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Sunday, 23 November 2014

Queen of Furness

THERE was no chance of sitting in front of the TV to watch the royal wedding of Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh on November 20 in 1947.

Some would have tuned into the radio but most relied on the Evening Mail for the latest news.

Elaborate plans had been laid to get pictures from the Thursday ceremony in London into the last edition of that day’s paper.

An editorial noted: “Photographs of the ceremony were to be flown to various points and the Evening Mail chartered a plane to meet them at Yeadon and bring them in time for our final edition.

“Conditions became unfavourable during the day, planes were diverted from their course and eventually our plane was redirected to pick up the pictures at Sherburn.”

Mid-way through the flight to Walney the plane was forced to turn back to Yeadon, near Leeds, due to bad weather and the lack of lights for a night landing at Walney.

A clearly disgusted editor told readers: “The deserted, neglected state of Walney aerodrome is a disgrace to whoever might be responsible – presumably the Ministry of Civil Aviation – and the generally woebegone appearance of this once active RAF establishment must cause the gravest doubts as to whether Barrow is ever to achieve the municipal airport for which it has striven so long.”

You could get in the celebration mood at fun fairs in Barrow and Ulverston.

Emerson and Harzard brought the jungle speedway to land next to the old indoor market while the Scott Brothers were on the Gill with a ride called the super dodgems.

The weekend soccer match was between Barrow AFC and Tranmere at Holker Street.

The Victoria Park Hotel had dancing every Saturday night in the ballroom with tickets at four shillings (20p) and music from Bert Dinnen and the Victoria Park Orchestra.

You needed cash and 12 ration book coupons to buy a navy school coat at Bettys in Dalton Road, Barrow.

Barrow’s Apollo Ballroom had a spot dance with music from the Peter Hartley Sextet. Tickets were a half-crown (12p) and there were free midnight buses home to all parts of Barrow.

At the pictures you could see Bette Davis in Deception at the Ritz and Margaret Lockwood in Quiet Wedding at the Regal.

There were few organised events in Barrow for the royal wedding but at least two streets had a great time.

The Evening Mail noted: “Although there was no civic celebration of the royal wedding in Barrow, the inhabitants of Penrith and Sutherland Streets combined to make the event memorable.

“A ladies’ committee led by Mrs B Fisher had been collecting for eight weeks and in the Assembly Rooms, the Strand, they celebrated in royal style.

“During the afternoon and early evening some 80 children were entertained to tea and games.

“Besides the meal, including trifle and cream cakes, they also had ice-cream and pop.

“The mayoress, Mrs M Shuttleworth, visited the scene of festivity and was presented with a spray of flowers by Miss Eva Pearson.

“Before leaving, all the children received a present.

“Later in the evening the adults of the two streets held a social and dance.”

A tea and party was also held for youngsters from Broughton and Aulthurtside Schools. It was to be something of a leaving party for some of the children as the decision had been taken to close the Church of England School at Aulthurstside as it had just 11 pupils.

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