Thursday, 31 May 2012

The River Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant being held on Sunday 3rd June 2012

Up to one thousand boats, a reflection of our maritime heritage, will make up one of the largest flotillas assembled on the River since Charles II ( l660 – 1685), when the procession is estimated to be seven miles long.

The pictorial on the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant site
Moving downstream from their mustering point at Hammersmith Bridge, the Pageant itself starts from the Chelsea Bridge area and once it reaches Tower Bridge the flotilla will, with regimental precision, disperse.

George Frideric Handel (left) with King George I on the
River Thames on 17 July 1717.
(Painted by Edouard Jean Conrad Hamman !819 - 1888)
The flotilla will pass 14 bridges and take 75 minutes to pass any given point ... the Royal Barge will stop at Tower Bridge for The Queen to review the flotilla as each section passes.

A floating belfry, with eight new bells commissioned by the 17th century St James Garlickhythe Church, will lead off the Royal Barge and jubilee pageant, with its peals echoed by other river bank churches. 

St James Garlickhythe Spire
The bells, cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, will then be permanently installed in the Church’s tower.

St James Garlickhythe is dedicated to the disciple St James and is a stop on a pilgrim’s route ending at the cathedral of Santiago da Compostela, Spain;

.... while Garlickhythe refers to a nearby landing place, or “hythe”, from which garlic was sold in medieval times.  The ships coming from France loaded with wine also carried garlic – a common association for medieval wine merchants.

The Church is off Garlick Hill, near Vintners’ Hall, Southwark Bridge and the Millennium Bridge, opposite Shakespeare’s The Globe theatre ....

The Gloriana - to be escorted by Royal Watermen

The Worshipful Company of Vinters (wine merchants) is one of the livery companies (trade associations) associated with the Church  - their trade will be well tested on Sunday!

Another Worshipful Company to participate in the ceremony is that of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen – the Queen’s Bargemaster and Royal Watermen will accompany the Queen as part of the Royal Household’s escort.

We need to remember that until the middle of the 19th century (150 years ago) our rivers were the main arteries for trade, commerce and travel and were ‘policed’ by these watermen – who now operate or regulate the tugs, lighters and launches on the river.
The Spirit of Chartwell being inspected by the Queen

The tradition of Bargemaster dates back to 1215, with the signing of the Magna Carta at Runnymede – a water-meadow alongside the River Thames, a few miles east of Windsor Castle.

Back to the Pageant ... a privately owned charter vessel, the Spirit of Chartwell has been transformed into the Royal barge.

The hotel barge was designed to evoke the timeless grandeur of the 1929 Cote d’Azur Pullman Express de luxe train – so was already luxuriously kitted out ... with rich hardwood finishes and large panoramic windows ...

... it was also chosen for its size, opulence, safety and manoeuvrability, while has been made to echo the richly decorated royal barges of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Crimsons, Golds, Purples and highlights of Creamy Gold will feature in the floral arrangements – a reference to the Commonwealth, the Coronation and the Queen’s Gold Stage Coach. 

Preparing the Gilding for the Gloriana

Among all the majestic colours there will also be lots of greenery with blues to make it festively ‘pageanty’ and bright.

There will be roses and the scented beauty of masses of sweetpeas – giving the barge a lovely British garden feel.  There will be scented herbs too ... lavender and rosemary.

There will be 90 garlands festooning the Royal Barge, while Shamrocks, Thistles and Daffodils will, along with the roses, represent each of the countries of the United Kingdom.

Royal Sweetpeas
There are eight small remotely controlled cameras placed discreetly around the Royal Barge ... so we will see a great deal and feel we’re part of the whole setting – perfume doesn’t come down the internet does it – pity!!??

Everything has been tried and tested ... with one thousand boats there is going to be a lot of wave and wash.

Ø the Royal Jubilee Floating Belfry will lead off

Ø followed by the majestic gilded royal row boat “Gloriana”, being crewed by, among others, two Rowing Olympians – Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.

Ø A section of 250 Rowing Boats, followed by Sea Kayaks;

Ø  the Academy for Ancient Music will lead off the Royal Section: royal barges representing Commonwealth countries

Ø Trumpet Heralds on their barge announce Her Majesty The Queen aboard the Spirit of Chartwell

There will be ten sections ... including Little Ships from the Dunkirk rescue in 1940; Dutch Barges – larger than ours; ...

