

Julia wrote: “We drove to Rugby to see the Illuminations. They were very good. We were glad of the drive to sit still.

It would be nice to think that the little girls in the photograph, which was also in the Townsend Family collection, were the children Julia refers to in her letter.

Quotes taken from Letter to Maude [Townsend], c/o. Miss E. Bromfield, Friary Cottage, Winchester from Aunt Jue [Julia Worth Townsend], Kings Newnham, 28 Jun 1897, Warwickshire County Record Office, CR4651/300.

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