On Monday 4th April 1966, the Bletchley community came together to celebrate what the Bletchley District Gazette later called a ‘Youthful, Joyful Royal Day’. Many children lined the royal party’s route as Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bletchley, prompting the couple to comment on the number of youngsters in the town.
One of the highlights of this special day was when the Queen & Duke paid a visit to the Spence family at their home in Warwick Place. Mrs Spence showed the Royal group round their £3 11s 7d-a-week council house, which the Queen said she liked very much. Bill and Fay Spence and their two sons had moved to Bletchley from London and the Queen was interested to know if they missed the City at all. Mrs Spence’s reply was that ‘we don't miss the bright lights, for we have been in Bletchley for 8 years now and we are very happy here!’ The Spences chatted about Bill’s job and the two boys’ future aspirations before the Queen and Duke left to call at the infants’ school on the Rivers Estate. After meeting several local dignitaries, the royal couple went on a tour of the school with headmistress Mrs Joan Smith.
Mrs Joan Smith standing on the Queen's left
Although it was outside normal school hours, the children were busy with their usual activities and the Duke chatted to some of them about their work. He also spoke to dinner lady Daphne Peacock, who was looking after children in one of the classrooms.
Mrs. Daphne Peacock talking with the Duke of Edinburgh
The Queen and Duke had arrived in Bletchley on the Royal Train. Newport Pagnell man John Hardy was involved through the Civil Defence Organisation in providing and maintaining a radio link between the towns and villages en-route.
Here you can see the Civil Defence members wearing their radio packs on their backs.
Local railwaymen were working on the train all the time it was in the North Buckinghamshire area. Railway Guard William Caldwell was in charge of the royal train up until six o’clock on the Monday morning of the visit and, some ten hours later, was presented to the royal couple in his role of Councillor, Chairman of Bletchley’s Development Committee.
The Queen's car travelled through Bletchley along the then Bletchley Road, through the centre of town. The offices of Bletchley Urban District Council were on the corner of the road where it joins Victoria Road. Mrs Jo Coll was working at the offices at the time and remembers dashing out with her friend Molly, to see the Queen. ‘We stood on the traffic island in the middle of the road, just the two of us’, she recalls.
The Council decided to honour the visit; from July 1st 1966, Bletchley Road was to be known as ‘Queensway’- the name it retains today.
More Royal photos
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