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Fred's chat with the duke on Saint George's day visit to Dudley

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 03, 2014

By Dan Shaw

  • Queen and Prince Philip wave to the crowds in Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge

  • Frank Somers and Rex Dakin take the Queen on a tour of the Walter Somers forge, Halesowen

  • Councillor Fred Hurrell meets the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen at Dudley Council House, 23 April, 1957

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THIS photograph i s 57 years old and it shows local councillor Fred Hurrell smiling as he chats with the Duke of Edinburgh. The snap belongs to his nephew George Sharp of Holly Hall, Dudley, and it was taken when the Queen visited the region on St George's Day, 1957.

Fred was a Labour member of Dudley Council and lived in Hall Green Road, Holly Hall, in the ward he represented. George remembers him being committed to helping his local community and always approachable. Sometimes when he helped someone they would try and give him a present, such as a bottle of whisky, as thanks but Fred always refused, saying they could buy him a pint when they next saw him in the pub.

The Queen and the Duke had called at Dudley Town Hall for their lunch during a busy day touring north Worcestershire and the Black Country. Dozens of Dudley dignitaries attended, including the Earl of Dudley, Viscount Ednam, the Bishop of Worcester, the Mayor, Samuel Danks, and all the aldermen and councillors and their wives.

Lunch was served at 1.30pm and the royal party sat down to turtle soup, cold Norfolk turkey and cold York ham, asparagus and French salad.

The day began when the royal train arrived at Hagley station to be met by the Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Admiral Sir William "Dunkirk Joe" Tennant. The royal party then drove to Halesowen and the works of Walter Somers, where the Queen was met by the Mayor of Halesowen, Councillor Philip Timins, and was given a tour of the forge by the company's directors Frank Somers and Rex Dakin.

From there they went to Oldbury where the Queen visited the council house to be met by the mayor, Councillor Alfred Gunn, and representatives of the local tube-making and chemical industries, and was presented with a titanium posy bowl while Prince Philip received a shooting stick made of the same material.

From Oldbury the royal party came to Dudley for lunch and then proceeded to Brierley Hill where they had a tour of the Stevens and Williams glassworks.

From there they drove to Stourbridge council house and after meeting the mayor and the councillors the Queen and the Duke were driven around Mary Stevens Park in an open-top Land Rover amid crowds of cheering children.

After that the royal party left the Black Country for an engagement in Kidderminster and finished their visit late in the day at the Guild Hall in Worcester.

Do you remember this royal visit in 1957? Where you among the crowds that greeted the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the places they visited here? Have you any pictures or souvenirs of the day? Please contact dshaw@blackcountrybugle.co.uk or send them to Bugle House, 41 High Street, Cradley Heath, B64 5HL.

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