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HO 290/127

 

RYL/69 135/6/1

 

14 Apr 1969

Town Clerk.  City of Lancaster.

fwds letter asking title for theater.

 

Minutes

The Town Clerk of Lancaster wishes to name a new Civic Theater in Lancaster “The Duke’s Playhouse”.  The request is based on the assumption that the Queen is also Duke of Lancaster, but this is a popular misconception see RYL/08 80/3/1).  We have therefore previously refused applications for the use of the title Duke of ancaster on the advice of the Duchy Office.

 

A further difficulty in this case is that the desired title is “The Duke’s Playhouse” and it is not clear which duke is intended.  It is possible that it might be taken to mean the Duke of Edinburgh, for instance. The title also suggests a closer connection than the full title would.

 

The theatre is still in the planning stage, and although there does not seem to be an appeal for funds, it is not normally our policy to grant a Royal title to a building which is not yet in existence (see RYL/66 135/2/1).  It seems, therefore, that we cannot grant the title at present, and it does not seem necessary to consult the Duchy Office, particularly as we are already well aware of their views.

 

?Write as within

 

Louis Hamson

24.4.69

 

As I have found it necessary to call for some files which are at PRO, I have sent the T.C. an interim reply as within.

E. Harrison

7/5

 

2.5.69

Reminder Crossed. Await precedents.

E. Harrison 8/5

 

This application highlights the rather odd situation that the Home Secretary who is responsible for advising The Quean on the use of Royal titles or titles implying Royal patronage or connections, is obliged to determine applications to use a title which is said to have ceased to be Royal in the 15th century and even if it had not, could not in any event he held by the Sovereign - and this action is necessitated merely because the belief is cherished (only in Lancashire it seems) that the Sovereign is the Duke of Lancaster.    The precedents show that the policy followed and opinions have not been all that consistent and the position is complicated by the fact that the misconception has Royal and official acceptance in that no objection has been raised to the continuation of the ancient practice in Lancashire of referring to the Sovereign as "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster".

 

I have placed within a note summarising the few cases which have been dealt with and the views expressed.

 

The policy in regard to the use of the title "Duke' or "Duke's" which are not necessarily Royal ones,  should presumably be the same as that far the use of the title "Duke of Lancaster", where it is intended that the title is to be used as an association with the Sovereign.   What is not clear is whether we should continue to deal with all applications to use the title "Duke of Lancaster," "Duke" or "Duke's" on the basis of the 1916 precedent i.e., refuse them because The Queen is not the Duke of Lancaster and to grant the title might imply that she was; and perhaps offer to consider some other title.    I do not much like this. If a refusal were ever to be challenged by someone with a knowledge of history, we might find it embarrassing to explain our authority for refusing.    Further more in 1954 we raised no objection to the use of "former Royal title The Duke of Connaught" because the Dukedom became extinct on the death of the second Duke in 1943.     (RYL 45/2/2).

 

On the other hand should we grant all applications regardless, or should we consider applications - at least those emanating in Lancashire - as though the title was Royal, for the same reasons that the title is included in the Loyal Toast in that county, vis. the belief, to which the Town Clerk in his letter within subscribes, that the title is held by The Queen and the evident esteem with which it is regarded.    If so, we have to determine the criteria to be applied.    To adopt the same strict requirements which govern the use of the title "Queen Elisabeth or Queen's" would seem unjustified and I suggest that the policy might be similar to that followed in the use of titles of members of the Royal Family i.e.  the question to be considered is whether there is any reason against grant rather than that the Institution etc. is of outstanding merit. In that event, the grant of the title "Duke's" to the proposed civic Theatre would seen quite suitable except that the theatre has not yet been established. And as the names of Members of The Royal Family are not .permitted until a building is finished or an Institution is in existence and the cost defrayed we nay have to refuse for the present.

 

Before we can reach any firm conclusion I think we must sound the Duchy of Lancaster Office and I suggest ascertain informally whether The Queen has any personal wishes, particularly as there is always a possibility that the City authorities might later ask Her to open or visit the theatre.

 

As the Town Clerk has sent a reminder, perhaps it would be quicker and more  satisfactory to discuss this verbally with  the Duchy Office.

