Empire day, across every strata of society, meant a day of celebrations.
At its peak in the 1910s – 1920s, the British Empire covered almost a quarter of the land and peoples of the world and was a source of great pride for many British people. It was marked by celebrations each year on ‘Empire Day’.
Children at school would often salute the union flag singing God Save the Queen of Jerusalem and hear tales of ‘daring do’ from across the Empire.
There were thousands of marches and maypole dances, parties and banquets. Market places, like this one in Wells, would host big community celebrations promoting, ‘”Responsibility, Sympathy, Duty, and Self-sacrifice”.
In 1958 Empire Day was renamed Commonwealth Day, as it remains today, celebrated by 53 countries in March each year.
Images: Copyright Wells City Council Archives_WCC_3392_9 & Town Hall_Empire Day 1905