Queen's visits to Shrewsbury, Stafford and Dudley

The West Midlands was one of the first ports of call for the new Queen shortly after her accession to the throne in 1952.

A royal visit by the Queen to Halesowen in April 1957, where she was pictured chatting to Mayoress of Halesowen Mrs J R Poots (CHECKING NAME), after presenting her with doll's pram – made by Badham Brothers – for Princess Anne. For Prince Charles there was a stainless steel miniature garden spade and fork.
A royal visit by the Queen to Halesowen in April 1957, where she was pictured chatting to Mayoress of Halesowen Mrs J R Poots (CHECKING NAME), after presenting her with doll's pram – made by Badham Brothers – for Princess Anne. For Prince Charles there was a stainless steel miniature garden spade and fork.

Her Majesty made three visits to the region in the 1950s – to Stafford in 1955, and on a tour of the Dudley area in 1957. But her first visit was to Shrewsbury in October, 1952, just months after becoming Queen.

The Queen and Prince Philip at Shrewsbury Castle in October, 1952

As Princess Elizabeth, she had actually become something of a regular visitor to the town, putting in appearances in 1949 and 1951. Nevertheless, her visit on October 24, 1952 – to mark the 400th anniversary of Shrewsbury School – was particularly as it was the first visit to Shropshire by a reigning monarch since 1914, when George V visited.

John Kenneally is introduced to the Queen during her 1957 visit to Dudley
The Queen arrives at Walter Somers engineering works in Halesowen during a visit in April, 1957

During her visit to Stafford on November 2, 1955, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh rolled up in the town at the end of a day in which she had been touring the Potteries.

Dressed in an oyster satin evening gown, she was welcomed at the county town's railway station by Mayor of Stafford, Alderman Horace Coghlan. While her visit to the Potteries had been marred by bitterly cold winds, the weather had eased off by the evening, and well-wishers who had turned out to see her in Stafford enjoyed relatively benign conditions. Crowds lined the roads along the two-mile route as the royal car made its way towards the county buildings, where the couple attended a reception hosted by Lord Lieutenant Mr H Wallace-Copland.

Her Royal Highness waves to crowds as she appears on the civic balcony during a visit to Dudley in 1957

During the reception, she was presented with 82-year-old Staffordshire Cricket Club stalwart and former England bowler Sydney Barnes. Mr Barnes handed the Duke a parchment an account of Queen Elizabeth I's visit to the town in 1575. The Duke also chatted to Staffordshire businessman Mr A G B Owen, and the couple left for the station after the band played the national anthem. The following day, she toured Birmingham.

Thousands turned out to see the Queen and Duke when they spent St George's Day in Dudley and and North Worcestershire in 1957.

According to the Express & Star, well-wishers travelled in cars and coaches from miles around to catch a glimpse of the monarch on the steps of the Council House at lunchtime.

The Queen and Prince Philip riding in an open top Land Rover on a royal visit to Stourbridge in 1957

The day began at 10am, when the Queen and Duke arrived at Hagley railway station. Their car made its way to Halesowen, where her first part of call was the Walter Somers works. There the mayor, Councillor P Timmins, and mayoress, Mrs J R Poole, presented the Queen with gifts for her children: a spade and fork for Prince Charles, and a doll's pram made by Halesowen-based Badham Brothers for Princess Anne.

The Queen visiting the County Buildings in Stafford in 1955. Picture courtesy of Staffordshire Record Office.

There were short visits to Oldbury Council House and Rowley Regis, before the Royal party arrived in Dudley town centre at 12.55am, where they were greeted with 5,000 children, large crowds of pensioners, and specially invited guests who gave the Queen "a deafening welcome."

The Queen and Prince Philip at Mary Stevens Park in Stourbridge on April 23, 1957.

The Queen took a path between the vast crowds to the Apollo statue in Coronation Gardens, where she was greeted by 10-year-old Joy Roberts, and nine-year-old Kathleen Wassell and Susan Mullet, who presented her with a bouquet. She waved to the crowds from the balcony of the Council House, and told mayor Councillor Sam Danks "It's been a wonderful pleasure to come here". After more than two-and-a-half hours in the town, she departed for Brierley Hill, where she visited the Stevens & Williams glassworks, and then to Stourbridge where she was taken on a tour of Mary Stevens Park in an open-topped Land-Rover. She ended her visit at Kidderminster.

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