An Irish Office of Public Works (OPW) file, to be auctioned at Whyte's auctioneers in Dublin, details the panic and huge organization involved in Queen Victoria's visit to Ireland 111 years ago.
The documents from April 1900 describe the "misplaced" royal yacht and the last-minute preparations.
These documents are being sold by an Irishman who lives in the US. He inherited them from his father.
The file includes 200 letters, memos and telegrams going back and forth in preparation for the visit. They detail everything from the yacht to the royal railway line, to the right dress jacket to be worn on the occasion.
They are sure to make for nerve racking reading for those involved in organizing her great-great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II's, visit to Ireland this May.
Her ancestor visited from April 4 until April 26 but Queen Elizabeth will only be staying three days, commencing on May 17, just before President Obama's trip to the Emerald Isle.
Telegrams, going between London and Dublin, show that the royal yacht was "lost" temporarily just days before the 1900 visit. The admiralty in London informed Dublin that the yacht had already been sent. The
Irish officials responded saying they couldn't find it. Two days later a telegram from London arrived admitting that the yacht was in fact off the south of England.
At Dun Laoghaire, in north Dublin, a town which was then called Kingstown, an expensive wooden pier was built especially for the Queen. The laborers worked all night and right up to moment that the Queen arrived so that she would not have to walk up a slope. The OPW said the work was "most unsatisfactory".
The OPW demanded that the bill be reduced would the builders refused to agree on a price.
The file also contains notes on keeping the noise of train whistles down and stopping mail boats from sounding their horns so that Queen Victoria would not be disturbed.
Another telegram showed the Harbour Commissioners of Ireland ordering special flags from a
Southhampton flag maker. The reply was short and sharp. Messrs S W Wolff said "We are quite unable to make the flags required, we are so busy.”
Auctioneer Ian Whyte told the BBC "There seems to have been a lot of panic among civil servants about Queen Victoria's visit. They wanted to know the length of the royal yacht so that they could build a special place in the harbor…Then the Admiralty misplaced the boat. There were no computers or tracking devices in those days."
He continued "The gangplank had to be level so that Her Majesty would not have to walk up a slope. They built a special plank to take cognizance of the tides and that cost a lot of money."
The visit also meant a great deal of new contracts for the local building contractors. Whyte described them as "rubbing their hands in glee". As there will be a bill of $6.99 million to for heightened security, modification to locations and extra staff while Queen Elizabeth visits it doubtful that much has changed in 111 years.
The footage below comes from British Pathe, one of the oldest media companies in the world. The famously provided a bi-weekly newsreel, "The Pathe Gazette" In 1970 they stopped producing film. In their 80 years of production they amassed 3,500 hours of filmed history.
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