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Street parties return—just like VE Day and the Coronation

PUBLISHED: 23:04 22 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:36 05 October 2010

Top: Stepney Green 2009. Middle: Coronation 1953, Above: VE Day 1945

Top: Stepney Green 2009. Middle: Coronation 1953, Above: VE Day 1945

Carmen Valino

TRADITIONAL street parties returned to the East End of London on Sunday (July 19) as part of a nationwide campaign to bring Britain’s communities together—just like the old days. The old spirit from the VE Day in 1945 and the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 was alive and well in Stepney Green, where organisers now plan to make it an annual event.

By Danielle Myles

TRADITIONAL street parties returned to the East End of London on Sunday (July 19) as part of a nationwide campaign to bring Britain’s communities together—just like the old days.

The old spirit from the VE Day celebrations in 1945 and the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 was alive and well in Stepney Green, where organisers now plan to make it an annual event.

The last time they had a street party in Stepney Green was in 1981 for the wedding of Princess Di and Prince Charles.

They got the trellis tables out for 100 neighbours (pictured, top) who got together to share food, drink and have a good time. It was just like the Coronation 56 years ago (above).

NEIGHBOURS

“It was absolutely brilliant,” organiser Barbara Nunn told the East London Advertiser.

“It went so well that we’ve now put the buntings away for next year. We were trying to keep it old fashioned.”

The street looked strikingly similar to how it did during the Coronation. Grandmother Barbara set up the trellis tables with co-organiser Esther McKinney and made sure it was kept as close to tradition as possible.

The party was part of the national The Big Lunch project which encouraged communities to hold lunches on the one day to bring residents together.

NEIGHBOURS

Street parties in London have a history spanning 11 decades back as far as Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887.

Families have been gathering in their street to eat and have a good old knees-up for royal anniversaries and other times of national significance.

Some of the nation’s biggest street parties have been VE Day in May, 1945, celebrating Victory when the war ended in Europe, as well as the coronations of Edward VII in 1902, George V’s in 1911 and his Silver Jubilee in 1935, George VI’s coronation in 1937 and Elizabeth II’s in 1953.

There were also street parties for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, Golden Jubilee in 2002 and the Royal Wedding of Di and Charles in 1981.

They became regular events in later years as the focus shifted from celebrating national holidays to building community spirit. These included Britain in 2005 selected host for the 2012 Olympics—though most of the street parties that year got rained out in the East End.


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