 

?   Take up with the Duchy Office on the basis that we propose to approve the use of the title  "Duke of Lancaster" "Duke or Duke's", unless there are very strong reasons for not doing so.

 

            E. Harrison

 

12th May, 1969

 

Whatever the outcome of this case, we are going to have to tell the Town Clerk that the grant of the title cannot be considered until the building has been completed or is nearly ready for use.    As he is pressing for a reply, the first action seems to me to write to him on those lines.    We can then consider at rather more leisure whether the application would be likely to succeed,  and if it is necessary to consult the Duchy Office I would prefer to do so in writing.

 

So decide

write Town Clerk as in draft.

 

Feakins

14th May 1969

 

 

20.5.69 Town Clerk, Lancaster, writes further.

 

The Town Clerk is pressing for consideration of his application now, rather than on completion of the Theatre.  He mentions that money has been raised for the theatre, but that support for it cannot be gained at this stage while the theatre has no name.

 

Our policy of not granting titles to buildings which are not completed is to prevent a Royal title being used in an appeal for funds, or being given to a building which might never be completed.  For this reason, an application for the title “Princess Marina” for a proposed Studio Theatre in Bristol was deferred (see RYL/66 135/3/1).

 

If the title “Duke’s” is to be regarded as a Royal title (which it is, at present), we cannot make an exception to our rule in this case, in the absence of any good reason to the contrary.  In any case, if we go ahead with our consultations with the Duchy, it will be some time before we can give an answer, and this will be of little use to the Town Clerk.

 

? Write as within

            Louis Harrison

            5.6.69

 

See notes within.

In view of the obvious intended associations with Royalty, we must treat this in the same way as other “Title Royal” cases.

The reasons for not accepting an application until the building is practically finished are well-founded, and although the Town Clerk must find this very irritating and difficult, there would appear to be no justification for departing from established practice.

It might have been easier if there had been a chance to explain this verbally to the Clerk, but.

Write as within

            Feakins

            18.6.69

           

20.6.69

 

20.6.69 Town Clerk sends reminder.

This has crossed with our letter – no action is needed.

26.6.69 Deputy Town Clerk asks H.O. letter.

 

B.F. on 15.9.69

Louis Harrison 26.8.69

B.F. on 15.10.69

Louis Harrison 26.9.69

 

Until we hear further, lay by.

Louis Harrison 13.11.69

 

10 May 1971

Second request from T.C. of Lancaster to name the Civic Theater the “Duke’s Playhouse”. S. Lloyd

 

As this theatre is now well under way, and as it seems well supported from the financial aspect, it would appear that we can give further consideration to the proposal to name the building the “Duke’s Playhouse”.

It has already been decided that this application is to be treated in the same way as an application to name a theatre after a member of the Royal Family, and clearly the Queen should be consulted. First, however, it would seem advisable to find out as much as we can about the theatre from the Arts Council and Department of Education and Science, and also to seek the views of the Office of the Duchy of Lancaster (as we did in RYL/68 80/3/1 attached).  Subject to what our enquiries reveal, perhaps this might be a case for favourable recommendation, on the grounds that the title “Duke of Lancaster” abbreviated to “Duke’s” does not really suggest a close association with The Queen, not even, I would have thought, in Lancaster.

? write as drafts within to

1) D.E.S. and Arts Council

2) the Town Clerk, Lancaster

            PR Hazelgrove

            14.5.71

 

            Heakins

            14.5.71

wrote on 19.5.71

B/F 11.6.71

P.R. Hazelgrove 19/5/71

 

3 Jun 1971 Letter from T.C. of Lancaster dated 25.5.71 S. Lloyd

4 Jun 1971 letter from duchy of Lancaster Office dated 28.5.71 in reply to H.O. letter of 19.5.71. S. Lloyd

 

we are still waiting for D.E.S. to reply.

B/F 11.6.71

 

since it is three weeks since we wrote to the DES & Arts Council

Remind as within

PR Hazelgrove 10.6.71

E. Harrison 10/6

wrote 16/6

1) registry to repair the file case

2) B/F 23/6/71

            PR Hazelgrove

 

17 Jun 1971 Letter from Mr Jeffery dates 9.6.71. S. Lloyd

 

As the Arts Council might have thought it odd that we should say we had not received their replay after they wrote seven days previously, I telephoned them and explained that their letter had been received and that they should ignore ours of 16th June.

