Great Britain

The day the Duke of Edinburgh came to Durham

THERE was a technical error in Memories 521, when we told of the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit to Durham on June 24, 1960. The pictures in the Echo archive have “Durham Technical School” written on the rear of them, and so we said that the duke visited Durham Johnston Grammar Technical School.

“I attended that school from 1958 to 1965 but recalled no such visit,” says Glynn Wales. “On examining more closely the photograph, I noted a blazer badge which I failed to recognise and something which I regard as the major deficiency of my otherwise quite successful education at the School - namely the presence of girls (it was not until comprehensivisation in the 1970s that Durham Johnston became co-educational).”

John Dixon says: “None of my friends remember this event taking place at the school, nor did it appear in the school magazine. Perhaps we were away on a visit - such as to the Roman Wall - but we are sure that if it did occur at the school, we would have known about it.”

So now we’ve gone back to the original paper where we learn that the duke overnighted in the royal train at Durham station before being greeted on the platform by Lord Barnard, the Lord Lieutenant. He was then driven to Durham Technical College, at Framwellgate Moor. It was set up in 1957 to cater for the mining industry and merged in 1977 with Neville’s Cross teacher training college to form New College.

Hundreds of young people from across the county who were doing the Duke of Edinburgh Awards were invited to the event. Sheila Cunningham in Mainsforth recognised her uncle, John Malcolm, on one of our pictures. Although born in Spennymoor, he was a teacher at Blaydon, and she recalled that he had the country dance picture standing in a frame on his piano.

After the technical college, the duke was flown by helicopter to Eastbourne school in Darlington. He landed on the playing field and was greeted by 1,000 cheering children – and Lord Barnard again.

He was whisked off to lunch at the King’s Head (melon balls and grapefruit starter, roast beef main, fresh fruit salad dessert) before returning to the school to meet awards entrants. He was taken to Neasham to see children canoeing on the Tees and to take refreshments at Neasham Abbey, the home of Mr and Mrs RD Swan.

He then, from RAF Middleton St George, piloted his own bright red Heron aircraft home to London.

Hopefully that clears up the confusion.

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