60 years since the Royal visit

60 years since the Royal visit

Sixty years ago, on June 19th, 1961, the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh visited Stamford as part of the town’s quincentenary celebrations. Archivist, Mr J Buckman, discusses the Queen’s visit to Stamford, 60 years past.

 

Quincentenary Celebrations

In 1961, the people of Stamford celebrated the quincentenary of the town’s charter granted by King Edward IV.  There were many events throughout the year.  The Stamford Trade Fair was held from 24th to 29th April in the Assembly Rooms.  An exhibition of old documents and records was held at the Browne’s Hospital from 20th May to 3rd June.  There was an Industrial Exhibition from 19th May to 10th June on the Meadows displaying agricultural machinery and pumping equipment.  Two orchestral concerts were held by Sir Malcolm Sargent (OS 1910) in the Stamford School Hall.

However, the highlight of the celebrations was a visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on June 19th, 1961.  As this day drew close, the town was adorned with flags and decorations.

 

Tour of Stamford

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived at Stamford Station on June 19th, 1961.  They were greeted by the Guard of Honour and the Band of the 4/6 Battalion, Royal Lincolnshire Regiment.  They were received by the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire (The 3rd Earl of Ancaster), and by the 6th Marquess of Exeter.

The Queen’s first stop was the Town Hall where Lord Exeter presented her with a desk seal in the form of a miniature replica of the 1461 Mace, together with a drawing of St George’s Church, and a pair of cufflinks for the Duke.  The royal couple left for a tour of Stamford.  This included a visit to St George’s (see below) which has long-standing links with the Order of the Garter.

 

Visit to Stamford School

Stamford School invited the local schools of Stamford to join them on the playing fields.  These included Exeter School (opened by HRH The Princess Margaret one year earlier), and the girls of Stamford High School.  In total, ‘some three thousand five-hundred boys and girls from the age of five to nineteen’ gathered round the school playing field to see the Queen.  While the children waited, ‘the band of the CCF Cadets played and marched around the field’.

When the Queen and Prince Philip arrived, there was silence at first.  They left their car outside the playing field to be greeted by a fanfare from the CCF band.

The first part of the visit was presentations.  The Queen was personally introduced to Basil Deed (Headmaster of Stamford School), Joyce Lomax (Headmistress of Stamford High School), Reginald Maule (Head Boy), and Jill Shouler (Head Girl).

The Queen and Prince Philip mounted a land rover which was specially sent from Buckingham Palace.  Together, the royal couple made a circuit around the playing field to be received by cheering and waving flags.

Afterwards, the Queen and Prince Philip got back into their car and were driven to Burghley House for tea with the Marquess and Marchioness of Exeter.

QUEEN LEAVES BURGHLEY HOUSE

Later in the day, some SHS boarders were among the crowd who gathered at the Bottle Lodges of Burghley House to witness the royal couple’s departure.  The Queen left in her car down High Street St Martin’s to the railway station.  ‘Prince Philip was driving his own sports car’.

If you are interested in reading further about the visit, and of other historical events at the schools, please visit our online archive.

 

My primary sources for this piece are articles published in the Stamfordian Magazine from the Summer Term of 1961, and the SHS Magazine from 1962.  The black-and-white pictures are all to be found in the SES Archives. The colour photograph above was supplied by J.C. Nicholls (OS 1962).  A keen photographer and de facto head of the School Photographic Society, he was asked by Basil Deed to photograph the occasion with his 35mm camera.  Nicholls recalls taking as many as 33 pictures.  Sadly, only three are known to still exist.  These pictures have been reproduced with his permission.

This article is dedicated to HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.  May he rest in peace.

Bibliography

Stamfordian Magazine, Summer Term, 1961

SHS Magazine, 1962

The Queen’s Visit, Evening Telegraph, June 1961

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