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

NZ Life & Leisure - - Contents - WORDS C H R I S T I N E F ERNYHOUGH

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

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