Donation to museum shows Porthcawl’s reaction to death of King George VI

Thursday, 2 February 2017

By GEM Community Correspondent

in Local People

Last year, Porthcawl Museum took delivery of a new exhibit recalling the time almost 65 years ago when Britain found itself with a new Monarch.

On February 6, 1952, King George VI passed away in his sleep at the age of 56, and his daughter Princess Elizabeth, who was in Kenya, became Queen Elizabeth II.

She returned home and was proclaimed Monarch of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon the following day.

The news of the King’s death was reported in the ‘Porthcawl Guardian’ and cinemas and theatres were closed as the Nation went into mourning.

Proclamations of the Queen’s Accession took place in many parts of the United Kingdom, including Porthcawl, where the proclamation was read out on the steps of the Grand Pavilion by Coun E. Stanley Thomas, chairman of Porthcawl Town Council, who was both a well respected plumber in Porthcawl.

For many years, his plumber’s two-wheeled push cart was on display in the foyer of the Grand Pavilion and was often used as a stage prop.

The original copy of the proclamation that was read out by Coun Thomas, together with the photograph of the occasion, were presented to the Porthcawl Museum at the Museum’s Annual General Meeting last year by Nifa Saunders (née Bubb) and her brother David Bubb.

Neither Nifa or David, who are grandchildren of the late Coun Thomas, could be present at the AGM, so the presentation was made by Keith E. Morgan to Paul Joseph, the chairman of Porthcawl Museum and Historical Society.

Nifa was christened Mary Nifa Bubb and eventually qualified as a nurse. As there were so many nurses named Mary in the hospital, her second name was used to make identification easier.

At the time of the King’s death, Nifa was attending the New Road School as a 10/11-year-old and can remember the headmaster, Mr James, telling the school assembly of the King’s death.

She also has vivid recollections of the Queen’s Coronation the following year on June 2, 1953. Because it was inappropriate to hold such a festival during the period of mourning following the death of a monarch, the Coronation take place more than a year latter.

Nifa attended a street party with the church in Park Street and was one of the lucky ones with a television set to see the Coronation. Her grandfather, Coun E Stanley Thomas, had bought one and Nifa recalls sitting on the floor, eyes glued to the TV, with all the neighbours crowding in around her. What wonderful memories of a wonderful Royal occasion!

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