The Coronation of King Teddy

The Coronation of King Teddy


For my 1950’s inspired picture, I drew on memorable things from my early childhood.

I was born in this house in 1953 – but of course there wasn’t a tv aerial or satellite dish on it then.

And here I am with my mum and my nan, in their 1950’s coats, outside the back door.

My strongest memory in that house is of playing with my teddy bear.  It was cold one day so I sat him in front of an open fire and scorched his fur.  No problem. I played hairdressers and cut it all off – even the fur that wasn’t scorched.  My dad took one look and said we should call him Fred Bear (threadbare).

Apart from my arrival into this world, the biggest event in 1953 was the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.  She wore a crown and carried an orb and sceptre to symbolise her monarchy and power.

Had I been a little older at that time I might have had a play-time coronation for my teddy.

Teddy is long gone but I can make a felted picture of what might have been using my memories of my early childhood in the 50’s.

So, to make a 50’s play-time coronation I would need:

A Throne (chamber pot).  Our toilet was outside so for night-time there were chamber pots under the beds – they were called ‘gazunders’ – and anyone sitting on a pot was said to be ‘on the throne’.

A Crown (paper hat). Any kind of celebration involved the wearing of a tissue paper hat in the shape of a crown.  I decided to make it candy-striped because I fondly remember the candy-striped flannelette sheets that were so cosy in the winter.

An Orb (large marble).  I played marbles with my brother and we both loved ‘king marbles’ as they were much bigger than the others.

A Sceptre (a knitting needle). Mum taught me to knit before I could read.  I had a lovely pair of brightly coloured needles with large round ends.

Righto, first job was to make some pre-felt.

After I’d made all the pre-felt, I realised that I had forgotten about teddy’s brown pads on his hands and feet.  Doh!  Off we go again.

I made the background from 3 layers of turquoise and 1 blue blended layer.

I cut out shapes from the pre-felt for the teddy, the chamber pot, the paper crown and the king marble then I laid them onto the background.  Here it is netted, wetted and soaped up.

When it was felted and dry I got to work with needle felting.

At this point I need to apologise.  I had planned to take photos of all the stages of needle felting but I became so engrossed that I forgot!

So, here’s the finished piece – teddy in all his regal splendour!




20 thoughts on “The Coronation of King Teddy

  1. I love your picture of Fred – my current teddy (a collector’s piece made by a friend) is also called Fred, as is the tiny one I made with the felting needle.
    And gosh, you’ve really brought back memories of my childhood 1950s. I was 7 when the Coronation took place and I think I remember going next door to watch it on their TV. We lived in a large council house with an enormous garden, which fortunately for me my father rarely had time to do much work in, so I had a large playground. I had to be careful though to stay away from the “slurry” pit at the bottom of the garden, where our toilet bucket was emptied by my father when necessary. Our loo was actually built in as part of the house, but just outside the back door. The Council eventually gave us a wc, but I don’t remember when. What I do remember though was that we had the biggest and thickest rhubarb you’ve ever seen growing on top of a filled in slurry pit!
    I can also remember that I had quite a few soft toy animals and they all slept with me, lined up across my pillow. No teddy though, most of my animals were knitted by my mother. That’s another memory, the constant click click click of her knitting while we listened to the radio. We didn’t have a telly until, I think, 1961 or 62. Can you imagine those growing up since the 70s putting up with our lifestyles?
    What a screed. You certainly started off the memories. I’d better stop here.
    But I definitely love your picture of Fred on the Throne.

    1. Thank you Ann.

      We didn’t have a telly until about 1961. Small one – black and white. Only broadcasting a few hours a day and the programme I remember from back then was ‘The Woodentops’.

      The clicking of knitting needles was a constant in our house! But how lovely it was.

      I was lucky to have a jointed teddy – I don’t suppose many children had one then. I passed it to my daughter but he eventually became too tatty and we said goodbye to him about ten years ago.

      We didn’t have the stuff that children have today but I think we were better off for that.

  2. You are both making me feel a bit ancient with all the talk of outhouses and chamber pots. Our family had running water when I was four or five I think. Before that it was all hauled from the pump. We bathed in a galvanized tub in the kitchen in front of the stove. I enjoyed my childhood, but it must have been a terrible hardship for my mother.
    Your felted teddy bear is pure joy, lovely colours and full of nostalgia. He’s a pleasure. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Bernadette.

      It was so hard to fill and empty the galvanised tub that the water was used more than once – I can’t see today’s children willing to do that !

  3. It’s funny how your teddy was named Fred (and Ann’s!) since mine was Alfred 😀

    I love how the finished work is cute and fun, but once you know the story behind it, it turns more into a nostalgia piece. Fantastic.

  4. What great fun and so colourful. I don’t ever remember not having running water and indoor plumbing. I do remember the main heat in my grandfathers being the fireplace in the front room. As a kid you grabbed your cloths and ran to get dressed in front of the fire.

  5. Great story! I was born in 1953 too! Although I probably didn’t care until I was out of diapers, we had an indoor “loo” always. Interesting to hear stories like that from across the ocean. Your buildings are so much older than the ones we have in the US and you can even tell the difference between the West coast and the East coast of the US. Thanks for taking us all down memory lane!

    1. The UK did lag a bit behind the US with modern conveniences but I think we’ve caught up now!

      The city I live in was bombed heavily during the second world war so there is much new building but a lot of old buildings still survive and a lot of the old city walls (started in 1180).

  6. Just love your picture, Lyn, Fred is gorgeous and looks properly thrilled to be all togged up for the coronation. The back story really adds to the picture and brings lovely heartwarming nostalgia to the piece. You’ve absolutely nailed the brief and have brought back lots of happy memories – whether from the time itself or from family photos & stories.

    1. Thank you Lindsay – I never thought that making this piece would be so wonderful for me – I’m so glad that the challenge pushed me down this route!

  7. Fred is just so cute! Certainly his personality shines through Lynn. Thank you for sharing your precious and happy memories with us. 🙂

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