As Britain reeled from the news that 14 British drifters had been sunk off the coast of Italy, King George Vth toured the north of England recognising factories, schools and businesses who were contributing to the war effort.

Before visiting Sedbergh School King George Vth and his wife Mary stopped in Carlisle to tour the Territorial Army Drill Hall on Strand Road. The building had been converted by Theodore Carr of the famous Carr’s biscuits to become a munitions factory. Businesses in the town were encouraged to donate machinery that was converted for use making 18lb. artillery shells. The efforts of the largely female workforce were recognised by King George as an important part of the war effort.

As the King was touring Carlisle news reached Sedbergh that he had graciously accepted an invitation to visit the school later that day. The King was due to inspect the Officers’ Training Corps and so lessons ended at 11am. The Sedberghian magazine records:

“…the rest of the morning and all the afternoon were spent in a gallant attempt on the part of the O.T.C. to put a final polish on themselves and their manoeuvres (for be it remembered that this was only the second full parade of the term), while the few involuntary civilians and townspeople erected such decorations as time allowed.”

Despite our royal charter King George Vth was the first member of the royal family to visit Sedbergh School. However it is rumoured that Bonnie Prince Charlie passed through Sedbergh as he retreated from Derby to Inverness.

On his royal tour the King also visited a shell filling factory in Morecambe and a shipyard in Barrow.

During his visit to Sedbergh on Monday 10th April 2017, HRH Prince Charles was delighted to hear that his visit occurred so close to the 100th anniversary of his great-grandfather’s visit. During his visit to Cumbria the Prince visited the newly opened Rosehill Theatre in Whitehaven and toured the New Balance trainer factory in Maryport.

Katy de la Rivière

School Archivist