To mark the Coronation of HM King Charles III on 6 May 2023, Hull History Centre is republishing online the souvenir booklet published by Hull Corporation (now Hull City Council) to mark the Coronation in 1937 of the King’s grandfather, King George VI.
Download the souvenir booklet (PDF, 7MB). The booklet was written in 1937, so please be aware that some of the language, and the worldview it implies, is not what we would expect or endorse today. We share it as a historical document.
The booklet was issued to Hull’s schoolchildren. In his introduction the Lord Mayor, Councillor Frederick Holmes, writes that the booklet was intended to be "a memento of the Coronation of an interesting and instructive character."
True to its intent, it tells the story of Hull's relationship with successive kings and queens who granted rights and privileges to the city, beginning with King Edward I in 1299. There are extensive illustrated biographies of King George and Queen Elizabeth, which refer to their daughter (described as "a little maiden") who became Queen Elizabeth II. There’s a description of the coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, much of which we’re likely to see repeated on 6 May, and the booklet finishes with a description of the King and Queen’s visit, when still Duke and Duchess of York, to Hull in 1928.
It's noticeable that the biography of the King, which was probably obtained from a nationally syndicated source rather than written locally, makes no mention of the recently abdicated King Edward VIII. It labours the point that George is a conscientious family man, implying he’s a much better monarch than his elder brother!
If you’ve seen the film "The King's Speech" it may come as a surprise that the biography makes no secret of George’s efforts to overcome his speech impediment thanks to "the treatment of a well-known speech specialist Mr Lionel Logue."
Lord Mayor Holmes finishes his introduction with the hope that Hull’s schoolchildren will treasure the Souvenir booklet and "that it may recall, in after days, pleasant memories of the day on which our King and Queen were crowned." Some of you may still treasure one of the original copies.
Whatever you do on Coronation Day, we hope you enjoy this glimpse of Hull and the British monarchy in 1937.