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If there’s one thing we really like in this country, it’s a street party. They’ve historically been held to commemorate major national events like VE Day or royal occasions including weddings and Jubilees. It’s an excuse to decamp the contents of everyone’s dining room to the middle of the road and have a right good knees up.

A chance for families, friends, neighbours and communities to come together, eat and drink far too much, and stick balloons and bunting everywhere!

During the pandemic many communities held street parties where families would set up their tables and chairs at the top of their drives and enjoy a picnic with neighbours. This was popular during the numerous lockdowns we all had to endure, as a bit of light relief whilst maintaining social distancing (ahem!).
These impromptu parties went down so well that for many communities they’ve become an annual event. And this year, with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, there will be many more. Events are being planned up and down the country, including traditional street parties, garden parties and village fetes – all with a similar theme albeit on slightly different scales.

Whether it’s a small gathering with family and friends, a full-blown street party, or an even larger event with visitors from far and wide, most of us will encounter a Jubilee event in some form. Maybe you’ll be attending as a guest, helping set up the tables and chairs?

Or perhaps you’ll play a more pivotal role as a host and DJ, supplying the music and keeping things running smoothly throughout the day? After all, that’s our job. And we’re often the difference between a good party and a great party, so why not a street party?

On the 6th of February 1952, Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne, following the death of her father, King George VI. 70 years later, she is the world’s longest-reigning monarch.

Here’s a reminder of all those landmark celebrations – and the music that soundtracked them:

1952 – Ascension Year

NME went on sale for the first time in the UK, Singin in the Rain’ made its box office debut and Newcastle United won the FA Cup after beating Arsenal 1-0.

In November 1952 the first UK Singles Chart was published and saw ‘Here In My Heart’ by Al Martino become the first UK number one (it remained there as the Christmas chart-topper before being replaced by ‘You Belong To Me’ – Jo Stafford in January 1953).

Bestselling single of 1952: ‘Here In My Heart’ – Al Martino
1953 – Coronation Year

Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, received a knighthood, the England cricket team won the Ashes by beating Australia for the first time in 19 years, and The Good Old Days began its 30-year run on television. Songs in the UK charts included ‘The Coronation Rag’ – Winifred Atwell and ‘(How Much Is That) Doggie In The Window’ – Lita Roza.

On the 2nd of June 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place at Westminster Abbey and the whole country came together as one to celebrate. In London thousands lined the streets to get a glimpse of the procession whilst villages, towns and cities throughout the UK prepared to hold parties. There was one small problem: the typical British weather. It rained. Heavily! The event was televised, so many watched in the safety of the indoors, but others adopted the bulldog spirit and various outside celebrations went ahead to mark the occasion.

Bestselling single of 1953: ‘I Believe’ – Frankie Laine

1977 – Silver Jubilee Year

The English tennis player Virginia Wade won the woman’s singles final at Wimbledon, rock star Marc Bolan died after a car crash, and Star Wars debuted in cinemas around the UK.

In 1977 the Queen had reigned for 25 years and we celebrated the Silver Jubilee with parties across the UK. I was six years old and on the day of our street party I came downstairs to see a hive of activity on the usually quiet street outside our house.

My dad was leading the team of event organisers. There were two dustbins placed at both ends of the street and each set had ladders strewn between them to create the perfect blockade against any traffic. (I’m not sure whether this was cleared with the local authorities but knowing my father, I suspect not!)
We set up tables and chairs down the middle of the street, covered the tables with paper Union Jack tablecloths, added the plates and cutlery, and decorated everything with balloons, streamers, hats and flags. The party was a huge success with all the families from the street attending and bringing sandwiches, cakes, buns, crisps, and numerous other food items on cocktail sticks. There were egg and spoon races and a rousing rendition of ‘God Save The Queen’ every five minutes.

I’d like to tell you the music played reflected the hits of the day, but I suspect it was more likely to be a tape cassette of ‘Tapestry’ by Carole King. By the end of the day we were shattered, but we’d had the best day ever. The tables were cleared, bin bags were filled with rubbish, and my mum shouted at Dad, who had fallen into the neighbour’s hedge after drinking too much pop.

Bestselling single of 1977: ‘Mull of Kintyre’ – Wings

2002 – Golden Jubilee Year
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The full review can be found in Pro Mobile Issue 113, Pages 30-36.
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