Farewell, Ma’am


Management, staff and volunteers at Lighthouse are united in grief by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday 8 September.

As a mark of respect the lights on the front of Lighthouse will remain dark until after the Queen’s funeral.

“Everyone at Lighthouse is deeply saddened by the news,” says Chief Executive Elspeth McBain. “Her Majesty was a firm supporter of the arts through her encouragement of her son the Earl of Wessex in his long-standing patronage of the sector and we join her most loyal subjects in expressing our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones.

“The Queen had a long connection to Lighthouse and our sense of bereavement is felt all the more deeply because of her visits. She has been an inspiration to us all.”

Having opened as Poole Arts Centre in April 1978, the building was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 23 March 1979 during a visit to Poole with Prince Philip. The royal couple arrived in Dorset in the early hours of the morning by train and rested in sidings west of Wareham before travelling on to Poole where they arrived at 10am in glorious sunshine. Crowds lined the streets as they were taken by car from the station to Poole Arts Centre where four trumpets sounded a fanfare as they drew up.

Noticing the Whitecliff Bar opened at 10.30am, the Duke of Edinburgh said: “Don’t let us interfere with your refreshments, just carry on!” They listened to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra rehearse with conductor Arthur Davison before being driven to Poole Quay to visit Poole Pottery.

The Queen and Prince Phillip returned on 28 July 2004, arriving by helicopter at King’s Park in Bournemouth where they were greeted by a crowd of 5000. They visited the renamed Lighthouse to officially reopen the building following its major refurbishment before touring the new RNLI training college. Afterwards, thousands watched as the royal couple left by lifeboat from Poole Quay.

Just this summer students from local schools made a series of artworks as part of The Power House Poole’s Platinum Jubilee project in June that included the Poole Britannia Celebration Day at Lighthouse. Photos of all the creative pieces produced by the community and from all The Power House Jubilee events were sent as part of a Platinum Jubilee Gift to Her Majesty.

The photo of the Royal visit in 1979 is used courtesy of David Collins.


Royal Visit 23 March 1979

The Queen snapped in her limo on Poole High Street
The Queen signs the visitors' book at Poole Arts Centre
The Queen on Poole Quay
Crowds gather hoping for a glimpse of The Queen at Poole Arts Centre
Waiting for The Queen to arrive at Poole Arts Centre