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Did you see the Queen in 1977?

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

By Dan Shaw

The Queen arrives at Dudley Council House on her Silver Jubilee visit to the West Midlands

The Queen arrives at Dudley Council House on her Silver Jubilee visit to the West Midlands

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WE ask you to cast your minds back 37 years, to the summer of 1977 and the national celebrations that marked the Queen's silver jubilee.

This photograph shows the Queen's arrival at the Dudley Council house as part of her visit to the West Midlands on July 27, 1977. This was part of a nationwide tour of the country which saw the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh go to 36 counties across Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

In the picture she is accompanied, her head obscuring his face, by the Mayor of Dudley, Jim Taylor. But can anyone name any of the other dignitaries lined up on the steps to meet the Queen?

Thousands lined the streets of Dudley to see the Queen, just as they did in the other parts of the Black Country she visited that day.

Were you among the flag waving crowds?

The Queen's time in the West Midlands was not without incident. The royal Rolls-Royce broke down in Walsall and Wolverhampton mechanic Fred Budd was called upon to fix it. He diagnosed a blown fuse in the fuel pump and got the car going again to cheers from the onlooking crowd. Fred later received a letter from Buckingham Palace thanking him for his efforts.

The Black Country can be a confusing place to the outsider, with the boundary between one district and another not always easy to discern. This difficulty with local geography was compounded in the 1970s as borough borders were redrawn and, indeed, a whole new county, the West Midlands, was created. So perhaps the Queen can be forgiven for not always knowing precisely where she was during a busy day, as, apparently, when visiting the Oak House in West Bromwich she thought she was still in Dudley.

The Queen was only the second monarch to celebrate a silver jubilee, the festival being created for George V in 1935. Previous monarchs had reigned for 25 years or more but had not marked the milestone, a jubilee being traditionally 50 years.

The anniversary date itself, February 6, 1977, was marked with church services but the main celebrations were held in the summer, around the Queen's official birthday on June 6.

The Queen and the Duke's jubilee tour of the UK began in Glasgow on May 17 and they were greeted by vast crowds wherever they went.

On June 6, in a televised event, the Queen lit a bonfire beacon at Windsor Castle and the signal was repeated by a chain of beacons across the country.

A thanksgiving service was held at St Paul's Cathedral on June 7, where world leaders, led by US President Jimmy Carter, joined Prime Minister James Callaghan and former prime ministers Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, Harold Wilson and Edward Heath.

This was followed with a lunch at the Guildhall and then the royal family processed through the streets of London to Buckingham Palace, where they appeared on the balcony.

The day was also marked by street parties across the nation and many schools had earlier held parties, giving their pupils mementoes of the occasion, such as commemorative mugs or 25p "crowns".

What are your memories of the jubilee of 1977? Did you see the Queen on her visit to the region or did you travel to London to any of the celebrations? Please share any picture or stories, contact dshaw@blackcoun trybugle.co.uk or drop us a line at 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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