On the morning of 5th December 1958 Highbridge came to life with growing excitement in anticipation of the visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Bunting, pictures and flags adorned Market Street and Church Street the route the Royal party were to take to the Radio Station. Highbridge Station buildings, where the Queen would arrive were unrecognisable with a façade completely covering the front entrance. Flowers and shrubs also added to the colourful display.
The Royal train arrived at 10.00 a.m. onto the platform stepped Her Majesty to be welcomed by the Lord Lieutenant of Somerset and Mrs E.E.J. Herring (Chairman of Highbridge and Burnham Urban District Council). The Queen was alone, the Duke of Edinburgh who had been on a visit in Europe had been delayed by bad weather and could not make the visit.
Below is a film by Burnham filmmaker Norman Gobey of the Queen arriving at Highbridge Station, followed by her visit to King Alfred School and the radio station. Shot in December 1958 on 9.5mm this silent film was part of a collection donated to Somerset Film by the North Sedgemoor Local History Group.
The Royal party travelled through Market Street and Church Street, which by this time had filled with people eager to see the Queen whose destination was the Radio Station in Worston Road. Here she was greeted by the Postmaster General Mr. Ernest Marples and introduced to members of the Radio Station and the local M.P. Sir Gerald Wills. There followed a tour of the Radio Station to demonstrate how messages were received and transmitted to shipping in all parts of the world. After the tour, which last some forty minutes, the Royal party left to return via the town, to the railway station. The Royal train left Highbridge at 11.00 a.m. for Bristol where a four hour visit had been planned for the same day.
The Queen’s visit had been short, but it was exciting and enjoyed by many of the local people.
The next Royal celebration was for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977 and to mark the occasion the people of Highbridge had, at a Public Meeting, discussed what arrangements they should be make to celebrate this special day. Several people had agreed to serve on the organising committee and produce a programme of events for Jubilee Week…. Read more here.