Miss Mary Wardell's Jubilee Picnic takes place in 1887, the year of Queen Victoria's Jubilee, celebrating 50 years of her reign. This was a global celebration, as illustrated by the 'Jubilee' Sanitary Washable wallpaper pictured above - showing Victoria as the Queen Empress of her dominions, illustrated with popular stereotypes of their people and wild animals - including some delightful beavers carrying bundles of sticks.
This episode features two unique celebrations of the 1887 Jubilee, celebrations outside the official pomp and spectacle.
Crown Princess Liliuokalani, niece of the Queen of the Hawaiian Islands, and destined to be the very last Queen of Hawaii, is one of many Royal guests invited to participate in two days of spectacular Jubilee celebrations taking place in London on June 20th and 21st.
A number of foreign royals are staying in the Alexandra Hotel, London, and it is there, on June 20th, that Princess Liliuokalani composes 'The Queen's Jubilee', her tribute to Queen Victoria. Celebrated in Hawaii as a gifted musician and composer of Hawaiian songs and chants, her composition is still a popular song in Hawaii and is often performed.
On June 21st, the second day of celebrations, Miss Wardell has a challenge; infectious disease is still rampant throughout Britain and how can she celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in her Convalescent Home for Scarlet Fever, with celebrants who are seriously unwell and who must be in strict isolation? But she is, as always, determined.
She organises a picnic on the lawn outside the Convalescent Home - now Eastgate House at the RNOH. There is a Jubilee cake donated by a local baker, and a little ceremonial planting by child patients of a rose, a thistle, and a shamrock. As the1889 'Girl's Own Paper' ( https://www.victorianvoices.net) records:
"Adults and children, nurses and servants, Matron and Sister, formed a goodly company, however, and "the lame, the halt, and the blind", managed to gather to the feast..."
Listen to this evocation of a very special celebration, beautifully read by former RNOH patient and artist Anne-Marie Creamer, and narrated by Radio Brockley award winning broadcaster Keith Reeve, both pictured below. Click on the images for more details.
Cast in order of performance:
Narrator : Keith Reeve
The Girl's Own Paper,1889: Anne-Marie Creamer
Sound Design:Louis Morand https://www.louismorandsound.com/
"Queen's Jubilee" by Queen Liliuokalani performed by the Honolulu Boy Choir, "The Voices of Aloha" / 1978
"Episode 3: Miss Mary Wardell's Jubilee Picnic" is available to listen or download on the Radio Brockley website: