It was, yes, a wet and windy Wednesday when the Queen visited Stoke City back on November 2, 1955. There were 30,000 schoolchildren packed into the old Victoria Ground to see the 29-year-old tour the stadium in an open top Land Rover, shielded by an umbrella.
She and Prince Philip had been on a 13-hour tour of engagements across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire – the first reigning monarch to visit the Potteries for 30 years.
The pair were to be treated to a dance and gymnastic display staged by almost 2,500 children, a performance lasting 20 minutes and centred around an 18ft-tall replica of the Queen’s Vase made by local pottery firms to celebrate the coronation.
They had been practising for weeks at Northwood playing fields, where Northwood Stadium now stands.
But it was freezing.
At one point while they were waiting, the whole crowd were told to jump up and down and wave their arms to keep warm.
A chant built up from the Boothen End: “We want the Queen! We want the Queen!”
Police officers stepped forward to shelter children under their coats and the football pitch became sodden and muddy – and, for goodness sake, Stoke were playing Fulham in 10 days’ time after a trip to Leeds.
But the Royal couple arrived, took their place in front of the Boothen Stand and there was a rousing rendition of the National Anthem before the big show.
Arthur Day, then a pupil at Oakhill Secondary Modern School, later told The Sentinel: “It poured with rain all through the display in front of the Queen. We couldn’t do our final tableau involving three tiers of boys because the ground was so muddy and wet.
“We were moved off the pitch under the roof of the Butler Street Stand, but the rain still ran down the back of our necks.”
Her Majesty and the Duke cheered their efforts and there was another burst of wild applause as they left the stadium with a wave.
They moved on for a civic reception at Stoke town hall and two more stops, in Fenton and Longton, with waiting crowds unfazed by the weather. Huge numbers gathered in shop doorways, under blinds and railway bridges and in the shelter of pottery factories.
And then came an 80-minute trip to the Wedgwood factory at Barlaston, where the Queen tried her hand at moulding a dish and became the first reigning sovereign to be seen in the role of a potter.
She carved ‘E.R. 1955’ beneath a powder box and commented ‘not too bad’ on her effort. Look out for it in the background, next time she is on television.