Carnival Queens

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

1929_Alice_Beck_200 1930_Freda_Thurley_edit_200 1931_Jean_Mills_200
1928 Jean Spence 1929 Alice Beck 1930 Freda Thurley      1931 Jean Mills
1932_Mollie_Meadows_edit_200  1933_Edna_Jackson_200 1934_Joan_King_200 1935_Joan_Hurst_200
1932 Mollie Meadows 1933 Edna Jackson 1934 Joan King     1935 Joan Hurst
1936_Joyce_Mills_200a 1937_Esther_Simpson_200  1938_Mary_Mansell_200a 1939a_peggy_constable_200
1936   Joyce Mills  1937   Esther Joan Simpson  1938   Mary Mansell  1939   Peggy Constable
1940_Rosalind_Booden_200  1944_Celia_Reeves_200 1947 600 carnival 0002 1948_Betty_Richardson_200
1940   Rosalind Booden   1944   Celia Reeves 1947,  19 year old Patsy Wheeler 1948   Betty Richardson
1949_Thelma_wringrose_small  1950_Jane_Burford_200  1951 600 carnival 0004 1955 600 carnival Q 0006
1949   Thelma Wringrose   1950   Jane Burford 1951   Maureen Postins 1955   Patricia Wint
1956 600 carnival Q 0008 1957 600 carnival Q 0009 1958 600 carnival Q 0010 1959 600 carnival Q 0011
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 600 carnival Q 0012 1961 600 carnival Q 0014 Esther Joan Simpsons daughter 1962 600 carnival Q 0015
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 600 carnival Q 0030

 1963, Gillian O’Donnell.  In 1963 the carnival programme was a fold-out leaflet, restricting its contents


1964 600 carnival Q 0017 1965 carnival Q 600 1966 600 carnival Q 0021
1964,  Carol Ruperti 1965,  21 year old Christine Thorn 1966,  17 year old Francis Billet

1967 600 carnival Q 0023

1967, 19 year old Vivian Rofe, a Maid of Honour the previous year.

Carnival queen Angela wozencroft 350

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.

  carnival queen pamela fox 350

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!

1972 600 carnival Q 0025 1973 600 carnival Q 0027
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):


Mollie Meadows
Joyce Mills
Peggy Constable
1947 600 carnival 0002
Patsy Wheeler
Betty Richardson/Clifford
1956 600 carnival Q 0008Pamela Rhodes
1967 600 carnival Q 0023
Vivian Rofe
Marilyn Rofe



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
Front row:
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:

Origins of Kenilworth Carnival, and its post-war revival, Patsy Wheeler

Kenilworth’s ‘Lost’ Wartime Carnivals

Kenilworth’s Forgotten Carnival Queen

Carnival Programmes 1936 – 1975

Carnival posters and tickets, 1962 -1967

Pre-war Carnivals

How many carnivals has there been?

Kenilworth Carnival on film