We are still waiting to hear from the D.E.S.

            PR Hazelgrove 18.6.71

21/6/71 D.E.S. reply to ours of 19 May

 

The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Department of Education and Science support the Town Cleric of Lancaster's proposal to name the new civic theatre at Lancaster "The Duke's Playhouse", and it seems clear that the productions at the theatre will be of a high standard.    The Duchy of Lancaster Office, however, are not in favour.    They feel that as The Queen is not,  in law, the Duke of Lancaster, it would, by so naming the theatre, encourage the belief that Her Majesty is Duke of Lancaster,    Secondly they feel to allow the title would be to single out the town of Lancaster for special favour at an inappropriate time, in view of the pending Local Government reorganisation.    Both of these are valid points, but perhaps we ought to take the view that the Duchy of Lancaster Office are making rather heavy weather of all this, as the theatre is being named "Duke's" and not "Duke of Lancaster", and whilst there might be some who will be lead to believe that "Duke of Lancaster" is one of The Queen's titles I feel sure that the majority will not even associate the title with The Queen. Regarding their second objection, it is the theatre which is receiving the honour, not the city.

It would therefore appear that we should be guided by the views of the Arts Council and the DBS,  (who ore not merely echoing the views of the Arts council, as they appear to have consulted other bodies as wall) but we shall clearly need to ascertain whether The Queen has any personal wishes in this matter before we make a formal submission to Her Majesty.

? To Mr Witney to write as draft within to Sir Michael Adeane.

 

PR Hazelgrove

1 July 1971

 

If The Queen was in fact the Duke of Lancaster (about which the Duchy of Lancaster Office have at times expressed varying views - see note of 12,5.69 on the file) the the theatre would clearly not satisfy the strict requirements governing the use of the sovereign's title.

 

Since she is not the Duke of Lancaster, but is regarded as such in Lancashire, and the title is included in the Loyal Toast there,  it has been decided that the application should be assessed according to the criteria governing the use of Royal titles other than the sovereign's, ie the title should be allowed unless there are strong reasons to the contrary and provided the institution or building is financially sound and reputable. Judged on this basis, the application, in the light of the DES and Arts Council comments, merits a favourable recommendation.   As Mr Hazelgrove suggests, the Duchy of Lancaster Office'a arguments against the use of the title hardly hold water, particularly as the title Duke will not even in Lancashire it seems be associated automatically with The Queen.    And even if it is, Lancaster is and presumably will remain the county town, and is surely, therefore, the most suitable place for a theatre to bear the title.

 

We shall, however, need to sound the Palace first, not only because The Queen night be asked to visit or extend her patronage to the theatre, but also to confirm that she is content that the 1916 precedent (summarized in the note of 12.5.69.) should no longer be followed and that future applications should be dealt with as outlined above.

 

?   To Mr Witney to write Sir Michael Adeane as in draft B.

 

            E. Harrison 9/7/71

 

? As in draft C

            Feakins 13.7.71

 

Mr Witney wrote to Sir Michael Adeane as within on 14/7/71

 

1) Miss Harrison to see

2) B/F 16.8.71

            PR Hazelgrove

            15/7/71

 

16.7.71  B.P. acknowledges H.O. letter of 14.7.71

 

The Queen has no personal objection to the theatre being named “The Duke’s Playhouse” but we are asked to make it clear that the grant of the title does not provide any grounds for special attention to the theatre.  It is agreed that no formal submission is required.

