There’s no doubt about it, the second world war years must have been tough on the people of Blantyre. So, what better way to lift morale and community spirit by having none other than the King and Queen visit Blantyre in 1942. We would know her as the current Queen’s mother. King George VI and Queen Elizabeth actually were touring Scotland and England as a whole during the war years to lift morale in general. Here they are pictured opening the new season of Blantyre Miner’s Welfare Bowling Green. King George VI in standing in the centre of the photo.
The date was Thursday 4th June 1942. They sat down to a meat tea in the Miners Welfare (previously nicknamed “Little Moscow”). The Queen placed herself firmly amongst Blantyre people choosing to sit between a working miner and the District Welfare organiser. Other miners and their wives sat around her table and the miners jazz band played before tea. Before the tea, the Royal visitors had walked through the club rooms and billiard rooms chatting to miners about to go on their shift.
Incredibly, this Royal has visited Blantyre a total of THREE times!
The first as the Duchess of Kent when she opened Blantyre’s David Livingstone Memorial in 1929. The second here during the war, then again in 1977 during the Jubilee year when she opened the Africa Pavilions ,again at the centre.
What?! You actually want to see some video of the 1942 visit i hear you say? lol. Of course, we’ve dug a little deeper and actually have some video for you. So, at over 70 years old, here’s some footage of that right Royal Blantyre day:
Source: Western Morning News Archives, Pathe News.