THE Queen’s Coronation was the first important event in British history to be televised. Few people could afford television sets, so listened to it on the wireless. Nevertheless, there was a boom in television sales, though we didn’t have one.

My mum, dad and younger brother Michael went to a street party in West Terrace, Burley-in-Wharfedale, where we lived. Others in the village included Peel Place, where my Auntie Hilda, Uncle Les and cousin June lived.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Coronation street party at Peel Place, Burley-in-Wharfedale Coronation street party at Peel Place, Burley-in-Wharfedale

In true British fashion it rained but this didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of crowds lining streets in London, nor the millions at street parties. Union Jacks and bunting adorned the streets. I was later given a book which showed the pomp and ceremony in London, and the processions of ‘important people’ in colourful robes. Armed forces from the Commonwealth, Grenadier and Coldstram Guards, Household Cavalry, Gurkhas, Marines, RAF, Yeoman of the Guard etc. accompanied by military bands, all paraded. The golden coaches were magnificent. I cut these pictures out and set them out along the floor to form my own processions. They helped create my images of that day, later brought to life when we were taken by Burley CofE Primary School to see the Coronation film at Burley Picture House.

I re-enacted my own version of the Coronation by parading around the yard at the back of our house, on my three-wheeler bike. Mrs Mounsey, who lived across the passage, was ‘the Queen’ in my ceremony. Using my bike as the royal coach, I called out: “Queen, your coach is ready for the Coronation.” The Queen called back: “I’m just finishing my washing.” Washing in those days was done by hand, and took a long time. My mother had a peggy-tub; water was boiled up and grime scrubbed off with a block of soap on a wash board. I did a couple more circuits and called out again. “Just got to put the dinner in the oven,” came the reply. I thought to myself, did the real Queen have to go through all this palaver? Finally, Mrs Mounsey came out, wearing her apron.

“The crowds are cheering,” I called. “Yes, I can hear them” she called back. “I’m waving”. A reddened washday hand could be seen waving from the kitchen door, as the smell of washing and meat and potato pie wafted across the yard. We did a circuit, passing the shared outside toilets and coal houses. Of course she was too big to get on the back of the bike, but she did participate from her kitchen and it was all real enough.

Perhaps she wasn’t as glamorous as the real Queen, but I always think of her and that day when I see a Coronation mug in a second-hand shop, or at a car boot sale.We were all given one of these.

Britain was still recovering from the war, with food shortages, and the Coronation was a welcome distraction.

In July 2007 I was invited to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace because of “the valuable contribution you have made to education”.

I felt very proud that day as the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh walked through the gathering of people from across the world. Surrounded by pomp and splendour on that glorious day, standing near where the Queen’s coach came out on its way to Westminster Abbey in 1953, I thought back to that six-year-old boy taking his own Coronation ceremony around the backyard at West Terrace, Burley-in-Wharfedale.