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Hitchin Platinum Jubilee 2022

In 2022 the late Queen Elizabeth II celebrated 70 years on the throne with nationwide jubilee celebrations. Even "Sleepy Hollow", Hitchin joined in.

Platinum Jubilee

Jubilee celebrations around town

It seemed a pity if some sort of photographic record wasn't captured. As Film Archivist for the Historical Society I took it upon myself to try to capture some of the festivities in the town. The dates were set from Thursday 2nd June to the following Sunday, 5th, giving everybody a long weekend.

Click on the pictures for a bigger view, Esc to return.

A big display

More modest display

Many of the shops in the town centre had put on loyal displays of flags and jubilee items. Several days before the actual event I dashed round town with my camera taking a great number of shots to be used in a fast-paced slide show with suitable musical accompaniment. I was using my trusty Canon G15 which had stood me in good stead since the time I made the St Mary's Bells video. However, I decided that now was the time to go for full HD format. So everything was geared round producing 1080 x 1920 video.

When I assembled the video later in the month I found a nice version on YouTube of the old Cliff Richard hit, Congratulations, played by a brass band which complemented the shots of the shop fronts.

Here's the sequence which I used as part of the main video. I've reduced the resolution to 720p to save space here. Move your mouse over the video box and click the little arrows bottom right to make it full-screen.

Hitchin shops prepare for the Platinum Jubilee
[right click to download it]

Programme of events

Lighting the beacon

A programme of events was planned, starting on Thursday with a big screen in the market place showing films with a royal connection - including our own HHS film from the Queen's visit in 2012. In the evening there would be singing along with Hitchin Band. The culmination of the day would be the simltaneous lighting of a beacon along with thousands of others around the country and the Commonwealth.

Early still shots taken in the market place of the crowd enjoying watching "The Crown" film were fine. I took some video clips at lunchtime when the Hitchin Historical film from 2012 was being shown. On reviewing the clips later in the day I was horrified to discover there was a dark smudge top right on all the images - caused by a scratch on the camera lens. To avoid a total catastrophe I switched to my single-lens reflex Canon EOS 100D for the rest of the weekend shoot. Clumsier, but at least blemish free.

Canon 100 with ATR25 microphone
Canon 100 with ATR25 microphone

Band playing
The band playing

The daytime video clips were used mute with just voice-over sound. For the evening session with a band and community singing I needed decent stereo sound. I went back to the setup I used for the St Mary's wedding dresses using an ATR shotgun microphone with a hot shoe camera mount.

I had hoped to catch some of the more popular music hall songs played by the band for the crowd to join in, but arrived a little too late to get in position. The band was over in the Bucklersbury corner of the Market Place so that I needed to squash into the throng on the pavement to get good shots of the conductor. Unfortunately that meant I was rather too close to the band so that the public singing was rather drowned out.

I joined some friends on the right hand side of the market place with a good view of the Waterstone building where the beacon was sited. It needed more or less maximum zoom of my 85-200mm lens to fill the screen with the rooftop draped in flags (above right). After the cheering as the beacon was lit I heard the band strike up the national anthem and the crowd began to sing, so I kept the video rolling until it finished. In the finished film I kept the audio but cut to video of the conductor and the band from earlier. The conductor's baton in remarkably close in timing despite it being for a different song.

Town Cryer
Hitchin Town Cryer

Samba band
Samba band

On Friday morning Hitchin's Town Cryer, Alan Myatt, was around in the town centre announcing the forthcoming events. The first was to be a grand carnival procession. I had gone to town fairly early in order to catch shots of Alan perfoming in the Market Place and High Street.

The carnival procession was to start from the football ground in Fishponds Road. I thought it would be a good idea to take some stills of the preparations going on at the ground. Perhaps I was too early, but there was little happening apart from the samba band setting up on the back of the lorry they were to ride in and some oddly decorated mobility scooters.

Carnival procession
Carnival procession

A special visitor
A special visitor

The procession started only slightly later than the promised time. It included a Samba band, parties from various youth organisations and the strange creatures in coloured costumes. Following the procession was the Town Cryer accompanied by a very special visitor.

Sheila and I had taken up a good vantage point in Fishponds Road nearly opposite the football ground entrance. This would have been great, except that a family came and plonked themselves in front of us, partly blocking the view.

Once the procession had passed we broke off for lunch. Afterwards, I returned to the town centre to take video of the band in the Market Place.

Hee's the video sequence of the carnival procession leaving the football ground.

Hitchin Platinum Jubilee Carnival
[right click to download it]

The story continues

Jubilee Celebrations Part 2 To be continued

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