Royal Visits

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrive at Woodlesford on a Royal Visit to West Yorkshire on 11 July 2002. The Royal Train was topped and tailed by two diesel locomotives, 47798 Prince William and 47799 Prince Harry. They were replaced in 2004 and are preserved at the National Railway Museum at York. (Irene Thorp collection.)

The Queen’s Golden Jubilee visit in 2002, during which she went to the National Coal Mining Museum and the set of Yorkshire TV’s Emmerdale, was not the first time a member of the royal family stepped off a train at Woodlesford station. The first recorded occasion was on Monday 18 September 1868 when the Prince of Wales arrived from London, on his way to stay at Temple Newsam before inaugurating a fine arts exhibition in Leeds. Below is an extract from the Leeds Times with a description of the Prince’s arrival.

THE PRINCE OF WALES VISIT TO LEEDS. Leeds Times, Saturday 23 May, 1868.


In  accordance with previous regulations, his royal highness arrived at Woodlesford station, on his way to Temple Newsam, about five on Monday afternoon, haying travelled from town, accompanied by his suite, in a saloon carriage of the Midland Railway.

The arrangements at this small road side station for two plesant country villages were very efficiently carried out by Mr. G. W. Earp, district superintendent of the line. About half past four o’clock, the royal escort, composed of a squadron of the Yorkshire (Princess of Wales’ own) Hussars, under the command of Captain Tennant, took possession of the railway depot.

The other gentlemen present included Lieutenant Fairbairn (Mayor of Leeds), Major General Sir John Garvock – the general in command of the district, Adjutant Reynolds, and others. Colonel Reilly, C.B., had posted a detachment of the Royal Horse Arillery, with four guns, on an adjoining acclivity.

As soon as the train drew up, a cheer burst from the spectators, and the royal salute was then given by the Horse Artillery battery. The Prince was accompanied by Lord Alfred Hervey, General Knollys, Major Teesdale, and Mr. Wood.

On alighting from the carriage, his royal highness was received by Earl Fitzwilliam (Lord Lieutenant of the West Riding) Mr. H. C. F Meynell Ingram, of Temple Newsam. and Sir Isaac Morley, and Mr. Jones, two of the Midland Railway directors.

An open britska, with four horses, had been provided for the accommodation of the prince, and in this conveyance he was accompanied by Mr. Ingram (his host for the time being), Lord Fitzwilliam, and Lord Alfred Hervey.

Outside the station, the people had nestled themselves, gipsy or picnic fashion on the sloping furze clad sides of the rock through which the turnpike road had been cut, and very picturesque indeed was the effect.

Once clear of this denser portion of the crowd, the royal cortege proceeded at a rapid pace down the pleasant country lanes leading up to Temple Newsam.  Both sides of the road were crowded with town and country visitors, who all testified testified their warm interest in the occasion by giving his royal highness peal after peal of thorough Yorkshire cheers.

The road was also thronged with crowds of itinerating pedlars, traders, in cooling drinks and something stronger in the shape of ale with perambulating successors of Catnach, of Seven Dials, who had largely provided themselves with reams of a doggerel poem supposed to be particularly applicable to the auspicious event.

Another view of the 2002 visit. Photo by John Blakeley.
The Queen passes along Aberford Road on her way to Leeds on Friday 26 Ferbuary 1982.