Article submitted by Alison Kane
Coronation Year 1953 brought quite a bit of excitement to Larne as the drab days of restrictions and rationing following the 2nd World War were at last behind us. As a girl guide with 2nd Larne Company I was part of a massed rally at Balmoral show grounds Belfast when our new young Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh came to Northern Ireland as part of their tour of the United Kingdom.
Antrim Education Committee presented each school child with a special Coronation Book and I remember a parade and rally to the Town Park where each child received a paper bag of goodies (buns and sweets) - kindly donated by Mr Guiseppe Bonugli an Italian business man who ran a grocer's shop and ice cream parlour in Larne. The accompanying card read - to my 5,500 "nieces and nephews" from "Uncle Peppy".
The latest thing then was a television set and as my friend's father had bought one they invited upwards of 30 people who crowded their darkened sitting room to watch the rather fuzzy black and white images as the procession and ceremony took place in London on 2nd June.
Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tensing were the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest at the end of May and the news had been kept secret to be announced just before the coronation. There was great pride that a British team had made this wonderful achievement at such a special time and this inspired my sister, three friends and myself to enter Larne town fancy dress parade dressed as the conquerors of the world's highest peak. We didn't use the word "gear" in those days so we purchased our "clothing" from a kind of army surplus shop called Dankers in Point Street.
Our group won 1st prize and we were presented with a small shield but we would have preferred the 2nd prize of 10/=. Ten shillings would have been enough to buy the five of us a knickerbocker glory each at Rendezvous which was on Lower Main Street where the Golden Inn is now.
The Rendezvous was the "in" place to be, but the occasional plain ice was our usual fare as pocket money then was mostly whatever bus money we saved by walking home from school. The ice cream was made by Uncle Peppy's nephew another Peppy Bonugli an Italian who had served in the war with the British forces.
I have many lovely memories of 1953 when my little brother was born and of all the special coronation events in Larne and I still have those momentoes. The snapshot I took of the Queen at Balmoral showgrounds - the book from the education committee- the little card from Uncle Peppy and even the shield we won for the fancy dress parade.
The knickerbocker glories would have been long gone. Happy days.
Special thanks goes to the Larne
Millennium Initiative for its help in sourcing
Your responses to this article:
Glen Brown- June '08
Please note that the Larne Historical Centre now known as Larne Museum, Victoria Road, Larne, Admission Free Monday-Friday afternoons excluding public holidays.
Glen Brown - May 07
Please note the Larne Historical Centre when
reopened adfgter refurbishment is now known as the Carnegie
Centre, (old Carnegie Library building) Victoria Road,
Larne(opposite Fairhill carpark).
Glen Brown - May 05
I enjoyed reading Alison's entry on 1953 Coronation.
I had just commenced my education attended the Glynn
School and recall in June 1953 we were bused into Larne
Market Placeand then walked to the Town Park for the
The Glynn had a Sports Day to mark the event and I
still have the Cadbury's chocolate tin (Royal blue
with Queens head and shoulders portrait and Coronation
emblems thereon), sorry the chocolates are long gone
and my New testament bearing QE2 cipher. The Coronation
(Gold coloured metal) Medal given by the Antrim County
Education Committee (with it's red,white and blue ribbon)
I have donated to Larne Historical Centre.
My personal collection of 300+ pictorial postcards
c1900 -2004 of Larne Borough , family photographs and
other Larne related memorabilia I donated last year.
The new refurbished-improved Larne Historical Centre
is expected to reopen in Autumn 2005.
Yours in friendship
Glen Brown May 2005