QUEEN VICTORIA's VISIT TO SHEFFIELD - 21st May 1897

 

THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF SHEFFIELD's TOWN HALL

 

 

The following article is a report in The Times that graphically describes Queen Victoria's last visit to Sheffield in May 1897. Ostensibly the purpose of the occasion was the official opening of Sheffield's new Town Hall. Located at the top of Pinstone Street, the building was designed by the London-based architect E. W. Mountford, and constructed over a seven year period from 1890 to 1897. The neo gothic design was supposed to compliment the architecture of the adjacent St. Paul's Church of 1720 (now demolished). The exterior of the building made extensive use of "Stoke" stone from the Stoke Hall Quarry in Grindleford, Derbyshire and was decorated with fine carvings by F. W. Pomeroy. The friezes depict the industries of Sheffield, and the 64 metre high clock-tower is surmounted by a statue of the Roman God of Fire Vulcan.

 

But the over-riding purpose of the visit was the fact that it took place in the sixtieth year of her reign - Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Year. On 22 September 1896, Victoria surpassed George III as the longest reigning monarch in English, Scottish, and British history. The Queen requested all special public celebrations of the event to be delayed until 1897, to coincide with her Diamond Jubilee. The visit to Sheffield was just one of these events.

 

The other area worth noting in this article is that it more or less lists "the great and the good" of Late Victorian Sheffield. It is a roll-call of Sheffield's most prominent and influential citizens.

 

 

 The Official Photograph of Queen Victoria in Her Diamond Jubilee Year

 

THE QUEENS VISIT TO SHEFFIELD

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DEPARTURE FROM WINDSOR

(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT)

 

WINDSOR, MAY, 21

 

The Queen, accompanied by Princess Christian, the Duke of Connaught, and the youngest sons of Princess Henry of Battenburg, and attended by Sir Arthur Bigge, Lord Churchill, Lady Southampton, Sir Fleetwood Edwards, Sir James Reid, Colonel the Hon. W. Carington, the Hon. Ethel Cadogan, Major the Hon. H. C. Legge, and Lieutenant Ponsonby, left Windsor Castle this morning for the purpose of opening the new Town-hall at Sheffield and travelling subsequently to Balmoral.  Princess Christian was attended by Miss Emily Loch, and the Duke of Connaught by Colonel Egerton.  The weather was most agreeable during the Royal departure.  A detachment of the Coldstream Guards was mounted near Henry the Eighth's-gate, and the route to the Great Western station was lined with spectators.  The Queen, Princess Christian and the Duke of Connaught, drove in an open carriage to the station and were received by Mr W. Robinson, deputy chairman, Mr J. L. Wilkinson, general manager, Mr Allen, traffic superintendent, and Mr Hart, divisional superintendent of the Great Western Railway.  The temporary platform at which the Royal party alighted was draped and decorated with palms and flowers.  Mr F. Harrison, general manager, Mr Turnbull, superintendent, and Mr Park, of the London and North-Western Railway, and Mr Thompson, general manager of the Caledonian line, were also present,  The Queen, on quitting the carriage which had conveyed her from the Castle, walked with Princess Christian and the Duke of Connaught to the saloon.  This was coupled in the middle of the special train, which consisted of 15 splendidly-equipped North-Western coaches.  Sir Matthew White Ridley, the Home Secretary, who had been commanded to attend the Queen during her visit to Sheffield, had a place reserved for him in one of the saloons.

 

The Queen, Princess Christian, and the Duke of Connaught quitted Windsor about half-past 11 o'clock, the Royal train, accompanied by Mr Walter Robinson and Mr Allen, travelling over the Great Western Railway to Banbury, which was reached at 25 minutes past 1, and whence, after a stay of 10 minutes for refreshments, the journey was continued to Leamington.  At this junction, Mr F.Harrison and Messrs. Turnbull and Park rook charge of the Royal train, which started again at a quarter past 2 and proceeded over the North-Western Railway to Derby and thence along the Midland line to Sheffield, which was reached at 5 o'clock in the afternoon.  The Duke of Connaught, the Home Secretary, Sir Arthur Bigge, Colonel the Hon. W Carington, and Colonel Egerton did not proceed any further than Sheffield.

