Street parties and mock Viking raids: a peep into past royal jubilees Search of iMuseum

Street parties and mock Viking raids: a peep into past royal jubilees

Posted on 01.06.2022

Students Leo and Myles joined the team of the Manx National Heritage Library and Archives in late April and May 2022 for work-based experience as part of their University College Isle of Man degree course.  One task was to gain experience blogging using the Platinum Jubilee as inspiration.  They take up the story.

Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations on Berkeley Street, Douglas in May 1977. (PG/13633/1/1977/367/2)

Jubilees are celebrations of a special anniversary, marking a certain number of years since a significant event – in the case of the crowning of our monarch, we have celebrated the 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries and now the and 70th year of her reign. Although the Isle of Man isn’t part of the United Kingdom, the British monarch is styled as the Lord of Mann here, and it is for that reason we celebrate their accession to the throne and subsequent coronation and partake in royal traditions which may mirror those across the water.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh leaving the Tynwald building, Douglas on 9th August 1955. The Queen presided over a special sitting of Tynwald, the Hansard report of which can be found here (PG/14419/6)

The last three jubilees have been celebrated in 1977 (Silver), 2002 (Gold) and 2012 (Diamond) and this year (2022) will mark the Platinum, seventy years on the throne. For many these events are within living memory.  We hope that this short blog will shine some light on past celebrations on the Isle of Man and bring back fond memories of street parties and times spent together with friends, neighbours and family while reminding us of previous royal visits and the value of our shared connections with our neighbours. Those of us from the younger generations may only remember the Diamond Jubilee of ten years ago, but many of the old traditions have stayed the same.


Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father George VI.  In 1977 she celebrated her first of many jubilees, her Silver Jubilee. On the island towns celebrated, with each choosing one girl to become the jubilee queen. Peel did something that no other town did: the Peel Vikings made a 60 mile circumnavigation around the island in celebration and staged mock raids around the coast before returning to Peel and partaking in boat races.

Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations on Douglas Promenade in May 1977, organised by Ken and Dorothy Dainton. (PG/13633/1/1977/367/1)

Many street parties were held across the island, as elsewhere in the British Isles. The Isle of Man Examiner covered the planning of the festivities along with a record of what events took place across the island.


The Queen’s Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 2002.  Unlike the Silver Jubilee, the newspapers did not cover this one as much, even noting how few details had been published. For this occasion, the Isle of Man Post Office produced an exclusive folder of stamps. Children had written poems which were collected and turned into a book which was then sent to the Queen who responded, thanking them for the gift. A service of thanks also took place on February 6th in St Johns.


The Isle of Man celebrated the Diamond Jubilee with style – in May 2012 the Manx government sent sixty tea rose bushes of a hybrid specially bred for the Millennium of Tynwald in 1979 for planting in the grounds of the Windsor royal estate, along with a gilt address of loyalty and gratitude produced by local artist Colleen Corlett. Again, the Isle of Man Post Office produced a new sheet of stamps, this time bearing images of the Royal Flotilla, and a commemorative 50p coin was minted. During the celebrations in June, a local crew rowed a replica Viking longship alongside a converted lifeboat from the Lady of Mann in the Royal Flotilla on the River Thames.

Celebrations on the island itself included a short visit from Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in April, where they met some of the island’s promising young cyclists at the NSC before visiting the House of Manannan to meet with local food producers.

Before closing there is time to mention how the island celebrated the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V in 1935.

King George V’s Silver Jubilee celebrations at Brew’s Field in Ballure Road, Ramsey in 1935. (PG/8064/15)

The Ramsey Courier reported, ‘The Silver Jubilee will long be remembered in Ramsey. It is not every day that a national jubilee occurs, and the people of Ramsey rose to the situation magnificently, with the result that the celebrations staged in the town were not equalled elsewhere in the Isle of Man, and not, we imagine in many places of the size of Ramsey anywhere else. […] Ramsey, more than any other town on the Island, has been associated with Royalty.’

King George V’s Silver Jubilee celebrations on Peveril Square (now Lord Street car park), Douglas in 1935. (PG/9068)

The Isle of Man Examiner reported, ‘Preliminary plans were discussed for the entertainment of the school children, and it was decided that they should assemble on the Peveril Square for community singing and afterwards be provided with tea’.

 Although Royal Jubilees are an old tradition, they are constantly evolving each time with new ways of celebrating emerging each jubilee. On the Isle of Man, we share a lot of our customs and celebrations with those in the United Kingdom, but in the typical Manx fashion we’ll add our own flair – we draw upon our Norse and Celtic heritage and blend it with those of our neighbours to produce something truly unique.

If you have any written memories of past royal celebrations or other related documentation and wish to get in touch to discuss, please contact the Manx National Heritage Library and Archives at

Leo Rooney and Myles Jackson

Students of the University College Isle of Man

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