Memory Lane: When crowds flocked for Prince’s visit

HRH Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales, inspects the guard of honour in Talbot Square, during his visit to Blackpool on July 8 1921

HRH Prince Edward, The Prince of Wales, inspects the guard of honour in Talbot Square, during his visit to Blackpool on July 8 1921

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THIS week’s royal visit by Prince Edward – one of the country’s first official events to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year – prompted a search through The Gazette archives for photographs of Blackpool’s earlier encounters with his namesake.

A cheerful looking Prince of Wales – the current Edward’s great uncle – was captured on July 8, 1921, doffing his bowler while inspecting a guard of honour in Talbot Square.

Gazette Years Miners Edward Prince of Wales 28th June 1927

Gazette Years Miners Edward Prince of Wales 28th June 1927

Six years later, on June 28, 1927, there was a more serious expression on Edward’s face as he prepared to open the Lancashire and Cheshire Miners’ Convalescent Home on Queens Promenade.

Edward had passed through an almost unbroken avenue of cheering residents and holidaymakers along nine miles of coast from Lytham to Bispham.

When the Prince arrived at the home, more than half an hour later than expected because of his car’s slow progress up the seafront, a crowd of around 20,000 was waiting.

The Gazette reported that seldom had Edward “for all his worldwide popularity, had a reception of more homely and hearty enthusiasm”.

After waving to the throng of people, Edward, accompanied by Lord Derby and other dignitaries, went to the main entrance door, which he opened with a golden key, presented to the Prince in a casket by the architect.

The Prince then entered the building, followed by more than 100 guests, and signed the first entry in the visitors’ book with the signature Edward P.

For decades, the home provided a place where miners could recuperate from illness brought on the by harsh conditions in which they worked.

The property continued to operate as a convalescent home for miners until the late 1980s, when it became something of a forgotten landmark.

Now, as Admiral Point, it has been restored and converted into apartments, flanked by two modern blocks, with further homes at the rear of the site.