.... 40 Narrowboats – 8 rows of 5 abreast (one of our resident’s nephews is captaining one of these – pictures coming ... I’m promised!) Cornish Pilot Gigs;

Cornish Pilot Gigs
Cruisers – ‘floating Gin Palaces’, ‘Tupperware’ boats, ‘Trip Trip’ boats, Clippers, Hydrofoils and at the end after Tower Bridge the Tall Ships and Avenue of Sail stretch their wings ...

Interspersed and leading each section will be other music barges and two fountain barges ... playing New Water Music, the Mayor’s Jubilee Band, a Jubilant Commonwealth Choir, a Pipe and Dhol band from the Indian sub-continent ...

Westminster Bridge - Lord Mayor's Day
by Canaletto 1746 (detail from)
The London Philharmonic Orchestra brings up the rear – their repertoire has been chosen to chime in with London landmarks – the James Bond theme as they pass the MI6 building, music from The Dam Busters at the RAF memorial, and finally at about 5.30 pm, as the boat approaches the finishing point of Tower Bridge, the National Anthem.

Along the way plenty of boats will be moored as a backdrop to the Pageant – Working Fireboats, Historic and Service vessels, Dunkirk Little Ships (1940), Royal Squadron, et al ....

Royal Banner for HM Queen
Terry’s narrowboat will be moored on Friday 1st June at Lime House, West India Docks until Sunday comes around ... there have obviously been security checks and will continue to be so ... no-one is allowed on the roof of their boats; there is no uniform – just be boat-trip pageant tidy, and adverts are not allowed.

The Thames Barrier will be closed – so there will be no river flow, which will make life considerably easier to maintain a discipline within the procession – apparently there’s an allowance of one boat length between each row ....

St Michael's Mount State Barge
c/o Classic Boat Company
Coincidences happen don’t they ... to round off this post ... the oldest boat on display is the St Michael’s Mount State Barge, which was reputedly built in Cornwall in 1740 ...

I was reading about Cornwall to my mother – she corrected me about  some pronunciation! – but what interested me when reading about St Michael’s Mount, which has belonged to the St Aubyn family since 1660, is that The Lord St Levan has liveried boatmen to row him to and fro ... to his home on the Mount. 

A Skerry  = the speed of a Skiff and the comfort of
a Wherry - racing on the Thames
 c/o Classic Boat Company
Penzance Bay at high tide makes this sanctuary, now marooned away from the mainland, an island – while it is almost certain, that like that at Borth (Uppingham-by-Sea), the whole surrounding bay and Mount were part of a forest.

I have to say this has really helped me appreciate the Nautical Celebration and Royal Jubilee Pageant that will occur on Sunday – I feel like I have done my homework!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Kyra Lennon said...

it would be so cool to be in London for Jubilee weekend!

St. Michaal's Mount is beautiful. :D

Jo said...

How wonderful Hilary, I too wish I could be there.

One point, you mentioned Dutch Barges being larger than ours. In fact Thames Barges (there are some left not too many nowadays) would be equal sized or sometimes larger. I would imagine there will be some of them taking part, I must do some Googling.

I didn't know about this flotilla before, and am thrilled to think it is taking place. A couple of anchors from our favourite morning show will be in London for this I think, in which case we should get some good footage.

Thanks for all the info.

MorningAJ said...

I don't think I'd enjoy being in London this weekend. The flotilla sounds very impressive though.

TALON said...

Wow - what an incredible spectacle that will be, Hilary!

Old Kitty said...

It sounds utterly amazing! I hope the weather holds up but even so the scale of the planning and the execution is just too mind boggling especially when detailed here!

Glad narrowboats will be part of this flotilla! I have a fondness for them and I so hope your friend's nephews have a fabulous time!!

Take care

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, I bet all of those boats is quite a sight! Not sure which would be more fun - watching the boats go by or being on a boat.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Kyra .. wouldn't it just - it sounds just lovely .. and St Michael's Mount is gorgeous in all weathers .. my mother's home ground.

@ Jo - thank you .. I am not an expert I just write what I think is about right .. the Rhine is considerably larger than the Thames, and the Dutch are exceptional Watermen.

@ Morning AJ - I'd love to be there if I could .. but suspect the tv viewing will be excellent though and I'm looking forward to it ..

@ Talon - great to see you back .. and you're right a spectacle it will be ..

@ Old Kitty - gosh I hope the weather plays fair .. looks slightly unlikely sadly?!

Glad you could appreciate the scale of the flotilla - and it'll be fun to see the Narrowboats won't it - I'm looking forward to see their photos ...

