Retro: Regal fever runs riot

Street Party - Cromwell Street, Millfield
Street Party - Cromwell Street, Millfield
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ROYAL Wedding fever gripped Wearside in 1981.

Sunderland’s biggest supplier of bunting, paper flags and Royal props, Edward Thompson, sold out several days before the lavish ceremony.

“Our flags, carnival hats, bunting and drop curtains have all gone,” said Thompson’s retail manager Melvyn Ward. “We are completely sold out.”

Sunderland’s town centre was deserted as Wearsiders devoted their attention to watching the Royal Wedding in their streets and homes on July 29.

“Seconds after Prince Charles slipped the ring on Lady Diana’s finger, however, the fun started in earnest,” reported the Echo.

“More than 200 street parties were held, as well as dozens of house parties, with young and old alike joining in the celebrations.”

In Cromwell Street, Millfield, all Roundhead sentiments went out of the window as residents enjoyed a right Royal celebration.

Residents of Ashleigh Grove, Fulwell, attached carrier bags to string and hung them across the road to add a dash of colour.

And at the Children’s Orthopeadic Ward of Sunderland District Hospital, a mock wedding was held– with a cake made out of plaster of Paris.

“The patriotic fervour, according to many Wearsiders, is even more intense than during the Silver Jubilee in 1977,” reported the Echo.

“Every souvenir with a picture of the Royal couple has been eagerly snapped up, and sales of video recorders have soared too.”

Eight Wearside ladies had a double reason to celebrate the Royal Wedding – after giving birth on July 29.

Among the new mums was Echo writer Linda Colling, who named her baby son Charles – “just because I liked the name, not because of the wedding.”

But, while Wearsiders were eager to toast the happiness of the new Royal couple, there was little trouble reported around the town.

Despite the free-flowing drinks, including half-price tipples in many pubs, police were delighted to report “most people went home peacefully.”

“Even if only for a day, the nation shook off its gloom and shared the joy if the newly-weds,” the Echo told readers.

“Lady Diana’s radiance was transmitted around the country in a ceremony of pomp and pageantry at which the British excel.

“Of course, there have been a few grumbling souls who complain that, in a time a national austerity, the wedding should have been played down.

“But that is a minority view which cannot overshadow the Wedding of the Century. God bless the Prince and Princess of Wales.”