I thought I'd share again my defining moment as a Rosebud escort (pink sash) to the Mitcham May Queen. This before graduating to a Buttercup (same dress, yellow sash) the next year, and pending promotion to the cohorts of Lily of the Valley (same dress, green sash) the year after. This all before out-growing the dress and thus escaping the senior echelons of the Forget-Me-Nots (blue sash) and doubtless eventually hitting the heady heights of May Queen Lady-in Waiting. I think you needed to at least be related to the Mayor to stand a chance of attaining the highest office, so no chance of that.
I discover (thank you Steve Roud and The English Year) that this was almost certainly a nineteenth century invention, 'a re-modelling of May Day along Merrie England lines', and an attempt to bring back 'the real spirit of the lost golden age'. The May Queen chosen to personify the season, dressed in royal, bridal and fairy traditions (ours wore a purple velvet cloak of which I was extremely envious) and seated on a throne aboard a float, while the rest of us processed behind this sort of minor celebrity who through the year would open fetes and fairs and generally look pretty.
Like Steve Roud I can't believe that this is a tradition that will hold much sway these days, but it was clearly something that flourished in 1950's post-war Surrey.
Things to note ...
The weather and the short sleeves.
The dress made by my Mum, which I adored, and I can even remember the fabric with its tiny raised white dots.
The hair. Mine was a straight as could be. I would have gone to bed with it in tightly wound rollers/curlers the night before and hardly slept a wink. Words can't describe the bees-knees joy of having curly hair for a day...when it chose to go through a curly phase of its own volition when I was a teenager I hated it.
The doll's pram, my pride and joy. I expect Brenda, Susan or Ann were tucked up in there.So I am intrigued... did anyone else do anything like this or was it just me??