@ Alex - it is going to be some event .. I'd like to see it from each of the positions .. from a bridge, on the towpath or embankment, and definitely be a part of the flotilla .. and then of course the tv coverage! I guess I have no choice .. it'll be the tv!

Thanks everyone .. enjoy the Pageant on Sunday .. cheers Hilary

Suze said...

'Terry’s narrowboat will be moored on Friday 1st June at Lime House,'

I'm reading this 31 May, stateside, and wondering if it is already happening given the transatlantic time lapse!

Hilary, what a thorough post to raise the spirits with thoughts of celebration from afar. Another one very nicely done.

klahanie said...

Hey Hilary,
What an informative post! What a spectacle that will be. I would like to be involved. Imagine me in my canoe, smiling and waving to all my admirers perched upon the Chelsea Bridge. After all, I was born in Chelsea :)
Cheers, Gary

Heather Murphy said...

This sounds amazing! I wish we lived closer. I'm sure it will be quite a site

Chuck said...

Hilary, what an interesting post and all this happening on my shouldn't have! This reminds me of several years ago of attending a boat-up viewing of Fourth Of July fireworks at my local lake. I learned real quick to wait for all the speed boats to leave first! The waves and wash almost capsized my 24' deck boat!

Sounds like the jubilee will be memorable.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Suze - apparently they have to be in position today now the 1st June .. so I expect he was sleeping then - but now the excitement and nerves will be creeping in .. fun weekend ahead for them. Glad you enjoyed it - thanks ..

@ Gary - were you born in Chelsea .. and did you live there long enough to remember those days? You and your wee little ones - the gnomes - would raise a smile that's for sure. I'm sure there must be canoeists too - I think they're next to the sea kayaks .. I wonder how much time you'd have to smile and wave at all your admirers .. not much I suspect as you kept your line.

@ Heather - it will be an extraordinary event .. the tv coverage will be pretty special though ...

@ Chuck - Happy Birthday for Sunday - same day as my oldest friend - so I always say HB to her ..

So you have experienced that wash and wake .. as the speed boats raced off - I don't think there'll be a race this Sunday - a formal procession - but with great magnificence .. I think you're right the Jubilee will be memorable ..

Thanks Suze, Gary, Heather and Chuck - the weekend gets ever closer ... just hope the rain holds off - cheers Hilary

Liara Covert said...

This sounds like a remarkable event. You always do a very good job sharing historic information. In fact, I could imagine you as a radio, video or internet streaming commentator. Picture it, Hilary floating along on a splendid vessel, keeping everyone abreast of the highlights--LIVE! Thanks so much for all you do. Much love.

Lynn said...

What a fantastic celebration! It would be so much fun to see that in person. I am thinking they'll televise parts of it in the US.

Theresa Milstein said...

That is amazing. Your country does traditions in such a big way. We don't have anything like it that I can think of.

And, yes, you have certainly done your homework!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

I have learned so much about this celebration. Wish I were there. :)


Karen Lange said...

You have done your homework, very nicely, I might add. You've educated me, and I appreciate it! I've learned so much from reading your blog. You could teach a class. :)

Have a great weekend,

~Sia McKye~ said...

Jubliee is a big deal and I'm glad to see the pomp and ceremony attached to the event as only the English can display it. It will be quite impressive and with all the ceremony there will be laughter and fun. I hope the weather is good for this.

Thanks for the historical *tour* and all the pictures. You did a fine job here, Hilary!


Laura Eno said...

How awesome! I soooo wish I could be there. Thank you for all of your historical detail. You do such a great job on your posts, Hilary!

Lynn Proctor said...

sounds like a wonderful sight to see!

Anonymous said...

Great post. Have a wonderful jubilee weekend!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Liara - many thanks .. I just love doing what I do .. ah talking - I can do that too!

I suspect many more highly qualified people will be doing that role - but they won't be lying down floating along .. sounds a lovely idea ..

@ Lynn - I'm sure you'll be able to see a fair amount in the States ..

@ Theresa - I think that's right .. we are very good at putting on pomp and circumstance ... thanks re my homework.

@ Teresa - I'm looking forward to watching it .. in between my mother and Jubilee picnic .. but I'd love to be there too ..

@ Karen - glad you enjoyed the homeworked post! Love that you enjoy coming past and reading my takes on life .. a pretty chaotic class - but we'd enjoy it ..

@ Sia - you've said it all - I think this weekend will exceed anything else that's been seen probably ever .... and of course it'll go round the world in less than a second ..

I sure hope the weather is going to be fine - a close shave, I think ..

Glad you enjoyed the post - thanks ..

