SOME said the celebrations were bigger than those for the Coronation 25 years earlier.

Forty years ago today, the Queen’s Silver Jubilee inspired patriotic events on a huge scale.

The celebrations on June 7 were the highlight of a year of commemorations for the 51-year-old monarch.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh had already been on a tour of 36 countries before returning for the events at home.

Even before the official celebrations, evidence of the Silver Jubilee was everywhere. In London, Tower Bridge was painted red, white and blue, while 25 Routemaster buses turned silver for the year.

The Silver Jubilee Walkway and South Bank Jubilee Gardens were ready for the monarch to open, while London Underground’s Jubilee Line was under construction.

Those determined not to join in the spirit of the occasion could buy the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen, which looked like becoming the number one single on the big day, but which eventually stalled at number two.

On Monday, June 6, a bonfire beacon was lit at Windsor Castle, starting a chain throughout the country.

The following day, the Royals were at a service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral, along with US president Jimmy Carter, prime minister James Callaghan and all his living predecessors.

An estimated one million people lined the streets of London as the Queen’s golden state coach headed to St Paul’s. Many had camped overnight despite rain.

In Dorset and Hampshire, as everywhere else, plans had been in motion for months to put on street parties.

On Saturday, June 4, under the headline “Police join the party, too…”, the Echo reported that Dorset’s constabulary would be joining in with the spirit of the occasion – and would be delighted to sit down for a cuppa at street parties.

Assistant chief constable Len Burt said: “On this most important occasion no effort should be spared to demonstrate that the Dorset Police officers and traffic wardens fully support and enjoy the pleasures that these celebrations will bring to the people of Dorset.”

All leave had been cancelled, but Mr Burt said of his officers: “I am quite happy if they sit down and have a cuppa with the kiddies.”

Among those who were not happy at the prospect of working over the Jubilee bank holiday were many drivers at Hants & Dorset. Their union, the NUR, wanted only volunteers to work over the holidays, while management wanted a balloted rota. The dispute was set to mean many buses would not run.

The Echo did not publish on the Monday and Tuesday of the Jubilee holiday, but was back with a round-up of events on the Wednesday.

Reporter David Ross painted a vivid picture of the celebrations – starting with the weather. Britain, which had been parched during the record-breaking summer of 1976, saw downpours on its big day in 1977.

“Somehow it could happen only in Britain. The one day we all prayed for sunshine … and it rains,” the report began.

“And what rain it is! Not just one variety, but every type you can think of, ranging from drizzling droplets to swishing sleet that sting cheeks to the colour of lobster and bursts of hail that knuckle down on car bonnets.

“And then the wind – embracing sweeps of it that tumble cups from tables and tug bunting down from chimneys and bring anxious faces to windows.”

At Springbourne Festival, the band of Bournemouth Air Training Corps managed to play Land of Hope and Glory despite hailstones providing unplanned percussion.

“The festival transforms Capstone and Shelbourne roads into two funnels of glorious red, white and blue – the rain washed pavements converted into circus, fair and market,” the report said.

For the organisers, Ian Macpherson said: “It would have been nice to have had a better day but as far as I’m concerned I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”

At Highfield Road, organisers had raised £550 for Jubilee celebrations and invited 271 people. But the rain meant the event had to be moved into St John’s Hall. There were 41 Jubilee hampers as well as 91 commemorative 25p coins for the children.

Ringwood had a fair along High Street and Market Square, with a steam engine, fancy dress and Ringwood Pipe Band.

In Wimborne, railway lines were laid across pavements to allow for a miniature locomotive, while a Punch and Judy show entertained the revellers.

“It’s a day for people, all people. Street parties are in full swing everywhere, the houses echoing the blaze from record-players and the squealing and chattering from jelly-tummied children in crazy costumes,” the Echo said.

The report went on: “And there’s another generation who love every second – the grandads in polished black boots with starched white jackets and canes, the grandmothers who remember street parties of long, long ago.”

Among that generation was Harriett Beecroft of Talbot View home, Kinson. She turned 83 on the day of the Jubilee and was Talbot View Jubilee Queen.

Meanwhile, at Walliscott Road, Bournemouth, a party for the estate was organised by 66-year-old Maisie Bull, who had also organised the street party for the Coronation.

“The Jubilee spirit is here all right. And I’d say it’s more so than ever it was,” she said.

“Look at all the flags. You didn’t see them around like this even at the Coronation.”