King George VI died in his sleep early in the morning of Wednesday, 6th February, 1952. Below are Hornsey Journal extracts of the 8th February edition of how the news was received in the Borough of Hornsey
HORNSEY MOURNS THE DEATH OF HER GOOD KING
The mayor’s sympathy with three Queens
“THE KING IS DEAD.” THE NEWS, WHICH CAUSED A FEELING ALMOST OF PERSONAL LOSS, WAS CONVEYED BY TELEPHONE TO THIS OFFICE AT ABOUT ELEVEN O’CLOCK ON WEDNESDAY MORNING.
The editor at once passed it on to the town clerk for the information of the mayor, and then prepared a notice which was placed in the Journal office window: ‘We deeply regret to record that His Majesty the King died this morning. We feel sure that our sorrow is shared by every right-thinking person in the Borough of Hornsey, for neither party nor creed should be allowed to stand in the way of tribute to a good King and a good man’.
As usual on these occasions, we have to turn to Shakespeare for words to express our feelings. In Macbeth he names
………the king-becoming graces,
As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,
Bounty, perseverance, mercy, lowliness,
Devotion, patience, courage, fortitude’
These were the qualities of our late King.
The King died at Sandringham. It will be recalled that his father, George V, also died at Sandringham and his body passed through Hornsey by train on Thursday, January 23rd, 1936, on its way to London for its lying-in-state at Westminster. Crowds watched the Royal train go through Hornsey, Harringay and Finsbury Park stations but nobody was allowed on the platforms.
A telegram to the Queen at Buckingham Palace from the mayor (Ald. Tivendale) soon went out from the town hall. It read, “We, the mayor, aldermen, councillors and burgesses of the Borough of Hornsey, tender our loyal and deep sympathy to Your Majesty, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, Her Majesty Queen Mary and the Royal Family in the great loss sustained by the death of His Majesty King George VI”.
The mayor sent the following statement to the Hornsey Journal which continued on page 3 of the edition, ‘It was as great a shock and with a deep sense of loss that I heard the sad news of the King’s death. He, like his royal father and mother, was much more to individual members of the nation than merely a head of the State. There has always been a sense of close personal connection with the Royal Family, which accentuates our grief. Our sympathy goes out to our Sovereign who is so young to bear the heavy burden of State. My prayer is that her reign may be one of peace and happiness with a deep consciousness in the people of the principles of unity in our national life.
Tolling for the King
On Wednesday evening many of the borough’s churches carried, by the tolling bell, the message of the country’s great loss into the homes of his sorrowing subjects. Through the dark air came the sad sound of a half-muffled peal from the tower of old Hornsey Parish Church. At Christ Church, Crouch End, after a service of prayer and remembrance, a deep-toned bell tolled every half minute for an hour. Services of prayer for the Royal Family were held on Wednesday night or yesterday morning (Thursday) at other churches in the borough.
The King’s Courage
‘We admired the great courage of the King, and it is an added matter of sadness that his long and steadfast fight to regain his health has ended in defeat’, said Ald. W J Grimshaw (leader of Hornsey Borough Council and chairman of Middlesex County Council) in a tribute for the Journal.
His courage was manifested in other ways, notably in his accession to the Throne, and added to courage, he must have possessed a high degree of patience as well as tact. Hearing him speak many years ago, before the microphone was used to carry his voice to millions, one was filled with a desire to help him in his difficult task. By the time he became King, with his voice heard everywhere, one marvelled at the patience and concentration which he must have expended to accomplish so successfully the mastery of his difficulties. He gained the praise of all with whom he had to deal, in whatever walk of life’.
The Proclamation of the Accession of Queen Elizabeth II will be read at 11 am today (Friday) by the mayor of Hornsey from the steps of the town hall. All members of the borough council have been invited, as well as clergy and ministers and leading citizens. A special meeting of Hornsey Council will be held at 6.30pm on Monday to pass a resolution of condolence and sympathy and loyalty to the new Queen.