It was a Bank Holiday from 1871 (Bank Holidays Act) with three others, Easter Monday, Whit Monday, Boxing Day. I don't think it was a holiday before this time - I don't know what the reason was, it isn't an obvious religious holiday - maybe it was judged to be a convenient time of year. It sort of replaced All Saint's Day, which had been a Bank Holiday and was dropped.
From an online calendar-
"The summer bank holiday was introduced in the Bank Holidays Act 1871 and first observed in that year. It was originally intended to give bank employees the opportunity to participate and attend cricket matches. Exactly one hundred years later, the Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971 moved this bank holiday to the last Monday in August for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This followed a trial period from 1965 to 1970 of the new date. In Scotland, it remained on the first Monday in August."
I know the first Monday of August was a bank holiday in the late 19th century (later on, it was replaced by the last Monday of August), but is there a particuliar reason ? Why this date ?
The Bank Holiday question has been discussed here before in a thread late last year titled "31st August = Bank Holiday?". As has been said in the present thread, in the late nineteenth century, the August Bank Holiday was at the beginning of the month not the end as today. Tabram's murder occurred in the early morning hours of Tuesday, August 7, the day after the Bank Holiday. Similarly, the assault on Emma Smith occurred on Tuesday, April 3, 1888, following the Easter Monday Bank Holiday.
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The main plot based around Queen Victoria was that to "bomb" her Golden Jubilee Thanksgiving service in Westminster Abbey in 1887.
Mionarchs traditionally (it isn't that old a tradition) celebrate their ACCESSIOn to the throne - the date on which their predecessor died or abdicated. Hence the present Queen ascended the throne on 6 February 1952 when her father died. That is why 2012 was the year of the Diamond (60 years) Jubilee, and 2002 the occasion of the Golden Jubilee.
Queen Victoria was crowned in 1938, but I don't think this event was celebrated later other than by gun salutes and flags being flown on Government buildings. On the whole QV disliked ceremonial and avoided it as far as possible - she travelled to St Paul's in 1897 in a semi-state landau.
Given the length of the Queen's reign, I wonder how many of her subjects could have readily recalled the date, even the year of her coronation, almost fifty years after the event?