 

THE QUEEN AT SHEFFIELD

(FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT)

SHEFFIELD MAY 21

 

With the brilliant and highly ceremonial which has just reached a happy conclusion the public celebration of the Diamond Jubilee may be said to have begun.  So far as mere formalities go, the Queen has simply opened the gilded gates of a town-hall which had been in use for some months, she has heard the voices of thousands of school children united in song, and she has looked with interest upon the fascinating process by which a great ingot of steel is transformed into an armour plate.  But no man or woman who has been present to-day can doubt for a moment that Sheffield, under the guidance of its highly-esteemed and energetic Mayor, the Duke of Norfolk, has, almost exactly a month before the day appointed for the great national and Imperial celebration, given such a demonstration of the robust and hearty loyalty of Yorkshire as cannot be surpassed.  None but those who have been within the limits of Sheffield today and yesterday can realize the intense feeling of excitement which has pervaded the community and the neighbourhood and even those who know Sheffield best can hardly have recognised that usually grimy city in its gala dress of yesterday and to-day.

 

The place lends itself admirably to the purposes of decoration, for, in the first place, it contains few, if any buildings marked by any features of beauty which it might be undesirable to conceal and, in the second place, the steep gradients of the streets cause the strings of gaudy pennons and the ropes of artificial flowers to be particularly effective.  Moreover, these decorations have been under the management of a committee, which, while it has spared no legitimate expense, has so ordered matters that not only was there a harmony of tone in the whole and dazzling abundance of colour throughout, but also the best care had been taken that in no case should the gaiety of appearance acquired by the town interfere in the slightest degree with the view to be obtained of the Sovereign by spectators at any point of the long route of her procession.  In the town thus decorated it was delightful to watch the crowds of sturdy workmen, often with children perched upon their shoulders and their wives by their sides, thronging the roadways last night, and it has been fascinating to watch the growing crowds to-day.  An endless series of trains has combined with innumerable vehicles to swell the crowds of eager spectators, so that there can scarcely have been less than a million persons in Sheffield to-day, all animated by a common purpose of loyalty.  In a word, it has been a day of jubilation loyal and triumphant for the great industrial community of Sheffield, and there is not a man in Sheffield or in all the county of York who is not heartily glad that it has come during the mayoralty of the Duke of Norfolk.

 

The central interest was the Town-hall itself.  This is a fine Renaissance building, and, although a little cramped in the matter of ground space, has a front of 200ft., where the main entrance is, and where this afternoon the gilded gates stood closed until her majesty touched the golden key and they flew open.  The Surrey-street frontage is 280ft., and the decorations of the interior of the building, particularly the sculptural parts, the work of Mr F.W. Pomeroy, a gold medallist of the Royal Academy, are of a worthy character.  The stone for the building was obtained from the neighbouring quarry of Stoke Hall.

 

