Remembering past jubilees in Yate and Chipping Sodbury

May 31 2022
Remembering past jubilees in Yate and Chipping Sodbury

AS the Queen's 70-year reign is celebrated, David Hardill looks at past jubilees in Yate.

ROYAL celebrations have been a feature of life in Yate since the 19th century.

There were Golden and Diamond Jubilee celebrations locally during Queen Victoria’s reign, in 1887 and 1897.

Leading families at Yate supported the refurbishment of St Mary’s Church in 1897, enabling the restoration of the interior and roof, as well as the additions of the pinnaces to the church tower.

Inevitably, we have more evidence of royal celebrations linked to the present monarch.

Local councils have always played a part: in 1953 around 600 children – nearly all of them – received a Coronation tea courtesy of the parish council, and there were tins of chocolate and chocolate bars for a significant proportion of youngsters. Chocolate was still very much a treat and sweets had only come off rationing in 1949.

Royal celebrations have always spawned some street parties. In 1953 there were several around Yate and Sodbury, in a combined population of little more than 3,000.

The 1977 Silver Jubilee was undoubtedly the most prolific for street parties. They seemed to be everywhere, with 57 recorded road closures for royal celebrations from June 4 to 7.

Some streets, like Highworth Crescent in South Yate (pictured above and below), had two parties.

At this time Yate was encumbered with a reputation for being soulless and lacking community spirit, but the Jubilee clearly demonstrated the opposite was the case.

New community groups came to the fore. The parish council held exhibitions at both the Parish Hall and YMCA on Station Road. The breadth of community life was on display, including churches, women’s groups and clubs, while Newman’s and Jackson’s factories offered behind-the-scenes tours.

Chipping Sodbury offered a more traditional street fayre, carnival and vicarage tea party over the Silver Jubilee weekend, while on the St John’s school field there was the obligatory 1970s fun day, It’s a Knock Out. 


Harescombe Silver Jubilee street party, 1977

Diary dates

Until June 18: High Street – history of our shopping streets and centre from the 19th century to present day.   

June 3: Platinum Jubilee event on St Mary’s Green, 10.30am-4pm, with music and storytelling, stalls and food themed from the 1950s and 1970s. 

June 15: Yate Archaeological Group tour of the prehistoric Bath area. Meet at 7pm at Bath Abbey. £3 for non-members. Booking essential.

June 18: Family History Day, 10am-3pm. Experienced family historians will be on hand to offer guidance and tips on ongoing family history research, or starting out.

June 21-July 7: Yate Academy Annual Exhibition, showcasing the best work from the secondary school.

June 21: Folk evening and talk, 7.30pm. Phil Owen gives a presentation on the history of folk singing in the area and his discovery of local folk songs, which will be played on the night.

June 28: Yate Lecture Series – Sharpness Shipbreakers, with Paul Barnett, 7.30pm. £2 admission, free for Friends of YHC. Booking essential. Venue to be confirmed.


Lawns Road Coronation party, 1953