BBC film shows amazing 1950s mass Sheffield children's display for Queen and Duke

An archive film released by the BBC shows an impressive display put on by thousands of Sheffield children for the Queen and Prince Philip.

Friday, 14th May 2021, 7:30 am
Queen Elizabeth II visit to Sheffield 27th October 1954 - Hillsborough Football Ground Sheffield schoolchildren come to the climax of their tableau as they bow down before the Queen and form the Union Jack

The Royal couple visited the city on October 28, 1954, where they watched the spectacular event at Hillsborough stadium.

The two-minute film depicts the mass display by city schoolchildren, who march into place to form the words ‘Welcome to Sheffield’.

The finale shows children making the shape of a giant Union flag – which seems to move suddenly as they all bow.

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Crowds can be seen waving little flags and cheering the display and the Royal couple, who tour the ground standing up in an open-topped Land Rover.

Barbara Betts from Walkley recently wrote to The Star about taking part in the display.

She said: “I was a pupil at Coleridge Road Secondary School for Girls and was one of many pupils chosen to be included in the display which was to be done at Sheffield Wednesday Football Ground to welcome the Queen and Prince Philip to Sheffield. We had to learn a marching sequence.

"We practised, boys and girls, for weeks to get it perfect. The pitch was marked out at the bottom of the boys’ school yard which was just down from the girls’ school.

“A number of schools were chosen to take part.

“On the day of the visit we were all taken to the Sheffield Wednesday ground – in all around 43,000 children was there.

“At first a display of welcome was done by other pupils, then it was our turn to do the display of the flag – 3,000 pupils all started marching.

“When we had finished all pupils bent over (every pupil had on a tee shirt, our school’s was red, other schools had white or blue), by pupils bending over the colours made the formation of the Union Jack.

“My sister was one of the spectators and said the flag looked real due to us swaying, it looked as if it was blowing in the wind.”

During their visit, the Royal couple were also welcomed at the Town Hall, visited Firth Hall at Sheffield University, toured the English Steel Corporation and attended a glamorous-looking evening reception at the Cutlers’ Hall.