Memories of the Queen's visit to Stevenage - April 1959

By Anne Bouras (nee Patterson)

Memories of the Queen’s visit to Stevenage – April 1959

Chosen for a visit from the Queen

My family was chosen for the Queen to visit us at our home in Wigram Way.  I was nearly five, my sister six and a half and my dear late brother nine and a half.  It was quite exciting for us three, especially as the crowds rapidly grew outside our house during the morning; my sister and I were waving from our bedroom window!!  Relatives came from London to share the day with us.  We had only moved to Stevenage from Islington, London in the January of that year, and the house was still in a very raw state.

Dad spent many days and hours trying to clear the back garden (pretty much a building site) once they knew of the Queen’s visit.  Lots of rumours circulated apparently about what my parents had been given, i.e. the whole house decorated for us (not true) a sum of money (not true).  In fact my Mum received a bouquet of flowers from the council afterwards – very nice, but that’s all!!  We didn’t have new clothes for the occasion either – (simpler times!).

A ‘typical’ family

I think we were chosen as the ‘typical’ family Stevenage was being developed for – young Londoners with 2.4 children.

David, Janet and I were lined up in the sitting room when the Queen arrived and we were introduced to her by my Mum and Dad.  We had been practising our bowing and curtseying!  But we had to stay put after that! Then Mum and Dad showed her round the house.  I think she stayed around half an hour (accompanied by someone from the Development Corporation and her Lady in Waiting).

Although I was very young I remember the day so clearly.

This page was added on 10/09/2015.

Comments about this page

  • The house was number 14 Wigram Way. We lived there until September 1963, when we moved to Fox Road near the town centre. All three of us went to Bandley Hill School (Janet and I then finished primary at Broom Barns) and we all attended Barnwell Secondary School.

    I have clear memories of Mrs Gledhill, Mr. Atfield, Mr. Attwood, Mr. Cleaton — my form teacher — and Mr Stanniforth — wonderful teacher who taught pottery with such enthusiasm. My Dad helped with so many other volunteers to paint the swimming pool at Barnwell School when it was first built. When we were very young and still living in Wigram Way, my Mum was a dinner lady at Peartree School.

    Ruth and Karen Byrd were our friends and neighbours — similar age to me and my sister. Ann and William McCurley were our next door neighbours.

    Loads of young families in all the houses, so there was always someone to play out with, and we had lots of fun!

    By Anne Bouras (22/07/2020)
  • I lived at the address the queen visited and never believed it until I saw a recent tv broadcast. I should of stuck a plaque up and charged an entrance fee 🙂

    By Paul (17/01/2019)
  • I think one of the girls in my class (Ruth Byrd) lived in Hydean Way too at the time of the Queens visit in 1959.
    I went to Bandley Hill Infants and then Junior School, and then went to Barnwell School in 1964. My surname was Andrews but changed to Kane. I left Stevenage in September 1966.

    By Ruth Andrews (10/04/2018)
  • I remember the queen coming to your house…janet was the same year as me at barnwell school…i left stevenage in 1967 when i was 13.i
    I such happy memories of my childhood, we were one of the first families to move into cholwell road..the pavements hadnt been laid and no street lights were up….a lady in a green van used to come round selling fruit and veg. I was 4 then….i went to bandley hill infant and junior school mr koram was the head and mr barnes and mr stilton were teachers as was miss booker…i was very scared of her! Although she taught me to write in a very stylish cursive way …i will always be grateful for that.

    By barbara owen (03/03/2018)

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