This film is part of Free

Harrogate Coronation Celebrations 1937

With war on the horizon, Britannia is in full flow through the streets of Harrogate, along with cross dressing, a parade of exotic floats, performing dogs and the Marx Brothers.

Documentary 1937 18 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The coronation of King George VI in 1937 provides a rare opportunity for everyone – maybe even republicans – to let their hair down, with the threat of war in the air. Here in Harrogate the opportunity is grabbed with both hands, as floats are fantastically decorated and people invent some amazing fancy dress costumes, while the acts in the entertainment include a knife-throwing cowboy and a bouncing clown.

This film was donated by Mr H.G. Sanders of Harrogate who was in the removal business in the 1930s. He was a driver in one of the decorative vehicles in this film. After his brother Edward abdicated as king in December of the previous year, George succeeded as King George VI, with the coronation on 12 May 1937. This was the original date for the coronation of his brother, and it was intended then to have a ceremonial Delhi Durbar in India, as occurred for his father George V in 1911. However, a combination of cost, rising Indian nationalism and increased tensions with Germany led to this idea being scrapped.