@ Laura - thanks so much .. I enjoy doing them - as you're all so enthusiastic for my posts ..

@ Lynn - it will be an amazing weekend ..

@ Susanne - I hope so .. lots of tv coverage and a big street party on Sunday ..

Thanks everyone so much - enjoy any celebrations you happen to see .. cheers Hilary

Thanks everyone

Li said...

You have done your homework! Thank you for the info. This is a once in a lifetime event and though I'll only be able to watch it on TV, I'll enjoy the pageantry immensely.

Susan Scheid said...

Well, this is going to remarkable, isn't it? I love it that little boats of Dunkirk will be part of the procession.

Sherry Ellis said...

Wow! That sounds like quite a production. I wish I could be there to see it!

Juliet said...

You certainly have done your homework Hilary! I always thing that nobody does pageantry like the British. It will be a sight to behold, I'm sure. Thanks for the background on this - I was reading about the Queen in the paper just this afternoon, but wasn't at all aware what was being planned.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Li - it is going to be an amazing weekend and it's fun being able to share with overseas bloggers - so we'll have some idea of the extent of the Pageantry ..

@ Susan - I think seeing many famous ships from the past centuries will be extraordinary - including the Little Ships ... and the Cutty Sark is back with its magnificence glory .. at Greenwich ..

@ Sherry - Wow indeed! I think the camera crews, production teams will be shattered at the end of it all - but it will be quite extraordinary too.

@ Juliet - sadly!! this is only for one event .. there's the other happenings going on ..

I don't think any of us realised how momentous the whole Jubilee is going to be ... and as you say the British do do Pageantry so well ..

.. as to what is planned - so much! It's great to be sharing our time with everyone ..

Cheers Li, Susan, Sherry and Juliet - enjoy your weekends .. I am going to enjoy ours! Hilary

jabblog said...

The Thames Pageant is something I would love to see in person. However, the crowds would be far too great to see much so I shall watch on television from the warmth and comfort of my own home. (It's forecast to be 'rather unsettled' tomorrow!)

Jenni Steel said...

You have done a wonderful job with your research Hilary as always.

You have certainly brought the history home to me today. I will make a point of looking out for you and cheering you on.

Fabulous post as always. Jenni

Sue said...

You certainly have done your homework Hilary. i'm looking forward to the event itself and to your blog afterwards with photo of the 'famous' nephew! There will be a group of Aussie lifesavers who we saw interviewed on tv tonight, I suppose they'll be in with the rowing boat section.

What a pity there isn't any perfume through the internet, we'll have to miss out which is a shame as I love sweetpeas. It all sounds very sumptuous - pageantry like this is something the Brits do so well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Janice - you seem to be making the right decision .. I sure hope it doesn't rain on our parade though. I'm going to a Close party .. how much I will see depends I suspect - and I must get up to my mother ..

@ Jenni - glad you enjoyed the info - sadly I won't be there .. I'll be vascillating between Seaford and Eastbourne - hoping to see a great deal of the pageant too ..

@ Sue - sometime I'll get the photos .. not sure when! There are so many participants from far and wide - it's going to be extraordinary .. I keep hearing snippets such as yours .. I just hope the wind isn't too strong - as they were saying some boats might not be able to participate ..

Someone will invent the scent through the airwaves sometime! But I'd love to be able to look round the barge ... as an invisible woman I think!! as long as I could still smell the perfumed flowers ..

Good to see you Janice, Jenni and Sue .. tomorrow will be amazing .. cheers Hilary

Talli Roland said...

Yay! Sounds fantastic, doesn't it? I contemplated watching but I think I'll head to the Piccadilly Street Party instead. There's a big screen there.

Happy Jubilee, Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Talli .. if I was in London I'd be torn .. but now they've got Big Screens all over the place - the Piccadilly Street Party seems a good idea .. I am looking forward to tomorrow - pillar and post between my mother and a nearby village .. but hope I see a fair whack of it ..

Enjoy yours - cheers Hilary

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

What an exciting time for you and your countrymen! Enjoy a great day.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I love this stuff. We just had Prince Charles visit, and he made a very good impression too. I hope the Jubilee is a huge success.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - it's misty and rather damp - so I hope it brightens up - miserable for them. But it will be wonderful ..

@ Joylene - I'd forgotten that's where Prince Charles was .. and I'm so pleased they made a good impression with you.

I'm sure the Jubilee will be an enormous success - so much has already happened ..

