Market Lavington Museum

A Coronation Bonfire

Next year we celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of our queen, Elizabeth II, She came to the throne back in 1952 and her coronation took place the following year, 1953. A part of the celebrations for many places was a bonfire or beacon – and just look at the bonfire built for Market Lavington.

Market Lavington's bonfire for the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Gosh, what a whopper – and in those long ago days, so well remembered by older members of the community, Health and Safety was not the issue it is today. There are clearly going to be black fumes from that lot, when the match is applied, for we can recognise car tyres amongst the combustible heap.

The bonfire or beacon used to play its part in spreading news. Hill top beacons were placed strategically to send pre-arranged messages from the outer reaches of the country to the capital.

In 1953, the wireless was well established as a means of mass communication but the coronation marked almost the beginning of popular TV. Many of our older folk will tell you that the first time they saw a television was to watch the coronation – and what they saw was a small, black and white, flickering image of really low definition.

Next year the museum will have a display of royal events in the parishes of Market Lavington and Easterton – and maybe more history will be made when we celebrate the jubilee.