Empire Day

how the school celebrated in 1918

By Kathryn Betts

"Remember, Remember Empire Day, the 24th May"

After the death of Queen Victoria in 1901 her birthday, 24th May, was named as Empire Day.  Meldreth School, along with thousands of other schools, celebrated the day which was intended to “remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire”.  The attraction of the day for most children probably lay in the fact that school finished early and they could join in the parties and firework displays that were held to celebrate the event!  The day continued to be a major celebration in many areas of the Commonwealth for 50 years.  In 1958 it was renamed “Commonwealth Day”.

On 4th June 1918, the school log book records that

Empire Day May 24th was observed in the following manner

1.   Hymns for our country
2.   Lessons given on:
a) our Empire
b) our duties as citizens
c) the Union Jack
3.   Patriotic recitations
4.   Patriotic Song
5.   Union Jack saluted
6.   Singing of the National Anthem

13/- was collected and sent to the Secretary of the Overseas Club. A holiday was given in the afternoon.

This page was added by Kathryn Betts on 06/12/2010.

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