Rejoicings on Arrival of the Queen in Brentford

On the occasion of Queen Victoria's marriage in 1840, that is

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On February 10th 1840 Queen Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in London and then travelled through Brentford to Windsor for their honeymoon.

A few years later this was recorded by Thomas Faulkner in his History and Antiquities of Brentford and Ealing as follows:-

The latest event of note in the History of New Brentford, was the celebration of Queen Victoria’s marriage with His Royal Highness Prince Albert and their arrival at Brentford on their wedding day. The oldest inhabitant cannot remember such a spirit of loyalty, unity and enthusiasm, as was manifested by all ranks on the joyful occasion of the Queen’s marriage.

It was determined to erect two triumphal arches in the High Street, and to give a dinner to the children of the national and all other schools in the parish. A committee had been appointed, consisting of the Rev. Dr Stoddart, the Vicar; the Parochial Officer, Messrs Grainger, Hopkins, Ronalds, Bunting and Mr Joseph Hinge, to collect the subscriptions of the inhabitants, and to carry out the objects of the meeting. A handsome subscription was readily obtained, and all necessary arrangements expeditiously prepared.

Early on Monday morning a merry peal of bells from the church, announced the arrival of the happy day, and a large union jack was hoisted on the tower. The arches being completed, were richly ornamented with evergreens of all kinds, and also with flags, white favours, devices and variegated lamps.

On the centre of the western arch, opposite the church, was placed a very large imperial crown, having the initials V.A. on each side of it and underneath the motto ‘United and Happy’. Over the eastern arch near the Castle Inn, were two large stars, with the initials V.A. and underneath the word ‘Welcome’ all of which were illuminated in the evening and presented a splendid appearance.

Soon after twelve o’clock, the children of the various schools, in number exceeding two hundred, assembled in the boy’s national school in the Ham, which was most tastefully decorated with laurel &c. and each child was presented with a white bow, and a copy of the national anthem, ‘God save the Queen,’ having the two following stanzas added for the occasion by Dr Stoddart:

Welcome to Britain’s coast
Albert! Victoria’s boast,
Noble and brave.
Hail! This their wedding day,
Hail! Their united sway,
Bridegroom and Bride, we pray
God bless and save.

Henceforth may faction cease,
Love, joy and wealth increase, Guardian supreme!
May rich and poor rejoice!
Welcome with heart and voice!
Albert! Victoria’s choice!
God save the Queen.

One o’clock announced to the young and anxious expectants, the arrival of an excellent dinner, prepared by Mr Tinson, of the Pigeon’s Inn, consisting of roast beef and plump (sic) pudding. After the cloth was drawn, Dr Stoddart, in an appropriate address, proposed the health of the Royal Pair, which was drunk by the children and responded to by a numerous and respectable company, with as much enthusiasm as could possibly be expressed by long, loud and often repeated huzzas. The national anthem was the sung by the singers of the New Brentford choir, with much spirit and effect, every stanza being repeated in full chorus by the whole assembly.

Mr Cooper afterwards proposed the healths of those who were subscribers to the National Schools, all of whom had contributed to the festivities of the day, particularly naming Colonel Clitherow and his family, who had for so many years deeply interested themselves in the welfare of the schools, and all other institutions in the place.

The children were then conducted to the seats arranged for them in the front of the churchyard, where, with the committee, they awaited the arrival of the Queen and her Royal Consort, and where their welcome huzzas were graciously acknowledged by the Royal party. The whole line of the road was densely thronged with people, and many very respectable persons from the neighbourhood were to be seen on the pavement or in their carriages, waiting for the royal procession.

In the evening, the Pigeons and the Castle Inns and several houses were illuminated, and large flags with devices, not forgetting the true lover’s knot, were exhibited from the windows.

Thus ended these joyous festivities, all persons expressing their entire satisfaction with the arrangements adopted by the committee, and declaring their conviction that neither old nor young could ever forget the various pleasing circumstances which occurred on this eventful occasion.

Janet McNamara

December 12, 2012

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