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How Four UK Communities celebrated the Silver Jubilee in 1977

Jubilee Procession outside Gavel Barn 1977
Wherwell Anthology (1977)

Under the banner “Platinum Jubilee street parties: How our community celebrations tell the story of who we are”

The ‘i’ newspaper published an article by Anna Bonet (see attached file) which featured stories from:

  • Stanford-le-Hope, Essex (Mandie Groves)
  • Cardiff (Emma Parsons-Reid )
  • Leeds (Jay Williams )
  • Wherwell (Andrew Flanagan)

Here is the Wherwell story …

One thing that has never changed is the British weather’s penchant for raining on a summer parade. Just ask the locals of Wherwell, upon whom the heavens have opened during their Silver, Gold and Diamond Jubilee Street parties, all of which have been held in the heart of the village on Church Street.

“Let’s hope it does not happen again this Saturday,” says resident Andrew Flanagan. “There is a village hall at the end of the street, so everyone can run in for cover, but around 200 people are coming to the party and the hall fits about 100. So, the race will be on.”

Some things, though, have changed since the Queen’s first Jubilee in 1977. “The demographic has really shifted,” the 75-year-old says. “Wherwell used to be a referred to as a bit of an old people’s village, and it was actually. Most of the locals were retired. But in more recent times, a lot of younger people with London jobs have moved in with their families.”

As such, the street parties have become more child-friendly with each Jubilee. “This year there will be a children’s play area and lots of outdoor games are planned.”

Another marked difference is fact the environment is far more at the top of the organisers’ minds. “Compared with even just a decade ago, we are being much more eco-conscious this year,” says Andrew Flanagan. “There is certainly more focus on reducing waste and we are using a lot more paper rather than plastic.”

But the parties have also been defined by another constant, a little more cheerful than rain. “The number of people coming to the street party remains high, and I think that is a testament to community values that have stayed in place,” he says.

“The idea of younger generations being less likely to talk to neighbours, I think, is just a stereotype. Those here are just as friendly, sociable and ready for a get together as anyone else.”

If you spot any errors, please label them ‘artistic license’ to suit the theme!

Original article published in the Wherwell Anthology 1977


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