 

1. Write TC as in draft

2. Notify Arts Council, Dept of Educ & Duchy of Lancaster as drafted.

                        E. Harrison

                        22/7

                        Feakins

                        22/7

 


 

City of Lancaster

 

Town Hall, Lancaster

 

J. D. Waddell

solicitor

town clerk

 

Proposed Civic Theatre - Lancaster

 

The City Council are collaborating with the Lancaster University, the Century Theatre and other interested parties in the establishment of a Civic Theatre in the City.    It has been agreed that an obsolete church which is no longer used for religious purposes by the diocese shall be purchased and converted into a theatre and plans have been prepared which have been approved by all interested parties and also by the National Film Institute.  A trust will be formed on which all the interested bodies will be represented and consideration has been given to a suitable title for the theatre.  After full consideration it has been unanimously decided, particularly having regard to the fact that Her Majesty the Queen is also the Duke of Lancaster, that the title of The Duke's Playhouse" would be most appropriate for a theatre in the County Town and, furthermore, a very popular one.

 

Obviously the City would not wish to use the title without permission and whilst I am not certain whether the approach to obtain permission should be through you or the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, I hope that in addressing this request to you, you could indicate whether or not you will be able to deal with it and if I might know when a decision might be expected.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

J. Waddell

 

 

Town Clerk.

 

The Under Secretary of State.

Home Office,

Whitehall,

LONDON. S.W.1.

 



[draft]

 

Sir,

I am (etc) to refer to your letter of 1st April about the naming of the proposed new Civic Theatre at Lancaster, “The Duke’s Playhouse”.

 

The S. of S. has carefully considered your request, but regrets that he would be unable, consistently with the established practice in these matters, to make a favourable recommendation to The Queen in this case.

 

I am (etc)

 

The Town Clerk

Town House

Lancaster

 


 

Home Office

Whitehall, London S.W.1

 

7 May 1969

 

Sir,

I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that he regrets that it is not yet possible to reply to your letter of 1st April about naming the proposed civic theatre The Duke's Playhouse".

 

The matter is, however, under consideration and a further letter will be sent to you as soon as possible.

 

I am, Sir,

 

Your obedient Servant,

 E. E. HARRISON

 

The Town Clerk

Town Hall

Lancaster

 


 

City of Lancaster

 

Town Hall, Lancaster

 

J. D. Waddell

solicitor

town clerk

 

2nd May 1969

 

Dear Sir,

 

Civic Theatre - Lancaster

 

Referring to my letter of the 1st April referring to the proposed establishment of a Civic Theatre in the City which it is desired to name "The Duke's Playhouse", I shall be obliged if you can indicate when I might expect to receive a reply to my communication.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

J Waddell

 


 

HOME OFFICE

Whitehall, London S.W.1

 

16th May, 1969.

 

Dear Sir,

 

I am sorry it has not been possible to reply sooner to your letters of 1st April and 2nd May about the naming of the new Civic Theatre in the City of Lancaster.

 

As you will appreciate, a request of this kind raises some weighty issues which cannot usually be resolved quickly.    On this occasion there is a further special difficulty and I think it is right that I should let you know of this before the application goes any farther.    The difficulty is that it is contrary to established practice for a Royal name or a title having a Royal significance or connotation to be granted for a building before it is in existence and about to be used.

 

If you will renew your application when the Civic Theatre has reached that stage of development, the matter will receive careful and sympathetic consideration You will, of course, realise that I cannot give you any assurance at this stage that the outcome even then will be successful.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

Feakins

 

The Town Clerk

Town Hall

Lancaster

 



Use of the Title "Duke of Lancaster

 

 

1. Eagleston mentions (Part 1. page 3) that in 1915 permission was given for a hospital in Whalley, Lancashire to be named "The Duke of Lancaster's Hospital". In fact although The King's approval was conveyed to the hospital by his private secretary, the Home Office had previously recommended and obtained The King's approval to the use of another title. The name Duke of Lancaster was accordingly dropped (274413). Eagleston also mentions that there is a Yeomanry regiment colled "The Duke of Lancaster's Own" of which successive Sovereigns have been Colonel-in-Chief.

 

2. In 1916 the title was sought by Lord Derby for a military convalescent hospital in Blackpool. The Duchy of Lancaster Office was consulted and expressed the view that as The King was not The Duke of Lancaster, because the Dukedom was extinct and The King could not be a Duke within his own realm, the use of the title would not be proper. They suggested instead the title "Duchy of Lancaster" but The King was not in favour of this. Lord Derby was accordingly asked to suggest another name and he proposed the title "The King's Lancashire Military Convalescent Hospital". This was approved (307367).

