VINCENT FINN remembers his mother’s words as she turned the wireless on early in the morning of June 2, 1953:

“She insisted that my brother and I stay and listen because it was an historic occasion and we might not experience anything like it again for a long time. Turns out she was correct.

“For me, the sequence of events leading to the Coronation began on February 6, 1952 when we were told at school that the King had died. It would be 16 months before the new Queen was crowned. Newspapers and newsreels were filled with plans for the big day.

“Coronation Day turned out to be a rainy day. We didn’t have a TV, I don’t think there was one in the whole Barkerend neighbourhood, where I grew up. Later in the afternoon I went into town as it was announced that a band was going to be playing on a stage set up in front of the Town Hall, but the weather was so bad, only a small crowd was there.

“The Coronation and the massive parade that accompanied it was filmed live. Within a couple of weeks a film of the Coronation was released in cinemas. I was at St Bede’s School and the lower forms were taken to the cinema on Toller Lane. We spent the afternoon watching the ceremony, beginning to end, on the big screen.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: T&A report on Coronation souvenirs, May 1953T&A report on Coronation souvenirs, May 1953

“A flood of Coronation souvenirs appeared in shops in the lead-up to the Coronation. At my school everybody was given a souvenir ‘propelion pencil’ from Bradford Council, inscribed on one side with ‘E11R HM Queen Elizabeth 11, Coronation June 1953’. I still have mine, although the gold leaf writing is faded.

“Souvenirs collected in our house came via the Ringtons Tea man. Ringtons Tea marked every national occasion with a ‘special souvenir’. The Coronation was no exception. Collectable souvenirs included tea caddies, teapots and tins. Lots of houses had a Ringtons Tea ornament on the mantlepiece, often a hold-all for odds and ends.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Vincent Finn's Coronation tea caddyVincent Finn's Coronation tea caddy

“My mother was a lifelong customer of Ringtons and never said no to the various Coronation souvenir offers from the salesman who delivered tea every second Thursday. She paid for them in instalments of a shilling each time he called. Ringtons Tea Company, with their souvenir merchandise, brought the Coronation into houses across the north of England.”

* MARGARET WATSON’S first experience of television was watching grainy black and white footage of the Coronation. “We splashed out on a television for the occasion. It was a wonderful day,” she recalls.

Sixty years later, Margaret , of Ilkley, camped out on the Mall with three generations of her family to watch the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. “It was important to be there to express my thanks for the Queen’s service to the nation and Commonwealth,” says Margaret, who has a treasured collection of Royal souvenirs.

Margaret has followed the Queen since she was 10-years-old. Over the years she has travelled to London for Royal events such as the Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilees and Prince William and Kate’s wedding. “There’s a sense of occasion, you feel part of the pomp and pageantry, “ says Margaret. “My mother was always interested in the royal family, in particular the Queen, and it’s carried on from there. I’ve collected lots of memorabilia and always attended any formal royal occasion we could get to.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Margaret Watson and her family with some of her royal souvenirs Margaret Watson and her family with some of her royal souvenirs

“As I look forward to Her Majesty ’s Platinum Jubilee, I give thanks for her 70 years of dutiful Christian service to our country and the Commonwealth. We won’t be going to London this year but I will watch the celebrations with my family at home. The Queen has been an inspiration to many. I am very much looking forward to celebrating her once-in-a-lifetime achievement with the nation.”