In History, Manchester

Some of the most radiant pictures of the Queen have come from her visits to Manchester over the years. iNostalgia presents memorable pictures of our monarch, as well as two earlier Royal visitors.

Crowds lined the streets, cheered and waved flags when King George V and Queen Mary came to Manchester in July 1913.

The country was only a year from war, but fears were put aside as well-wishers saluted the open state carriage and Household Cavalry escort as it made its way through the city.

Around 50,000 children sang to the Royal procession in Rusholme when it stopped at Birchfields Park and Platt Fields Park.

There was a mighty welcome in Birch Park too where 25,000 children were joined by 1,000 women and 800 men from the Red Cross league. A reporter at the time noted that all the children sang heartily and waved red and blue handkerchiefs.

A visit to Manchester by King George V and Queen Mary
Crowds welcome King George V and Queen Mary to Manchester, July 1913

The scale was more muted, but no less heartfelt, when King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother came to Manchester at the height of World War II in February 1941.

The Royal couple toured the city to see the aftermath of the Christmas Blitz two months earlier. The heaviest raids took place on the nights of December 22nd and 23rd when 684 people were killed and 2,364 were injured.

The King and Queen visited several bomb sites including the Royal Exchange and Piccadilly Gardens. They also talked to members of the armed forces and emergency services who worked tirelessly through the bombings.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth talking to a group warden in Salford.
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in the aftermath of the Manchester Blitz, February 1941

Times were happier when the Queen and Prince Philip visited Manchester in February 1965. Our photo shows a smiling Queen waving from the Royal train as she leaves the city.

The Queen and Prince Philip leaving Manchester, 18th February 1965
Goodbye Manchester. The Queen and Prince Philip leave the city, February 1965

The heavens opened on the Royal visit of May 1968 – and the Queen carried her own umbrella to shelter from the Manchester rain.

The Queen sheltering under an umbrella in rainy Manchester, 1968
Sheltering from the Manchester rain, May 1968

The drizzle didn’t dampen the spirits of the waiting crowds though. Children lined the canal bank at Worsley Bridge to welcome the monarch.

Children stood at Worsley bridge to greet the queen
Children line the canal bank at Worsley Bridge to greet the Queen, May 1968

Large scale parties and parades were the order of the day in 1977 as the nation celebrated the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. The Queen and Prince Philip visited 36 countries during the year and made extensive trips throughout the UK.

The anniversary date itself was commemorated in church services across the country on February 6th. Jubilee Days were held in June to coincide with the Queen’s official birthday.

The Queen came to Manchester on June 20th and created one of the most memorable images of the 1977 celebrations. It was called ‘Hello Manchester!’

M.E.N. photographers captured the moment the Queen stood at a window in Manchester Town Hall and waved to the crowds below. The people cheered back.

The Queen waves from the first floor window of The Manchester Town Hall
Hello Manchester! The Queen waves from the Town Hall window, June 1977

The crowds were no less enthusiastic when the Queen came back to the city in May 1982. Well-wishers presented her with bunches of flowers, many still in their wrappings!

The Queen receives flowers from the crowd during a visit to Manchester
Flowers for the Queen during her visit to Manchester, May 1982

The Royal visit of 1982 also included a trip to the Coronation Street set where the Queen and Prince Philip chatted to the cast of Britain’s longest-running soap opera.

Mayor of Weatherfield Alf Roberts, played by Bryan Mosley, entertained the Royal couple outside his corner shop which sported a patriotic engagement picture of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana!

Also in the photo are cast members Eddie Yeats (Geoffrey Hughes), Jean Alexander (Hilda Ogden), William Roache (Ken Barlow), Johnny Briggs (Mike Baldwin) and Albert Tatlock (Jack Howarth).

The queen during a visit to the Coronation Street set
Coronation Street welcomes the Queen and Prince Philip, May 1982

Finally in our round-up, the Queen is at her radiant best visiting Bolton in November 1988. She arrived with the Duke of Edinburgh to help celebrate the town’s 150th birthday.

It was a special day for Primary schoolchildren who were given time off to stand in Blackhorse Street. More than 6,000 of them waved flags of welcome as the Royal party slowly drove down the road.

During the visit the Queen officially opened the £40 million Market Place centre and the £5.5 million Water Place.

The queen greeting the crowd during a visit to Bolton in 1988
A beaming Queen in Bolton, November 1988

Memorable images like these – and many more like them – can be found in Clive Hardy’s brilliant new book Around Manchester in the 1970s.

It’s crammed with more than 300 photos and illustrations that truly bring the decade to life. For the first time in the series, there are colour pictures too!

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