Town Coronation celebrations

Geoff Gration has restored an old photograph of St John's in Ripley celebrating the Queen's Coronation and he is trying to reunite the people on it

Geoff Gration has restored an old photograph of St John's in Ripley celebrating the Queen's Coronation and he is trying to reunite the people on it

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Ripley folk are being asked to help put names to a snap taken in 1953 - of townsfolk enjoying a bash to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation.

Former Ripley resident Sue Clarke, originally from Chestnut Avenue, has unearthed a group photograph of over a hundred children who attended a Coronation party held at the old St John’s Primary School, now demolished, in what was then the Green Hillocks area.

Sixty years on from the event, an enlarged poster-sized copy of the picture is now on display at Ripley Library on Grosvenor Road in the coming weeks in a bid to identify who was there.

Sue’s friend, Geoff Gration, also originally from Chestnut Avenue, has digitally restored the photograph.

Retired teacher Geoff, now of Howitt Street, Heanor, said: “The fact that there are so many local people in it and many of them are still living in Ripley –I just thought it would be something of considerable interest.”

Geoff, 64, and a keen amateur historian says many people on the photo will have never seen the snap, which was originally postcard size.

His childhood friend Sue, who now lives in Bath, found the picture in a draw but was not sure who it belonged to.

“When I expanded it on the computer, I realised I was in it!” Said Geoff. “A lot of my mates at the time are too.

“It was a really nice surprise.”

Most of the people attending the party would have been from the Green Hillocks and Elms Estate areas and most would now be in their mid to late sixties.

Readers familiar with this area at that time will recognise in the distance, behind the school, the rope walk and also the old farm and Devil’s Wood, both gone as a result of the clay quarrying and open-cast coal mining that took place there.

Sue and Geoff can remember. So far, these names from the photo: Jean, John and Harry Cheshire; Des Clarke, Ross Coalbourne, Janet, Jennifer and Geoff Gration; Dick McHugh; Patricia, Malcolm and Michael Porter; Sam Painter; Mick, Trev and Viv Hodson; Margie, Maureen and Marilyn Wardale; Brian Sanders; Colin and Brian Wheatcroft.

There is an option to put names to the faces at Ripley Library. Just ask a member of staff for help.