Excitement began here at about 4 o'clock, and the scene was distinctly pleasing and bright.  On either side of the entrance were two shaded platforms, admirably arranged, occupied by privileged spectators and brilliant with the many colours of ladies' dresses, with here and there a naval or military uniform or the scarlet of a deputy-lieutenant's tunic.  The front was a wide and roughly circular space into which many streets converged and in the centre is the monolith erected to celebrate the 1887 Jubilee.  But the Queen saw nothing of the interesting structure, for it was surrounded by tiers of seats crammed by spectators, and the awning which covered them left the impression of a gigantic sunshade with the with the summit of the monolith projecting a few feet above.  Opposite were the guard of honour of the Hallamshire Volunteers, a soldierly body in appearance and remarkably well "sized" still armed with the Martini-Henry.  Behind them came a crowd, orderly and well behaved, but packed very tightly between the barriers and the shop-fronts, and it was noticeable that large numbers of the young women as well as well as many of the men wore as hat-ribands the red, white and blue bands which are prevalent in Sheffield as an emblem of loyalty to-day.  Above them were shops gorgeously decorated, with every window amply occupied, and in the upper floors it was pleasant to see great bodies of children.  Add soldiers of the Black Watch lining the streets at this point, and of other regiments performing the like duty at other points in the line of the route, and a fair idea may be gathered of the aspect of Sheffield generally.  At the Town-hall at about this time the more distinguished visitors who were going to take part in the precession began to arrive.  Amongst them were the Duke of Norfolk,  who was received with great acclamation as he drove up with Lady Mary Howard, himself wearing his uniform as Earl Marshal which his mayoral scarlet and fur above.  Similar cheers greeted the Duke of Portland, who wore the riband of the Victorian Order above his uniform.  Colonel Sir C. Howard Vincent, M.P., in his scarlet of a deputy-lieutenant, and Sir Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, M.P., also came in for popular recognition.

 

So the sunny afternoon wore on, bells clashing, bands playing, and flags waving, until a minute or two before 5 the sound of a gun, the first of 21 to be fired in Royal salute by a battery of the 4th West York Artillery Volunteers, warned the multitude that the Queens' train had been signalled and reminded us once again of her Majesty's consistent punctuality.  But some time was yet to elapse before the central ceremony, for there was much to be done and a pretty scene to be witnessed at the Midland Station, where great preparations had been made and in the neighbourhood of which room had been found for many eager spectators.  When the train drew up at the decorated platform the Queen, who 'was accompanied by Princess Christian and b the Duke of Connaught, to say nothing of the great officers of the Household, who will be enumerated later, was received by the Duke of Norfolk, a guard of honour of the Connaught Rangers being present.  The band of the same regiment was also in attendance at the station, and it is unnecessary to say that the high officials of the Midland Railway had, like those of other railways traversed between Windsor and Sheffield, been assiduous in showing loyal attention and respect.  The formal proceedings at the station occupied a few minutes, and included the presentation to the Queen by the Duke of Norfolk, after permission had been asked and obtained, of the following persons, of whom one, Lady Mary Howard, presented a bouquet to the Queen.  They were the Mayoress (the Lady Mary Howard), The Archbishop of York, the Deputy Mayor (Alderman C T Skelton, J.P), the Right Hon A.J. Mundella, M.P., the Right Hon C.B. Stuart-Wortley, Q.C., M.P., Sir C. E. Howard Vincent, C.B., M.P., Sir E. Ashmead-Bartlett, M.P., the Lord Lieutenant (the Right Hon the Earl of Scarbrough), the High Sheriff (Mr J. A. Farrar), the Town Collector (Sir F. T. Mappin, M.P., D.L.), the Master Cutler (Mr Alex Wilson J.P.), the General Commanding the District (major-General Thynne, C.B), Sir Henry Watson, D.L., the chairman (Mr G.E. Paget) and the general manager (Mr G.H. Turner, J.P.) of the Midland Railway Company, the chairman of the Improvement Committee (Alderman Betty Langley, M.P.), the Recorder (his Honour Judge Waddy, Q.C.), the hon secretaries (Alderman George Franklin, J.P., and Alderman Clegg), the town clerk (Mr Herbert Bramley), and the chief constable (Mr John Jackson).

