In 1902 the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street was in debt after acquiring adjacent land for a new outpatient wing, and the coincidence of King Edward VII’s coronation with its 50th anniversary provided the opportunity for a fundraising extravaganza.
The Coronation Bazaar was held at Regents Park’s Botanical Gardens from 10-12 July 1902, in a tented enclosure containing 36 stalls, staffed by female members of the aristocracy, leading businessmen’s wives, and wives of the Hospital’s physicians. It was opened (in a thunderstorm) by Queen Alexandra, the weather later improving. There was an ‘American Hall’ of 7 stalls, several hosted by US-born Duchesses. The Russian stall was hosted by Princess Alexis Dolgoruki, a British born heiress and wife of the Tsar’s Chamberlain. The German stall, hosted by Princess Daisy of Pless, included a ‘Nuremberg Shooting Gallery’. In what would be an unthinkable fashion today, the Toy Shop was combined with a cigarette kiosk. Musical accompaniment was provided by contemporary stars Enrico Caruso and Nellie Melba. 20,000 attended, raising over £20,000 (equivalent £1.2M today).
The event’s account book, programme, collection cards, correspondence with supporters and extensive contemporary press coverage survive in the Hospital’s archive.
By Nick Baldwin, Archivist, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
Thank you to AfL member Nick Baldwin for his contribution