Today’s Midweek Retro celebrates tomorrow’s visit to Sheffield by the Queen by looking back to a Royal trip to South Yorkshire in 1986.
Following stops at Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley on December 12, 1986, the Queen visited Sheffield to open the newly roofed-over Spion Kop at Hillsborough stadium and also an extension to the city’s Assay Office.
Elizabeth II had been at the stadium for her first visit to Sheffield 32 years before, when she was a new monarch, with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1954.
On that occasion, the Queen and Prince Philip watched thousands of youngsters form themselves into a giant welcome sign and a Union Jack.
The Royal couple then toured round the stadium on an open Land Rover so that the 40,000 cheering youngsters in the stadium could see them.
At Hillsborough in 1986 a crowd of 35,000 waited to greet the Queen, who first appeared in the directors’ box.
The Star reported: “One youngster threw a single red rose at her feet and others held out their arms eagerly as she was escorted beneath the players’ tunnel at the end of the unveiling ceremony at Hillsborough’s new £1m Kop.”
The City of Sheffield Girls’ Choir, conducted by Vivien Pike, stood in the centre of the pitch to sing songs they had composed specially for the day.
The Queen clutched a posy of lemon roses that had been presented to her by four-year-old Bethany Lane as she listened to the performance.
Then, as in 1954, the Queen was driven around the edge of the pitch so that the crowd could see her, this time riding in a black Rolls Royce.
The Queen arrived in South Yorkshire by train to Doncaster to unveil a plaque at the town’s new Lakeside leisure park, which was then just being built.
The station had been newly spruced up for the Royal arrival.
There had been tensions between the borough council and traders along the Royal route about who should provide bunting and in the end there wasn’t much of a show on the day.
The Star reported how 10-year-old Kelly Brough from Adwick-le-Street had played truant to present the Queen with a bouquet of freesias, ducking under barriers to meet the monarch.
Wonder what her teachers thought of that?
The Royal party went via Mexborough to visit a new business centre at Brampton Bierlow near Rotherham, then to Barnsley for a visit to the Council for Voluntary Service offices and lunch at the town hall.
A prayer vigil took place in Rotherham on the day of the Royal visit to call for action against unemployment. It was supported by the Bishop of Sheffield, the Rt Rev David Lunn, the Methodist district chairman Stanley Booth and many Christian groups.
The Queen’s trip to Sheffield, taking in Hillsborough and the Assay Office in Portobello Street, took place in the afternoon.
There was time for a cuppa at the town hall with Lord Mayor Coun Frank Prince before the Queen boarded the Royal Train from Midland station.
She was greeted by a huge crowd who had waited more than two hours to see her.
Loud cheers greeted the Queen when she stepped on to the town hall balcony, just as she had on that first visit with her new husband back in 1954.
n Saturday’s Retro is a special on the Queen’s visits to South Yorkshire over the past 61 years.
Do you have any memories you would like to share? We’d love to hear from you.
If you get in touch by Friday morning, we’ll use your stories in our Retro special.