 

Then without further delay the imposing procession began to move along its route, which lay between dense throngs of eager and cheering spectators, and was lined with troops and police and adorned with triumphal arches.  At the post office, it may be worth while to mention, more than 200 postmen in uniform and a large number of telegraph boys were drawn up in line.  The procession moved in the following order : -  Before the first carriage, which contained the two secretaries upon whom so much work has fallen came mounted police and a troop of the 17th Lancers, and after it the following carriages - second carriage, the Town Collector, Master Cutler, the Deputy Mayor, and chairman of the Midland Railway Company ; third  carriage, the Recorder, the chairman of the Improvement Committee, the town Clerk, and general manager of the Midland Railway Company; fourth carriage, the Right Hon A.J. Mundella, M.P., the Right Hon C. Stuart-Wortley, Q.C., M.P., Sir E Ashmead-Bartlett, M.P., and Sir C. E. Howard Vincent, C.B., M.P.; fifth carriage, the Lord Lieutenant and the High Sheriff; sixth carriage, Lord Edmund Talbot, M.P., and members of the family of the Duke of Norfolk; seventh carriage, the Mayor (his Grade the Duke of Norfolk). E.M., K.G.) and the Mayoress (the Lady Mary Howard); troop of 17th Lancers; eighth carriage, Lieutenant F. Ponsonby (Equerry in Ordinary), Sir James Reid, K.C.B. (Queen's Medical Adviser), and Colonel Alfred Agerton (Equerry to the Duke of Connaught); ninth carriage, Miss Loch (Lady in Waiting to the Princess Christian), the Hon Ethel Cadogan (Maid of Honour to the Queen), the Right Hon Matthew White Ridley M.P. (Secretary of State for the Home Department).  Lieutenant-Colonel the Right Hon Sir Fleetwood Edwards K.C.B. (Keeper of the Privy Purse); tenth carriage, the Lady Southampton, the Hon Mrs Mallet, the Lord Chamberlain (the Earl of Latham); escort of her Majesty's 2nd Life Guards; and after that came the central point of interest - the Queen's carriage drawn by four splendid bays.  On the right hand sat the Queen, who seemed to be in excellent health and spirits.  She wore a white feather in her bonnet.  Her Majesty repeatedly acknowledged the acclamations of the people with evident pleasure and just pride.  Princess Christian, in a bonnet of light purple, sat by her side, and the Duke of Connaught sat opposite.  Behind the carriage came Lieutenant-Colonel Sir A.  Bigge, the Queen's Equerries (Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon W. Carington and Major the Hon H. Legge), the General Officer commanding the district (Major General Thynne) and then an escort of her Majesty's 2nd Life Guards and the Sheffield Squadron of the Yorks Dragoons Yeomanry Cavalry.

 

Her Majesty's reception was loyal and enthusiastic all the way, and the scene when her carriage drew up in front of the Town-hall was one of such loud-voiced loyalty as almost to baffle description.  The Queen appeared visibly and deeply gratified and impressed by the greeting of her subjects; but work had to be done, and that quickly, for the day's programme was long and arduous.  At the entrance of the Town-hall stood, to receive the Queen, the Duke of Norfolk, Lady Mary Howard, the Deputy Mayor, the Recorder, Mr Alderman Langley, the secretaries, and the Town Clerk.  Upon the Recorder fell the honour of reading the address of the Mayor and Corporation, a document remarkable for felicity of expression.  In response the Queen handed to the Duke of Norfolk the following reply: -

 

I have great pleasure in receiving your loyal and dutiful address, and in being able to open this spacious and beautiful town-hall, which is a worthy monument of the vast growth and importance of your city.  I am glad to associate myself with an event of such moment to Sheffield as the dedication of this fine building to municipal uses, and I trust that the progress of this city and the welfare of its inhabitants may be great and uninterrupted.  I share fully in your appreciation of the manifold blessings of peace and prosperity which have during the last 60 years been vouchsafed to my Throne and family and to all classes of my subjects: and I am deeply touched by the numerous manifestations which reach me of the wish to associate these blessings with my reign.  With profound reverence and thankfulness I join in your praise and gratitude to the Almighty, who has sustained and blessed this kingdom and Empire during the long period for which the responsibilities of sovereignty have lain upon me.

 

Sir F. Mappin, then presented an address by the Town Trustees, and her Majesty's reply was: -

 

I thank you for your loyal address and welcome to this great city, where I see so much is due to the public spirit and combined action of all classes of the citizens, of whose early self government, gradually developed with such advantageous result, you are the witnesses and representatives.

