News

HM The Queen’s Visit to Worcestershire 1957

  • 2nd June 2022

Royal letterOn 3 December 1956 the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Admiral Sir William Tennant, received the news he’d been waiting for, that HM The Queen would be visiting the county. Although she’d visited in 1951 when still Princess, this was her first as Queen, and she visited Dudley, Oldbury, Kidderminster, Worcester and Malvern.

The visit is recorded here in photos in the archives, and in the newspapers. We also have two boxes of letters and other documents from the Lord Lieutenants Office documenting the arrangements. These provide a great insight into the run up to a visit.

There are numerous things to organise when the Queen visits. What is the itinery, who will she visit, and when? Although locally these events are rare, at Buckingham Palace they are used to this and what can be fitted in.

Once the visit was announced in January Sir William was inundated with people requesting visits to their business, hospital or organisation. A month would have been hard to accommodate these, let along one and a half days, down from the two originally scheduled. The editor of Berrow’s Worcester Journal suggested that Her Majesty might visit Queen Elizabeth House and address people from there like Elizabeth I did (according to legend). This was also the location of a proposed newspaper museum. However this request had to be turned down like so many others.

The Queen was coming by train, and would be sleeping on the Royal Train, so Sir William had to find somewhere for it to stay overnight. The files contain correspondence over this.

The itinerary had to be planned down to the minute, ensuring the maximum could be achieved in the time, whilst keeping the visit moving and on time. The notes take into account Royal wishes, such as whether tea breaks would be private or with invited guests, and that the Duke of Edinburgh preferred not to do solo engagement, which meant Redditch couldn’t be included in the schedule. The Worcester visit included going to New Road, where crowds would assemble at the cricket ground. Unsurprisingly there was a note to say that in the event of floods the cricket ground may be under water and may need to be moved! Even the gist she received had to be agreed in advance, especially as the formalities of these could take up time.

An unusual detail they had to investigate was whether the Mayor of Worcester could receive the Queen at Shrub Hill Station, or whether at the city boundary. An old charter specified that the Worcester Mayor needed to meet the monarch on the boundary, but it was felt that there was discretion on behalf of the Queen as to whether she preferred to ignore this!

The files contain maps detailing road closures and travelling routes. Police riders are named and listed. Sir William was also in touch with the local Scouts to ask about help with stewarding.

Police rider details

Before leaving Worcestershire for Ledbury and Herefordshire she visited the Radar Research Establishment at Malvern, which was one of the priority sites to visit, and where she would visit in 1976 too. Sadly nothing else in Malvern could be fitted in apart from a drive through the town. We’ve been unable to locate any photos from this part of the visit.

The visit was a success, and we have had people tell us about their memories of seeing the Queen on her visit.

Queen

HM The Queen arrives in Oldbury. WPS 11,987

Brochure

Admiral Sir William Tennant, Lord Lieutenant, welcomes HM The Queen to Kidderminster Railway Station

 

programme

Part of programme for Kidderminster visit

 

invitation

Invitation to reception for HM The Queen at Worcester Guildhall

 

Shrub Hill Station

Shrub Hill Station decorated for Royal visit. WPS11,901. (c) Worcester News

 

Queen

HM The Queen welcomed to Shrub Hill Station. WPS 11,899. (c) Worcester News

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