A family-run visitor attraction with hundreds of pieces of memorabilia of the Royal Family has said that it has been “a very special and emotional week” talking to people who have come by to pay their respects to the Queen.
The Royal Room at Jeyes of Earls Barton in Northamptonshire, which was launched in 2012, has numerous memorabilia dedicated to the royal family, including hundreds of books, magazines, photographs and even the Queen’s trusted friend Paddington Bear, which has been added to over the years through donations and the Jeyes family’s personal collection.
Following the Queen’s death last Thursday, Georgina Jeyes, 72, and her daughters Pip Jeyes, 48, and Anna Jeyes-Hulme, 38, set up their own Book of Remembrance in The Royal Room, which they hoped would be filled with “memories and celebrations” about the Queen.
“It’s been so special to have so many people come from all over the county to share their memories of the Queen,” Georgina told the PA news agency.
“We’ve had people of all backgrounds, cultures and ages ranging from a four-year-old to a 94-year-old, we’ve had queues of people waiting to write in our Book of Remembrance.
“There have been tears of sadness yet also joy as people reminisced about how the Queen has touched their lives. It’s been very emotional.”
Georgina added that the family have enjoyed talking to visitors over a coffee when they brought in memorabilia to donate to the room.
“I knew how important it was for them to sit down and talk to mum and share their stories,” said Anna.
“They want a good home for their family’s possessions when things have maybe moved on in their lives.”
Pip added: “Everybody has a special memory of [the Queen] which is incredible.”
Anna added that interest in their collection has continued to grow over the last few days with a customer, Martin Lawrence, chair of The Northamptonshire Heritage Forum, donating a copy of the proclamation of Edward VIII complete with all the required signatures.
“This will become one of our most treasured items as it’s only been in the last few days that we all now understand what a ‘proclamation’ is,” she said.
Pip added: “One of the most valuable items is a pair of miniature gold stagecoaches, we originally only had one of the pair but after scouring the country for several years we found the matching coach.”
The family have formed connections with several pieces of the collection over the years.
One of the items with an interesting backstory and the most “quirky” in the room is a decorative portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, which has been made using plaster of Paris and is adorned with flashing lights.
Georgina said: “It was made by a local electrician, Trevor Perkins, to celebrate the Coronation in 1953, on the night of the coronation.
“Mr Perkins provided music for the people of the village to dance along to while the lights of the portrait flashed in his electrical shop window.
“It is very quirky and a complete one-off.”
Despite being in need of repair, the Jeyes family said they have plans to restore it to its former glory in time for King Charles III’s Coronation.
One of Georgina’s favourite items is a photograph of a coach from her parents’ coach company, Taylors Coaches, which carried the Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Philip’s mother.
“The M1 was officially opened in 1959 and at the time, the motorway was a big deal”, she said.
“That was the Queen’s first trip on the motorway and it was in my father’s bus.”
Other items in the collection include china plates and mugs, jigsaws, trinket tins, brasses and most recently a Paddington Bear display.