In May of 1935 my grandad, in his late 20’s at the time, braved the waters and travelled from Dublin to London to witness the Silver Jubilee celebrations of King George V. Next week, almost 80 years later, Georges granddaughter; Elizabeth II, will celebrate her Diamond Jubilee (or 60 years on the throne) and it seems strange that at almost the same age as my grandad was, I find myself living in London.
Last year, armed with a bit of free time on my hands, I decided to raid my grandfathers archives; preserved in two begrudging suitcases in our attic since his death in 2001. I knew that there were photo albums there, with shots of my grandad as a youth, one of the first photographs he ever remembers taking (at the funeral of Michael Collins) and some of his travels around europe in the early to mid 1930s. It was a sign of my naivity when he had been alive that what I found was not only a remarkable collection of the history of my family but a treasure trove of wonderful documentation of both Ireland and much of pre-war europe. Bath, Bristol, London, Paris, Monte Carlo, San Juan; in his mid to late 20s my grandfather travelled all over Europe, camera always at hand.
My grandad also managed to get a good place in the crowd for the procession itself and managed to catch a (granted, blurry) photograph of King George V as his carriage passed.