On the day George V was crowned King of the United Kingdom and the overseas dominions, the children of the Rodney district assembled at Warkworth School in Percy Street to hear speakers make clear to them the significance of the day.
The Union Jack was raised as a symbol of the unity of the British Empire, which at that time covered more than a quarter of the land surface of the entire globe. A diagram was used to illustrate how the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick each were present on the Union Jack.
After the speeches came lunch and then the children prepared to take part in the Coronation parade. Owing to a soft carpet of mud in the main street, the marchers gathered to the west of the town. The County Territorials under Captain Vipond led the procession, followed by the Town Band, the children and members of the public.
The route taken was via Whittaker’s deviation, along Neville Street to the Town Hall. The hall was only partly built and the foreman of works had erected a stage lined with flags to seat the dignitaries. The children took their places around the steps of the platform and sang the Coronation ode.
A long-time Warkworth resident, Miss Phoebe Southgate, then presented Mr Nathaniel Wilson with a silver trowel as a memento of the occasion.
Mr Wilson spoke of his own lengthy association with Warkworth and how, as a young man, he had been a trustee of the first public hall built in 1864. The population of the town was then 57, and in 1911 it was more than 700. As an old man, he was delighted to see the new hall taking shape. It would have many advantages over the old one and would also have a memorial stone.
The stone, a block of white marble 17 inches square, had inscribed in lead letters the following: “This stone was laid in commemoration of the Coronation of King George V by N Wilson Esq., Chairman Warkworth Town Board, June 22nd 1911.”
After the laying of the stone, the parade reformed and marched to the school grounds where a service was held featuring combined choirs.
In the evening a concert and dance in the old hall concluded a remarkable day in Warkworth’s history.
Although this took place more than 100 years ago, a detailed account is available on the “Papers Past” website. It has been more difficult to trace the whereabouts of the marble plaque through the years, but I can say with certainty that it has been part of the garden display at the Warkworth Museum for many years, perhaps since the museum opened in 1980.