Thousands crammed into the town centre to celebrate a unique occasion for Accringtgon.

The Accrington Observer and Times reported in July 1913 how up to 20,000 people packed into the town centre to catch a glimpse of a first reigning monarch to visit the tow.

It was a sign of different times that their tour of East Lancashire took eight days in total.

Residents clambered on to the rooftops of the Market Hall, the old Commercial Hotel and adjoining shops, warehouses and walls with a sea of faces stretching as far as the eye could see.

A report in the Observer of July 12 said: “No welcome would have exceeded in enthusiasm and loyalty than given to the King and Queen in Accrington on Wednesday afternoon on the memorable first visit of a reigning Sovereign to the town.

“The whole borough rejoiced and one of the many expressions of loyalty and jubilation was seen in the pretty decorations and the fine display at Broad Oaks Works, which were a credit to the town.

“There would be about 20,000 people on the Market-ground and approaches perhaps the biggest crowd ever seen in the borough, when their Majesties drove up to the raised dais, draped in heliotrope and white, and pretty with palms and flowers, for the presentation ceremony.

“Both from the numerical and spectacular point of view, the scene was impressive and unique.”

The Queen on her visit to Accrington in July 1913
The Queen on her visit to Accrington in July 1913
 

The Royal couple travelled into Hyndburn through Altham and Clayton-le-Moors with adoring crowds lining the streets.

During their tour they visited the Broad Oak Printworks where the King had a try at Calico printing.

The paper also reported how the inhabitants of Clayton-le-Moors made the most of their visit.

The report said: “It was a memorable occasion and doubtless it will never be forgotten by those who were privileged to see their Majesties and their party travel along Burnley Road and Whalley Road.

“Clayton would indeed have been more highly honoured had the King and Queen only halted a minute or two, but even so, it would scarcely have been possible for the ensembled throng along the route to give their Majesties a more hearty reception than they did.

“All the people were on holiday, but it is safe to say that 95 per cent at least of Clayton inhabitants, both young and old, had the pleasure of seeing the King and Queen.”

The visit of King George V and Queen Mary paved the way for several other Royal arrivals over the next century.

These included the current Queen’s first visit in April 1955 with the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen paid her second stop to the borough in May 1968, with late Princess Diana touring the Joseph Arnold car factory in Church in June 1983.

Prince Charles landed by helicopter in Oswaldtwistle in June 1991 during a short tour, before Prince Edward made the first of two visits to Hyndburn when he offically opened the Accrington Pals Health Centre in 2009.

Hundreds turned out to cheer the Queen on her visit to Accrington last year.