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Friday, 23 May 2008

The Queen's Visit to Liverpool

HM The Queen is said to have been much impressed by her visit to Liverpool this week. Of course, this isn’t the first time the city has been visited by royalty. Queen Victoria visited Liverpool on her tour of Lancashire in 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition.
The event was covered by the Illustrated London News. It’s a tradition for the Queen to be greeted by schoolchildren, and 85,000 child workers assembled to see Queen Victoria. The only education these children had was at Sunday School, however. ‘How much of the manufacturing and commercial greatness of England is due to the labours of these babes, of these young attendants of that mighty worker, the steam engine?’ The reporter deplored the fact that despite reforming legislation, children were still wasting their strength and youth in the factories, and receiving insufficient education: ‘…no one can have looked on that vast assemblage of babes without the sorrowful conviction that an immense deal yet remains to be done by society before it can acquit itself of neglect of duty.’
Interestingly, the reporter indicated that the Queen wouldn’t have been as welcome if the Corn Laws (which kept the price of grain artificially high) hadn’t been repealed recently: ‘the Queen could not then have shown herself in Lancashire.

Image: Illustrated London News, 18 October 1851. Author’s Collection.

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