 

3. In 1932 the Chairman of the Lancashire County Council raised the question of the correctness of the customary Loyal Toast in Lancashire "The King, The Duke of Lancaster" about which some doubts had been expressed. The Duchy of Lancaster Office was again consulted. They reiterated their opinion that the title was incorrect stating that this view is based upon the judgment in the "Case of the Duchy" Temp 4. Elizabeth reported in 1st Plowden where the judges laid down that, even in the case of Henry IV who was in his natural person Duke of Lancaster by descent, "the name of Duke being lower than the name of King was drowned by the name of King and by the accession of the Estate Royal to him who was Duke for the King could not be Duke in His own Realm though He might be out of it". This dictum would apply a fortiori to the Sovereigns of the later reigning houses who have none of the blood of John of Gaunt in their veins, and cannot claim the Dukedom by descent. With Henry VI's death, the House of Lancaster ends: Edward IV confiscated all the possessions of the Duchy and later incorporated then into an inheritance to be called the Duchy of Lancaster, and to be enjoyed by himself and His Heirs Kings of England separate from all other inheritances.

The Judges in 4 Elizabeth also laid down that there was nothing in an important Act of 15 Henry VII affecting the Duchy that tended to make the King Duke of Lancaster.  The Duchy of Lancaster Office doubted, however, whether they had any power of duty to give a ruling on the subject and sought an authoritative opinion -apparently from the Vice-Chancellor of the Duchy, We were later advised that they thought that former legal opinions about the title were wrong and that they no longer intended to maintain, as formerly, that it was incorrect to describe The King as Duke of Lancaster (Minute of 2/12/32 on 193441/6 [= HO 45/24602]). The Duchy office then informed the Chairman of the Lancashire County Council that although the title of "Duke of Lancaster" was not used as part of His Majesty's Royal style, the Toast which introduced that title was in accordance with use-honoured custom and might be regarded as correct. They added that The King's pleasure upon the matter having been taken at a meeting of the Privy Council and His Majesty had stated that he wished "The King, Duke of Lancaster" to be the formula - the substance of this letter was reported in the "Times" of 29/3/33.

 

4. A "Times" extract of 12/1/51 reports King George VIth as saying in reply to the Loyal Toast at a luncheon given by the Lancashire County Council, "I am proud to come among you as a successor to those plantagenet Kings and to stand here today in my right as Duke of Lancaster". (193441/27 [= HO 45/24602]) .

 

5. In 1952 the Palace asked whether The Queen should approve the formula "The Queen, Duke of Lancaster". There is a memorandum by the Duchy of Lancaster Office on the file which states categorically that the King is "The Duke of Lancaster" and gives the writer's reasons for this conclusion. Sir Austin Strutt in replying to the Palace, however, states to the contrary but recognises that as the practice of using the title was an ancient custom in Lancashire, there was no reason why it should not continue. (RYL 361/1/2).

 

6. In 1955 a request to transfer the names Duke of Lancaster and Duke of Rothesay to two ships which were replacement vessels was submitted to The Queen for approval. This action seems to suggest that although the title is not a Royal one it should be considered as though it were.

 

7. Last year an application to use the name "Duchess of Lancaster" for a golf club to be formed adjoining a club called John O'Gaunt Golf Club in Bedfordshire, was refused, as the Duchy of Lancaster Office thought it might imply that The Queen was the Duchess of Lancaster.

 

E. Harrison

12/5/69

 


 

City of Lancaster

 

Town Hall, Lancaster

 

J. D. Waddell

solicitor

town clerk

 

20th May 1969

 

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of the 16th May and for the suggestion contained therein.

I appreciate the issues involved but I am sure that equally so you will realise the difficulties here of organising a concerted effort to secure the new theatre for the City when the theatre has not even got a title.

So far money has been found to build the theatre but to make it a success it is necessary at this stage to form supporters clubs and to start by press releases, news sheets, etc. to build up the image of the theatre in the City.  All this becomes much simpler if one can talk of the theatre by name rather than just as the building project.

In the circumstances I really wonder whether or not established practice cannot be stretched a little for the matter to be considered at this stage and one would hope that a theatre in the County Town, the centre of the Duchy of Lancaster, would not present as great a problem as might arise if the proposal came from some other town not so closely associated with the Duchy.

