||Excitement had been mounting in the city
Like thousands of other Glaswegians we had ordered our
annual passes and now the tickets had arrived inviting us to attend
the Royal Opening on Friday 29th April 1988.
In the latter half of 1987 I paid frequent visits to
the Festival Site on the south bank of the River Clyde. The old
docks had been cleared and the ground was being prepared to accommodate
thousands of shrubs, trees and plants which were being cultivated
in nurseries throughout Scotland. A plentiful source of top soil
for the flora was obtained from dredging operations on the river.
A beautiful day dawned, bright and crisp, and we
made our way to the Festival Site for the first of many enthralling
Our tickets directed us to the "Water &
Maritime" area. Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana
would tour the site before the official opening ceremony.
Glaswegians love a good show and many had arrived
dressed in period costumes adding to the splendour of this Royal
|Engineers had sunk piles
into the river bed to support a new swing bridge which would provide
a convenient link from the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre
and its car parks on the north bank of the Clyde. "Bell's Bridge"
was to be the major thoroughfare into and out of the site and yet
had to be capable of allowing shipping to pass unhindered to and from
the upper reaches of the river.
Firm foundations were also being prepared to support
the 240 feet high "Clydesdale Bank Anniversary Tower"
and the "Coca Cola Roller" thrill ride.
This once desolate landscape was being magically
|Three happy hours passed watching entertainers charm
the crowd, making new friends, reminiscing about previous Glasgow
Festivals. Distant cheering alerted us to the fact the Royal Party
was getting near. The glass gondola of the Tower ascended and we caught
our first sight of Charles and Diana.
Soon we learned that they would pass through our
area on board one of the little trains which circled the Festival
Site. Attention turned to obtaining a good position by the narrow
gauge railway line.
Cameras were readied, children were raised to shoulder
height, grannies put their false teeth in!
The moment had arrived. To a chorus of cheering
and camera clicking the train swept the Royal Couple by. It was
over. They would be escorted to the "Map of Scotland"
and the Festival would officially open. As for us, it was time to
be swept along on the human tide of enthusiasm to view some of this
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