Britain’s love of beer, bunting and bank holidays has contributed to a record number of street parties and a dearth of jubilee-free zones next weekend.
Note: This article is from the Guardian.
Britain's love of beer, bunting and bank holidays has contributed to a record number of street parties and a dearth of jubilee-free zones next weekend.
Almost 9,500 road closure applications have been granted for neighbourly knees-ups in England and Wales – 4,000 more than for last year's royal wedding.
With tens of thousands of events planned in gardens, parks, pubs and church halls, "the scale of national celebration looks set to be unlike anything we've experienced for decades", says Flick Rea of the Local Government Association.
Trestle table teas, many with a 1950s theme, will spring up across the UK as The Big Lunch initiative, designed to bring communities together, coincides with diamond jubilee festivities.
Funfairs, tea dances, fancy dress picnics and fireworks parties are on the agenda, as are less traditional events of frozen-sausage tossing in Blyth, Northumberland, pingpong-ball racing in Denbighshire, and kilt racing in Perth.
In Banbury, Oxon, organisers are so confident of the numbers expected that Guinness Book of Records inspectors have been invited to join 1,000-plus primary school pupils and their families.
The Berkshire village of Streatley and the Oxfordshire village of Goring will be linked across the Thames by, arguably, the longest jubilee table – actually 450 trestle tables joined together and stretching over a bridge. wSpam canapes could be big in Liverpool, with the local newspaper running party receipes for the canned meat popular at the Coronation. Those at London's Big Jubilee Lunch in Piccadilly, and surrounded by royal warrant holders, will be able to enjoy a champagne and tea bar, Highgrove beef burgers from the so-called "Queen's grocers", Fortnum & Mason, luxury coffee ice-creams and a British hog roast, all while being entertained by The Ritz's resident band.
Hertfordshire is the top street party destination, with 451 applications for road closures, followed by Surrey, with 419. Bristol is the leading city outside London, with 91, and Wandsworth is London's leading borough, with 227. In Manchester, where neighbourhood event organisers were offered grants of up to £200, the city council has received 35 road closure applications, but knows of more than 200 planned celebrations.
Figures were not immediately available for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
With their origin in the 1919 "Peace Teas", held after the signing of the Versailles treaty, street parties have become a fixture of UK national festivities, though less so in Scotland.
Those held in 1935, for George V's silver jubilee, 1937 for George VI's coronation, 1951 for the Festival of Britain, and 1953, for the Queen's coronation, were also seen as a special treat for children in times of hardship.
Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee, saw not street parties as we know them, but grander, staged, sit-down "Diamond Jubilee Feasts" to feed as many of London's poor as possible.
Historians note everyone was invited, no matter how dirty their attire, to dine from a menu including roast rib beef and boiled round of beef, roast quarter lamb, veal and ham pies, pickles, date and oranges, English ale and ginger beer, followed by tobacco and pipes.
Today, our enthusiasm seems not just undimmed, but growing, although not in all quarters. As students at Magdalen College, Oxford, voted to spend £2,200 on cucumber sandwiches, Pimm's, grilled beef, beer and ice-cream at a jubilee garden party, one dissenting JCR member expressed his disgust.
"I think the JCR shouldn't be funding something which amounts to an ideological statement in favour of the monarchy," Cameron Quinn is quoted on Cherwell, the university newspaper website, "and, in terms of JCR budgetary priorities, I think providing £2,200 for what is essentially a piss-up in celebration of class privilege is an obscene sum and a poor idea."
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