Yours faithfully.

 


 

Dear Sir,

 

I refer to your letter of 20th May about the grant of the title “Duke’s” to the new Civic Theatre in the City of Lancaster.

 

 I realise that you are anxious to settle the question of a title for the theatre, but I am afraid that it is most unikely that we would be able to give you a favourable decision at the present time.

 

The Town Clerk

Town Hall

Lancaster

 


 

Miss E. Harrison

 

I should be very glad to have your observations on this.  As you will see, I thought it best to tell the Clerk at the outset that there was nothing doing until the building is in existence. I would still hold that view were it not for the fact that the title requested is “Duke”. Are we making unnecessarily heavy weather of this? And is it essential to consult the Duchy Office at all?

 

            Feakins

            10.6.69

 


 

HOME OFFICE

Whitehall,

London S.W.1

 

24th June 1969

 

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your further letter of 20th May about the proposed Civic Theatre for the City of Lancaster.

We fully recognise the difficulties to which you draw attention but I am sorry to have to say that it would not be possible to depart from well-founded and long established practice by considering the grant of a title having Royal significance for this building before it has reached an advanced stage of completion.

 

As you will realise, permission to use a "Royal" title at this stage, before the theatre is in existence, would be bound to imply Royal support for the project. This would not be in accord with the well-recognised significance of the grant of a "Royal" title, which is that it is a mark of the highest esteem awarded to achievement worthy of such distinction, or to denote some particular and close royal association.

 

I am sorry, therefore, that there is nothing further I can do to help at this stage.

 

Yours faithfully.

 


 

City of Lancaster

 

20th June 1969

 

Dear Sir,

 

The Civic Theatre, Lancaster -Proposed Name.

 

Adverting to my  letter of the 20th May, which you acknowledged on the 27th May, perhaps you will be kind enough to let me know whether you can give me any further information at this stage.

Yours faithfully,

J Waddell

 

 

 

 

The Under Secretary of State,

Home Office,

Whitehall,

LONDON S.W.1.

 


City of Lancaster

 

Town Hall, Lancaster

 

 

5th May, 1971.

 

Dear Sir,

 

Civic Theatre, Lancaster - Proposed Naming "Duke's Playhouse"

 

Further to our correspondence in April and May of 1969 1 would like to re-open the matter which, when I put it to you at that time, you thought was premature and that the theatre should be more further advanced in its development, before the request to name the theatre 'Duke's Playhouse' could be considered.

 

The situation is now that the building contract is proceeding apace and there is no reason why the opening of the building, both as a theatre and as the regional film theatre of the British Film institute, should not take place at the back end of this year.

 

The project has received considerable financial support from the Arts Council of Great Britain and from the University of Lancaster, and the more recent body to support the theatre is the Pilgrim Trust, with a generous contribution of £5,000.

 

The time is fast approaching when it comes essential to fix the title of the theatre and I hope that in view of the changed circumstances and the progress now being made that you will feel the request is one which can be put forward at this stage.

yours faithfully,

 

J Waddell

Town Clerk

 

 

The Under Secretary of State,

Home Office,

Whitehall,

LONDON. S.W.1..


 

RYL/69 135/6/1

The Secretary

The Arts Council of Great Britain

4 St James's Square                                        

LONDON SWl                                                       19 May 1971

 

I am directed by the Secretary of State to enclose copies of letters from the Town Clerk of Lancaster seeking permission to name a theatre, which is under construction, The Duke's Playhouse".

It is the duty of the Home Secretary to advise The Queen on the use of Royal Titles or titles implying Royal Patronage, and the title"Duke" in this instance is intended to refer to the Duke of Lancaster.

I am, therefore, to seek your views on this application, and to ask for any information about the theatre and its performances which you are able to supply.

I am Sir

Your obedient servant

 

Feakins


 

RYL/69 135/6/1

The Under Secretary ot State

Arts, Intelligence and External Relations Branch

Department of Education and Sciences

Curzon Street

LONDON SW1

 

19 May 1971

 

I am directed by the Secretary of State to enclose copies of letters from the Town Clerk of Lancaster seeking permission to name a theatre, which in under construction, "The Duke's Playhouse".

