When the Queen vis­ited the Burgh

On eve of Her Majesty’s 90th birth­day, we look back

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Jonathan Ged­des

Ruther­glen might not be hold­ing any events to mark the Queen’s 90th birth­day to­mor­row, Thurs­day, April 21, – but the Royal Burgh wel­comed her in style when she vis­ited just af­ter her coronation.

The visit, on June 25, 1953, capped off a day in Scot­land for the Queen and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh that saw them visit Pais­ley and Glas­gow, while over 60,000 peo­ple crammed into Ham­p­den Park to see the monarch at­tend a youth rally with per­for­mances by the Scouts, a youth choir and dis­plays of gym­nas­tics and danc­ing.

Then it was off to Ruther­glen, where, with the sun beat­ing down, thou­sands of lo­cals had lined the Main Street to see her ar­rive at the Town Hall.

She took tea there, and signed the vis­i­tors book.

Among those gath­ered to see the Queen was Pat Bolton, who at­tended both the Ham­p­den Park event and the Main Street ar­rival.

Pat re­called: “My fa­ther was the pipe ma­jor with the Scout band that per­formed at Ham­p­den. I was 14 at the time – the Ham­p­den event was all the youth or­gan­i­sa­tions on dis­play, and it was ex­cel­lent. My dad led the 113th Burn­side Scout band and then led the pipe band at Ham­p­den – he was a very laid back per­son gen­er­ally but he was very proud to be part of it.

“The fact my dad was in­volved made it even bet­ter – I was like ‘there’s my dad!’ and then we were back to the Main Street af­ter­wards to see her ar­riv­ing at a dis­tance. It was a good day.

“It was so busy on the Main Street – I re­mem­ber the big car go­ing by (with the Queen in it).”

Her hus­band Jim also has mem­o­ries of the big day – he was among the Scouts per­form­ing on the pitch.

“I nearly didn’t make it, be­cause a week be­fore I was play­ing foot­ball, and I sprained my an­kle badly. I re­mem­ber be­ing in the Western In­fir­mary and a doc­tor pass­ing by who recog­nised me from the Scouts said I wouldn’t be at Ham­p­den be­cause of it!

“What the Scouts did was have th­ese two man tents along the touch­line, and as the pipe band passed by, the roof of one side of the tent was pulled back, and in the North Stand it said wel­come and the south stand said El­iz­a­beth. Af­ter that was done the Scouts all con­gre­gated in the cen­tre cir­cle and they formed them­selves into a crown. Then there were var­i­ous chal­lenges that the Scots took part in, and we cleared the tents away.

“Af­ter we’d fin­ished our dis­play, buses were wait­ing on Aitken­head Road for what was then the Cathkin district of scouts. It dropped us off on Rodger Drive and Stonelaw Road. I was op­po­site Stonelaw Church when the Queen passed by about half an hour or an hour later.”

Also on the Main Street was Mary Raf­ferty, then a St Colum­bkille’s pupil.

She said: “I re­mem­ber we were taken from school to the Main Street to wait there, and we were all so ex­cited. “All the schools were there to see her. “We were all lined up at the front, and ev­ery five min­utes we’d hear some­one say­ing that was the car com­ing, although ob­vi­ously it wasn’t.

“We had flags to wait for them to pass and we could see them in the back of the car, which was all glass - ev­ery­one was scream­ing when they went past.

“It must have been about 3pm when they ar­rived, but we were there for a good cou­ple of hours be­fore­hand.”

The num­ber of young­sters gath­ered there cer­tainly made an im­pres­sion on the Queen.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports at the time she told then Provost James Sin­clair she had never seen so many young­sters at a visit.

Mr Sin­clair said: “The chil­dren had given them the kind of re­cep­tion only chil­dren can give.”

It was also re­marked to Her Majesty how pop­u­lar the Queen Mother was in Scot­land.

Af­ter her Town Hall visit con­cluded, she and the Duke of Ed­in­burgh then re­joined the Royal train at Ruther­glen train sta­tion, end­ing their visit to the Royal Burgh.

Out for a drive The Queen and Duke of Ed­in­burgh ar­rive in Ruther­glen

Royal wel­come The Queen is greeted at the Town Hall by Ma­jor Mon­teith, vice con­vener of the county

All smiles The Queen was beam­ing on her visit to Ruther­glen in June 1953

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.