MEMORY LANE: Royals win hearts during visit to Buxton in June 1949

Princess Elizabeth, with the bouquet made by Miss Ivy Richardson, of Buxton, during the royal visit to the town in 1949.
Princess Elizabeth, with the bouquet made by Miss Ivy Richardson, of Buxton, during the royal visit to the town in 1949.

A holiday mood and glorious sunshine greeted the then Princess Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh during their visit to Buxton in the late June of 1949.

With festival season in full swing, the royal couple paid a visit to the decorated St Ann’s Well.

Mayoress Mrs G. A. Williams presents a bouquet to Princess Elizabeth, watched by the Duke of Edinburgh, during their visit to Buxton in 1949.

Mayoress Mrs G. A. Williams presents a bouquet to Princess Elizabeth, watched by the Duke of Edinburgh, during their visit to Buxton in 1949.

Thousands of people from across the district - and even further afield - lined the route to the Crescent and packed onto the Slopes, eager to catch a glimpse of the distinguished visitors.

And such was the determination to secure a good view that some took up their positions behind St Ann’s Well as early as 7.30am!

The Advertiser of Saturday July 2, 1949, reported: “Priority in the Crescent was given to invalids and the aged, and it was a popular move to give the disabled and elderly a grandstand view from the windows of the St Ann’s Hotel. It was generally agreed this was quite the best use the old building had been put to for years.”

The Royals were greeted by the mayor and mayoress. The Princess was handed a beautiful shower bouquet made by Buxton resident Ivy Richardson, and the Duke a bound volume of ‘Buxton Under the Dukes of Devonshire’.

All the best for Buxton’ said the Duke with a smile and a cheery wave as he departed... and the people around, delighted by the charming manner of the Princess and the unassuming way of the Duke, returned his good wishes with a great volume of cheering.

Buxton Advertiser edition of Saturday July 2, 1949

Both were fascinated by the well decorations, while the Duke admired the architecture of the Crescent and questioned the Mayor regarding its history.

It proved to be a day to remember for 15-year-old Buxton Well Dressing Festival Queen Joan Mellor, who described the experience of meeting the future monarch as “the most exciting moment of my life”.

Reported the Advertiser: “The crowds cheered, flags waved from many hands, mothers were seen to dry their eyes and fathers to fumble with their handkerchiefs at so happy a pleasing picture. The success of the Royal visit was complete.

“‘All the best for Buxton’ said the Duke with a smile and a cheery wave as he departed... and the people around, delighted by the charming manner of the Princess and the unassuming way of the Duke, returned his good wishes with a great volume of cheering.”

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh wave to the crowds during their visit to Buxton in 1949.

Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh wave to the crowds during their visit to Buxton in 1949.