Empire Day 1916

An Empire Day Certificate from 1916

Peter Hill

The first ‘Empire Day’ took place on 24th May 1902, the birthday of Queen Victoria, but it was not until 1906, that it was properly and more widely established. It did not become an annual event until 1916 when many schools started celebrating it, including the Wivenhoe School in Phillip Road.

The very idea of a day that would …“remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.”, and that “The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.” 

In 1958 Empire Day was re-badged as British Commonwealth Day, and in 1966 it became known as Commonwealth Day. The date of Commonwealth Day was also changed to 10th June, the official birthday of the present Queen Elizabeth II. The date was again changed in 1977 to the second Monday in March. On this day each year The Queen still sends a special message to the youth of the Empire via a radio broadcast to all the various countries of the Commonwealth.

The certificate – see picture above – was presented to Dorothy Harvey, a pupil at the Wivenhoe School in 1916.

Source of some information:  http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofBritain/Empire-Day/



This page was added on 03/03/2015.

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