A walk in the past: The Queen’s visit to Tillicoultry

AT the start of their six-day tour of Scotland which passed through Clackmannanshire, Glasgow and Paisley, the late Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, traveled overnight on the royal train from Euston to London and are arrived at Tillicoultry Station on a whistle tour of Wee County on Friday June 28, 1963.

At the station, the royal couple were greeted by the county’s Lord Lieutenant, Captain Sir James Younger. Schoolchildren had the day off, although they met at school to form the procession to Devonvale Hall to see the Queen and Prince.

Banners were placed on as many buildings and lampposts as possible and a large banner with “Tillicoultry welcomes you” was erected in their honor.

While in the city, she met with its leading citizens and planted a cherry blossom tree near the hall’s entrance. Unfortunately, the weather that morning was rather gloomy, but that did not dampen the spirits of the spectators, nor that of the Queen.

Provost C Eccles later said the Queen was delighted to see the children as they welcomed her to their home town.

The royal couple also visited Cochrane Hall in Alva where they attended an exhibition put on by the Civil Defense Corps.

In Menstrie they visited Menstrie Castle, the former home of Sir William Alexander, 1st Earl of Stirling, which had been saved through the efforts of actor Moultrie Kelsall. At the time of the visit, the mansion had been transformed into apartments.

The Queen and Prince Philip also visited the Donbros factory at Hallpark in Alloa. The factory had been established 26 years earlier by the Donaldson brothers and was a dyeing, finishing and knitting plant.

They then moved on to Alloa Academy where they had lunch. From there the couple traveled to Clackmannan where the Queen was told by local historian Dr T Crouther Gordon about its unique tower and the history of the Mannan Stone which sits near the ruins of the old toll booth and the mercat cross in Main Street.

Their tour of Wee County lasted just five hours, with their final destination being Dollar, where a commemorative plaque on Dollar Academy’s Playfair Building was unveiled.

With the death of Her Majesty The Queen aged 96 at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire, many Clackmannanshire residents will fondly remember the visit she and Prince Philip made on that summer day in 1963.

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