 

To the Master Cutler her Majesty's reply was: -

 

I thank you for your loyal and dutiful address.  I rejoice with you in the remarkable advance of the wealth and commerce of the Empire which, under the blessing of God, which is attributable alike to the external tranquillity and peaceable development and industry which has been vouchsafed, and to the energy and industry of my subjects of which the great trade that you represent affords so renowned an example, and I hope that prosperity may be continued and augmented to all classes of your community.

 

Her Majesty's reply to the President of the Infirmary was in the following words:-

 

I thank you for your dutiful and loyal address.  I congratulate you on the attainment of the centenary of the Sheffield General Infirmary, and I readily accede to your desire that that the beneficent institution should henceforth be known as the Sheffield Royal Infirmary.

 

Then, the gold key, attached by an electric wire to the lock in the gates, having been handed to the Queen by the Chairman of the Building Committee (Alderman Langley, M.P.), she touched the handle with her fingers, and amidst loud roars of applause the gates flew open. (see note 1) A pleasant scene followed.  Her Majesty summoned the Duke of Norfolk to her carriage and carried on an animated conversation with him for some time.  She summoned also the Duke of Portland and Earl Fitzwilliam, and then a number of other presentations were made, including that of Mr E.W. Mountsford, the architect.  Then trumpets blared, and the sounds of the National Anthem having been heard again from the band the Queen's carriage drove away, and the Royal procession passed on to a scene which cannot but have touched the tender sympathies of a Queen who is known to add strong affection for little children to her many virtues.  In fact, it was now the time for some 50,000 children to take their share in proceedings which will certainly never be effaced from their memories.  This part of the proceedings was the idea of the Duke of Norfolk, and was carried out at his expense through the instrumentality of Mr J. F. Moss, who has devoted anxious care to the achievement of a most successful result.  Certainly the Duke of Norfolk has earned the gratitude of many thousands of happy children.  When a few minutes after 6, the Royal procession entered Norfolk-park by the Belle Vue gates and drove along the new road, called the "Queen's Drive," in the ravine, the children were drawn up on the slopes of the pretty park, carrying many Union Jacks presented to the different departments by the Duke as permanent possessions.  Each child also bore a medal bearing two inscriptions devised by the Duke of Norfolk:- !In commemoration of the loving welcome given by the children of Sheffield to Queen Victoria in Norfolk-park, Sheffield, May, 1897."  "1837 - Diamond Jubilee, 1897."  A loving welcome it was, and obviously delightful to the Queen, whose carriage was brought to a standstill near the sport where the Royal Standard floated in the breeze.  Then the Union Jacks were lowered.  The children were presented to the Queen by the Duke of Norfolk, and then, after the hands had played the tune of "Diamond Reign," the voices of many thousands of children were raised as they sang some special verses.  Again they sang, this time the National Anthem; and then, at a signal given by waving a Union Jack, shouted out three hearty cheers.  Meanwhile the Royal carriage passed along the lines.  Then came the singing of "Rule Britannia," and in a few minutes the prettiest part of the day's proceedings was over, and the children were free to enjoy the refreshments provided for them.

 

