LOOKING BACK - May 25, 2017 edition

Crowds listening to the Queen Mother's speech at the opening of the Town Hall in 1961
Crowds listening to the Queen Mother's speech at the opening of the Town Hall in 1961

Queen Mother’s 1961 visit to Rugby

A couple of weeks ago, in our edition commemorating 50 years since the Queen came to Rugby, we mentioned that Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother had been here too. That was on July 5, 1961, when she opened the Town Hall and Benn Hall and also visited Rugby School.

Rugby Advertiser driver Bernard Williams with his new Ford van in the 1960s

Rugby Advertiser driver Bernard Williams with his new Ford van in the 1960s

The occasion was particularly memorable because although she had suffered a painful ankle injury a few days before, she still insisted upon keeping to the original schedule, even where she needed a wheelchair turning into a regal chariot. Her arrival and departure in a red helicopter at Rugby Recreation Ground was also seen by hundreds of people.

The Royal party had lunch at the Benn Hall and , despite her ankle, was able to enjoy a short walkabout through the crowds. She was presented with a rugby ball by the makers James Gilbert and apparently declared her intention to give the ball to Prince Charles, then aged 13, although she was sorry to say that her grandson was more interested in soccer.

Thank you to Bernard Williams for finding in his collection this picture of the crowds listening to the Queen Mother’s speech. Bernard worked for the Rugby Advertiser in the 1960s and still has several of the pictures from those days which appeared in the paper.

The photograph is of him in Castle Street, standing proudly with the latest model Ford van, which he used to transport copy and pictures from all the newspaper offices in the group to the typesetters and printers.