The main ceremonial events were based in London, although the Jubilee was widely and spontaneously celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and the Empire.
A service of celebration was held, not as might have been expected, in Westminster Abbey but in the open space outside St Paul’s so that the Queen could attend without having to leave the comfort of her carriage.
In Scotland, there were similar celebrations and in every populated area, from the major cities to the smallest of villages, Her Majesty’s loyal subjects entered into the spirit of the day.
Some of the celebrations were similar to those used to celebrate our present Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, with a chain of beacons up and down the country on a number of Scottish landmarks, such as Arthur’s seat in Edinburgh and the summit of Lochnagar, many of which would have been familiar to Her Majesty. Another popular means of marking the Jubilee was by instituting a Victoria Park to provide a place for leisure and several towns, including Airdrie, Arbroath and Innerleithen, adopted this. Airdrie added a bandstand for good measure.
At Arbroath, a crowd of almost 14,000, over half the population, gathered to see Provost Grant open their park. The Arbroath Herald proudly reported that the whole day had passed without any unsavoury incident, with not a single case being heard in the town’s police court the following morning. In its leader, the editor of The Herald suggested that no one present could have failed to be “touched by a deeper sense of the bonds which bind a community together, of the spirit of loyalty which rises with thoughts of home and kindred.”
Virtually every house and shop in the country was festooned with bunting and flags and with most people having a day’s holiday they were free to join in the festivities. In the evening, bonfires were lit and fireworks added to the gaiety of the occasion. Generally, the crowds dispersed after singing the National Anthem.