A Royal Visit

The opening of St. Peter's Church Centre

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'A Royal Visit' page

Donated by Gwen Abbott

St. Peter's new church centre was opened in November 1960 by the Queen Mother which caused much excitement among those involved.

Photo:Commemorative tree planted.  Mr. Les Abbott is holding the tree

Commemorative tree planted. Mr. Les Abbott is holding the tree

Donated by Gwen Abbott

John Maslin's memories

We were all under orders from Scoutmaster Les Cartwright to have our uniforms in the most pristine condition ever. I was a Patrol Leader at the time and I remember feeling quite proud. Strangely, the biggest thing I remember about the day was that my older brother, Derek, wore, as was the fashion of the day, 'winklepicker' shoes and the Queen Mother commented to him something about "did his toes reach the point at the end"!

The other memory of the hall was that the scout troop (2nd Morden St Peters) had its own den at the back of the centre. Taking up the whole of one wall was a mural dedicated to the scouts and the pop star Adam Faith visited the centre and actually signed the mural.

This page was added by Cheryl Bailey on 29/05/2011.
Comments about this page

I remember seeing the Queen Mother opening the centre which became the Cross Keys youth club that Pat, my friend, and myself went to each week.

By Pamela Laflin (nee Tyler)
On 12/03/2012

I was in the 11th St Helier (St Peters) Guide Company and still have my official invitation to the Church Centre opening. The Guides helped form a Guard of Honour, so we got a really good view of the Queen Mother, who, I remember, was dressed in blue and had immaculate make up! Before the new hall was built there were 2 wooden old halls. The hall where the Guides met had a very dusty floor and it looked like something out of Dads' Army. The new hall, by comparison, seemed palatial.

By Christine Gawthorpe nee Watts
On 17/06/2012

I remember the Queen Mother's visit to open the new Hall at St. Peters Church in Bishopsford Road on 5th November 1960. I was part of the Guard of Honour of Brownies, Guides, Cubs and Scouts. I was very proud to be chosen from my brownie pack (1st St. Helier (St.Peters) to present a bouquet to the Queen Mother. My lasting memory of the day is the large glittering diamond brooch she was wearing! She spoke to me about the brownie pack I belonged to. My parents were given an official invitation to sit with important guests to get a good view of the event. The vicar in the photo was Father Nigh who had been in a POW camp in Japan. He came back to UK in a poor state of health. When he returned to his church in 1950 I was the first baby he christened at St. Peters Church. My family lived in Middleton Road from 1934 until 1967. I love this site - the memories come flooding back!

By Wendy Morgan (previously Mead)
On 31/07/2012

OH I remember this special day - I was 9, and I had new red kitten heels to wear especially for the occasion!...bought from the provi shop of course at Rosehill.....Leonards??

By Brenda Cookey-Leeks (nee Ferridge)
On 13/06/2013

I remember this visit. I was also part of the guard of honour. Scout troop 9th Morden. We had to be smart, on our best behavour and practise marching etc.

They were good days :-)

By David Neale
On 11/06/2014

I have a vague memory of this as an 8 year old being in the guard of honour as a brownie. A more vivid recollection I have is reading in the local paper that 'little Wendy Mead' had given a bouquet to her Majesty. I was a little confused as Wendy was bigger than me!

By Jan Wileman (Crook)
On 22/07/2015

I too was a scout when the Queen Mother opened the hall.  I have a picture of the Queen Mother shaking hands with the cubs leader 'Akela'.  This picture helps bring back memories of this occasion as 'Akela' is my late mother, Mrs May Wenden

By Ken Wenden
On 18/07/2017

I was a Brownie and the Queen Mother asked me if i liked being a Brownie, i told her i was going up to Guides soon. My uniform was so small it was at the top of my legs, I should have gone up to Guides a couple of weeks before, but I wanted to stay to be in the front row. 

By Carole Ayres (Nee) Chapman
On 03/11/2018

I was there too on that rainy day. The Queen Mother said to me "It is so nice of you to come here when it is raining". I can't remember what I said back. I used to go to the Youth Club at the new hall. We played records and danced downstairs, then went upstairs to the coffee bar. The church curates used to come and join in up there. Before the new building there was another hall where Miss Culver from the church would have a club for us, we played games, and once she took us on a country walk in Dorking and to a large garden of one of her friends. I think she was a church missionary.

By Lesley M Aitken
On 02/07/2020

I have just discovered your fascinating website which brings back such happy memories. I was born in Sherborne Crescent in 1935, the middle child of 5, John, Marjorie (Babs), Brian and Sylvia.

I vividly remember the beginning of the war, the bombings and evacuation to Mansfield in 1944 from Tweeddale School, although I went Green Wrythe Lane.
I have, in fact, written a book (The Step) covering my life during this period on the St Helier estate, from 1939 through to 1955.


I joined the Cross Keys Youth Club at St Peter’s Church, about 1948 and made many good friends. Does anyone know the present whereabouts of any members of the club around that time? I also remember delivering papers in Peterborough, St Agatha’s, St Albans and Shap Crescent

I went to Wallington Grammar and the Sutton School of Art.

By Derek Field
On 20/07/2020

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