Royal Visits and Celebrations – Queen Elizabeth II in Barnsley

As the country prepares to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, Michael Hardy (Digital Engagement Curator) explores the museums collections looking back on times when the Queen has visited Barnsley and how the the borough came together to celebrate


A Queen is Crowned

Coronation Celebrations in Barnsley, 1953

As this album of photos from Barnsley Archives and Local Studies shows there were huge celebrations across Barnsley leading up to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II on 2nd June 1953. As part of the week long celebrations 14,000 children across the borough received a medallion and schools closed for three days.

A bronze medallion

Similar to the celebrations marking the Platinum Jubilee in 2022 beacons across Barnsley were lit including one at Locke Park

Other ways in which the coronation was marked in 1953 was the distribution of commemorative tins made locally at Barnsley Canister Company. Lots of people still own one of these tins, do you?

There were street parties across Barnsley. How are you celebrating the Platinum Jubilee in 2022? If you’re hosting a street party please tag us on social media @BarnsleyMuseums

Over on the Barnsley Museums YouTube channel are films from the silver jubilee celebration in 1977: https://youtu.be/h5vAeVa0eNo

Coronation commemorations from 1953 are still visible at Barnsley town hall today. In the build up to the Coronation trees were planted in the gardens and a new portrait was hung in the Reception Room.

The Queen’s first visit to Barnsley, October 1954

A year after the Coronation the Queen and Prince Philip came to Barnsley, the first photograph taken in Barnsley shows H.M Queen Elizabeth II stepping off the train at the Exchange Station at the bottom of Regent Street.

The Queen steps off the train in Barnsley

They were greeted by Lord Scarborough as well as the Mayor of Barnsley Ald A.E McVie, the town clerk A E Gillifan and Chief Constable Mr G Farfitt and walked up Regent Street to the town hall. The Queen and the Duke signed the town hall guest book – Prince Philip used his own pen. The Mayor presented the Queen with a model pit tub and the Duke of Edinburgh received a model miner’s electric lamp. It had been mentioned in The Barnsley Chronicle that there had been a coal shortage at the palace and the Mayor commented that the coal inside the model was real so could be put to use if needed. After the short presentation the royal couple continued their trip of South Yorkshire, the next stop on the journey was Wombwell.

We will be premiering a new compilation film show on Wednesday that features an extended clip of the Queen’s first visit in Barnsley, please share with your friends and family and let us know if you spot anyone in the crowds!

The Queen walks around Barnsley Market in 1975

The Queen and Prince Philip visited Barnsley a couple of times in the 1970s. In 1975 on a South Yorkshire tour the couple visited County Hall, the County Councils headquarters. They were greeted by Grimethorpe Colliery band who played the national anthem. The crowd on the day included 700 school children as well as patients from Mount Vernon hospital.  After leaving County Hall the Queen and Duke had a 25 minute walkabout in the market hall. While the royal couple were in Barnsley they were guarded by the 13th/18th Hussars.

Make sure you’re following Barnsley Archives on social media @BarnsArchives where you can see more video clips like this one.

Silver Jubilee Celebrations, 1977

Did you see the Queen when she came to Cannon Hall park in 1977? The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were on a silver jubilee tour of Britain. The couple who had begun the day in Humberside only spent 20 minutes in Cawthorne before their journey continued, an estimated 15,000 people descended on the park to get a glimpse of the royals

“20 minutes of wild excitement” was the headline in The Barnsley Chronicle at the time. With kind permission from the newspaper here’s the special supplement created to celebrate the brief visit on Tuesday 12 July, 1977

A blue decanter with the date of the Royal visit in 1977 on the front

Lots of memorabilia was made for the Silver Jubilee in 1977. One of the most recent donations to Barnsley Museums is this souvenir decanter made at Wood Brothers Glass Company which was a limited edition of only 50

Another film from the Barnsley Archives film archive shows a street party in Athersley, if you spot anyone in this clip please let us know!

Royal visits to Elsecar

In 1996, the Queen came to Barnsley to officially open the new Elsecar Heritage Centre, created in National Coal Board workshops originally built for Earl Fitzwilliam of Wentworth Woodhouse.

Local school children and crowds of well-wishers turned out to welcome her, as shown in these photographs taken by Peter Davies.

Group of adults and school children in Victorian costume waving union jack flags at the Elsecar Heritage Centre. Two little boys are staring straight at the camera and holding their flags in the air.
School children waiting to welcome the Queen at the opening of the Elsecar Heritage Centre in 1996

The Queen was not the first Royal to visit Elsecar. King William IV (when Duke of Clarence) and King George V had even gone underground into the village’s collieries.

In 2014, Prince Edward HRH the Duke of Wessex became the latest Royal to visit Elsecar, to mark the restoration of the New Colliery and its Newcomen Beam Engine.

Have you ever met the Queen?

These photographs are from the Queen’s visit to Barnsley in December 1986. Have you ever met the Queen? Do you have photos or film footage? Please get in touch with us either via social media or emailing experiencebarnsley@barnsley.gov.uk and we’ll add them to this blog!

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