MAY 1935 was a very special month in Helensburgh and throughout the land, as it was when the silver jubilee of King George V was marked. This fascinating newspaper account, typical of the period, tells how the occasion was celebrated.
From the Courier, Friday May 10 1935
Clydeside’s Magnificent Tribute
Clydeside was a strong hold of rejoicing on Monday. Each town was a place of flags. From the humblest of homes the red white and blue of the Union Jack fluttered in the breeze. It was from the homes of such that the biggest measure of happiness and royalty came. In the face of acute trade depression it was indeed a wonderful response.
Throughout the Clyde coast a spirit of unparalleled enthusiasm took place, while the Clyde steamers beflagged from bow to stern cut a gay picture as they cruised about the Firth. The Minnedosa despite the demolishers hammer with one half of her completely away was decked with flags and held her prow bravely in respect.
In the mellowness of the evening with the excitement of a day’s rejoicing ending, bonfires lit up the countryside for miles around. Living torches they were, the glamorous setting completing a picture which will long live in the memories of those who saw and said: “Long Live the King and his Right Royal Queen.”
Clydeside’s tribute was indeed magnificent.
DISTRIBUTION OF GIFTS AT HELENSBURGH
Helensburgh’s Jubilee celebrations started last Friday afternoon, when the senior children of Clyde Street, St Joseph’s and Hermitage Schools were presented with a Jubilee beaker and a box of sweets, the gift of Provost Andrew Buchanan. The ceremonies were attended by Provost and Mrs Buchanan, Bailie Lindsay, Bailie Ferguson, and ex-Bailie Muir.
Starting with Clyde Street School the party visited St Joseph’s and then Hermitage, and in each case the procedure was almost identical. They met with an enthusiastic reception. Lusty young voices cheered them to the echo, and there can be no doubt that the Provost’s generosity has been fully appreciated.
Perhaps the most striking gesture came from the pupils of St Joseph’s School, when one of their number presented Provost Buchanan with a beautifully illuminated scroll of thanks.
The party was welcomed at Clyde Street by the headmaster, Mr Wray, at St Joseph’s by Mr Costello, and at Hermitage by Mr Bell.
In his address to the scholars, the Provost said that they were met together that afternoon to take their share in the national rejoicings in connection with the Silver Jubilee of their King and Queen. The great interest shown in this celebration was not confined to the British Isles, but it extended to the whole of the British Empire — an Empire on which the sun never set.
What was the reason for this great outburst of enthusiasm? The reason was their beloved King had ruled worthily, and that he had always had the welfare of his people at heart. He had taken a vital interest in their lives, and in these difficult times he had carefully studied the baffling problems of modern life.
In his home life he had been a model parent, and the education which he had given the Royal Family enabled them to fulfil the manifold duties they had been called upon to perform.
As a statesman the King had guided the affairs of the nation with great success. Our beloved land was the envy of the rest of the world because we were the first nation to have almost recovered from the results of the Great War. In King George they had an example of what a gentleman should be.
“Boys and girls,” the Provost concluded, “ you are the future citizens of this great country. Play up, and work well, and by so doing you will be fulfilling the wish of your King. Long live the King.”
Mrs Buchanan then presented some of the children with the beautifully designed Jubilee beakers and a box of sweets.
At a later stage the Provost appealed to the children to make the small contribution of one penny to the King George Jubilee Trust Fund. This was the idea put forward by the Prince of Wales, he said, and the funds obtained would be devoted to the youth of the country.
William Orr, captain of Hermitage School, thanked the Provost for his generosity, and led the pupils in according him three hearty cheers.
In a brief speech at Hermitage Dr J.P.McHutchison, Director of Education for the County, recalled a similar occasion in the past, when King George had ascended the throne, only they had not received any beakers. This was a day which would live long in their memories, and the beautiful beakers would bring back pleasant memories of it.
Gift To Other Children
What the Provost did for the school children of Helensburgh, Mr J.Arnold Fleming did for the children in Cardross, Rhu, Shandon, Garelochhead, Glen Douglas, Arrochar, and Glen Fruin.
The Jubilee fever of generosity is kindling many noble thoughts in the hearts of our citizens, and inspiring them to make splendid gestures, of which this is a typical example. Mr Fleming’s gift takes the form of a dish of sweets, emblazoned with national crests in the centre of which are photographs of the King and Queen.
The distribution, which also took place last Friday, was attended by members of the School Management Committee.
Helensburgh spent the Jubilee fairly quietly, but huge crowds invaded the town. Fifteen special trains brought happy holiday-makers to the town, and innumerable buses disgorged their human cargoes along the front. By the afternoon the promenade was simply a dense mass of people, and local caterers who were open did an enormous amount of business.
Much admiration was expressed by the visitors for the general display of bunting, and the Council Buildings were the centre of attraction. The Jubilee colours were conspicuous everywhere, and happy Jubilee smiles bore testimony to the joy the great event was causing. Bus runs were greatly favoured, especially for Rhu and the Gareloch, and the beautiful scenery surrounding the loch was looking its best.
A display of fireworks in the evening, the gift of Provost Andrew Buchanan, attracted huge crowds to the front. The pier was closed, and towards ten o’clock the display began, while a bonfire was lit on Mains Hill.
The fireworks provided a bright, dazzling spectacle. Rockets bursting into a myriad twinkling stars brought gasps of admiration from the spectators, while the Roman candles and coloured flames added to the gaiety of the scene.
The grand finale of the display was a twin piece which, when set alight, depicted the King and Queen, and the cheers that went up when this was ablaze bore eloquent testimony to the high esteem and loyalty in which local folk hold their Majesties.
In the morning local detachments took part in the military display in Dumbarton.
The 172nd Medium Battery (R.A.), the 9th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Voluntary Aid Detachments of the Dunbartonshire branch of the British Red Cross Society assembled at Latta Street and proceeded to Boghead Park where, in the presence of a company numbering over 3,000, Sir Iain Colquhoun, Bt., Lord Lieutenant, inspected the detachments drawn up in review order.
Sir Iain was accompanied on his inspection by Lord Elcho, Scottish Horse, as A.D.C.; Colonel Sir George Stirling, Bt., Keeper of Dumbarton Castle; and Captain J.D.Dunbar, secretary of the Territorial Force Association in the county.
After the inspection Sir Iain addressed the parade. Thereafter Colonel Duncan, O.C. of the parade, called for three hearty cheers for His Majesty the King.
A special meeting of Dumbartonshire County Council was held last Thursday to consider the sending of Jubilee congratulations to their Majesties, the King and Queen, and to assure them of the loyalty of the County Council and the inhabitants of Dumbartonshire.
Councillor H.McIntyre moved an amendment that no message be sent and was seconded by Mr D.O’Hare, who described the Jubilee celebrations as ballyhoo and hypocrisy. However the amendment attracted only five votes.