Saturday, October 4, 2014
For the Coronation Procession of Elizabeth II on June 2nd 1953 a structure resembling a bird cage was designed (above) for the statue of Mercury in Piccadilly Circus. It is visible in the photograph below at the moment when the Golden State Coach (with the Queen inside) passed by – drawn by eight white horses – on the damp day itself. The bird cage was intended to be ornamental, but also at the same time to protect the statue from the crowds and prevent any yahoos from climbing on it.
Many other hieratic ornaments and displays were set up elsewhere along the route.
Temporary arches of triumph and rejoicing were passed under in daylight but were also studded with light bulbs and wired for electricity. After dark the Queen would flip a special switch in Buckingham Palace and light up all the arches in one instant burst (as seen at bottom, along with fireworks over the river).
Periscope-like devices with mirrors were sold in large numbers to humble spectators standing in the streets (above) but it does not appear as if these people could have seen much, either with or without their periscopes.