In ‘Kenilworth People & Places, Volume 2’, I have recorded the history of the first 25 years of Kenilworth Carnival, for many the first ‘fixture’ in Kenilworth’s calendar. The focal point of all Carnivals is of course the Queen; in it I have included a photograph of every Carnival Queen up to and including 1951. The book includes many original photographs including several early Queens on their horse-drawn floats.
Here I have continued my collection; most of these photographs below are taken from Carnival programmes when possible, or from newspapers:
1926 and 1927 No known queens
|1928 Jean Spence||1929 Alice Beck||1930 Freda Thurley||1931 Jean Mills|
|1932 Mollie Meadows||1933 Edna Jackson||1934 Joan King||1935 Joan Hurst|
|1936 Joyce Mills||1937 Esther Joan Simpson||1938 Mary Mansell||1939 Peggy Constable|
|1940 Rosalind Booden||1944 Celia Reeves||1947, 19 year old Patsy Wheeler||1948 Betty Richardson|
|1949 Thelma Wringrose||1950 Jane Burford||1951 Maureen Postins||1955 Patricia Wint|
|1956, 18 year old Pamela Ann Rhodes||1957, 17 year old Brenda Ann Constable||1958, 17 year old Paula Insall; Paula was Maid of Honour the previous year||1959, 19 year old Wendy Anne Reeder; the entire programme was printed in blue this year|
|1960, Susan Dodd||1961, 18 year old Sandra Blight. Her mother, Esther Joan Simpson, was Carnival Queen in 1937; this was the first mother and daughter to be Queens.||1962, Stella Weeks|
1963, Gillian O’Donnell. In 1963 the carnival programme was a fold-out leaflet, restricting its contents
|1964, Carol Ruperti||1965, 21 year old Christine Thorn||1966, 17 year old Francis Billet|
1967, 19 year old Vivian Rofe, a Maid of Honour the previous year.
1968 Angela Wozencroft
Crowned in 1968 but photographed in 1969 at the opening of Kenilworth’s Saunas in The Square. The interest is that this was the first time the Kenilworth Weekly News used a colour photograph, in a reflection of Queen Alice Beck (above) being the first ever person to appear in a photograph in a Kenilworth newspaper. As far as I can discover, it was to be many years until colour was used again in the KWN, possibly the 1980s. My copy of this KWN is a little faded.
1969 Pamela Fox
Carnival Queen Pamela Fox, crowned 1969, in a coal scuttle on the scales at Kelsey’s coal yard in Dalehouse Lane (at the former gasworks, now Deer Leap). The scuttle was to be placed in Talisman Square to be filled with coins raising money for the carnival good causes; it was hoped that Pamela’s weight in coins could be raised, she was 8 1/2 stone.
1970 Two Queens!
|1971, Marilyn Rofe (with thanks to Marilyn for the photograph)||1972, Hannah Reeves. A poor quality 12 paper-paged programme with little room for the Queen and her entourage.||1973, 24 year old Wendy Watts|
This gathering of former Carnival Queens was reported in the Kenilworth Weekly News on 5th November 1976. It recorded the presence of Mollie Meadows (1932), Joyce Mills (1936), Peggy Constable (1939), Patsy Wheeler (1947), Betty Clifford (1948), Pamela Rhodes (1956), Vivian Rofe (1967), Marilyn Rofe (1971), and Linda Dorman (1976); but not which Queen was which. If you should know any, please get in touch. Harry Potts who organised the event cuts the cake, watched by Mayor Ken Hogarth and his wife. The Queens are numbered in the photograph below (number 14 is thought to be Mrs Hogarth):
CARNIVAL QUEENS; 1929 – 1992
This brilliant photograph has been sent to me by Hannah nee Reeves, the 1972 Carnival Queen; its copyright is with Heart of England Newspapers. It was taken in 1992 and shows the new Queen, Claire Nelmes, surrounded by some of her predecessors. These are:
|Standing from left…
1954 – Norma Aitken
1973 – Wendy Watts
1948 – Betty Clifford (maiden name Richardson)
1992 – Claire Nelmes
1972 – Hannah Reeves
1975 – Rosamund Langworthy
1971 – Marilyn Rofe
1929 – Alice Beck (Maiden name), the first Queen from Kenilworth
1932 – Mollie Meadows
1989 – Anne Meaton
1970 – Nanette Gamble
Ann Meaton is now Ann Brough of the Carnival Committee whose daughter was 2019’s Queen. Nanette Gamble actually came second to Yvonne Turner but Yvonne left town leaving Nanette to take her place (see the accompanying article, Kenilworth’s Forgotten Carnival Queen).
1971 – 2023
A gathering of former, and the current, Queens prior to the procession in 2023.
Left to right: 1971 Marilyn Rofe; 1973 Wendy Watts; 1989 Anne Meaton (wearing an incorrect 1988 sash); 1992 Claire Nelmes; 1997 Nadine Flowers; 2002 Faye Reeder; 2017 Lucy Mills; the unique King, Will Heaton (2017).
In the foreground is 2023’s Queen, Harmony Renny
(With thanks to Kenilworth Greens for the photograph)
There was another gathering of former Queen’s believed to be in the early 2000s; does anyone have a photograph?
More Kenilworth Carnival articles on this website: