Queen Mum memories pub menu

PEOPLE of North Herts have always taken great pride in the fact that the Queen Mother was a local girl, spending much of her happy childhood at St Paul s Walden Bury and regularly visiting Hitchin to go shopping and to see her governess. Her affection for

PEOPLE of North Herts have always taken great pride in the fact that the Queen Mother was a local girl, spending much of her happy childhood at St Paul's Walden Bury and regularly visiting Hitchin to go shopping and to see her governess.

Her affection for the area ran deep. During the years she was Queen and throughout her long widowhood, she was a regular visitor to her old family home near Whitwell, where her beloved brother David lived with his wife Rachel.

After David's death she would stay with his son Simon, who is now Sir Simon Bowes Lyon, the Lord Lieutenant of Hertfordshire, and his wife Caroline, who is a patron of the British Schools Museum in Hitchin.

Their help has been invaluable in mounting a special exhibition at the British Schools recalling the childhood of their much-loved aunt.


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It features many clothes, books and photographs including two scrapbooks the Queen Mother put together with David, one of David's painting books and the family baby carriage which would have been used for the baby Elizabeth.

Also on display will be a range of photographs of the young Elizabeth Bowes Lyon wearing clothes very similar to ones featured in the exhibition along with some of her reading books.

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No one could have suspected that the little girl born in 1900, the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, would live to be over 100 and be known by three Royal titles - the Duchess of York, the Queen as consort to George VI and then, for 50 years, the Queen Mother.

"We believe this is the first time the clothes and books will have been seen together outside St Paul's Walden," said Fiona Dodwell, curator and organiser of the exhibition.

Some of the special display cases have been loaned by Luton Museum and others given by Mill Green Museum.

The exhibition will run for nine days from Saturday, February 10 until Sunday, February 18 and will open for three evenings to give the maximum opportunity for people to come along.

"This is the first time we have ever held such a prestigious exhibition and we want as many people as possible to come and see these fascinating displays," said Terry Ransome, who is helping with the displays.

"It gives us a superb start to our 2007 programme which we hope will be our most exciting yet with several displays including one commemorating the centenary of scouting - that can be seen at the same time as the Queen Mother exhibition."

The Schools hold a regular programme of events and are open to the public for much of the year on Tuesdays, Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons.

They are also the venue for several of the events in the new North Herts Book Festival including a book sale on March 10 with a visit by Star Wars Stormtroopers.

For the exhibition, Memories of the Queen Mother's Childhood - her Clothes, Books and Photographs, the British Schools' extended opening hours are Monday to Saturday - 10am to 4pm; Sunday - 2pm to 6pm; Evenings openings, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday - 6pm to 8pm.

From Monday to Friday at 2pm, Hitchin Historical Society guide Terry Knight will lead a walking tour of historic Hitchin, starting from the British Schools.

Visitors to the exhibition can get a free cake or muffin with a cup of tea or coffee at the Sun Hotel, where Elizabeth Bowes Lyon had dancing lessons, thanks to manager Paul Leitch.

For more information call the schools on 01462 453246 or look on the website www.hitchinbritishschools.org.uk

The British Schools, which occupy a unique set of historic classrooms, are in Queen Street, opposite Netto.

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