Royal Visits To Ormskirk
We don’t have to go too far back in time to find firm evidence of visits to Ormskirk by the Royal Family. In the Summer of 1885, Edward, Prince of Wales, later to become Edward VII, came to the town for a short visit to Lathom House.
To mark the occasion, as was the trend at the time, a commemorative medal was struck and made available as a souvenir of the visit. The town folk and dignitaries met the Prince’s train at Ormskirk Station, which had been newly painted, making the Royal party welcome with declarations of the support of the town for the Queen and the Royal Family. Around £350 was raised through subscription for the staging of an elaborate reception. At the Railway Station a 40ft x 30ft awning ‘upon polished pillars’ was erected and the Station approach right up to Derby Street was festooned with garlands and flowers, at the expense of the Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway Company.
Almost 3000 local school children were to be gathered in a suitable part of the town to collectively sing ‘God Bless The Prince Of Wales’ and in the evening the whole town was to be ‘illuminated’ at the expense of the local gas company. On his return to the station after his short stay at Lathom House, the main thoroughfare through the town, Moor Street, was thronged with well wishers.
It is probably during this visit, according to reports, that the Prince and Princess acquired a taste for Ormskirk Gingerbread.
Moving forward a few decades, the new King, George V, our own Queen’s grandfather, passes through the town on a tour of the Northern industrial towns of Lancashire. He is accompanied by Queen Mary, who can be clearly seen in the rear of the Royal car as it passes along Moor Street and drives into Church Street. The Steps of the King’s Arms give locals a vantage point from which to spot the Royal Couple.
In 1921, another Prince of Wales visits the town, the visit is recorded by the Ormskirk Advertiser and the Prince mixes with the veterans of the World War accompanied by the Earl of Lathom.
The next visit to the town comes in 1945, when George VI and Queen Elizabeth, our present Queen’s parents, drive through the town along Moor Street with throngs of people lining the streets once again.
Moving into the 1960s, Royal visits to Edge Hill College, St Helens Road saw Princess Margaret opening a new wing at the College in 1962 and afterwards being driven through the town with hundreds of school children lining Moor Street to wave her past and Prince Philip has also visited the College.
Ormskirk Bygone Times have accumulated a collection of photographs and new reports related to these Royal Visits and we would be interested in hearing from anyone with any pictures of Princess Margaret being driven through the town and also any pictures of the visit of The Prince and Princess of Wales, Charles and Diana, to Skelmersdale and Up Holland in the mid 1980s. If you can help us out at all you can contact us here.