It is the duty of the Home Secretary to advise The Queen on the use of Royal Titles or titles implying Royal Patronage, and the title "Duke" in this instance is intended to refer to the Duke of Lancaster.

I am, therefore, to seek your views on this application, and to ask for any information about the theatre and its intended performances which you are able to supply.

I am Sir

Your obedient Servant

 

            Feakins


 

RYL/69 135/6/1

 

TC/ECT/121/10

The Town Clark

Town Hall

LANCASTER                                                    

 

19 May 1971

 

Sir

I am directed by the Secretary of State to acknowledge receipt of your letter of 5th May about naming the proposed civic theatre "The Duke's Playhouse", and to confirm that your application is receiving attention.

I am to add that enquiries into matters such as this usually take some time to complete, but you will be informed as soon as a decision tuts been reached.

 

I am Sir

Your Obedient servant

 

            Feakins


 

RYL/69 135/6/1

 

The Clerk of the Council

of the Duchy of Lancaster

Lancaster Place Strand

LONDON WC2                                                  

 

19th  May  1971

 

Sir

I am directed by the Secretary of State to enclose copies of letters fron the Town Clerk of Lancaster seeking permission to name a theatre, which is under construction, "The Duke's Playhouse".

 

It is the duty of the Secretary of State to advise The Queen on such matters, and he would be grateful, therefore,  for your views on the present application.

 

I am Sir

 

Your obedient servant

 

            Feakins


 

City of Lancaster

 

25th May, 1971.

 

Dear Sir,

 

Civic Theatre, Lancaster - Proposed Naming "Duke's Playhouse".

 

I thank you for your letter of the 19th May and I will await to here further from you.

If there is any information at all which you would wish to have and which you feel I might be able to provide please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

J Waddell

.

Town Clerk.

 

 

The Under Secretary of State,

Home Office,

Horseferry Mouse,

Dean Kyle Street,

LONDON, S. W. 1.

 


 

DUCHY OP LANCASTER OFFICE

LANCASTER PLACE. STRAND

LONDON. W.C.2

 

28th May 1971

 

Sir,

 

I have to thank you for your letter of 19th May concerning the suggestion that a theatre in Lancaster should be named "The Duke's Playhouse".  The thought behind this request is much appreciated but there appear to be two practical disadvantages.   In the first place, and as a matter of law, The Queen is not correctly described as the Duke of Lancaster.  Although no objection is taken when such references are made colloquially it is felt that to name the theatre in this way would inevitably lead to the suggestion that the rank in question was one of Her Majesty's titles. It is The Queen's wish, expressed at the time of Her Accession, that the loyal toast when given in Lancashire should be in the form - "The Queen - Duke of Lancaster" -but it has never been suggested that there should be general reference to Her Majesty in this manner.

 

In the second place, it is felt that it might be rather confusing if Lancaster was singled out for special favour in this way and at this time, particularly in relation to the position of other Lancashire towns which may suffer upheaval in the forthcoming revision of local government boundaries.

 

In the circumstances, therefore, I have to say that, in the opinion of the Duchy Authorities, it would be better if this particular request could be resisted.

 

I am, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

 

            [signature]

 

The Under Secretary of State,

Home Office,

Horseferry House,

Dean Ryle Street,

LONDON, S.W.l.


 

RYL/69 135/6/1

 

In Confidence

 

The Secretary

The Arts Council of Great Britain

4 St James's Square

 

I an directed by the Secretary of State to refer to this Department's letter of 19 May about the application made by the Town Clerk of Lancaster for permission to name a theatre "The Duke's Playhouse" and to say that he would to glad to receive your observations as soon as possible.

 

I am, Sir

 

 

Your obedient Servant

 


 

THE ARTS COUNCIL OF GREAT BRITAIN

105 Piccadilly, London, W1V OAU

 

9th June 1971

 

Dear Mr Jenkins,

 

In your letter (RYL/69 135/6/1) of 19th May you asked for our view on the application by the Town Clerk of Lancaster to name the new theatre there "The Duke's Playhouse".  I am therefore writing to let you know that we regard this as a good and imaginative name for the theatre, and can see no objection to you advising Her Majesty to acceed to the Town Clerk's request.

