The Royal Visit July 14th 1937

Photo reference number: 940

This photo is one of a set of six from a private collection. The shots were taken from an upstairs window of a property in Commercial Street opposite Woolworths.

Text from Haydn Davis' book "The History of Newport":

"It was only two months after the Coronation (12 May 1937) when what some would call the greatest day in Newport's history occurred. On 14th July, for the first time ever, a reigning monarch made an official visit to the town. This could have been considered to be the demolition of the theory that the Chartist uprising had caused Newport to be placed on a Royal blacklist, or else if there were anything in the story, all was now forgiven.
The main intention of the visit was for King George VI to cut the first sod of the new Civic Centre, and when the Royal Couple set foot on the red carpet at High Street Station, they found practically the whole population awaiting them in streets now surely used to brilliant adornment.
The procession passed between massed ranks of cheering, loyal subjects and school children given a special holiday, to assemble at St Mary's Lodge Fields Road, the home of Mrs A B Watson, a lady who had very generously donated the house and garden to Newport as part of the site of the new Civic Centre. Here in its pretty rose garden surrounded by town and county dignitaries, King George expertly cut the first sod with a spade made by Messrs Pleasance and Harper from 35 ounces of silver, which thereafter found pride of place in the Public Museum.
Queen Elizabeth then complimented Mrs Watson on her garden, sympathised over its forthcoming destruction, told the Lord Lieutenant that he had lost a silver buckle from his shoe, pointed out where it lay in the grass and then the Royal Couple were on their way to Cardiff to continue their tour of the Principality."