History of the British Street PartyThe earliest known parties were around the end of the WWI with Peace Teas to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and since that time the community get-together has grown in popularity. Famous events celebrated across the nation have included the Peace Teas, VE Day (Victory in Europe 1945) the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, England's World Cup Victory 1966, the Queen's Silver Jubilee 1977, 1981 Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are just a few. These may have been national events which sparked a street party, but on a regional level, communities will celebrate local events much more frequently.
Originally the traditional street party was at times of austerity so food would have been simple and consisted of whatever was available. In 1953 for the Queen's coronation food was still rationed after World War II but households were given an extra pound of sugar and 4 oz of margarine for the celebrations.
The British Street Party TodayToday the parties may not have the same constraints but they will still be a celebration of traditional British food and drink but you will see the barbecue now putting in an appearance. Food will be more eclectic and celebrate not just traditional British food but the mix of cuisines on these shores. No matter the fare, the getting together of friends, neighbours, workmates ...whatever, is a cause for celebration alone.
A Street Party for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee 2012Across the United Kingdom preparations are underway for street parties. From a local street to whole communities.
Planning Your Street PartyDragging out the tables and chairs into the middle of the street and piling on the food isn't all that is required for setting up a party. In some areas permission from the local council will be required (especially if you are on a bus or a major road route). Health and safety must of course be paramount and can be achieved without spoiling the party. You will need to check on insurance and if there's alcoholic drink involved, you may well need a license. There's lots of practical advice advice available from Street Party.org, your local council office or check this government website set up especially for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Once you have license, permissions and insurance, if you need them, it is time to think about the food.