How the EDP and Evening News reported the birth of a future Queen
- Credit: Archant
Princess Elizabeth's birth was front page news in the EDP and Norwich Evening News in 1926.
'The Duchess of York was safely delivered of a daughter at 2.40 yesterday morning,' we reported. 'Both the mother and daughter are doing well.'
A subsequent dispatch from 17 Bruton Street, in London's Mayfair, where the future Queen was born, added: 'The Duchess of York has had some rest since the arrival of her daughter. Her Royal Highness and the infant Princess are making very satisfactory progress.
'Previous to the confinement a consultation took place, at which Sir George Blacker was present, and a certain line of treatment was successfully adopted.'
That line of treatment, we explained in the following day's paper, should not give rise to any anxiety on the part of our readers. It would later emerge the Princess had been delivered by cesarean.
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As we reported the flood of messages of goodwill from around the Commonwealth and the 'public ovation' which greeted King George V and Queen Mary when they visited their new granddaughter, almost as much space was devoted to the deadlock between Britain's miners and coal owners, which would pitch the country into its first and only General Strike.
Pit bosses wanted to increase their hours and reduce their wages. Days after Elizabeth's birth, on May 4, the miners walked out.
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Other industries - ranging from bus, rail, and docks to iron, steel and chemical workers - joined them in a show of solidarity. With between 1.5 and 1.75m people out on strike, the nation was paralysed. The impact of the nine-day stoppage was felt across East Anglia.
Transport was crippled, dock cranes stood idle, printing presses were halted and food deliveries were held up. Conservative prime minister Stanley Baldwin declared Britain was 'threatened with a revolution'. There were ugly scenes as strikers clashed with police. Our newspapers were replaced by a typed bulletin from the newsroom delivering daily updates.
On May 11 1926, the TUC called off the strike after secret talks with the mine owners. The miners carried on for another six months but many were back underground by November, working longer hours for less pay.
As we reported the Princess's arrival, there were queries in the House of Commons over sugar beet subsidies, a 'brisk scene' at Thorpe Station as 30 'hopeful people' set off to emigrate to Canada and a collision involving a Lowestoft drifter.
Three months before Princess Elizabeth was born, the press reported another new arrival whose influence would transform lives around the globe. On January 27, Scottish inventor John Logie Baird unveiled a machine he called a 'televisor' and his first television program showed the heads of two ventriloquist's dummies. In Norfolk's cinemas, the movies were still silent, but the first feature length 'talkie' film was released the following year.
Stars of the time included American actress and flapper dancer Louise Brooks, whose sharp, short bob haircut led the way fashion-wise, and Italian-born heartthrob Rudolph Valentino, whose sudden death in August 1926 caused a mass outpouring of grief from his fans.
Winnie-The-Pooh by AA Milne was published, along with Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot novel The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd. Christie became the central figure in her own mystery when she vanished for 11 days in December 1926, leading to a countrywide manhunt before she was finally located at a hotel in Harrogate.
The red telephone boxes - the K2 kiosks designed by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott - also made an appearance for the first time.
In 1926, Britain's population was 45m. In 2016, it now stands at more than 64m.
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