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When The Duke of Edinburgh visited Harlow

Harlow is 70: Why I Came Here / Sat 10th Apr 2021 at 01:46am

WE think the Duke of Edinburgh visited Harlow on at least two occasions. Both tours appeared to be an opportunity to showcase the virtues of the New Town.

This would be only seven years after the New Towns Act. By 1952, much of Harlow was still very much in development and so much of this visit was to show a plan in progress.

The context was so important. As we know, much of London was bombed out. The New Towns Act set out to resettle many of those communities.

And as, you will hear from the films below, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh would witness communities being built. From factory to community room to home.

1952

The visit in November 1952 concentrated on a number of areas off Edinburgh Way. To mark the occasion, the road that runs from Harlow Mill to Harlow Town Railway Station was named Edinburgh Way.

The visit in 1952 included a visit to the first common room in Harlow. It was based in Glebelands and was built in 1951.

When the Duke of Edinburgh visited in November 1952 local brownie Anne Hackett (nee Wells) presented the Duke with a set of bricks for Prince Charles inside the common room.

Each child was given a commemorative book.

The Duke also visited Moot House in The Stow.

The full programme can be seen below.

1957

The visit by The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh in October 1957 was quite extensive and felt like a tour of Harlow. We have already posted a news item on their visit to Mark Hall school off First Avenue.

As the Harlow Gazette reported, there was a great welcome for the couple. The largest crowds were at the Market Square in the Town Centre.

The photo below shows the Head Girl of Netteswell School being presented to the royal couple. We think this is in the Market Square.

There was a guard of honour by the 4th Battalion of the Essex Regiment (Territorial Army) which the Duke of Edinburgh inspected outside the Revertex Factory, suitably enough on Edinburgh Way.

Much of the tour seemed to concentrate on the Revertex factory as well as the new Glebelands common room

There is a picture of ten year old Anne Wells, presenting two gifts to the Duke for Prince Charles and Princess Anne in the Glebelands playground.

There was also a tour of Hughs Tower, next to the town centre. With the royal couple being accompanied Sir Frederick Gibberd and Chairman of the Harlow Development Corporation, Sir Richard Costain, much of the tour seems to focus on the merits of the new town, ten years on from its beginnings.

Photos and documents courtesy of a number of contributors from the Facebook page, Photos of Harlow, Old and New.

Thank you to the Harlow Museum team and Harlow Council.

Two films of the visit are below.

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