The Queen had thus been received in great pomp in the first place, and had then passed through a scene of delightful simplicity which had doubtless touched her deeply.  Next, and last, came one of those scenes in ironworks which always leave upon the spectator an impression of glowing colour and of giant force suggestive of awe.  It is true that the works, truly typical of the greatness of Sheffield, were adorned within and without in such fashion that the gloom, commonly associated with ironworks was for the most part dissipated.  Almost incongruous to the scene were the brilliant uniforms and the gay dresses of the ladies.  Even more striking than the uniforms and the dresses and the flowers was the unaccustomed cleanliness of the men, who were drawn up in the space in the middle of Messrs. Cammells's works, in spotless white jackets and faced the Queen as her carriage ( of which the horses had been duly familiarized) wit the spectacle drove in.  The furnace closed lay to her right hand, the rolling mill before her; then at a signal the men gave three lusty cheers and distributed themselves between the rollers and the furnace.  This is no place for an to explanation of the details of the wonderful process by which a huge ingot of steel at white heat is converted into armour-plate of such impenetrability as Sheffield boasts that she alone can produce.  Let us regard it rather as a spectacle of fiery splendour and irresistible force submitted to the Queen of a nation depending for its position principally upon the ships for which these huge armour-plates are made.  This particular plate is for her Majesty's ship Ocean.  When it came glowing from the furnace it weighed 56 tons and was 42in, in thickness.  When it had passed between the rollers to and fro several times, being expressed each time to a pressure of 6,000 tons, it had lost nearly the half of its thickness and a great deal of its weight.  And all the while, as the metal grew flatter and thinner and wider, the Queen gazed intently at the fiery mass through a special glass and watched with intent and manifest interest the operation of the machinery.

 

This was the last scene of a great day.  For it was hardly over before the Queen, from a special platform outside the works of Messrs. Cammell, entered her train and started for her Scottish home, leaving, it may safely be said, many hundred thousands of affectionate memories behind her.  And now all Sheffield is ablaze with illuminations, some of them very elegant and refined in colour and design, and all Sheffield is positively seething with such a good-natured and high-spirited crowd as cannot be surpassed elsewhere. 

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The Queen and Princess Christian left Sheffield shortly after 7 o'clock in the evening and travelled over the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire and North-Western Railways to Preston, which was reached at 41 minutes past 9.  Here a stop was made in order that dinner might be served.  The platform was barricaded for a considerable distance, and only privileged persons were admitted into the station.  Local and London police and detectives guarded the Royal saloon and all approaches.  The Royal party partook of dinner in their saloon and the progress of the train was delayed for only a quarter of an hour.  Before departing her Majesty was pleased to accept a beautiful bouquet forwarded by the Mayoress, of Preston.  Mr. F. Harrison was in charge of the train.  The journey was resumed and continued to Carlisle and along the Caledonian and Deeside railways via  Perth  on route for Aberdeen and Ballater where the Queen and Princess Christian will arrive at 20 minutes past 8 o'clock this morning.  The Royal Party on leaving the train will drive to Balmoral.

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A gold casket and key were presented to her Majesty on the occasion of the opening of the Sheffield Town-hall.  These were designed and manufactured by Messrs. Mappin and Webb, Royal Works, Sheffield.   The casket has been designed with distinct regard to the style of the town-hall itself.  The general form is oblong, and the main body of the casket represents an elevation supported by columns at corners and at intervals with arched divisions obverse and reverse, and raised tablets at centres and ends.  At each corner rises a gold pedestal supporting a statuette.  The statuettes represent one each of the four divisions of the globe.  Each one of these figures has been modelled in the style of the leading personage respectively in the four groups at the base of the Albert Memorial.  The centre-raised tablet has an enamel painted view of the Sheffield Town-hall itself.   On the reverse tablet, in forged gold letters, within a projecting frame, are the words: - "Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, Town-hall, Sheffield, 21st May 1897."

 

Notes

 

1. The observation that the Queen used a remote control device from her carriage to open the Town Hall Gates is "misleading". What in fact occurred was that the  turning of the key in the lock triggered a light in the building which was the signal for three concealed men to open the gates manually.

 

2. Comments were made about the length of the visit and the time spent in Sheffield - two hours to be precise. But to put it in context the Queen was to celebrate her seventy eighth birthday three days later on 24th May 1897. It was noted that the Queen never left her carriage at anytime during the visit but the reason for this was her health. She was more or less immobile as a result of heart disease.  

