Stewards at the Coronation of King George VI & Queen Elizabeth 1937

Found - a mimeographed 4 page typed set of instructions for stewards at the royal ceremony. It reveals the amount of detail and planning that goes into these occasions. It was found slipped into a book on George VI and must have belonged to a former steward. The mention at the end of fatigue and strain for this voluntary job is interesting. Stewards had to be at the stands at 5 a.m. wearing (in most cases) morning dress or uniform. Some were required even earlier. Still, refreshments came from Mecca Cafes Ltd (to be paid for by guests and stewards) and there were cigarettes, chocolates and sandwiches circulated by workers bearing trays. A phone service had also been specially installed...

The Coronation of Their Majesties King George VI.
and Queen Elizabeth.
Wednesday, 12th May, 1937

Instructions to Stewards.

1. Stand Stewards.

Each stand will be under the control of a Stand Steward, whose name will be indicated on the Steward’s pass. Stewards will report to the Stand Steward on arrival, will accept orders from him without reservation and will remain on duty until permission to leave is given by him.

2. Time of Attendance.

Stewards will be required to be at their stand, the number of which is indicated on the back of the pass, not later than 5 a.m. and should make themselves conversant with the general traffic facilities in order to ensure their attendance by this time. A certain number of Stewards on each stand may be required by the Stand Steward to be present at an earlier hour.

It is anticipated that in spite of the later hour of arrival which has been prescribed by the Police for seatholders, a large number will present themselves at the stands at a very early hour, and in order that congestion by seatholders and members of the public at the entrances to stands may be avoided it is considered necessary to arrange for Stewards to be present at that time indicated.

3. Opening of Stands.

Each stand will be in the charge of an Office of Works’ nightwatchman until it is taken over by the Stand Steward and should be opened to seatholders, as directed by the Stand Steward, as soon as a sufficient number of Stewards is in attendance to control the entrances and staircases.

4. Tickets.

No person is to be admitted to the stands without producing a ticket, except with the express permission of the Stand Steward. Officers and workmen on duty other than Stewards will wear Badges market “Office of Works” and be in possession of Duty Passes. The Stand Steward will be furnished with a list of names of the seatholders on his stand for reference in the event of any doubts or difficulties arising. In the event of any seatholders losing his ticket and a duplicate being supplied the appropriate Stand Steward will receive a notification to this effect in order that a watch may be kept against the presentation of the original ticket by an unauthorised person.

In cases where the approach to a stand is enclosed the duty of the Stewards at the entrance gates is to ensure that persons desiring admittance produce the seat ticket for the stand or stands approached through these gates, and that the counterfoils are signed before entry. The Stewards posted at the staircases leading up to the stands will detach the counterfoils and place them in bags supplied for this purpose. In the case of stands which are not enclosed and approached directly from the Parks or from the road (as in the case of the stands in Constitution Hill and on the south side of The Hall) the Stewards at the staircases will be required to perform both duties.

5. Dress.

Stewards serving on the following stands which are covered or partly covered will be required to wear morning dress or uniform:-

Stands 31, 32, 33 & 34 (Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens), and

Stands 69, 70, 71 & 74 (Parliament Square).

In the case of other stands dark lounge suits should be worn. It is desired that members of the uniformed grades and Civil Servants in the Territorial Army, etc. should wear their uniform if possible.

6. Stewards’ Badges.

Each Steward is supplied with a red badge; each Stand Steward with a supplementary badge marked “Stand Steward”.

7. Stewards’ Free Seats.

It has been arranged for the conveniences of Stewards that the free seats allotted to them for the use of a relative or friend shall, in the majority of cases, be on the stand on which they are serving, but there may be some cases in which this is not practicable as a result of changes in the posting of Stewards, necessitated by unforeseen circumstances.

The ticket for the free seat is issued on the distinct understanding that it shall not be sold, and each Steward is required to furnish the name and address of the person proposing to use his ticket.

8. Obstruction of Seatholders’ Views.

Stewards should endeavour to prevent seatholders, particularly those in the front rows, from standing up when the procession goes by, in order that the view of those behind may not be obstructed. Seat holders should not be restrained from rising as the Royal Coach passes.

