Echoes of the past: Royal visits 75 years apart show times have changed

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There are 75 years between these two royal visits.

The older one is a summer’s day in June 1912 when King George V and Queen Mary carried out a tour of the West Riding.

The mayor Alderman Robert Thornton JP decided to make this a real celebratory affair and although there were no funds for a coronation party from the rates, he offered to pay for it out of his own pocket. He personally paid for a treat for the older people of Brighouse and to give the children a celebratory medal.

The medals were designed by a very famous name - Fattorini’s of Bradford. On the one side of the medal would be an image of the King and Queen and the other the coat of arms of Brighouse.

I recently saw one of these medals for sale on EBay inviting bids starting from £3.99 and so far there are no takers. I have two and whilst they are not a valuable medal even now 103 years on they are nice piece of history. I am sure that there will be many others in the homes of some readers hidden away in the dark corners of a draw or cupboard.

This was the first visit to Brighouse of a reigning monarch and was declared a holiday.

No doubt a great delight to everyone, especially to the children who had a week off school. The 1907 first royal visit was Princess Louise who came to open the new Smith Art Gallery. She was the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. The King and Queen travelled from Cleckheaton along Highmoor Lane, down Clifton Common along King Street and up to Gooder Lane in Rastrick to catch a waiting train to take them to Halifax. In this scene the folks in Clifton Common are as near as they were probably allowed to get.

Everyone would have been very pleased to see after the rather disappointing royal visit in 1907, judging from the waving and the man on the right hand side of the car saluting the royal couple as they drive by.

A coronation fund was created for incidental expenses and by the time of the coronation celebrations the fund was £168, which today would be just short of £18,000.

It was 75 years later that Prince Charles came on one of a number of visits he made to Calderdale. From this crowd scene near the Brighouse Civic Hall perhaps you have been caught on camera welcoming him to our town on that day.