A series celebrating ordinary ( but never uninteresting) everyday things
Welcome to Christine Fernyhough’s Museum of the Everyday, where ordinary day-to-day items are celebrated. Here, it’s the memorabilia of mid-century royal visits that comes under the spotlight
IN THE 1950s and 1960s New Zealand played host to four royal tours. The one in the summer of 1953–54 was the first by a reigning monarch. Others followed in 1956, 1958 and Charles and Anne accompanied their parents on the 1963 tour.
Aoteoroa’s connection to the Homeland and its deference to the Crown (theatre-goers still stood for God Save the Queen) ensured that visits by the royal family were times of magic and pride, pomp and circumstance.
Special newspaper editions heralded the royal party’s arrival, and daily activities like walkabouts and the tour’s civic receptions. Tickets to attend grand occasions – such as the opening of Parliament – were also keenly sought.
Families from the Commonwealth’s farthest land assembled. They stood at attention in showgrounds – kids waving Union Jacks – and sat upon makeshift grandstands built along the royal route. Photographs of the time were of curtsies and kids, usually blond pigtailed girls in organza dresses, handing over bunches of very English-looking country flowers.
These were occasions for gathering souvenirs of the visits, objects to display in pride of place – facing the road on windowsills, prized and placed within glazed china cabinets. Commemorative mugs – some made here, others imported from the best British potteries – and silver-plate bells (a hangover from the Motherland for the summoning of domestic servants) sat upon the mantelpiece. Images of the royal couple were embossed on glass plates; glassware with gold rims and transfers of the twosome were popular. Stamps, badges, handkerchiefs and tablecloths... It was also a special time for scrapbook enthusiasts, with newspaper clippings, ticket and images of Britain glued and treasured.
The Museum of the Everyday is the country’s leading collection of day-to-day things from the past century. See more at ehive.com