Hartlepool’s early risers queued from 6am for the Queen’s visit

Her Majesty the Queen pictured passing Binns during a royal walkabout in the town centre back in 1977.
Her Majesty the Queen pictured passing Binns during a royal walkabout in the town centre back in 1977.
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It’s 40 years ago this year that a Royal visitor came to Hartlepool and the crowds came out in their thousands.

Queen Elizabeth came to town during her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977. And the people of Hartlepool got up early to say hello.

Tea for two. These two ladies had picked their spot at the War Memorial to get a glimpse of the Queen during her visit to the town in 1977.

Tea for two. These two ladies had picked their spot at the War Memorial to get a glimpse of the Queen during her visit to the town in 1977.

The hardy crowds braced early morning drizzle and biting winds to grab a prime position.

But one person who made sure he was in the right place was 13-year-old John Smith, of Briar Walk. He arrived outside the Civic Centre at 6.30am and said he did it to “save seats for my brothers and sisters and my mam”.

John added: “I got here early because I love the Queen and I really want to see her.”

But he wasn’t alone as he waited patiently for the Royal favourite. He was soon joined by Andrew, 12, and Philip, 9, Sherwood who got there at 7am. We’d love to hear from John, Andrew and Philip on their memories of the day.

I got here early because I love the Queen and I really want to see her

John Smith

Others who queued for hours included Mrs Mary Harris, of Devon Street, who celebrated her 55th birthday that very day. She said she wouldn’t miss seeing the Queen for anything.

Her friends, Pauline Roberts, 24, and Lillian Johnson, 54, of Suffolk Street, queued from 8am. Our reporter said at the time: “They put on a cheery face despite the cold weather.”

Identical twins Mrs Beryl White and Mrs Sylvia Mahony, 48, got their prime spot at 7.45am and Sylvia said she was prepared to “stay there forever” to see the Queen.

Eventually, the Queen did arrive and the crowds went wild with delight.

Her Majesty wore a peach wool coat, matching straw breton hat trimmed with cream silk and carried a long umbrella trimmed with cream.

She was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh as they stepped off the Royal yacht Britannia at Tees Port – but not before first appearing on the upper deck to the delight of the waiting crowds.

But what else was in the Hartlepool news that month?

Hartlepool Corporation added to its bus fleet with a brand new Leyland National vehicle which was sprayed silver to mark the Queen’s visit.

Transport manager Geoff Fearnley said: “We had quite a bit of trouble finding the right paint for the job.”

The £26,000 vehicle was a passenger’s delight with lower steps and air suspension for a smoother ride.

A 25-mile sponsored walk was held in Hartlepool by Hartlepool Round Table to raise money for the General Hospital Anaesthetic Fund.

Walk organiser Mike Donnelly said those who took part did fantastically well and only about three dozen people did not complete the course.

The two youngest taking part were James Metcalfe-Gibson, seven, who completed the whole route and six-year-old Desmond Lamb who managed a very impressive 20 miles.

What do you remember of the Queen’s visit in 1977.

Get in touch. Email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk