1887 Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee
On the 20th June 1887, while Queen Victoria was breakfasting outdoors under the trees at Frogmore and, later, travelling to Buckingham Palace for a royal banquet, the inhabitants of Great Ellingham were getting ready to begin their Jubilee Celebrations on the following day, the 21st June.
Jubilee Committee & Jubilee Fund
A meeting had been held at the Board School Room in May 1887, to ascertain the opinion of the inhabitants as to celebrating Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee.
The Reverend F. Harvey presided, and he stated that the larger farmers and other employers (of the village) were willing to bear a share of the expenses of the celebrations.
It was agreed that Great Ellingham would celebrate the Jubilee, and it was proposed that a dinner of roast beef and plum pudding would be provided for the whole of the inhabitants on the 21st June.
A committee of ladies and gentlemen would be appointed to collect funds and make the arrangements.
Mr J Downs put forward a motion (which was seconded by Mr Darby) that a subscription of 3d. per acre be given by each farmer towards the expenses, which were estimated to amount to between £25 and £30.
A further meeting in connection with the Jubilee Fund was held again in the School Board Room on the 7th June, and was well attended. Mr William Lebbell presided. Further subscriptions received raised the total to £21 7s. and a further sum of £7 had been promised.
Advertised Trips and Excursions
The Norwich Mercury of Saturday 18th June 1887, contained details of various excursions and trips to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee, including train trips to and from London.
The Village Celebrations on 21st June
On Tuesday 21st June 1887, as planned, Great Ellingham’s Jubilee Celebrations took place on meadows lent by Mr J Darby.
The Norwich Mercury of June 25th, 1887, reported that at 1.30 pm, a procession headed by the Brass Band, started from the village.
Illustration by Christine Fuller
At 2pm, over 400 adults and children sat down to a “excellent dinner of roast beef and plum pudding”.
The Chairman of the Jubilee Fund Celebrations, Mr J Darby, gave “the toast of the Queen”, and Mr and Mrs Darby were thanked for the use of the grounds.
Following the dinner of roast beef and plum pudding, various sports were played.
Tea was served at 6pm after which the villagers resumed the sports.
“The day was one to be remembered”.
The Norwich Mercury reported on the celebrations taking part in many Norfolk towns and villages which included church services, substantial meals, bell ringing, bands, fireworks, dancing, entertainment and the National Anthem being sung.
In nearby Hingham, nearly 200 persons sat down to roast beef, plum pudding and “old stingo” (ale).
Gateley’s celebrations included a plentiful dinner of roast beef, a whole sheep with plum puddings washed down with good strong beer.
Beef was also on the menu for the poorer inhabitants of Harleston, along with bread and beer which was given at their own homes.
In the village of Breckles (some 6 miles from Great Ellingham), a special service was held at the parish church on the 26th June.
By the generosity of the Rt Hon Lady Bateman, the Vicar and the Farmers (of Breckles), every poor family in the parish was presented with five shillings towards providing an entertainment for themselves in their own homes.
It was also reported that (in Breckles) farmers gave all their men a day’s holiday with the day’s wages, and each child in the village was presented with a medal.
1935 Silver Jubilee King George & Queen Mary
Silver Jubilee Commemoration Stamps 1935
Nearly 50 years later, the inhabitants of Great Ellingham planned another Jubilee celebration. This time to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of King George and Queen Mary.
Once again, a Committee was formed to organise and oversee the celebrations, which was funded by subscriptions from villagers. Mr W R Lebbell was the Secretary of the Committee, and Mr A J Pollard, of Ye Olde Thatche Shoppe, was Treasurer.
Proposals were put forward to have a ‘Meat Tea’ for all the inhabitants of the Parish, as well as sports for the children. Funds permitting, the children would be presented with Jubilee Mugs.
1935 Great Ellingham Proposals and Subscriptions for Celebrating the Silver Jubilee of King George and Queen Mary. Document from Carol Ewin
Supplement to the Norwich Mercury 14th May 1887
Norwich Mercury 11th June 1887
Norwich Mercury 18th June 1887
Jubilee Supplement to the Norwich Mercury 18th June 1887
Norwich Mercury 25th June 1887
Norwich Mercury 2nd July 1887
Updated September 2020