On this day in Yorkshire 1949

120,000 at Roundhay Park to see Children's Day that broke all records

Monday, 4th July 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Monday, 4th July 2016, 12:22 pm
Joan Anne Thompson the Leeds Children's Day Queen in 1949 leaving the Town Hall on a parade.

Children’s Day at Roundhay Park, Leeds, on Saturday broke all records for sunshine, attendance and receipts, and made one wonder at the Royal Commission’s report on population.

How could anyone possibly have thought we were short of children?

Presumably children are not included In the estimated attendance of 120,000. They cannot be. There were masses of them, both on the arena and off it.

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Children of every conceivable variety. Children who did what their mothers told them and children who did not. Children who kept clean until after tea, and children who got incredibly dirty before it. Children who ate icecream in moderation and children who made themselves ill on it.

And children who got lost. They were legion.

When I got to the Park at half past one they were judging the children in fancy dress and some of the sports championships were being decided.

There were still a few blades of grass showing on Hill 60, and the queues at the ice-cream stalls were no more than a hundred yards long. The day was yet young.

How they did judge the fancy dress competitors I do not know, unless they gave a first prize to all of them. They were wonderful.

There was every character you had ever thought of and plenty that you had not, ranging from little girl arrayed in tram tickets in the shape of a Christmas cracker to a bold little tennis player labelled Gorgeous Gussie with lavish quantities of lace round her pants.

And then down to the arena for the chief event of the afternoon — the entry of the royal procession and the crowning of the Queen.

The Queen was a white dream. She glided down the steps and across the coronation chair as though she had been queen all her life.

“Don’t expect me to show my nervousness because I shan’t.” she seemed to smile, with just the right amount of condescension. “We queens don’t.”

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