As a snapshot of community spirit, Coronation Day, 1953 will take some beating. Twins Carol and Christine Lodge (their names reflect their Christmas birthday) were 3 years old at the time, living on William Henry Street in Saltaire; which had entered the competition for the best coronation street party in Shipley West ward. Imagine their excitement and anticipation as bunting and flags were put up in the street – and all the talk amongst the adults was about the beautiful princess, her handsome prince, and her two young children.
Fundraising events had been held and a committee had been formed from neighbours to organize the celebration meal with games and prizes afterwards. On top of all that, the twins were going to be allowed to see the coronation on one of the two new television sets bought by neighbours on the street. These had 12 inch screens with magnifiers attached to the front. Watching it was to make their heavily pregnant Mum Myra feel so sick that she missed the ceremony altogether!
For Christine and Carol though, the day just got better: Despite the rain, the party went ahead indoors at the British Legion at the bottom of Moorhead Lane. Then came the races, games and competitions. The twins received prizes, winning the running race for 3-5 year-old girls, but all the children were given presents or souvenirs. On Shirley Street they were given tins of toffees and on George Street it was books and leather bound money boxes! To cap it all, William Henry won the Best Street competition, with Amelia Street second and Hirstwood Crescent third. The residents won vouchers given by the organisers, Shipley Traders, to spend in local shops. There is even a suggestion that the street disposed of the cash left over from the day by treating the children to a trip to Belle Vue. The twins probably missed that because of their age and the fact that their family had increased in size: Coreen was still a toddler and baby Janice had now put in an appearance, needing a lot of looking after by two very grown up sisters.
Carol and Christine now live with their own families outside Saltaire, but their dad Kenneth, who was manager of the yarn department at Salts Mill for many years, is one of the long term residents in the Village, living in the same house since 1931. That is not as long as his former neighbour Alice Sowman who, until she became unable to live independently only last year, had had the same address since 1924. (Surely a Saltaire record – unless Sentinel readers know better!) Alice will remember the street party well - she won a prize for Intelligence.