The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, earlier this month, was celebrated in style in Christchurch Park. But this was not the first monarch’s Diamond Jubilee to be honoured here. As can be seen in this early photograph (courtesy of Stuart Grimwade), the town’s Mayor, Felix Cobbold, threw a party for children from elementary schools in the Borough on 24 June 1897, two days after the national celebrations for Queen Victoria’s sixty years on the throne. Cobbold held a reception in front of the Mansion (he had only recently given the house to the town on condition that the Council purchase the rest of the Park which may explain the “Long Life to our Mayor” banner!). There were athletic races, steam roundabouts, booths and swings. The band of the Suffolk Regiment and the Stoke Excelsior Band provided the musical entertainment and after a bugle was sounded, the children were called to tea.
English Heritage has produced a wonderfully informative booklet on the nation’s Victorian celebrations, which can be read by clicking here.