The Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II on June 7 opened with
a week of nationwide celebrations.
It was a cheering time for the Great British public which, after
years without any great royal celebrations, suddenly rediscovered
its love affair with the monarchy.
Although the national celebrations, including a procession through
London and a giant bonfire in Windsor Park, were a great success,
the real triumph of the Jubilee was at grass-roots level.
It was an event that brought neighbours together in a way that
had rarely been seen since VE-Day in 1945 and the Coronation in
1953. Roads were decked in red, white and blue bunting, and street
parties were held throughout Britain.
In Wolverhampton more than 200 street parties went ahead, despite
the threatening weather, and seven Jubilee babies were born at the
town's New Cross Hospital
Rugeley saw one of the strangest street parties, for the appropriately
named Queen Street. Houses in the street had been demolished the
year before. But a local businessman, Roy Burns, decided to organise
a street party for all the families who used to live there.
At Stone a procession of 24 floats marked the Jubilee while Stafford
hosted dozens of street parties.
But not everyone was happy with the celebrations. At Wednesbury,
Councillor Ray Partridge pointed out: Wherever you go, the big and
small traders have decked their premises with flags and bunting.
"But there are no decorations, not even the Union Jack, on any
crown buildings, apart from the police station."
It was evidence, he claimed, that "that nationalised industries
have no patriotism whatsoever."
Dixon and helpers at the street
party in Woden Ave, Wednesfield.
They're all shook up in West Bromwich as The King
dies: Elvis Presley died in August and a wave of mourning swept
around the globe. "The King" was only 42 but was a pathetic shadow
of his former self, bloated by compulsive over-eating.
estimated 30,000 fans trooped past his open coffin at his home,
Gracelands, and more than twice that number had to be turned away.
It was a similar story, although on a smaller scale, when a memorial
service and disco was held at West Bromwich.
Scores of fans had to be turned away from the packed Oakdale Social
Club and the response promoted organisers to hold an identical event
the following night.
The vicar of All Saints' Church, the Rev. Dennis Ede, held a short
memorial service during an interval in the disco.
"Mr Ede made the night for us," said organiser Brian Law. "It
was a fantastic service - out of this world."
Rev Dennis Ede (right) conducts the West Bromwich memorial service
for Elvis Presley in August 1977. On the left is the event organiser,
Anger as child killer escapes: Twenty-year-old Mary Bell, jailed
when she was 11 for killing two children, faced punishment for escaping
from a Staffordshire open prison in September.
Bell had absconded on September 11 with another prisoner from
Moor Court open prison, near Cheadle.
She was recaptured in Derby after three days and two men later
appeared before magistrates, charged with harbouring her.
Bell was ordered to lose prison privileges for 28 days by a board
of prison visitors.
Families living near Moor Court dem-anded an inquiry into the
It's a clean sweep for Ada: A mother of five brushed aside
all opposition to become the first woman roadsweeper in Sandwell.
Mrs Ada Tomes, 55, pf Elizabether Crescent, Oldbury, applied for the
post after seeing it advertised at Smethwick Job Centre. Her job was
to keep 60 roads and four shopping areas clear of litter.
'The shortest distance between 15 sets of traffic lights'
September 27 saw the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Birmingham
In a retrospective feature, the Express & Star had mixed opinions.
We recalled how some had dubbed it "the killer road" while for
others it was "the shortest distance between 15 sets of traffic
Opened by the then Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor)
in 1927, the road had been intended to speed up traffic between
Wolverhampton and Birmingham.
The Express & Star hailed it as "a bracing story of the triumph
of imagination and faith over what at one time appeared to be insuperable
But as traffic volumes grew beyond the dreams of the 1920s planners,
the New Road took a terrible toll in its first 50 years.
In 1976 alone it had claimed eight lives and left 40 people seriously
In 1938, recalled the newspaper, the West Bromwich coroner, Lyon
Clark, had described the road as "bewitched."
In ten years, he said, he had investigated 100 deaths. It was
the most dangerous road he had ever known.
The trees planted along the road near Coseley are in memory of
the local men who were killed in the First World War.
Some people wrongly believed that they commemorated the road's