From 1960 to 2002 - memories of Her Majesty and her visits to Hartlepool and East Durham

To thousands of Hartlepool people, she is the Queen who captured their hearts.

Friday, 27th May 2022, 3:36 pm

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has visited the town more than once and always attracted huge crowds whatever the weather.

She has also visited East Durham and the people of the area came out in force there too.She was a welcome visitor to Easington in 2002 and Peterlee in 1960.

Today, we look back on some of those great moments.

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Memories of Her Majesty in Hartlepool and East Durham.

It was in May 1960 that the Queen came to Peterlee. She arrived in East Durham at Horden Station and went on to meet people who lived in Peterlee.

Were you among them or was one of your relatives among those to receive the honour?

Queen Elizabeth came to town during her Silver Jubilee tour in 1977 and the people of Hartlepool got up early to say hello.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.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.Many people will have memories of Her Majesty’s walkabout in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre and the crowds turned out in force to see her.Here she is heading past Binns and chatting to locals. Much has changed in Middleton Grange since then but what are your memories of a special day in the Hartlepool calendar?Were you there? Share your memories by emailing [email protected]“A sun-soaked celebration.”That’s how the Queen’s visit was described when she came to town to officially launch Hartlepool Marina.There was a real feelgood factor around Hartlepool that summer. It felt like a town on the up.The Queen and Prince Philip were in town to open the new £165m Marina and they came ashore on a Royal barge. The Queen was to be given a tour of the new complex and tour the Historic Ships Centre while the Duke looked round HMS Trincomalee.From there, Her Majesty was due to visit Bramley Court before heading back to the Royal yacht Britannia where she was due to host a reception.Later that night, the Band of the Royal Marines played and a giant fireworks display lit up the Marina sky, watched by an estimated 200,000 people.But the preparations for the Royal arrival had started much earlier.The night before, a beacon was lit on the Headland to mark the 400th anniversary of a freedom charter being handed over by Queen Elizabeth 1 as well as being a sign of welcome for the Royal guests.Hours later, workmen were out from the early hours on the day of the Royal arrival, sweeping up. And the Davis family from Greatham were the first to arrive and managed to book a prime spot to see the Queen.Simply Magic said one headline.It certainly was for schoolgirl Emma Metcalf who got to hand a posy to the Queen.Lily Weatherall, 82, loved it as well because she got to meet Her Majesty.But it was much more besides and, as the Hartlepool Mail put it at the time: “Young and old made it a day to remember for a town trying to forget the last few troubled years.”It was described as proof that Hartlepool’s renaissance was well on course and MP Peter Mandelson said: “The Royal visit brought out the people of Hartlepool and brought out the best of the people of Hartlepool.”Another part of the visit was a chance for the Royal party to meet the residents of the Bramley Court sheltered housing complex at Rossmere.

Her Majesty paid a visit to the Easington Pit Disaster Garden in 2002. She got to see the memorial which was in tribute to those who died in the Easington pit disaster of 1951.

Queen Elizabeth was pictured on a visit to the Easington Pit Disaster Garden in 2002.

Her Majesty also got to learn about the Turning The Tide project in East Durham.

Were you pictured meeting her or perhaps you are the youngster who got to present Her Majesty with a bouquet of flowers. What are your memories of the day? We would love to hear from you.

We would love your memories of seeing the Queen in the area. Get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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The royal visitor on a 1993 walkabout in Hartlepool.
A great vantage point to see the Queen in 1993.
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 crowds packed into the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre to see the Queen in 1977.
Who do you recognise in this 1977 photo of Hartlepool people meeting the Queen?
The Queen pictured at Peterlee during a visit to the area in 1960. Were you there?