January 2015

My name is Katie Williams and I am the Project Assistant for the Archive’s ‘Aston Martin: A Century of Craftsmanship’ HLF Project. As my document of the month I have chosen an ‘Administrative Instruction’ for the Queen’s Visit from the Roger Stowers Collection. This document is a set of instructions about what needs to be done on the day of the Queen’s visit to the Aston Martin factory in Newport Pagnell in 1966.

Why This Document?

I chose this specific document because I find it very interesting to find out the behind-the-scenes story of the Queen’s visit. It is interesting to see how every single element of the day was planned down to the very fine details and everyone was told exactly where they should be and what they should be doing. The document contains instructions such as ‘The interior of the factory, in any case, must be scrupulously clean and shipshape’ and ‘Toilet facilities at H.Q. offices must be in a suitable condition for any member of the Royal Party’. Also included is ‘arrangement must be made to reduce excessive noise which could cause embarrassment’ and ‘The boiler will be phased so that it is not emitting black smoke at any time between 14.00 and 15.45 hrs’. This demonstrates how they wanted everything to be perfect and shows the lengths the management went to, to ensure the visit was a success. Also attached to this document is a ‘Tour Plan’ for the visit which gives instructions about how many minutes are to be spent in each section of the factory and what the guide should talk about. Nothing was left to chance and another two sets of instructions were issued after this one which added more information and gave more instructions. However, it proved to be necessary as the Queen herself wrote to the man who organised the tour thanking him for ensuring everything ran smoothly.