THE biggest royal event of the 1970s was the Silver Jubilee in 1977.

On June 7, 230 Swindon streets were among tens of thousands nationwide that were closed off for street parties.

By the time the Golden Jubilee rolled around 25 years later, the country had entered a more cynical age when it came to the monarchy, but in 1977 virtually everybody rejoiced.

Families temporarily donated dining chairs and tables, not to mention trestle tables hitherto used only during wallpapering operations.

Entire streets and neighbourhoods carefully planned party cooking rosters to make sure there would be enough sandwiches, chicken legs, jelly, ice cream, lemonade - and stronger drinks for some of the grown ups.

Children and more than a few adults also took part in traditional games and races. Music for dancing and sing-songs usually came courtesy of nothing more high-tech than a record player attached by an extension cord to a socket in some kind person's home.

Children's entertainers did a roaring trade, shuttling from one show to another, and people even clubbed together to arrange hog roasts.

In one incident that was surely never forgotten by those who witnessed it, a pig in Beatrice Street was roasted rather too much, leading to an incident of spontaneous porcine combustion.

The Adver was soon at the scene, and quoted a party organiser as saying: "It gave us a nasty moment but we managed to get it under control before the fire brigade turned up. The pig wasn't wasted. We had a couple of chefs and a butcher there. They cut it into pieces and it was cooked in houses in the street."

Strict health and safety legislation was still a generation or more away, and it showed.

The people of Morris Street organised a frantic pram race around the town, taking to the streets and having great fun in some terrifying-looking homemade creations.

The people of Malvern Road in Gorse Hill, meanwhile, had a party at Southbrook recreation ground, with everybody helping to make decorations.

The smaller communities outside Swindon were not to be outdone, with every village and hamlet organising its own unique celebration.

In Broad Hinton, for example, there was a comedy cricket match, a barn dance, a tractor driving contest and fancy dress.

In Purton Stoke, there was a raft race. Seemingly nobody had a starting pistol to hand, but one public-spirited resident had the presence of mind to bring a 12-bore shotgun that did the job nicely.