Our Century

Quiet for the coronation

Lipton's the Grocers
Liptons the grocers in Queen Square, Wolverhampton, pictured in 1937.

Royal revelry spread like wildfire across the West Midlands as coronation fever gripped the region in May with flags and bunting festooning the streets and people wearing red, white and blue hats as well as rosettes.

Many women pinned Union Jacks to the fronts of their skirts and dresses to celebrate the crowning of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth - now the Queen Mother.

But in contrast to other towns, Wolverhampton took the event more soberly, presenting a particularly quiet appearance - in the morning at least.

But royal watchers put the mood down to the townsfolk staying indoors to hear the Coronation broadcast on the radio. But Wolverhampton streets echoed to the sound of Boy Scouts offering Coronation programmes for sale and people were seen wearing the colours of the national flag.

A small band of children, attired in patriotic colours, paraded round the town headed by a boy beating a toy drum and other children blowing trumpets and mouth-organs.

A relay of the BBC broadcast, in the market place, drew an early crowd but it was never more than 300 strong.

And in Walsall it was suggested that Coronation decorations catching fire started a blaze which caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the factory of a glove manufacturers in Holts Hill Lane.

Firemen battled with the blaze for three hours as it gutted the top storey of the factory and brought the roof down.

West Midlanders eagerly devoured evey detail of the crowning ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The occasion boasted all the pomp and splendour of time-honoured tradition.

People flocked to the occasion from all parts of the Empire as they admired the coach, drawn by eight grey horses with four postillions and six footman aboard.

Dudley's darling takes the title: Dudley's darling of the tennis courts, Dorothy Round, scored a second Wimbledon triumph when in July she beat Jadwiga Jedrzejowska, the Polish champion 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in the women's singles.

Tennis Ace: Dorothy  RoundThree years earlier she had used her tennis skills to beat Helen Jacobs for the women's singles title. The triumphant player received an ovation from the crowd after she walked off court after a match which lasted about an hour.

The new champion said later: "It is glorious to have won the Wimbledon title once more. The pace was very hot at times , and when it became too hot, I simply had to let the ball go.

"I went into court with a tactical plan - but in the heat of the moment I am afraid I forgot all about it," the Dudley tennis ace added."

The fine weather brought huge crowds to Wimbledon and an overnight queue had formed as soon as the previous day's play had ended.

Workers at Bean's of Tipton, who helped build the 1937 world land speed record breaking car Thunderbolt, driven by Captain George Eyston.

The Record Breakers
Workers at Bean's of Tipton, who helped build the 1937 world land speed record breaking car Thunderbolt, driven by Captain George Eyston.

E&S stirs the great stocking debate: A Wolverhampton Express & Star reporter sparked off a fashion debate at a Brighton drapers conference in June by asking how many pairs of stockings a woman was thought to buy in a year.

She was told between 25 to 30 pairs.

But several delegates said this was too modest an estimate and put the figure at 40 to 50 for the really fashion conscious woman.

John Oliver
Being a loyal, hardworking servant for 45 years in no way prepares you for a job change.