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Crowds lined the route of Halesowen royal procession

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: May 16, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Route of the royal procession through Halesowen, April 23, 1957

  • Queen is welcomed by the Mayor of Halesowen, Councillor Philip Timmins, and Admiral Sir William Tennant, Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, at Walter Somers' Haywood Forge.

  • The Queen and Prince Philip chat to workers on their tour of the Walter Somers works

  • Frank Somers bids goodbye to the Queen at the end of her visit

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THIS souvenir of a royal visit to the Black Country comes to us from David Eades of Halesowen. It is a plan of the route through Halesowen taken by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their visit to the town as part of a tour of north Worcestershire on April 23, 1957.

The royal train arrived at Hagley Station at 10am and the royal party were then driven to Halesowen, crossing the borough boundary at Hayley Green. From there the route was Hagley Road, Hagley Street, High Street, Church Street. New Road, Whitehall Road and Mucklow Hill as the Queen made her way to the Haywood Forge of Walter Somers Ltd.

Children and well-wishers lined the roads with the first groups on either side of Hagley Road along by St Margaret's Church, Hayley Green. They were, on one side of the road, the Girl Guides, Scouts, ATC and Army Cadets, and on the other the pupils of Hasbury Church of England School, the Halesowen Darby and Joan, the Sons of Rest and the WVS.

The next batch were gathered a little further along the road, between the junctions with Highfield Lane and Laurel Lane. They were the boys and girls of Halesowen County Modern School and the infants school.

The Cradley Darby and Joan club, Sons of Rest and WVS were then gathered between Laurel Lane and Great Cornbow.

The cavalcade then went by the parish church of St John the Baptist and before turning into New Road it passed between the pupils of Halesowen Church of England School and Stourbridge Road Junior Mixed and Infant Schools. Both sides of New Road were lined by children from Cradley schools.

Along one side of Whitehall Road were pupils of Halesowen Grammar School and the students of the College of Further Education and opposite them were the pupils of Tenter Street School and the three local branches of the British Legion.

As the roads the royal party were taking were to closed to traffic from 9.30am, anyone wishing to view them had to be in position before then.

The Queen and the Duke arrived at Haywood Forge around 10.25am. David Eades was then a cadet in the St John Ambulance Brigade who had the task of standing before the crowds at the Somers factory.

At the forge the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Admiral Sir William Tennant, introduced her to the Mayor of Halesowen, Councillor Philip Timmins. The mayor then introduced the mayoress, Mrs J.R. Poole, and the town clerk, A. Basterfield.

The royal party then moved to the "reception marquee" where more local dignitaries were lined up to meet the Queen: Councillor Albert H. Spring (deputy mayor), Mrs Spring, Arthur Moyle CBE (MP for Oldbury and Halesowen), Alderman Walter R. Hodgetts, Alderman Leonard Harper, Alderman Francis Lionel Rose, Alderman William Parkes, Councillor Clifford Willetts, Councillor George A. Southall, Councillor Norman Garner, Councillor Edith Smith, Councillor Peter Ward Smith, Rev Frank Manning (mayor's chaplain), T.W. Tivey (borough surveyor), Mrs Oakley and W.E.J. Barlow.

The Queen and the Duke then met Frank Somers OBE, chairman of Walter Somers Ltd., and he in turn introduced them to his company colleagues: Mrs F. Somers, F.J. Somers (deputy chairman), Mrs F.J. Somers, R.B. Dakin (managing director), Walter Somers (director heavy forging), A.H. Bennett (director and engineer), A.C. Somers (director die block department), Colonel T.V. Somers (sales director), Wallace Field (longest serving employee) and E. Grove (shortest serving employee).

After a tour of the works the royal party left to visit Oldbury, driving up Mucklow Hill and along Halesowen Road. Again the roads were lined. On the corner of Mucklow Hill and Long Lane were the boys and girls of Hill and Cakemore County Modern School. Opposite them were the pupils of Holt Road, Olive Hill and Blackheath Church of England junior and infants schools. Then, lining Halesowen Road were the members of Hill and Cakemore Darby and Joan, Sons of Rest and WVS, the pupils of Priory Road School and the South Staffs Boys Brigade.

In Oldbury the Queen met councillors and other prominent locals before making a brief stop at Rowley Regis to meet the chairman and members of the urban district council. That was en route to Dudley, where the royal party had lunch at the council house.

In the afternoon the royal party visited the Stevens and Williams glassworks in Brierley Hill and also met the local councillors. Then it was on to the Stourbridge council offices at Studley Court. There they met councillors and officials as well as the chairman of Amblecote council. After touring the crowds in Mary Stevens Park by Land Rover, the Queen and the Duke then drove to Kidderminster and a reception at the town hall. Following that the royal visitors then travelled by train to Worcester and their final engagement at the city's Guildhall.

Were you among the crowds lining the streets of Halesowen 57 years ago? Were you present at any of the other royal engagements that day? Please share any pictures or memories of the day, contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or write to 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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