In cases where there is no gangway at the rear of the stand Stewards should sit on the steps leading to the rows of seats. Cushions will be reserved for their use.

9. Crossings on Route.

Arrangements have been made for the route to be crossed at various points in order to permit access to the stands up to as late an hour as possible. The crossing will be formed by the erection of posts and ropes and will be discontinued at the discretion of the Police. It has been arranged that these ropes and posts will be deposited behind the nearest stand after removal, and facilities for this should be given where required.

10. Standing Accommodation in Constitution Hill and Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens.

The space in front of the stands in Constitution Hill and Queen Victoria Memorial Gardens is being reserved as standing accommodation for children and organised bodies. These will be stewarded by Marshals provided by the War Office, who will wear a distinctive amlet.


11. Refreshments.

The refreshments are in the hands of Mecca Cafes Ltd. Seatholders and Stewards will be able to obtain, on payment, light refreshments at Duffets which have been erected in close proximity to all stands. Attendants in uniform will also be employed to sell chocolates, cigarettes, sandwiches, etc. from trays on and in close proximity to the stands.

Service on the stands will, however, be prohibited during the time the Ceremony in the Abbey is being broadcast, and from the time the Procession is approaching each stand until after it has passed. Stewards will be required to observe that this prohibition is made effect.

A fixed tariff has been agreed for the refreshments and this will be prominently displayed on the buffets, stands and on the trays.

In the event of inadequacy of service, overcharging or any other difficulties arising with regard to refreshments, Stewards should immediately notify the Stand Stewards; the latter will report by telephone to the Chief Steward, who will be in contact with a representative of the caterers.

12. Telephones.

A special telephone communication system has been provided, which should be used only under the direction of the Stand Stewards, who will be supplied with details and instructions for use.

13. Programmes.

The sale of official programmes is being carried out by Boy Scouts under the direction of the King George’s Jubilee Trust Badge, and those who have been detailed for service on the stands will have “Office of Works” and the number of the stand, printed on the reverse of the Badge. Any Scouts who do not bear this indication on their Badges may be refused admission to the stand.

The number of Boy Scouts authorised to be on each stand has been restricted by agreement with the Jubilee Trust and Stand Stewards will be notified of the number prescribed for their stands.

14. Cushions.

Each seatholder will be supplied with a cushion. The cushions will be delivered at the stands before the times at which they are due to be opened, and arrangements will be made, if possible, for them to be placed on or under the seats before arrival of Stewards. In the event of this not being practicable, particularly if the weather is wet, it will be necessary for the Stewards to undertake the distribution of cushions as seat holders enter the stand. Stewards should also assist in the collection of cushions after the Seatholders leave. The services of any workmen on duty may be utilized to facilitate the distribution and collection.

15. Sanitary Arrangements.

Lavatories for men and women will be provided at the rear of stands accessible to all seatholders. In the case of the majority of the stands on the Buckingham Palace side of Constitution Hill it will be necessary for the seat holders to use the facilities behind the stands on the Green Park side, and gangways to permit of access will be arranged.

Lavatory attendants will be provided by the Office of Works and their services may also be called upon for cleaning up in the event of sickness of children or others occurring on the stands.

16. First Aid.

First Aid and Ambulance Stations will be posted at frequent intervals along the route in positions known to the Stand Steward.

17. Firemen.

Fire extincteurs are provided on the stands and one or two firemen of the London Wire Brigade are stationed on each stand.

18. Lost Property.

Any property found on the stands after vacation by the seat holders should be collected by Stewards and handed to the Stand Steward, with information as to the exact seat or position where it was found.

19. Adequacy of arrangements.

Before leaving the stand Stewards should inform the Stand Steward whether they consider the arrangements made by the Department for the seatholders had proved to be adequate, and of any reasonable criticism regarding them.

20. Special Note to Stewards.

It is appreciated that Stewards have volunteered for a task which may impose considerable fatigue and strain, but they are relied upon to render willing service in all matters affecting the comfort and convenience of seatholders.

H.H. Offices of Works. April, 1937.
J.H. SALMON. Chief Steward.

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