Seen from The Green

Church News | Saturday, 9 June 2012 |

By Greenman

From the green

From the green

What is it about Royal occasions that sends manufacturers into mug-making mode? Why not commemorative pencil cases or umbrellas, shopping bags or tea-towels? But no, it has to be the royal face on a mug. Is this the origin of mug shots? They go back a long way. Some years ago an elderly gentleman recounted how his earliest memory was being taken on a charabanc outing for Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. All the children were given a mug each, but his got broken. So bitter was the disappointment that he could recall the story in his eighties.

A child in the Thirties did well for Royal Souvenirs. The 1935 Silver Jubilee was marked by the presentation to every child in the writer’s village of a mug with the Image of George V, looking just as grave and important, as he did on the big copper pennies. The abdication badly wrong footed the manufacturers; the mugs were all ready to go on sale with Edward VIII looking dashing in his red dress uniform and medals. Then suddenly he was gone. And what happened to all those mugs? They ended up as prizes on Hoopla stalls at seaside funfairs up and down the country. So when in 1937 a real Coronation came along the village were not going to be caught out and we were all given prayer books with special labels. If you wanted a lovely mug with the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on one side and two little Princesses in party frocks on the other, you had to buy it yourself.

That was her Majesty’s first appearance on a mug. Her Coronation was a major first for many of her subjects. 1953 was the year that many families took the step of getting their first television set, and thereby ensuring that they had a large gathering of relatives and friends on the big day to watch the whole thing in grainy black and white. No wonder someone invented Coronation Chicken, the ideal dish that stretched to feed all who turned up. Amazing what you can do with a bit more rice and a bit more mayonnaise.

Some one must have collected all these mugs for all the monarchs since they were introduced. Coronations, Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. They will take them along to the Antiques Roadshow and we will all gasp at the value and wish we had not broken ours.



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