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King George V’s Silver Jubilee, 1935

The Silver Jubilee of King George V was celebrated on 6th May 1935.  It was the first ever Silver Jubilee celebration of any British monarch in history.  The Jubilee day was declared a bank holiday and celebrations were held across the United Kingdom with garden parties, pageants and sports events. 

Preparations for the Jubilee

At the annual Badsey Parish Meeting held in March 1935, there was a long discussion concerning how the village should celebrate the Silver Jubilee.  A Committee was formed to raise funds for celebrations by voluntary subscription.
By 9th April £22 16s 7d has been collected in connection with the celebrations.  Charles Binyon, Chairman of the Committee, said that he had been offered a pig to be bowled for, and the proceeds of which could perhaps go towards the funds of obtaining a recreation ground on the northern side of the village.  Mr Binyon also remarked that the children in Aldington were having a tea on their own, but as some of them were taking part in the programme at Badsey, to be given by the schoolchildren, some of them might rather stay to tea at Badsey, and it was agreed that these children could do so if they desired.  

Regarding the entertainment to be given by the schoolchildren, the Badsey Council School Headteacher, Frank Amos, said he proposed giving a programme of approximately 1½ hours’ duration.  It was reported that on Jubilee Day, tea would have to be provided for approximately 300 children, and a dinner for about 80 old folks.  It was resolved that £7 10s should be allowed for the tea and £7 for the old folks’ dinner.  With reference to a fireworks display later in the evening, it was decided to purchase a £3 3s box of fireworks for this purpose.  

Miss May Sladden reminded the meeting that HM the King was broadcasting a message to the nation at 8 o’clock in the evening, and said it would be a good idea to have a wireless set on the ground if possible, so that all could listen to the address.  Mr A J Brazier was tasked with making inquiries regarding the hire of a set, and the Committee voted a sum not exceeding £3 for the purpose.  A sum of £4 was allocated to the Amusement Committee with a view to arranging a sports programme for the early evening.

Eve of Jubilee – hoisting the flag

For many years, the mighty Wellingtonia tree which stood in the grounds of The Pool House was a distinctive feature in Badsey and could be seen for miles.  On the eve of Jubilee Day, two young men decided to climb the tree and fly the flag.  They were 21-year-old “Buster” (Ernest Leslie) Mustoe of The Royal Oak (now The Round of Gras) and 24-year-old Phil Sparrow.  The tale of their exploits was told by Buster’s sister, Mrs Florence Hilda Stewart, in a letter to The Evesham Journal in June 1977 on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee:

On Jubilee Eve 1935 (I think it was May 5) the late Phil Sparrow and my brother decided that they would show the flag to confuse Harry Johns (who then lived at Pool House) and, with his son Lance, had Moseley connections.

On that night they placed the flag on the top of the tree and Phil told me many times that as they were doing it the clock in the tower of the nearby church struck midnight.  He also told me that as he was smaller than my brother he went the last few feet on his own but as he could not secure the flag safely, my brother had to help him.

On Jubilee Day my father was sitting on his usual seat outside the front door of The Royal Oak, as it was then, and saw the flag, and as he knew who had done the deed he said to my brother:  “You damned young fool, you could have broken your neck.”  My father died three weeks later on May 24 1935.

(Two months later, according to a letter written by Don Wasley in 1999 to Roy Page, the tree was climbed again and the Union Jack placed at the top.  This was on the eve of a visit to Badsey by Oswald Mosley, the Fascist leader, who was the speaker at a garden party at Pool House on 27th July 1935.  Phil Sparrow was again the climber, together with Steve Crisp.)

Jubilee Day

The anniversary of the King’s accession fell on a Monday which dawned bright and clear and remained fine and warm all day.  The village was festooned with flags and bunting and the Union Jack flew proudly from the top of the Wellingtonia in the centre of the village.  As reported in The Evesham Standard of 11th May 1935, the proceedings began with a parade starting at the Pike and ending at the church.  Mr George Aldrich headed the parade with members of the local branch of the British Legion, followed by members of the Ernie Thomas Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, and other local bodies, plus a large number of children.  The ringers rang a peal of bells from 9.30 and a special church service commenced at 10.30, led by the Vicar, Canon W C Allsebrook.

At 12.30, around 30 elderly parishioners were entertained to dinner in the Woodwork Room at Badsey Council School.  A band of helpers had decorated the room with flags and flowers.  Their hosts were the Vicar, Mr C A Binyon (Chairman of the Parish Council) and Mr W W Blake (District Councillor).  For those unable to attend, the dinner was sent by car.  

