The day the Queen came to town.

QE Hospital is officially opened

By Linda Perry

The Queen opens the QE II hospital in 1963
WGC Library

All my friends and I were wildly excited when the Queen came to town to open the Queen Elizabeth II hospital in 1963.

I was at at Rollswood School and I remember marching from school all the way down Howlands to sit in a position ,just opposite where I lived at 405 Howlands, near the junction of Hollybush Lane and wait for her car.

There were lots of other children there and I suppose a number came from Creswick School at the other end of Howlands.

Barbara Cartland

I think we must have had flags to wave and I heard later that they had been supplied by local author, Barbara Cartland, as the local council said they couldn’t afford them.

After the Queen had driven by I thought, “that’s good, I’ll be able to go home now”, but we had to walk all the way back to the school and finish our lessons.

Do you remember the day the Queen came to town, on this occasion and on the hospital’s anniversay in the 1980s? Why not log on and share your memories with others.

This page was added on 06/08/2009.

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  • I remember this day well, I was at Howard school in 1963 and we went out the school back gates on to Holland’s to wave at the queen as she passed, QE11 was a marvellous hospital, unfortunately my mother died in there in 1964 but was made very comfortable by all the staff at the QE during her time there, was sorry to see it pulled down

    By Paul Fairbrother (10/03/2021)
  • I was at Blackthorn school (in my last year) when l went to see the Queen open the new hospital. Yes l remember waving my flag as the car went by. It was a lovely sunny day thank goodness. My mother first worked there as an ECG technician and then a nurse,
    she has since died at the age of 94. l will always remember her being very upset when the hospital was pulled down. My mother once told me a story about doing night duty at the hospital. She was in the lower floor (possibly the basement) she was washing something and the tap broke and she flooded the whole area. The sister said to her,
    ‘I thought it would have something to do with you nurse Horler’. My mother loved working at the hospital and made many friends there.

    By Denise Chadwick (28/01/2021)
  • I was sat on the PE benches which had been carried outside the school fence for us to sit on and wave our flags. I remember it seeming such a big event, but all over in a flash as the car swept by in seconds. I had expected to see a lady in a crown and robes so was a little confused by it all. Not a trace of the old Creswick School left and virtually no pictures online. Shame.

    By John Lee (17/12/2019)
  • More than pleased to have kept it safe during the Hospital demolition and repositioned this Plaque within the new Bellway Development Open Space Area.

    By Mark Todd (15/11/2019)
  • I also remember in 1963 leaving Rollswood Primary and walking with the rest of my school friends all the way down Howlands and sat on side of the road almost opposite the house I lived in (400 Howlands ) waiting on her majesty to pass by.. which she was all over in a matter of seconds..I also remember the confusion when all the children were told to return to school and then walk home again ! Thank God it wasn’t raining ! The only other time I saw the Queen “in the flesh” was at Royal Ascot in the 80s..

    By John E Lowe (01/05/2017)
  • I was still living with my parents off Knella Road until I got married a mere 7 years after this event.  I remember we were given the day off work (at that time I was employed by Fine Fare) and then I recall seeing the huge crowds of schoolkids walking towards the Howlands area as I trudged down Ludwick Way en route home.  Despite a clamity that soon occurred I joined the people who lived at no. 16 and we walked together down as near to Howlands as we could get, and I remember seeing kids from Peartree, Ludwick, Howard, Heronswood and many other local schools accompanied with their teachers in crowds.   Everybody was waving flags, especially the children, as the Queen arrived and then it soon died down as all returned to our domiciles that day.    Excitement the day was full of!

    By Peter Myers (17/02/2016)
  • In 1963, we lived at 81 Beehive Lane and if you walked to the road outside our house and looked left there be the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital. I well remember the huge crowds along Howlands, as everywhere was closed except from people selling flags. Me, my husband and our two infant children stood in an upstairs bedroom window which overlooked the hospital. That way we avoided the crowds which were plentiful   -  all the schools had come.

    By Jennifer Chapman (10/01/2016)
  • I remember the day well, I was 10 years old and had to walk down the hill from St.Johns JMI School in Digswell. We stood lining the road waving flags to watch her car pass by from Old Welwyn to WGC. My brother had been born the year before in the Peartree Maternity Hospital – I remember that place too. Does anyone have a photo of us that day?

    By Laurian Snowden (22/08/2015)
  • I was 21 years old when the Queen came to open the QEII and the council announced that no staff are to go into work for the day. We left our house, 39 Cranborne Gardens, with our new neighbors (moved in December gone) and as we approached the Woodhall shops the streets were full. You couldn’t see anything but people, and then we heard some cars turning right from Ludwick Way (it was the Queen, of course); we all spotted the Queen and then joined the mass crowd.  Lovely day that was.

    By George Boston (12/08/2015)
  • Oh yes, I remember when the Queen arrived in WGC for the opening of QEII. Both my company and my wife’s company gave us the day off, and I remember that my parents left their home on Ely Place and came to our house. We all left, and as we approached Cole Green Lane the streets were packed of families walking south towards Howlands. We joined the crowds. Hollybush Lane and Howlands were even busier as we eventually made our way there, it was an event nobody would miss! We got as close as we could.

    By Joseph Peterson (01/04/2015)
  • I remember the day the Queen arrived to open QEII Hospital.  I was 6 years old and attended Our Lady’s RC School.  We all sat on the grass verge along Chequers and waved our flags as the Queen went by.  Unfortunately, there weren’t enough flags to go around so some of us had lolly sticks with strips of red, white and blue paper stuck to them!

    By Teresa Fogarty (27/06/2014)
  • I remember feeling very proud. My grandmother was in QEII at the time and she met the queen. I still have the photo of their encounter!

    By Gillian Rimbeault (07/04/2014)
  • Fab to discover your website ! I also remember the day HRH visited! Used to live @ 390 Howlands. My Mum was not happy that we children lined-up on Howlands, by our house (she provided drinks & biscuits to us kids) but then as you say, us kids had to march back to school, just to turn around to walk back home again! Think school made us make our own Union Jack Flags to wave? Somewhere I still have the WH Times edition saved Helen Attended Rollswood, Burnside,The High School/Sir Freds.

    By Helen Keeling (03/08/2013)
  • Aged 7 I was marched out of Moatwood School all the way to the bottom end of Chequers. And ended up of all place outside my own house. She came past and we waved the flags we had all been given. See above, North Korea would be proud of this, and then after the great one had gone , marched all the way back to school . We also had to finish our lessons. I remember that we had to write about what we had seen and in particular what the Queen was wearing!! I, as a boy, had no clue, being colour blind, even less clue, luckily a gilr next to me said she had green gloves on. What a day! And now effectively as a general hospital it’s being closed.

    By eric morgan (24/02/2013)
  • I remember the Queen coming past at the bottom of Howlands. All of Creswick school was outside waving. Half of Howards school also came out , I remember my sisters being on the oppisite side to me. The only time I have seen the queen in the flesh.

    By Ron watts (29/06/2012)
  • I can rememmber sitting along chequers with my flag the day Queen Elizabeth II Opened the QEII hospital. I was 7 at the time and was sitting with the rest of the children I went to school with at Our Lady’s RC School which backed onto Chequers. I also had one of these flags to wave. I remember my teacher’s name was Mrs Ringham. I never knew at the time though that I would eventually be working there. I have been working at the QEII Hospital since 1981.

    By jenny hawkins (19/06/2012)