Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Royal Visit

In order to celebrate Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (the first of Scotland) Diamond Jubilee, the Identity team have been having a look in to Inverclyde’s Royal past. The region has played host to numerous Royal visits over the years, and on July 4 2012 the banks of the Clyde will once again welcome her with open arms.

So allow us to take you on something of a brief tour of previous visits.

1917 Visit

In 1917, King George V embarked on a tour of the merchant shipyards, marine engine builders and steel mills in the UK. Four days were spent in the west of Scotland.

At 10.00am on the 17th of September, he and his entourage arrived in Greenock Central Station. By 1.00pm they had finished with Greenock and drove to Upper Greenock Railway Station where, no doubt, they had lunch aboard the Royal train.

At 2.10pm the Royal pilot engine passed through Port Glasgow Passenger Station (as it was referred to in the newspaper report) - no other engine was permitted to be between the pilot engine and the Royal train, which arrived at 2.27, pulled by two engines.

Peter MacFarlane, Provost, and Andrew Paton, Town Clerk, were presented to the King. And “on emerging from the station,” said the Port Express, “a joyful sight presented itself to the King - the Star Hotel was brightly adorned with flags and bunting, and presented a noble appearance.”

The procession went down John Wood Street and along Bay Street to Blackstone. When he called at Glasgow City Chambers on the following day, the crowds were kept away “at a respectful” distance.” There seems to have been no such restriction in Port Glasgow and the narrow streets were lined with school children waving flags.

The tour started at the Clyde Shipbuilding and Engineering Co, followed by a short walk round to Ferguson’s. On leaving Ferguson’s they drove back along the town to Murdoch & Murray’s yard opposite Jean Street, then further along to Russell & Co at the Kingston Yard. The tour ended at the yard of Dunlop & Bremner immediately west of Kingston. The scheduled completion time was 4.35pm.

At each yard the King spent 20 minutes. This covered presentations, conversations and looking at examples of the work carried out, from smithys and joiner shops, to completed vessels. A fair degree of planning must have been carried out beforehand. After presentations and introductions in the Town’s Buildings, the Royal train left for Glasgow at 5.00pm.

1958 Visit

The town of Port Glasgow welcomed Queen Elizabeth II to her shores once more in 1958 for what would be Inverclydes third Royal Visit (the second having come in 1947).

Although the visit was a brief one (lasting around 7minutes) the Queen still found time to meet with Provost Edward Docherty and various members of the town council.

Later in the afternoon Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh would move on to Greenock for a brief stop. Her purpose in the town was to mark the opening of the town’s municipal buildings, an act she will repeat when she visits the town on the July 4, fifty four years later.

This was the monarch’s first visit to the area since her coronation in 1953, however it was not the first time she had visited these shores. She had accompanied her father to the town on two previous visits under the title of ‘Princess Elizabeth’ in 1947.

1976 Visit

Royal family stop over in Greenock in august of this year aboard the MHY Britannia. Although the visit was a brief one, local men, women, and children gathered in great numbers to get a glimpse of Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew and Princess Anne.

1992 Visit

In December of 1992, Queen Elizabeth II visited the historic Fergusons shipbuilders in Port Glasgow to mark the launch of the 1986gt tender, Pharos.

2000 Visit

The Queens most recent visit to Port Glasgow came twelve years ago in August 2000. Her destination this time was Ferguson shipyards in Port Glasgow to launch the vessel MV Hebredes.

Copyright John Crae
July 2012 Visit

On Wednesday July 4, Inverclyde once again welcomes the Queen as part of her Diamond Jubilee tour of Scotland. Her Majesty will mark the opening of the new Customer Service Centre located in the towns historic Municipal Buildings. As previously mentioned, the Queen marked the opening of these buildings in 1958, so a royal visit to mark the grand reopening is considered something of a coup for the town.

Municipal Buildings 1976

There will be space for members of the public to see this landmark event, however it is believed that space will be limited. But fear not, those of you who are unable to get a space at Clyde Square will still get your chance to see her as the royal motorcade will drive through the Esplanade and Dalrymple Street.

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