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Matlock: Starkholmes & the Coronation of King George VI, 1937
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Matlock District Council Coronation Medal, 1937

Coronation Celebrations at the Band Stand, 1937


Matlock: Starkholmes Sunday School Picnic, about 1920/1

Matlock: Starkholmes Women's Institute, late 1953 - Tree Planting

Following King George V's death in 1936 Britain was expecting to celebrate the Coronation of the next King, which was Edward VIII. During that summer arrangements were being made in many places to prepare for his Coronation in May the following year[1]. So when he abdicated at the end of 1936 there would have been deep disappointment, not least amongst those whose plans were already underway. This included town and village councils throughout Britain, the railway network organising special trains up to the capital and those producing a vast number of souvenirs. Interestingly, by the end of December there was an exceptional demand for King Edward VIII. souvenirs as they were likely to have special value in the future. For example, silver articles, because of the hallmarks and date-marks on the items, reflected very definitely the period in which the items were made[2].

Town halls across the land must have breathed a sigh of relief when his brother Albert succeeded him as King George VI. especially, if they had already begun to plan ahead, that the date remained the same.

At the beginning of January 1937 it was reported that many Starkholmes residents felt that they ought to have their own little "do" instead of joining the main celebrations at Matlock. There was already some interest in establishing a fund for the Coronation celebration. Cyril Harrison and F. W. Beddington were the Starkholmes councillors who were involved[3]. A public meeting of the residents of the Starkholmes and Riber districts was held at the Starkholmes school on the 13th of January, and it was decided to hold Coronation celebrations as a separate event from the main festivities at Matlock. It was also agreed that Matlock Council was to be asked for a share of the penny rate which was being levied, and permission for a whist drive and dance at Riber Castle. The group planned to hold a weekly house to house collection[4].

There was a long discussion about the district's Coronation celebrations at a Matlock Council meeting in mid February, as other parts of the Matlocks had also decided they wanted to go it alone. Lubin Wildgoose, the Chairman, said there was to be a public meeting in the Matlock Ward that night[5]. Mr. J. J. Lynch, chairman of the Starkholmes Coronation Celebration Committee, subsequently stated that the Starkholmes decision to celebrate separately was irrevocable, and they already had commitments of £40[6].

In the event, Starkholmes had a packed programme to keep everyone entertained on 12th May which included the customary celebration tea. However, it poured with rain on the day itself so the planned sports events were deferred until the following Monday[7].

Down in Matlock the Hall Lees and its bandstand were surrounded by fairy lights and floodlit during the evening and the Council had arranged for Riber Castle to be floodlit, which would have been seen in much of the surrounding district.

The day's events, including a procession through Starkholmes
and a short service at the War Memorial were printed on the inside of the programme.

Programme in the collection of and provided by and © Maureen Smith collection.
Researched, written by and © Ann Andrews.
Intended for personal use only.

References (coloured links are to transcripts or more information elsewhere on this web site):

[1] "Ripley and Heanor News and Ilkeston Division Free Press", 24 July 1936. The Coronation.

[2] "Bognor Regis Observer", 23 December 1936.

[3] "Derbyshire Times", 1 January 1937.

[4] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 14 January 1937. Starkholmes and Riber Plans.

[5] "Belper News", 19 February 1937. Rate Allocations For Coronation. Series of Celebrations in Matlock Area.

[6] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 22 February 1937.

[7] "Derby Daily Telegraph", 13 May 1937.