 

3. The route taken from the Midland station to the Town Hall was Sheaf Street, Commercial Street, High Street, Fargate, and then around the building to Pinstone Street. The ceremony at the Town Hall was said to have lasted ten minutes. After  the ceremony the procession left by way of Barkers Pool, Cambridge Street, The Moor, Hereford Street, St Mary's Road and Norfolk Park Road for her next engagement in Norfolk Park which was timed at six o'clock. The cost of the refreshments was borne by the Duke of Norfolk

 

4. There were three fatalities in the course of the visit but I do not have any other details as to location, cause etc   

 

5. This visit on May 21st, 1897, was the first visit of a reigning Sovereign to the city. The Corporation's  address to Her Majesty is a fine example of its kind!

We humbly thank your Majesty for having been pleased to open our new Town Hall which, begun in the year 1891, during the Mayoralty of the late Ald. Clegg, has been completed during that of our present Mayor, the Duke of Norfolk.  We greatly rejoice that this dedication as a home of our Municipal Government will for ever link your Majesty's name with the history of this city, and, through far off years, will strengthen the bond with which a grateful and ever growing loyalty shall bind the subjects to the throne. But we had a second and a unique cause for our gladness today. It is our proud privilege to herald the outbursts of thanksgivings with which the world-wide British Empire hails the unparalleled length of your Majesty's reign.  More than a thousand years have rolled away since England became a Kingdom, but during all those centuries, no Sovereign has worn the crown so long as your Majesty, or has seen such moral and material blessings conferred upon the country. How wondrous has been the history of those sixty happy years ! Abroad, vast regions have been added to your dominions, whole races and peoples have been added to your sway, your subjects have explored every continent, and your flag floats over every sea.  At home, the happiness and welfare of your people have been broadened and deepened; liberty, civil and religious, has been assured; free education has been given to the poor; science, art and commerce, have flourished beyond all precedent.

In this growth and progress, our Borough, now, by your Majesty's favour, a city, has won a high place.  She has built for your Navy the grim armour of steel which guards your Empire upon the sea.  She has manufactured in countless
numbers the weapons of war and the implements of peace.  The toilers who have fashioned them are crowded round your Majesty to-day, but not in curiosity or vain pride. Their shout is the inspiration of affection for your august person, as well as loyalty for your Throne. For while we glory in the undimmed lustre of your reign, we remember how heavy has been the cross of sorrow laid upon you, and how that sorrow has been graciously reflected in a deep and tender sympathy with the griefs of your people. We devoutly thank Almighty God for His priceless gift to this Kingdom of such a Queen, wife and mother, and for His abounding mercy in sparing her to us so long. We pray that your reign may be prolonged for yet many years to come, hallowed by a Monarch's chiefest glory, her people's love. May the Divine blessing be yours," Thou settest a crown of pure gold on her head.  She asked Life of Thee, Thou gavest her even the length of days for ever and ever."


On the day following the visit of the Queen, the Duke of Norfolk received the following letter:--

Balmoral Castle, 22nd May, 1897.

 

My dear Duke, The Queen commands me to thank you, and through you, all those concerned in making the excellent arrangements at Sheffield yesterday. Her Majesty was much touched by the loyal enthusiasm that was exhibited, and by the very cordial welcome that was received. The Queen greatly admired the decorations of the city and the remarkable order that was observed by the dense crowds collected in the streets. Her Majesty was interested in watching the process of one of Sheffield's most important industries in the manufacture of a portion of that "grim armour" which has long since replaced the wooden walls of vessels that the Queen recalls in the early
days of her reign. Her Majesty will not forget the striking effect produced by the mass of happy children, the sight of whom, and the sound of their admirable singing, formed so delightful an incident in a visit of which the Queen will
always entertain pleasant recollections, and the success of which her Majesty feels was so largely due to your own kind forethought. Believe me, my dear Duke,
 

Yours very truly, FLEETWOOD A. EDWARDS.

His Grace the Duke of Norfolk.

 

6. A month after the visit, the Queen conferred a baronetcy on Mr. Alexander Wilson, the Master Cutler, a knighthood on Alderman C.T. Skelton, the Deputy Mayor, and a CB on the Chief Constable, Mr. John Jackson.
 

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