Golden Jubilee Celebrations

A visit from Elizabeth, the Queen Mother

By Roger Filler

Molly Jennings, WGC's first resident, is presented with a goblet by the Queen Mother, during the town's Golden Jubilee Celebrations in 1970
Welwyn Garden City Library

The town’s 50th anniversary in 1970 was a royal occasion.

Queen Mother

The highlight of WGC’s Golden Jubilee year was a visit from Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, on 30 May of that year. Wearing green, HRH walked among the thousands of residents who turned out to wave flags and cheer.

Memorial Garden

She opened a memorial garden to the town’s architect and planner Louis de Soissons at the top of the Campus and presented a goblet to WGC’s first resident, Molly Jennings. She also gave tankards to 19 other town pioneers.

Stanborough Park

This was also the year that the park at Stanborough Lakes officially opened with a grand water carnival in the autumn of 1970, attracting 40,000, which choked the roads and car parks for miles around. Much of the earth excavated during the improvements to the A1M, was used the landscape the park, creating the artifical hillocks around the lakes.

Do you remember the Golden Celebrations of 1970 and the Queen Mother’s visit? Did you go to that original water carnival? Share your memories by logging on today.

This page was added on 06/09/2009.

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  • A day I shall never forget ! As members of The Junior Boys Brigade 2nd WGC,my cousin Geoff and I were both stood at the edge of the footpath that crosses the Campus as The Queen Mother approached. To our surprise and outright pleasure she paused and then came across to talk to us. She asked us where and when our Brigade evenings took part and congratulated us on looking so smart in uniform. As she moved off one of her entourage, a very distinguished and very tall gentleman in uniform patted us both on the shoulder with a very loud “Well done lads! ” Then followed her along the path. Wow what a day !

    By Ray Pitcher (09/10/2017)
  • I lived in Welwyn Garden City from 1965 to 1973 and I remember the Golden Jubilee celebrations. I particularly remember the Queen Mothers visit to open the memorial garden to Louis de Soissons. During her speech the speakers emitted a howling screech due to feedback. The other thing I remember is the walkabout. I was in the second row of the crowd and I was about 6 to 8 feet away from her. I remember being surprised at how small she was.

    By Keith Whye (26/08/2016)
  • Yes, I certainly remember that day! My wife’s dad worked for the Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and he invited¬†us (with my parents and our children) to join him at the celebration to meet the Queen Mother! Like Geoff, I remember it being incredibly sunny and that we had to buy sun cream for Peartree Shops on the way there cause it was so warm. My father-in-law greeted The Queen Mother on her entrance into the Garden City, then after Dennis’ tea at the WDS restaurant my father-in-law had the privilege of showing her round the houses near Woodhall and Peartree, mainly to show off the shops.¬† My children met the Queen Mother, and me & my wife did also. My kids (now grown up) have kept their one photo each of them stood with the Queen Mother. We also kept ours somewhere. Oh, what a happy day that was!

    By Joseph Peterson (05/04/2015)
  • The opening of the water parks was celebrated with a procession of floats. As I had just been in a play at the Barn theatre about a mermaid, the Council asked me to don wig and fishtail as a mermaid for the Council float, the theme of which was water, of course! Part of the route took us around the campus and I saw my Dad there talking to Sir Frederic Osbourne, proudly pointing me out as his daughter. It was freezing cold but the final event of fireworks down by the lakes made up for it to end a memorable day.

    By Rina Bayly (18/11/2013)
  • I certainly remember that day – I was the Chairman of the Golden Jubilee Committee, which had representatives of every facet of the town’s life represented. The Queen Mother went around the Golden CONTACT Exhibition of over 100 local organisations, and then my wife and I had the privilege of taking tea with her in the Welwyn Department Store restaurant. The Queen Mother remarked on how well the children behaved and said that we lived in a beautiful town. We are now only 7 years from our Centenary, and I hope that we shall see another member of the Royal Family here, to share in our festivities in 2020. I have very many happy memories of the programme of events in 1970 – it ran throughout the year and was titled “Go-Jo 70” with many activities featured on The Campus – we even had professional wrestling in the huge marquees which housed many attractions for the Golden Jubilee

    By Dr Dennis Lewis (05/10/2013)
  • Yes, I was on the Campus that day and was quite close to the Queen Mother at one point. I remember that day was quite warm and sunny and there was a big turnout of people.

    By Geoff Knowles (24/02/2013)