King George V Silver Jubilee on Monday 6th May 1935 was celebrated with great joy by the people of Bridport. Each town and village held their own celebration and the Bridport News recorded the event. They decorated, marched, danced and gave thanks for the Kings 25 year reign, in many different ways. Reading the reports I can’t imagine anyone not being effected by the excitement of the day.
Bridport, Beaminster and other villages were decorated with most of the building having some sort of flag, bunting or other decoration, if the Bridport News is to be believed. A picture of the old police station in South Street (were the library is now) shows the bunting and flags decorating the station (A copy of the photo is in Bridport library).
Remarkable Demonstration of Loyalty to the Throne
The Bridport News (May 10th 1935 page 8) was very enthusiastic in writing up the Jubilee celebrations.
Gay with decorations and with hearts attuned to the spirit of the occasion, Bridport was a town of rejoicing for the King’s Silver Jubilee on Monday, and nowhere was the notable anniversary more enthusiastically observed. Favoured by ideal weather – it was a perfect May day with the sun shining a symbol of the happy occasion from a cloudless sky – the celebrations were a great success and a striking commentary on the organising ability of those who had the arrangements in hand.
Bridport has never known such decorations and it is certain that nowhere in the County were they more artistic and profuse. There was hardly a house, no matter how unpretentious, which failed to carry some outward evidence of its loyalty to throne and sovereign, and the main streets of the town were a veritable fairyland – a delight to old and young alike. The electrical illumination carried out in the national colours – red, white and blue – by the staff of the Borough Electricity Department were particularly effective, many of the shop fronts being treated in this way, the Town Hall, cupola ablaze with coloured light, being the centre of these decorations. With its eastern end floodlit at night, the Parish Church was an imposing spectacle.
To the tradesmen especially, who had been making every effort for upwards of a week to make the town’s Jubilee appearance compare favourably with that of any in the County the greatest praise is due.
A official procession preceded by Supt. Beck and Sergt. Diment lead the towns dignitaries, a detachment from 224th Dorset Battery, RAF and members of “A” company, 4th Dorsets and others, accompanied by the Artillery Band. In total about 400 people walked down South Street and Gundry Lane to the Playing Fields. Where the crowd listened to a broadcast of the King’s procession in London and the service from St. Paul’s Cathedral. The procession then reassembled and returned to the Town Hall where the Mayor of Bridport, Councillor W. S. B. Northover, gave his address before entertaining his guests to refreshments in the Town Hall.
In the afternoon children’s sports were held in the Playing Fields with over 900 children given tea and a souvenir beaker. At 6 o’clock The Mayor, Mayoress and Alderman Andrew Spiller planed three commemorative trees. Ivy Scantlebury was crowned the May Queen followed by maypole dances. Then there was a short pageant by members of the Bridport Amateur Operatic Society. The Artillery Band provided music throughout the day. The day ended with a firework display, followed by a dance at the Rifle Drill Hall.
Cyclists’ Loyal Message
On Friday 3rd May cyclist from Exeter came through Bridport on their way to deliver a loyal message to the King at Buckingham Palace. The Bridport News noted there were eight in number including two lady riders. After being greeted by cheering crowds, they were entertained to tea at the Town Hall by the Mayor and Mayoress. The Mayor signed the roll, engrossed and illuminated on vellum. The message was then carried to Dorchester by a relay of four riders.
The Cyclists’ Touring Club organised a round Britain relay ride from London to London 2,215 miles in fifteen days, via Dundee and Exeter. The scroll signed by Bridport Mayor, Mr Northover, was signed by 100 of the Mayors and Provosts of the main towns and cities on the route.
Jubilee Medals for Police
The Chief Constable, Major L. W. Peel Yates and Deputy Chief Constable, Mr A. Barrett, all 7 Superintendent including Grandad Beck were awarded the King’s Silver Jubilee medal. The silver medal shows the crowned heads and shoulders of King George V and Queen Mary. A total of 23 medal’s were awarded to Dorset Policemen by the Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, the Earl of Shaftesbury on Whit-Monday 10th June 1935. A special parade took place at the Constabulary Headquarters at Dorchester. Grandad Beck had been in the force for 40 years, longer than any other Dorset policeman. Lord Shaftesbury said those selected for the awarded would wear the medal in remembrance of 25 years of a reign that was unsurpassed in British history.
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Ref: Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser – Wednesday 01 May 1935 p8; Bridport News – Friday 10 May 1935 p8; Western Gazette – Friday 14 June 1935 p2