The sad news of the death of the Duke of Edinburgh, two months short of his 100th birthday, reminded us that he and the Queen had visited Largs SC in August 1958. They were in Largs to open the Inverclyde Sports Centre, the first major sporting facility of its kind in Scotland.
Long standing LSC member and local historian Sarah Goldie remembered the visit in an article in the Wee Paper in August 2018, the 60th anniversary of the visit - see here. Sarah recalls:
“There was a formal opening of Inverclyde Sports Centre and Prince Philip donated a dinghy to the Sports Centre. They launched it and named it at Cairnie's Quay and I went to that.
If you go down the foot of John Street, there is a little bit of tarmacadam leading down [the grass] to Cairnie's Quay and that was for the Queen to get down there, and that was called the Queen's Walk.”
Many older club members also remember the occasion, the younger ones maybe for the day off school(!), but also lots of bunting in the town, big crowds, waving flags at a very large car, and the Royal Train leaving from the station.
The main photograph from Sarah’s article (courtesy Ian Dalgleish) shows the Queen and the Duke going down the path she mentions, with Cairnie’s Quay in the background.
There is also a cine film of the event, which opens with the Marine and Curlinghall Hotel in the background (now blocks of flats) – see here.
There is a fantastic collection of photos from Hugh Blair of the day in 1958 on the Largs History Facebook page, as well as pictures from inside the souvenir program – see here for all the photographs. Note the reference in the attached selection to “sailing holidays” (£12 for a week, including accommodation!) being offered by Inverclyde – this was long before the Watersports Centre on Cumbrae, and the RYA training schemes and their certificates.
The Duke of course leaves a lasting legacy in his amazingly successful Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme, which now extends to 144 countries across the world. Over 3 million young people in the UK have achieved their awards since 1956, including many younger members of LSC, through awards for club volunteering, and/or learning to sail as a new skill. Many of our members have also met the Duke, through work, or their voluntary activities.
There is much more information on the history of our club (founded in 1936) on the history page of our web site – see here.