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WITH the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just around the cor­ner, a new dis­play at Port­land Basin Mu­seum takes a look at how Royal wed­dings, coro­na­tions and ju­bilees have been cel­e­brated through ce­ram­ics, medals ● and other col­lectibles.

The first royal com­mem­o­ra­tive item ever pro­duced is be­lieved to have been a mug man­u­fac­tured in 1660 for the corona­tion of Charles II.

It was another 100 years be­fore items were pro­duced to mark the oc­ca­sion of Ge­orge II’s corona­tion in 1761.

Be­fore the Vic­to­rian era com­mem­o­ra­tive ce­ram­ics were pro­duced in low num­bers. By the time of Vic­to­ria’s Diamond Ju­bilee in 1897 the in­dus­try had boomed thanks to sev­eral fac­tors.

The growth of the mid­dle classes dur­ing the nine­teenth cen­tury meant there was a large mar­ket for dec­o­ra­tive ce­ram­ics, along­side an in­creased re­spect for the monar­chy. Ad­vances in the pro­duc­tion of creamware pot­tery and trans­fer print­ing en­abled fac­to­ries to meet this de­mand.

The towns of Tame­side of­ten pro­duced their own sou­venirs. Medals for coro­na­tions and ju­bilees, es­pe­cially the coro­na­tions of Ed­ward VII in 1902, Ge­orge V in 1911 and Ge­orge VI in 1937, were ex­tremely pop­u­lar.

Ed­ward VIII reigned for just 326 days be­fore ab­di­cat­ing in 1936. His corona­tion was sched­uled for May 12, 1937 but never took place. Souvenir mugs and plates, pro­duced well in ad­vance, still com­mem­o­rate the corona­tion that never was.

More re­cent com­mem­o­ra­tives, es­pe­cially for the 2011 wedding of Prince Wil­liam and Kate Mid­dle­ton, have been more ‘fun’ and less con­ven­tional – ‘dress up dolly books’ and face masks, for ex­am­ple.

The wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on May 19 has al­ready gen­er­ated a wealth of com­mem­o­ra­tive items from dolls to ce­ram­ics, tea tow­els to book­marks and fridge mag­nets.

Port­land Basin Mu­seum is open from 10am to 4pm Tues­day to Sun­day, en­try is free.

Fol­low us on Twit­ter @tm­bc_­cul­ture to find out about ex­hi­bi­tions and events across Tame­side’s mu­se­ums and gal­leries.

Royal com­mem­o­ra­tive items at Port­land Basin Mu­seum

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