Royals visit 1948 St Leger

The stage is set for the arrival of King George and Queen Elizabeth to watch the richest St Leger ever. Six Doncaster houses will be built without fireplaces. Does anyone want to see the fattest pig and the biggest dog? A policeman writes a message to give to a passing cyclist to call for help in making an arrest.

Once againAlan Berry, former reporter and naval rating, summarises the Doncaster news as he might have done 60 years ago.

HMS MULL of Galloway, Clyde, August to September 1948: Arrangements for the visit of the King and Queen are complete.

We learn that, after an overnight stay at Sandbeck, they will be met by the Mayor, Ald Percy Judd, at the borough boundary on Tickhill Road.

A drive through four miles of decorated streets will bring them to the Mansion House for a civic reception and lunch with 80 guests.

It is seen as a happy coincidence that the building of the Mansion House was completed 200 years ago - in September 1748.

Buckingham Palace have asked that this should not be an ostentatious visit but done in accordance with the difficult times in which we live. However everybody expects the people will ignore that in their own way, and express their loyalty with every ostentation!

After lunch the Royal couple will drive to the six-furlong gate and, in Ascot fashion, take an open car to pass in front of the stands, and then through the paddock to the lift to the rear of the buildings.

On a signal from Mr Perkins, the racecourse manager, Mr Tagg, of Albany Road, a former Royal Navy telegrapher and a clerk in Mr Perkins's office will unfurl the Royal Standard while the National Anthem is played.

Mr Hemming, the parks superintendent, and Mr Shannon his predecessor, are in charge of floral decorations and they have planned a semi-circular raised bed of flowers at the course reading 'Welcome to Doncaster'.

King George and Queen Elizabeth last visited Doncaster in great secrecy during the war touring the Plant Works and colliery villages and having lunch with high-ranking military officers at Hickleton Hall.

THIS year's St Leger is the richest race ever to be run in England, worth 18,000, of which the winner gets 15,000. The 2,000 guineas comes second with a total 17,000 in prizes.

AS IS now the custom, thousands of Doncaster people in carnival mood queued four deep to view the Royal Box on the Sunday before racing began.

There is a carnival mood of sorts at the Leger Fair, but does everyone want to see Billy the Pig and Nero the Dog?

Of Billy we read: "It is estimated that if the pig were killed 8,000 people would have a fortnight's ration of bacon."

A butcher gazing over the massive contours of this giant pig says that, considering the amount of pork put in sausages these days, Billy could be turned into a string of sausages long enough to reach from London to Glasgow.

Nero is described as "the world's largest St Bernard dog. He eats 25 pounds of meat per day, and is built on the proportions of a horse yet he is only nine months old. His immense size is a source of wonderment...



Main news index

Your letters.


More Rotherham news

More Doncaster news

More Barnsley news

Check out the very latest on South Yorkshire's roads - including live traffic cameras on Sheffield's commuter routes - with our Traffic section

Latest sport. the most gigantic and most beautiful of the canine race the world has ever seen".

Next year it will be the lamb with two heads and the chicken with three feet to keep the gawpers amused.

I am happy enough with the dog, but the pig exhibit is a disgrace.

A PHOTOGRAPH appears in this week's Doncaster Chronicle of a substantial presentation casket full of Parkinson's "Royal Doncaster" butterscotch in its traditional stiff paper packaging.

The casket is a Royal purple, with a cord in His Majesty's racing colours. This will be delivered to the Palace in due course.

The Royals have consented to receive it, but who will suck it - and when? Butterscotch can be quite messy to eat.

THE jockeys' weighing room has been refurbished. In place of the familiar swinging chair, there is now an automatic machine with a large-scale dial, which will reduce any margin of error. The old scales, with their cumbersome weights, will be retained as a standby, and one day may become an interesting relic in a museum.

MR NETTLETON the estate agent says houses let furnished to racing people can bring in from 20 guineas to as much as 150 guineas a week. Larger houses are still in demand but they have been turned into flats, offices and nursing homes.

A POLICEMAN tried to catch a thief in a classic chase across the rooftops between Wood Street and Hallgate.

The man proved so elusive the constable decided he needed a little help. He called over a woman cyclist, giving her a note to take to the police headquarters in Guildhall, and a member of the "Reinforcement Squad" was dispatched.

The thief was arrested.

During the chase the second policeman fell nine feet through a glass roof but was not seriously hurt. It's a scene you might find in a Charlie Chaplin film.

SIX houses without fireplaces are to be built alongside standard homes in Canterbury Road and Chelmsford Drive, Wheatley Park.

The experiment has the backing of the Ministry of Fuel, and the Smoke Abatement Society like the idea, but would-be council tenants are not so sure. They have spent their lives huddled round friendly fireplaces and this "American Type whole house" proposal doesn't feel the natural thing to do.

There are three systems:

First, air warmed by gas in the kitchen is forced through concealed ducts in walls and floors;

Second, a form of central heating by ordinary radiators from a kitchen boiler;

Third, a heating cabinet linked to a coke-fired kitchen boiler which allows warm air to circulate of its own free will.

Hot water systems operate in conjunction with all three methods.

BRIGADIER Smith, OBE, TD, is the first Doncaster man ever to be appointed aide de camp to the king. Although he is not sure what his duties will be, he regards it as an award to the 65th Anti-Aircraft Brigade he commands.

BRIAN Shenton the Doncaster Railway Athletic Club sprinter has clocked 10.6 seconds for the 100 yards and 23.8 seconds for the 220 yards.

THE River Don caused alarm during last week's storm when between 3pm and 9am the following day the water at Mill Bridge rose 14 inches. Holmes Pumping Station recorded 1.7 inches. During the same afternoon lightning struck Harry Jones's lorry in Austerfield.

He said: "The shock came through my foot and sparks flew all over the dashboard. The lightning slid off the lorry, shot across the road, and hit the transformers by the roadside. For three minutes it was all blue smoke and flashes of fire. The lorry was not damaged and I escaped with a headache."

Farmers say the rain has saved the rootcrop, but the grain harvest is endangered.

THE big attraction on Battle of Britain weekend at Lindholme will be an American Super Fortress, based in the south of England.

BRUCE Woodcock says he wants a pub when his fighting days are over. "There'll always be someone to talk to," he says.

THERE are 650 people waiting for a telephone in Doncaster. The exchange started in 1937 with 1,980 subscribers and now has over 3,000. Of these 800 have applied in the last three years.

The Lincoln area, of which Doncaster is part, had 2,700 people waiting for a phone in 1945 and now has 4,000 on the list.