Queen Victoria’s Coronation was held on Thursday 28 June 1838. The following is taken from reports in the Northampton Mercury and show the various celebrations that were held. It would seem that Roast Beef and Plum Pudding featured on almost all of the menus! Interestingly, in many places it was the men who had the beef dinner and then the women and children had tea and cakes in the afternoon. I’m not sure they were get away with that nowadays!
Northampton: The day of Her Majesty’s coronation was celebrated with becoming demonstrations of loyalty and rejoicing. As early as half past four in the morning, the bells commenced ringing and were heard in occasional peals during the day. Flags and banners were displayed from public and private offices, considerable pains were expended in decorating the exterior of the houses with oak boughs, evergreens and flowers. Shops were generally closed and the streets filled throughout the day by groups of persons belonging to the lower as well as the upper classes, all enjoying the fineness of the day. But for the presence of Mr Wombwell’s menagerie, the streets would have been abandoned to the band of the Northamptonshire Militia Staff and itinerant artists.
About 1,500 Sunday School children were assembled in the Barrack Yard and liberally regaled with plum cake and tea; and an equal or rather greater number of children, trained by the Dissenters, formed in the Market Square and were entertained in a similar manner. The principal feature of the day’s rejoicing was the illumination, which was got up apparently with very little regard to expense. Brilliant devices in gas and lamps abounded in all the principal streets and produced a very dazzling effect. The whole passed off entirely without accident or disorder, though females were in some danger from the pressure of a dense crowd and from a very wanton discharge of fireworks.
Hardingstone: E Bouverie of Delapre Abbey and most of his tenants, entertained all their male labourers with a good supper of roast beef and plum pudding. The inmates of the workhouse, by order of the Guardians, had the same substantial fare. Rev Charles Wodsworth invited the whole of the female population, with their children, to partake of tea, cake and such. Above 250 had assembled about four o’clock in the beautiful pleasure grounds of the Vicarage. They retired about eight to their several homes, a happy and contented group.
Harpole: A substantial dinner of roast beef, plum pudding and ale was supplied to above 300 farming men. In the afternoon, the Church close was laid out with tables and nearly 400 women and children were entertained with tea, cake and beef. A band of music had been provided and after the feast, dancing commenced and was kept up till nearly midnight. The event was concluded with fireworks.
Holdenby: Upwards of two hundred people were regaled by a plentiful dinner and tea and cake in the evening. A band of music attended and dancing was kept up with great spirit till a late hour.
Kettering: There was a procession of the Trades with appropriate banners and other insignia. At half past three, there was a public tea drinking on the Market Hill to which all women, and girls and boys under eight years of age were free to partake. In the afternoon the committees and a party of other gentlemen of the town, dined together at the White Hart.
Braunston: The morning was ushered in by ringing of bells and musicians parading the streets. At two o’clock a most liberal supply of roast beef and plum pudding was served to up to 900 persons on the Green, after which the waiters, carvers and gentlemen of the committee dined in the school room. This was followed by a rustic ball, with ‘a mixed scene of the big and little, light and heavy, young and old, all running, walking, bustling, jumping, dancing, each telling with their feet their several capacities for such fantastic trips’ Alongside this were the usual rustic sports..
Welton: A subscription by the clergy and parish officers provided a public dinner of excellent beef, plum pudding and ale, and in the evening tea with its accompaniments, for every resident, man, woman and child. In a field 14 long tables were erected and covered with new cloth, of useful quality, intended to be distributed afterwards amongst the most necessitous poor.
Bugbrooke: At an early hour, the musical bells of Bugbrooke rang. A most excellent band from Blisworth arrived by railway train . At two, all the men sat down to dinner and at four o’clock every woman, girl and child sat down to tea and cake and never were so many happy faces seen together before in Bugbrooke. An excellent display of fireworks concluded the day.
Wellingborough: had its procession and a public dinner in the Town Street for the men and tea and cakes in the afternoon for the women and children. The usual rustic amusements – such as jingling matches, swarming a pole, donkey races, jumping in sacks etc were not wanting. The festivities concluded with a display of fire-works in the Market Square. In the workhouse, the poor were regaled with roast beef and pudding and a moderate portion of ale, and were allowed both before and after dinner to go into the town and witness the festivities.
Weedon Beck: Here the Coronation was celebrated by a treat to the children of the parish, comprising five different charity schools amounting to 350 individuals. They were regaled with tea and plum cake and amused by various races. At ten o’clock the inhabitants were gratified by a display of fireworks, including many rockets of the best description, also a fire balloon, sent up with great adroitness by an officer of the 14th Light Dragoons. The soldiers at the Barracks, both horse and foot, were entertained by their officers with a good dinner, as were most of the farmer’s labourers by their respective masters. And what was highly gratifying, in spite of the motley population of the places, increased as it now is by navigators, and other workmen on the railway, the evening passed off without any thing resembling riot or disturbance.
Brackley: At four o’clock in the morning the band met on the Market Square and struck up the National Anthem and although at so early an hour, flags were immediately hoisted from the houses of several of the respectable inhabitants and as the band paraded, more flags appeared. At ten o’clock 1,067 persons had provisions, consisting of 760 lbs of meat, 926 pints of ale, 1022 lbs of flour and 254 lbs of plums, served out to them at the Market House. It was at first intended to have a public dinner to the poor, afterwards the committee decided on letting them have the provisions at their own houses. At two o’clock about 100 of the gentlemen and tradesmen sat down to a dinner at the Town Hall. Dancing and rustic sports were also enjoyed
(top image, by Robert Tyas, in public domain)