Down with the kids to celebrate Coronation

These Shropshire schoolchildren were celebrating the new Queen back in the early 1950s and one of them was five-year-old Wayne Littleford, who loaned us these photos.

The children put on a show in the shadow of the school's water tank and with a piano at the top of some steps.
The children put on a show in the shadow of the school's water tank and with a piano at the top of some steps.

He was one of these youngsters attending the Down School, near Bridgnorth, although he can't recall if the occasion was the Queen coming to the throne in 1952 or – and it seems more likely as they seem to be staging their own Coronation – for her Coronation in 1953.

Wayne, who lived then at nearby Chetton but lives now at Edgebolton, near Shawbury, said: "Down School was about four miles outside Bridgnorth, on what they call the back Ludlow road. It's a private house now. It closed in the mid-1990s (July 1994 to be precise). They closed the Down School, Burwarton School further on up the road, and they closed Ditton Priors old school and built a big new school at Ditton Priors for those three schools to go into as one school."

With the passing of the years, details of the exact event in the pictures elude Wayne now.

"To be honest, I can't remember. Possibly it was put on for the parents.

"Me and Desmond Preece were page boys either side of the Queen, who was Margaret Passey."

In the smaller group picture Wayne is far left, and then after Margaret and Des the other children are Joyce Godson, Bronwyn Preece, and Derek Yardley.

Wayne, left, was a page boy attending the "Queen," Margaret Passey.

"In the large group one I'm in the right half of the picture, where you will see me and Des with our little hats and waistcoats standing side by side, and with the St George's cross on next to us is my cousin Michael Pritchard."

In the background is the school's big water tank.

"The drainage water went into there. There's a flight of steps to the left of the tank and you can see a piano. The headmistress Miss Bache used to play the piano and would have us dancing.

"Where the photo is taken is the girls' playground. Just the other side of that to the left of it is the boys' playground. When we were outside playing Miss Bache used to sit up there with a cup of coffee watching everybody and making sure you didn't get up to anything you shouldn't. She could keep an eye on both the boys and girls from there.

The children put on a show in the shadow of the school's water tank and with a piano at the top of some steps.

"She had probably pulled the piano outside. She used to get us doing a lot of dancing, and going to different fetes and shows, like the West Mid."

The children, he recalls, got a little gift.

"We all got a little silver-golden coloured coach with eight little horses, which was about three or four inches long. We were all presented with one of these for the Coronation. I have still go it somewhere.

"I left the school at 11 and went to Bridgnorth Secondary Modern School for 12 months and then went to a school called Millichope School, which was a boarding school."

Later he had a variety of jobs, starting with working on a local farm, and ending up doing grounds work.

As for his own celebrations for the jubilee, Wayne said: "We have had a bit of bunting up and a few flags outside and that's about it."

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