Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Queen's a star in glorious technicolour during 1953 visit to Northern Ireland

Cameraman recalls the time he captured amazing images

The Royal couple pictured at a Garden Party at Stormont during their three day State Visit to Northern Ireland in July 1953.
The Queen pictured with Colonial McVicker, British Legion (left) and Sir Norman Stronge, Speaker of the Northern Ireland House of Commons (right) at Balmoral Showground during her three day State Visit to Northern Ireland in July 1953.
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II listens to the story of the traditional Irish Harp, from Harpist Siobhan Armstrong who was playing during a tour at Trinity College in Dublin, this afternoon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

These are the historic images that give a special insight into a visit by the Queen to Northern Ireland just months after her Coronation.

Harold Patterson, from Lisburn, was 23 years old when he was the only amateur cameraman to be given access to the Queen during her royal visit in 1953.

A special letter from a County Inspector allowed the member of the Lisburn Camera Club to be

just a few feet away from the new Queen during a three-day visit.

Using a small camera he captured the arrival of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh at Aldergrove, a visit to Queen’s University, Belfast City Hall, Balmoral and a garden party at Stormont.

“I was the only amateur,” said the 82-year-old. “I was excited, not nervous.

“I just made sure I was in a good position and so my view wasn’t blocked at all the venues.”

And the film, entitled ‘A Royal Occasion’, will be shown again next week as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Mr Patterson, a businessman, who was later awarded the MBE for services to young people and to the community said looking back he was “privileged”.

But despite getting so close Harold never spoke to the Queen. “I wouldn’t have broken the privilege, it wasn’t my place,” he said.

With the help of camera club members Sam Hopkins, Howard Walker, Bob Alexander and Ray Willis the film took about a year to complete.

“It was a team effort,” said Harold. “When it was finished we had it shown five nights in the assembly hall in Lisburn. The place was packed for all of the nights.”

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