In the afternoon, the school children put on an entertainment in the playground with over 300 present.  As Frank Amos, wrote in the log book, the previous week’s timetable had been disarranged in order to allow for the preparations for the Jubilee celebrations.  Seating accommodation was brought from Littleton & Badsey Growers and Messrs Cadbury’s Canners Co, Blackminster, by the LBG lorries.  Miss M McDonald supervised the dancing and singing.  This was followed by a drill and gymnasium display by the senior boys under Mr Page.  At the end of the event, Mr Binyon thanked Mr Amos and his staff on behalf of the audience.  

At 4.30, all the children of the village under 15 years of age were given tea at the school.  On leaving, each child was presented with a commemoration Jubilee mug by Miss Evelyn Allsebrook (daughter of the Vicar) and Miss Jean Margaret Amos (daughter of the headmaster).  The mugs were provided by Evesham Rural District Council who had been authorised to spend a reasonable sum of money in connection with the celebrations.  The name of each parish could be printed on the mugs if desired.  Whether this happened in Badsey is not known.  Mr Amos wrote in the Log Book:  

I have seen to the distribution of 310 Jubilee mugs for the children of this parish.  Those attending this school from other parishes had their mugs from their own parishes with a few exceptions.

The children had time to get over the excitement of Jubilee Day as, at the request of the King, the Local Education Authority had given instructions for the school to be closed until Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, on the Recreation Ground, a comic cricket match was held.  A team of ladies defeated the Cricket Club (who had to bat, catch and field left-handed, and bowl under-arm) by 11 runs.  At 6 o’clock a programme of sports was arranged for the children and later for the adults.  The adult events included a men’s slow bicycle race won by Norman Hartwell, a ladies’ flat race won by Jean Knight, a men’s flat race for over 60s won by 66-year-old Frederick Hill (the former Badsey policeman) and a men’s washing competition won by G Jelfs and A Crane.  Sixty people entered the fancy dress competition which took place between 7 and 8 pm.  At 8 o’clock a large audience listened to the King’s speech broadcast on the wireless which had been hired for the occasion.  His Majesty gave thanks "from the depths of his heart to his dear people" for the Jubilee commemorations on behalf of himself and Queen Mary,  The sports programme then concluded with a tug-of-war between members of the Committee.  

As it grew dark, a torchlight procession took place round the village, followed by a fireworks display.  The day concluded with a free dance in the Old School.

Roger Savory’s memories of Jubilee Day

The late Roger Savory (1930-2020) recalled Jubilee Day:

My first recollection of hearing Badsey bells, and stopping to listen to them, was when I was five years old. That was the year of the Silver Jubilee of King George V and Queen Mary, and this event was celebrated on the appointed day with "organised fun and games" on Badsey Rec. This included races and games for the kids and refreshment tents for one and all. That summer afternoon I can recall walking along the path that led to "The Rec" from Badsey Fields Lane, past Sears’ greenhouses, and stopping to listen to the eight bells ringing out as part of the village celebrations for the Jubilee. Little did I think that, one day, I would be a member of the band of bell ringers at St James church and subsequently, for a period, the tower captain.

Jubilee Celebrations at Wickhamford

The Silver Jubilee of King George V, in May 1935, was celebrated at Wickhamford with great enthusiasm, according to a report in the Evesham Journal. A service was conducted by the Vicar, Canon Allesbrook, at 2.45 p.m. where there was a large attendance and the singing was led by a choir specially trained for the occasion. Sports, in which young and old took part, followed and a substantial tea was served to all in the Reading Room, which was prettily decorated. A very pleasant part of the days’ proceedings was the presentation of an iced cake and bouquet to the village’s oldest inhabitant, Mrs Dinah Walters, who was 90 that day. This lady was in excellent health and able to receive the congratulations of many friends and relations. The young people finished the day with an impromptu dance.

Surplus Funds carried forward

At the Badsey Parish Council meeting in July 1935, the accounts of the Jubilee Committee were submitted showing a balance in hand of £6 3s 1d.  At the final Jubilee meeting it was resolved that the money should be held over until the winter months when a special parish meeting be called to see if parishioners were in favour of the balance going to a Village Hall Fund.  

In the event, this never happened.  George V died seven and a half months after his Jubilee on 20th January 1936.  He was succeeded by his brother, Edward VIII, who abdicated later that year.  George VI ascended the throne and it was decided to put the surplus funds towards the Coronation celebrations which took place in May 1937.

Maureen Spinks, May 2022


With thanks to Jonathan Granger for providing the Evesham Journal press cutting about flying the flag and to Tom Locke for details of the Wickhamford celebrations.

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