Programme from 1953 details Felpham's coronation festivities

A programme from June 2, 1953, the date set aside to celebrate the Queen's coronation has been unearthed by The Felpham Village Conservation Society just weeks before the historic Platinum Jubilee.

Packed with adverts for long-gone cafes, businesses and shops, the programme is a real-life time capsule, capturing the essence of Felpham village life all those years ago.

Alongside the ads, the 32-page booklet features an article about Felpham by author and historian Gerard Young, who said the seaside village “evokes gasps of genuine surprise from holidaymakers when they suddenly spy its charm from a bus stop.”

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It’s followed by an article about the Queen’s visit to Felpham on July 31, 1952. Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, then just a young woman, visited Felpham to attend an afternoon party hosted by Sheriff of Sussex, Lord Rupert Neil.

The Queen's 1952 visit to Felpham

Despite the fact that news of her visit was kept secret, a number of locals gathered to greet The Queen. The article describes how all the residents ‘were rewarded by her smile, not unmingled with surprise, as she alighted from her rolls on arrival, making a charming figure in her lilac taffeta dress and petal-edged picture hat’.

The booklet also gives details of the village’s celebrations, which started at 2.30pm on Summerley Playing Fields and featured folk dancing, a pageant, donkey rides and much more. Festivities finished off at 9.30pm with the singing of the National Anthem.

Jane Summerville, chair of the Felpham Village Conservation Society said the pamphlet is a ‘souvenir to be cherished.’

“It is very important to the Society, and therefore the Felpham community, that we are able to recognise the importance of the event in 1953 and how we are continuing in 2022. The Society is very grateful to the donor for giving us the programme which we are very pleased to share with the community,” she said.

The discovery of this historic document comes just months before the Queen's platinum jubilee, which will be celebrated from June 2 to June 5 and marks 70 years of rule for Queen Elizabeth II, making her Britain's longest-serving monarch.

This year, Felpham’s summer fete will not take place in Summerley Playing Fields, but in the Old Rectory Gardens on July 9 from noon until 5pm.

To see full pamphlet, visit the Felpham Village Conservation Society website.

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