This photograph was taken by an amateur photographer during the celebrations for the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra in 1902.

The coronation ceremony itself had been postponed from Thursday 26 June until Saturday 9 August, owing to the king being taken ill with appendicitis at the last minute. However, the planned two-day bank holiday, together with all the special events that had been planned in towns up and down the land, largely went ahead while the king was lying on the operating table. It was just too late to cancel and, perhaps understandably, the long-planned two-day holiday was regarded as sacrosanct.

Standing in the High Street, the photographer has recorded the scene minutes before the procession of bands and tableaux arrive, with the waiting crowd expectantly turned towards Bridge Street to catch the moment of its appearance. The family in the foreground with bicycle and pram are perhaps looking for a suitable spot to watch the spectacle while it wends its way up and back down the High Street.

The three buildings in the background are Nos 5, 7 and 9 Bridge Street. From left to right: the premises of W Percival Clark, draper, milliner and costumier; Thomas Lynn, ironmonger; and the London and County Banking Co. The overall look today is much the same, although Lynn’s was demolished in the early 1980s and replaced by a similarly-sized building.

W Percival Clark took over the business after the death of his father George Clark in 1895. Clark senior had been mayor in 1891 and lived at Ash Lawn in Winchester Road, the site of which is now Ashlawn Gardens. W Percival Clark served two terms as mayor in 1913-14 and eventually opening a second shop at 16 Bridge Street as a gentleman’s outfitters. In the 1940s, the building above became a branch of the department store Plummer Roddis. This gave way to Fads the decorators in the 1970s and today it is The Redbridge.

The central building of Thomas Lynn had been an ironmongery for well over a century before 1902, his immediate predecessor being Charles Wood whose tenure of the shop was abruptly ended one night in November 1880 when the wheels of his cart got caught going over Monxton bridge, an accident that killed him. Thomas Lynn and his descendants ran what was essentially an ironmongery business for just over a hundred years. Expansion of the deceptively lengthy premises over the years, as well as making use of the first floor, enabled other departments and enterprises to be included as well.

No 9 Bridge Street has been a bank from at least 1860. The impressive building in the picture would have been constructed around 1880, replacing the much smaller premises, that were once almost certainly two basic shops with a door to the side of a conventional window. The London and County Banking Co evolved into the London, County and Westminster Bank in 1909, and eventually became the National Westminster Bank Ltd in 1970 after a merger with the National Provincial.