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Charles and Diana picture

Charles and Diana picture

One of our photos on display in the museum is of the Market Hall in 1981. Prince Charles and Princess Diana came to Chesterfield to open the restored shopping centre.

Charles And Diana Visit

In the 1970s the town centre had been restored and brought up to date. The market hall was rebuilt inside with new shops and stalls and this had been re-opened in 1980.

The market square had the cobbles restored and new stalls were built and the roads were pedestrianised for easier shopping

The shops were very sadly in a poor condition that faced the market hall the decision was made to restore the shop fronts and build a modern shopping centre behind them.

In 1981 the work was complete and ready for its official opening. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were invited to open the pavements shopping centre and then visit the market hall. They attended a service in the Crooked Spire before they left.

So why does the photo bring back such happy memories for me? I was at junior school when Charles and Diana came and everyone was very excited. The schools in Chesterfield were invited to see them in the town centre and we had made flags and banners. My school was allocated a space opposite the balcony where the royal couple would stand and wave to the public.

When they came out we were all cheering and waving our flags and very excited. There must have been hundreds of people watching and I can remember people sitting on the tops of the telephone boxes so they could see and take photos. This would not be allowed today! The royal family had just announced that Diana was expecting her first child and this added to the excitement. We made flags congratulating them on their happy news and people in the crowds had brought flowers and bouquets and of course some baby bootees and knitted tiny jackets.

After the visit we then walked back to school to have an indoor street party. The hall was decorated with bunting and everyone had brought some food to share at the party. I took a big bowl of pink angel delight which I didn’t want to share with anyone.

Amanda - museums assistant

Last updated on 30 November 2022