New exhibition celebrates the South Shields visits of the Queen and Muhammad Ali

Photo by Fred Mudditt courtesy of South Tyneside Libraries. www.southtynesidehistory.co.uk.jpg
Photo by Fred Mudditt courtesy of South Tyneside Libraries. www.southtynesidehistory.co.uk.jpg

A new exhibition celebrating the three days in which the Queen, Prince Phillip and Muhammad Ali came to South Shields is set to pack a punch.

A display commemorating the July 1977 visits opens at South Shields Museum and Art Gallery on Saturday, July 8.

Silver Jubilee celebrations. Pictures courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

Silver Jubilee celebrations. Pictures courtesy of Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums.

The Three Days…a Queen, a Prince and a ‘King’ display in the museum’s stairwell consists of memorabilia from both celebrations including photographs, a ticket from the personal appearance of Muhammad Ali and a pair of boxing gloves he autographed.

Geoff Woodward, museum manager said: “With the Queen and Prince Philip visiting on Friday 15 July then Muhammad Ali here the following two days, it really was a special time for South Shields. This display commemorates those momentous three days, 40 years ago, in the summer of 1977.”

At the time of his visit Muhammad Ali was the world heavyweight champion and a prominent civil rights activist; he and his wife also visited the Al Azhar Mosque on Laygate Lane in the town to have their wedding blessed as 7,000 well-wishers stood outside.

The Queen and Prince Philip were on their Silver Jubilee tour which prompted patriotic street parties and even ‘mini Olympics’, with an 8,000 strong crowd of local school children and older people from care homes greeting them in Gypsies Green Stadium.

Visitors to the museum can also see the L.S Lowry exhibition on until September 10, and the Little Landmarks exhibition which features ten South Shields buildings made in miniature from Legi.

The Three Days…a Queen, a Prince and a ‘King’ display is part of the wider Freedom City 2017, a regional programme marking the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. receiving an honorary degree from Newcastle University.

Taking place at venues and public spaces across Newcastle and Gateshead throughout 2017, Freedom City 2017 features a large-scale outdoor event, thought-provoking theatre, inspiring exhibitions, uplifting musical performances, world-class academic research and more.

•The display runs until Saturday, December 16; the museum is open Monday - Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 11am – 4pm and has free entry.