THE old, densely-packed Gorbals was giving way to maisonette blocks and multi-storey flats when the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh toured the area in June, 1961.

They saw scenes of demolition (above), and, to the dazzled surprise of their occupants, visited several old tenement homes and some bright new homes.

Large and enthusiastic crowds, fringed by rows of police officers, followed the royals every step of the way; accompanying them was the city’s Lord Provost, Jean Roberts.

“Through screaming children, bunting, confetti, cheering, sweating, and grunting policemen heaving to contain the thousands who swarmed the narrow, sharp-cornered streets”, as this newspaper put it, “they smiled and waved their way”.

In Waddell Street, the royals arrived in their car, and the moment they stepped out, two steam shovels with wires attached yanked out two huge sections of a derelict tenement. The sun beat down, the dust rose, and up on the roof, four demolishers – one of them stripped to the waist – raised a cheer and waved to the visitors, four storeys below.

The tour continued. “Everywhere during the visit”, reported the Evening Times, “the royal party were rapturously received, and the housewives the Queen spoke to while popping in and out of old homes and new homes were almost speechless with excitement”.

Mrs Jean Percy, who received the Duke in her maisonette in Commercial Road, said: “I’ll never forget this day as long as I live”. The Duke, admiring the decor and the furnishings in her living-room, had asked her, jokingly, “Is this all on the never-never?” “Not at all”, she had replied. “Everything’s bought and paid for”.

The Herald had an interesting choice of phrase for the old, overcrowded Gorbals: “The Queen and the Duke had visited the cancer at the heart of Glasgow and seen what is being done to remedy it”. And, earlier: “They became, one hopes, the last of our royal family to see the cramped intensity of a slum home”.

The Queen told Mrs Roberts that she had been overwhelmed with the welcome she had received in the Gorbals.