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.