I WAS a little surprised that the 70th Anniversary of our late Queen’s Coronation Day June 2nd 1953 has not attracted more comment and press coverage. Possibly too close to the new King’s big day out last month, which, although receiving a large TV audience, this did not exactly grind the country to a halt as happened in 1953. Although the weather was equally unkind 70 years ago Marlow celebrated in style with a huge procession watched by large crowds and featuring some spectacular floats decorated by town businesses and organisations, plus of course many street parties and sports events for the kids. Local photographer Harold Fletcher was a busy man on that day and took many nice pictures, most of which are in my files. I provided several for Paul Merchant’s My Marlow Events Web Site, and the scene in Victoria Road is probably the best.

I thought I would concentrate on the procession pictures for today’s page, and there is considerable interest for myself in the buildings seen to the rear. Top left, Marlow’s fondly remembered Department Store Morgan’s is alongside the Trustee Savings Bank. Across Market Square A.E. Batting was a very unusual second-hand furniture store; in 1953 run by Rupert, the son of the original “A.E.” the founder, who had also provided pawnbroking facilities in his time. Rupert, always trilby-hatted, knew my mum and once gave me (aged about seven) a pile of 78 shellac records he could not sell. One of them, a 12” on the HMV label possibly started my own jazz collection – Sidney Bechet and Mezz Mezzrow playing “Revolutionary Blues”.

Past the Crown Hotel was Aldridge’s Fruit and Veg shop with Woolworths next door. A picture in this column a few years ago showed the interior of Woolworths in 1953 with a whole counter dedicated to Coronation memorabilia. The gold coach and horses model came in various sizes and prices. The car that was part of the procession transported the Mayor Fred Butler, a signwriter by trade, although having lost a leg in the 1914/18 war I doubt if he would have been able to drive himself. Bottom left is one of about 20 little snapshots taken by Harold Fletcher’s daughter Jo from a top window in her Dean Street house with some of the floats making their way home. Of note here is the building in the distance, alongside the recently mentioned Tillion’s Field. This is one of only two views I have of a long-gone Wethered pub, the Nag’s Head. A better picture of one of the three huge coronets is centre, made by Lovell Builders to the design of a local retired architect. The other two were hung above the High Street – today maybe the Health & Safety officials might be concerned, as they were with many of the activities in the Rag Regattas. Finally the Marlow Scouts aboard a Wethered Brewery vehicle. The sign on the lamppost is a reminder of the Odeon Cinema close by. Centre, the events programme was one shilling!

Contact Michael at michael@jazzfans.co or 01628 486571.