Cheers to you both .. let's hope the weather is kind later on! Hilary

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

My mum is in Littlehampton with my beloved grandparents....She says it's super. The Union Jack is displayed everywhere. :)

Sara said...

Well, this was interesting! My daughter had told me some details about this celebration -- we miss it by two days.

The Thames has so much history. That's one thing I love about London. You see the old and the new still co-mingling. Just riding a bus, you can see how the years fly by via the buildings, etc.

I hope you enjoy the celebration and thanks for teaching us about it.

scarlett clay said...

What an amazing event! I love the Chartwell, of course, decked out in blue purple and favorite colors!
How come all of the coolest stuff happens over there where you live? :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sharon ... Union Jacks everywhere .. and everything is red, blue and white - quite amazing .. glad your mother is with your grandparents - it's good to know.

@ Sara - glad you enjoyed this resume .. sorry you're going to miss it - I hope you'll get to see some highlights once you get here. There's still lots going on ..

Yes - I'd love to do a post on the Thames and Rivers of London .. and I love those top decks .. we do see so much from up there .. usually if it's not raining like today! Well half the day ..

I've had a fun day - at a street/house party .. but it was quite an amazing sight ..

@ Scarlett - yes I thought of you as I typed up the colours - I love your blog title, blue, purple and scarlett ... as I typed up the colours on the barge ..

We have the coolest of littlest countries! Sorreee .. but I'm happy to oblige with report backs .. one advantage of blogging now-a-days ..

It's a great advantage state and government are not interlinked here - big plus for us with the history and pageantry available to remind of us our history back 2,000 years ..

More shortly .. great to see you Sharon, Sara and Scarlett - thanks so much .. cheers Hilary

Rosalind Adam said...

So much information here, Hilary. Fascinating. What a shame the weather tried to put a dampener on it... Not that it succeeded of course!

Sue said...

I'm just catching up with the festivities on the Thames, Hilary. What a shame about the weather, it looks much the same as what we're enduring here. What a wonderful flotilla! (wrong word I think) and that magnificent orchestra and singers - I hope they didn't get too chilled, they look so bedraggled but happy. I wanted to stay up last night and watch, but had too much on today and it didn't start till after 10;30 pm. I hope you're all enjoying the celebrations!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Ros - sounds like you enjoyed watching the Pageant unwind .. it was an amazing day .. and a great pity about the British weather ..

@ Sue - it was a great pity about the weather - are you also having bad weather down under!

Flotilla is the right word and it was amazing - all the sections .. I missed some - comes of being at a party! Late nights are definitely not my favourite - but now we seem to be able to re-watch it all ways which ...

Today is a quiet day I think - time to do some blogging! Til the Royal Jubilee Diamond party tonight in The Mall outside Buckingham Palace ..

Thanks Ros and Sue - good to see you .. cheers Hilary

Julie Flanders said...

I can't even imagine how much work went in to organizing this event. I was amazed at all the boats! So interesting to learn more about the history, and it made me smile that your mom corrected your pronunciation!

cleemckenzie said...

How can you Brits have all the pageantry? I love those magnificent gold leafed boats. Have a wonderful celebration.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie - I don't think any of us can - the powers that be were saying it's been in the planning for over two years .. so I should think!

Including the history brings the post home to me - so glad you enjoy that part.

There's no flies on my mother - that's for sure ..

@ Lee - some people want to get rid of it .. crazy to do away with our history and all the knowledge of our past ... British life would be greyer and duller without this amazing story our lives can tell about us over the centuries ..

I think many of us are .. and I know I certainly am ... more to come too ..

Cheers Julie and Lee - thanks for being here .. Hilary

Chase March said...

Hi Hilary,

I had never seen a river parade before. It was quite the sight. Too bad the weather wasn't better but everyone there seemed to be enjoying themselves, celebrating our Queen. Long may She reign over us!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. it was an amazing day - something to be seen and something that will never happen again .. so pleased it happened in my lifetime.

Typical British weather ... it's summer! But as you say everyone was so proud to be part of the flotilla - or just be there to enjoy ..wet or otherwise.

As you say .. long may she reign over us .. cheers Hilary

A Lady's Life said...

This indeed was memorable to behold.
I am sorry the weather sucked though The poor Queen had to weather it like a true soldier.
Isn't she wonderful ???

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi A Lady's Life - the weather wasn't the best was it - but this weekend is going to be worse!!

The Queen is quite incredible - and the whole flotilla, Gloriana and Spirit of Chartwell that the Royals were on .. looked just amazing. Must have been wonderful to have been a part of the set up ..

Great to see - cheers Hilary