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The Royal Visit to Wakefield July 1912
Although today we are accustomed to royal visits and walkabouts, 100 years ago the King & Queen rarely came into contact with ordinary people. However in 1912 King George V and Queen Mary set out on a series of pioneering tours to the industrial and mining areas of Britain, beginning with a visit to South Wales.
In July the Royal couple embarked on their second tour, a four-day visit to Yorkshire, to acquaint themselves with the diversity of West Riding industries. On Wednesday 10th July they came to Wakefield to visit three engineering firms: George Craddock, wire rope manufacturers, the Seamless Boat Co and E. Green & Sons Ltd whose prosperity was founded on the Economiser. The King showed a keen interest, not only in the various industrial processes but also about working conditions and wages. The King and Queen were warmly greeted by cheering crowds, particularly the schoolchildren who had been granted a holiday from their classes.
The whole tour was deemed a great success and the King’s determination to meet ordinary working people and discover more about their lives set a precedent followed to this day.
For a more detailed account of the visit see “Great Crowds and Cordial Greetings” by Deborah Scriven in Wakefield Historical Society Journal vol.13 (2004)
Deborah Scriven 2011
ABOVE: The Royal Visit of King George V and Queen Mary to Wakefield, 10th July 1912.
Image by kind permission of the copyholder from A Wakefield Council Libraries
Photographic collection at www.twixtaireandcalder.org.uk