The Oxford Times reported in detail on Eynsham's preparations for the Jubilee in summer 1887. The committee included local chemist and stationer Henry Howe as chairman and railway station master Charles Faulks as secretary.
Local builder Walter Wilkins arranged a Jubilee treat at his home in Mill Street for some 250 village children, who received "unlimited" supplies of "tea, plum cake and jam". Swings and other amusements were provided and the proceedings ended with a firework display to which parents were also invited.
The sports were keenly contested. Winners in the boys' and men's events were awarded from one to five shillings in cash; while prizes for the girls' and women's events (except the women's tug-of-war where the heroines took home sixpence each!) were lengths of calico: 15 yards for the winner, and 10 for the runner-up. Climbing the greasy pole won a leg of mutton.
Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee 1977
Jubilee Chairman Don Chapman recounts a year that lasted almost five - read more >>
Images from 1977 are still coming to light - click on the link above to View Slideshow - and we have a “gallimaufry of reminiscences” from the Primary School.
Community celebrations opened with May Day in the Market Square, included a splendid history frieze and continued to the 50:50 auction on 2 July - view full programme.
A public meeting was held in September 1977 to decide how to use the funds raised. A proposal for new church bells won the most votes, but when it became evident that the church tower could not support them the Parish Council agreed to the second most popular proposal, from the Eynsham Society, to improve the appearance of the village Square.
In the event, the Jubilee Fund was used to purchase the freehold of the Market House. A tablet carved by Mr Bill Brown was unveiled on the east facade in October 1984, commemorating the purchase of the House from funds raised to mark the Silver Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II.
The Village Hall was formally opened on Saturday 1 June, the Golden Jubilee weekend. Preparations are recorded month by month in the Parish Council's minutes for 2002.
Eynsham Primary School dedicated the summer issue of Good History to a Golden Jubilee edition. “We have been looking at the lives of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II and the first 50 years of their reigns ... We have also encouraged people to share their memories of the Queen's Silver Jubilee with us.” A copy sent to Her Majesty was acknowledged in due course:
“The Queen would like me to thank you and all the members of the Eynsham Junior History Group for sending a copy ... The comparative approach taken, setting the Victorian Age alongside the reign of Her Majesty, was a most interesting one and covered a fascinating range of topics. The Queen much appreciated your thought in celebrating her Golden Jubilee in this way ... Her Majesty ... would wish me to congratulate all those involved in the ... production and to extend her renewed thanks and warm good wishes to you all.”
Matthew Marks was more informal: “On the Tuesday of the Queen's Jubilee weekend I went with my family to London. In the morning we stood in the Strand and in the afternoon we stood in St. James Park ... There was a soldier on the other side of the road and we made him laugh three times. It was amazing when the Gold Coach went past with the Queen in. I didn't see much of the afternoon processions because there were lots of people in front. I was in the Mall at the time of the Fly Past. The main planes were Concorde and the Red Arrows. They were my favourite part of the day.”
held in Lower Monkswood (Kindly lent by J Druce Esq), Tuesday July 12, 1887. All Children over 8 years of age to assemble at the Board School at 2 o'clock. Children under that age to meet at the Infants' School at the same time. The Freeland Band will attend and preceed (sic) the Children to the Field. Children's Tea at 3 o'clock. Meat Tea for Men and Women at 4.30. Children provide their own Cups. Men and Women to provide a Plate, Knife and Fork, and Cup for tea. Swings and Roundabouts on the Ground. Children will be charged half the usual price.
This picture was copied from an original photograph belonging to Jim Evans of Beacon View, Swinford. We are grateful to him for lending it to us.
We cannot say for certain when it was taken. But the mugs in the hands of the children would tend to indicate it was a royal occasion. The first mention in the Oxford Times of Eynsham's children being presented with mugs is on the occasion of King George V's Coronation in 1911. But the photograph could date from Edward VII's Coronation in 1902 or Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. At the time of the 1997 celebrations Miss Philcox, one of Eynsham's oldest inhabitants, was quite sure it belonged to 1897.
The numerous tricolors and few Union Jacks is quite common in similar photographs of the period and probably indicates that they were cheaper and easier to make than the British flag, not a lack of national loyalty. Despite the array of umbrellas it was not raining. They were frequently - and sensibly - used by our predecessors as parasols.
The photographer was probably shooting from an upstairs room in one of the cottages adjoining the church. If you still haven't got your bearings you are looking across the Square. The Red Lion is on the right and the Bartholomew Boom is the building you can just see the south-east corner of on the extreme left.
Photo: Sue Chapman
Photo: Norman Hayes 01/05/1977
Eynsham Primary School published its very first school magazine in honour of the occasion; you can download a copy on this page. Headteacher George Baines introduces:
“Jubilee Year seems a good time for looking back over the past twenty-five years of the Elizabethan age, and further back to the Jubilees of 1935 and Victoria's reign. And also over the past ten years since in 1967 Eynsham Primary School (Mark I) was built. So we have concocted this gallimaufry of reminiscences: earlier jubilees as celebrated in Eynsham, the Coronation recalled by Eynsham inhabitants, and early memories of the school recounted by those who taught and learnt in it ten years ago. We also include some recent children's work ...”
The issue was put together by Sara Bannister, Susan Chapman, Elizabeth Crawford, Anna Hill, Ruth Hodges and Christopher Schenk - several of whom are still among us.
Photo: Sara Bannister
Jubilee Queen Debbie Seeney with attendants Nicola White and Wendy Smith and the Jubilee crown
Photo: Sue Chapman 05/06/1977
Centre front (L) Sam Timms; (R) Don Chapman.
Worshippers of all denominations were invited to attend a special thanksgiving service in St Leonard's Church. The vicar of Eynsham, the Reverend Peter Ridley, the parish priest of St Peter's Church (RC) Father Dinan, and the minister of Eynsham Baptist Church, the Reverend Christopher Morgan, shared in leading the service and a collection was taken for Jubilee funds.
Photo: Sue Chapman 07/06/1977
Serving tea at the Jubilee sports event. Lindsey Mills, secretary to the Jubilee Committee, is on the far left.
The building was bought for the people of Eynsham with money raised to mark the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1977.
Photo: Sue Chapman, 1984
The Vice-Chair and Chair of the Jubilee Committee watching the plaque go up on the Bartholomew Room wall. The tablet carved by Bill Brown was unveiled on the east facade in October 1984.
Eynsham Market Square was renovated in 2002. A plaque to the left of the door to the Bartholomew Room marks the occasion.
installed as part of the Market Square renovation in 2002