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The arrival and reception

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Her Majesty, accompanied by the Prince and Princess Christian, Princess Louise, and their suite, arrived at the Great Western Station from Windsor, shortly before ten o'clock a.m., Lord Derby being in attendance. Here they were received by the Chairman of the Great Western Railway, Sir D. Gooch, Captain Bulkeley, one of the Directors, and Mr. Grierson, the General Manager of the Line, who accompanied the party to and from their destination. The locomotive in use was the "Lord of the Isles," which was shown in the Exhibition of 1851.


The coal arch with the high level station in the background.

The scene presented at the Low Level Station at Wolverhampton was a brilliant one. This station being one of the largest in England, and entirely covered in by an iron and glass roof of imposing proportions, is well adapted to the purposes of a reception becoming the dignity of royalty. Profuse decorations covered every portion of the interior. The task of decorating the edifice had been intrusted to Mr. Lovatt, builder and contractor, of Wolverhampton. He was ably assisted with suggestive hints by Mr. Veall, Architect, of the same town. For the purposes of decoration the Admiralty supplied no less than two hundred and fifty flags, and liberal loans of the same gay emblems were made by the Inman Steamship Company, Liverpool, the Great Eastern Steamship Company, and others. These artistically arranged, filled the station from floor to roof with a blaze of colour, the effect of which was heightened by rich broad festoons of evergreens, picked out with artificial flowers, and sweeping from column to column, and from beam to beam, trailing up the walls and passing over the heads of doorways.

More than two miles of festoons were made in three days for this purpose. The choicest elements in the decorations were, however, the exquisite plants contributed by the Earl of Stamford and Warrington, Miss Hincks, Mr. Lowe, of Wolverhampton (who supplied nearly one thousand plants), and Mr. Langley of Castlecroft. Especially striking were the fruit bearing orange trees, chrysanthemums camelias, and other flowering plants, sent by Lord Stamford, which were displayed between the windows of the long range of offices and waiting rooms converted for the occasion into dining and waiting rooms for the Royal party. The floor of the platform was covered with crimson carpeting, and amongst the most striking items of detail were the presence, in every direction, of sententious expressions of loyalty and welcome. Along the parapet of the bridge over the down line were the words "Albert the Good." At the south end of the platform was a gallery capable of accommodating nearly three hundred persons. Ample provision was also made on the platform for the Guard of Honour of Her Majesty, a detachment of the 39th Foot and for the band of the 11th Hussars, a troop of which escorted the Queen through the town.

The exterior of the station was also very tastefully decorated; a large platform was erected, and a supplementary gallery was reared for the accommodation of school children. An adequate suite of rooms for the reception of the Royal party was obtained. Accommodation for the attendants was provided in the rooms surrounding the central booking office. The whole of the rooms were re-papered, and were furnished with great elegance. Major Thorneycroft and Mr. Hartley sent tables, chairs, and carpet from Tong Castle, for the Queen's dining room. The plate and glass were lent by Lord Stamford, Mrs. Thorneycroft, Mrs. Hartley, Mrs. Corser, and Mrs. H. H. Fowler; and a Committee of Ladies, consisting of the Mayoress, Mrs. Hartley, Mrs. Mander, Mrs. H. H. Fowler, and Mrs. Hayes, kindly superintended the preparation of the Queen's rooms. Furniture was also lent by the principal upholsterers and tradesmen. The floral decoration of the room was undertaken by Lord Stamford's gardener. Mr. Sidney Cartwright furnished a collection of pictures of Her Majesty's dining and retiring rooms, and Mr. Lawrence, of Queen Street, lent a collection which were hung in the dining room of the Lords and Ladies in Waiting.

In passing from the carriage to the reception rooms Her Majesty walked through lines of plants from all parts of the globe, interspersed with long graceful reeds of Pampas grass waving above the shrubs, and producing an effect as novel as it was beautiful. By twelve o'clock nearly every seat on the platform and in the gallery was occupied by a fashionably dressed company. Probably the first official personage to arrive was the Earl of Lichfield, the Lord-Lieutenant of the County, who wore the scarlet and gold uniform of his office. His Lordship was soon joined by Col. Lord Bagot, Colonel Lord Hatherton, Colonel Charles Bagot, the Mayor of Wolverhampton (J. Morris, Esq.), in his official robes; the Recorder of Wolverhampton (J. J. Powell, Esq., Q.C.); the Borough Members (The Right Hon. C. P. Villiers, in the uniform of one of Her Majesty's Privy Councillors, and T. M. Weguelin, Esq., in the scarlet uniform of a Deputy. Lieutenant).


Another view of the coal arch.

Also present were the Lord Bishop of Lichfield, the Ven. Archdeacon Moore, the Mayor's Chaplain (the Rev. A. B. Gould), the Town Clerk (Mr. E. J. Hayes), the Clerk of the Peace (Mr. H. Underhill), the Mover and Seconder of the Address (Alderman Ironmonger and Alderman Fowler), the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Memorial Committee (Alderman G. L. Underhill and Alderman Hawksford), all in Court dress, the General Commanding the District (Sir John Garvock), etc.

At eight minutes past one o'clock the company were put on the qui vive by the signalled approach of the Royal train, which in a few seconds steamed slowly into the station. Her Majesty, who was dressed in mourning, trimmed with crape and edged with sable, with black bonnet, and beneath it a white Marie Stuart cap, appeared to be in excellent health, and on alighting was received with deafening cheers, again and again repeated. By preconcerted signals, at almost the same moment, a Royal salute was fired by the Artillery Volunteers, and the bells of St. Peter's clanged right merrily. The Guard of Honour presented arms, and the band of the Hussars struck up the National Anthem. The Lord Lieutenant presented the Mayor to Her Majesty, who, advancing, greeted with a kiss the Countess of Lichfield and Ladv Waterpark. Lady Lichfield presented the Mayoress to Her Majesty, who graciously accepted from Mrs. Morris a splendid bouquet, consisting of the choicest exotics; orchids, white roses, camelias, hyacinths, gardenias, ericas, epacris, jasminegrandiflora, rhyncospernum, myrtles, ferns, etc., from the establishment of Mr. Lowe. The bouquet was surrounded with deep blonde lace; and placed in, an elegant silver holder.

Her Majesty was accompanied by Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Christian, and Princess Louise. The suite consisted of the Countess of Caledon, Lady in Waiting to Her Majesty; Lady Susan Melville, Lady in Waiting to Her Royal Highness Princess Christian; the Honourable Flora Macdonald, Maid of Honour; Lord Crofton, Lord in Waiting; Lieutenant General the Hon. C. Grey, Major-General Sir Thomas M. Biddulph, K.C.B., Lord Alfred Paget (Clerk Marshal), and Lieutenant-Colonel G. Gordon, Equerry in Waiting to His Royal Highness Prince Christian. The Earl of Derby was in attendance upon Her Majesty.


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