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Coronation Celebrations Remembered

Sometime in October 2011, I received a call from a film company in Cardiff who had been given my name as a) someone who “knew everyone in Ruthin” and b) someone who was living in Parc y Dre, Ruthin at the time of the Queen’s Coronation in 1953. Neither of those descriptions was correct, as our family left Parc y Dre in February 1953. The film company had gained access to an eight minute- long colour film of the street party held in Parc y Dre to celebrate the 1953 Coronation and wanted to know whether any of the people featured in the film were still living in Ruthin and would be prepared to be interviewed for a BBC programme they were preparing. l was pleased to say that I recognised literally dozens of people in the film, which featured not only the street party, with all the trestle tables strung out the length of the estate but also the sports which were held in the adjoining fields. To assist with my research I showed the film on the “'big screen'” in Ysgol Brynhyfryd on a rain- soaked night in early December. To my great surprise, well over 100 people attended and we all had a wonderful evening, recognising old friends and famiIy and sharing reminiscences. It was a great shame the film company did not attend that screening, for they would have had some wonderful shots and comments! The film had been taken by Peter Crawford of Llanarmon, whose sister Maureen, who worked for Denbighshire County Council, featured in the
film. Maureen was, at the time, lodging with the family of Marcia Edwards (née Williams) in Parc y Dre. Marcia herself and other members of her family were clearly identified in the film, as were Beryl Havard (née Roberts), the Fairy Queen in the parade and Pam Evans (née Morgan), who was starring in the sports. Another highlight of the film was the parade of young soldiers, all contemporaries of mine, among them one Glyn Pritchard, whose nonagenarian father, William John Pritchard, still resides in Borthyn and had vivid memories of the occasion. The party and sports had been held on the Saturday following the Coronation and one “'mystery'” which remains as such was the identity of the “Mystery Man” who featured in the film. No one seemed to remember categorically who he was; perhaps readers of “'Town & Around'” might be able to help! The three ladies mentioned, aIong with GIyn and BilI Pritchard were all interviewed by BBC newsreader, Siân Williams about the event and the programme was screened on BBC Wales on April 30th. The ladies were interviewed in the Drill Hall on Borthyn, where much of the food for the street party had been prepared back in 1953. One interesting revelation that emerged from the interviews was that although Siân Williams had never visited Ruthin previously, her grandfather had actually been born in Ruthin, in the Eagles Hotel, in the late nineteenth century. The nostalgia the film evoked caused quite a stir in Ruthin and I was happy to have been able to help the process along. What struck me was how vivid the memories were of the event. It was, of course, the first such community get- together during the long period of post-war austerity. True, there had been the Festival of Britain in 1951 but that was—rather Iike the current Olympics hype—more of Festival of London than of Britain. The film that now been returned to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth.
In June 2012, ROGER EDWARDS told how the 1953 film happened