 

We give financial support to the Century Theatre Company, which is to occupy the new building, and have in addition given capital grants towards its construction from our special Housing the Arts fund. we have only contributed Council money in these ways because we have continued to be satisfied with the quality of the Company's productions and the standard of its direction, and have wished to see it properly housed in its own new theatre.

 

We consequently warmly support the suggestion concerning the name, and would be grateful if you could keep us in touch with the outcome of the application.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

K. H. Jeffery

 

 

W. C. Jenkins, Esq.,

Home Office,

Horseferry House,

Dean Byle Street,

London, S.W.1


 

 

Department of Education and Science

38 Belgrave Square London SW1

 

W G Feakins Esq

Home Office

Horseferry House

Bean Ryle Street

LONDON SW1

 

Dear Mr Feakins,

 

Following your letter of 19 May, about the request from Lancaster to use a royal title in naming a new theatre: "The Duke's Playhouse", I spoke to you by telephone to let you know that we were making enquiries.

 

Our informants, including the Arts Council which I understand you have also consulted, speak well of this enterprise and support the idea that it should be allowed to use the suggested title.

 

In conclusion, therefore, we can say that we know of no reason why Her Majesty should be advised not to allow the proposed royal title to be used in this case.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

John C R Hudson

 


 

DRAFT LETTER

TO

Lt Col Rt Hon Sir Michael Adeane GCB, GCVO

Buckingham Palace

 

The Town Clerk of the City of Lancaster has applied for permission to name a new civic theatre in Lancaster "The Duke's Playhouse". The title "Duke's" is intended to refer to the title "Duke of Lancaster", by which The Queen is known in Lancaster, but which is not, of course, one of Her Majesty's official Titles.

We have consulted the Department of Education and Science and the Arts Council of  Great Britain, who report that they are in favour of the proposal. In fact the Arts Council, together with the University of Lancaster and the Pilgrim Trust, have given financial backing to the cost of building the theatre, which is now nearing completion. We have also consulted the Duchy of Lancaster Office who are opposed to the proposal on the grounds that the intended name of the theatre would encourage the belief that The Queen is the Duke of Lancaster, and also because they feel it would be granting an honour to the

City of Lancaster at an inappropriate time, in view of the pending Local Government reorganisation.

After careful consideration I am inclined to take the view that we should support the application, as clearly the new theatre will be of some importance, and whilst fully appreciating the points made by the Duchy of Lancaster office, I feel that as the intended title is "Duke's" and not "Duke of Lancaster" it would not be widely assumed that the latter title is one of Her Majesty's. Also, the honour will be primarily to the theatre and not to the City.

However, before we make a formal submission in this case, I would be grateful to learn whether The Queen has any personal wishes about the proposal.

 


 

DRAFT LETTER   B

 

TO

Lt Col Rt Hon Sir Michael Adeane

GCB GCVO

Buckingham Palace

 

We have received an application from the Town Clerk of the City of Lancaster for permission to name a new civic theatre in Lancaster "The Duke's Playhouse". The title has been requested on the grounds that The Queen is the Duke of Lancaster and that the title would therefore be an appropriate and very popular one.

As you will know, of course, there has been no Duke of Lancaster for centuries: the estates are held by the Sovereign by right of her Duchy of Lancaster. But the practice of using the title Duke of Lancaster is an ancient custom in Lancashire and Her Majesty has approved the inclusion of the title in the Loyal Toast in Lancashire in continuation of the practice observed by previous sovereigns.

In 1916 an application to name a military hospital The Duke of Lancaster was refused, with the approval of The King, after the Duchy of Lancaster Office advised

that to grant the title might imply that The King was the Duke of Lancaster.  It seemed to us, however, that to refuse applications on this ground was no longer justified. Equally as The Queen is regarded as the Duke of Lancaster in Lancashire, to grant all applications regardless of merit would be wrong. We had, therefore, to decide on what basis applications should he judged. To adopt the strict criteria governing the use of The Queen's title seemed inappropriate. It was thought reasonable, therefore, to apply the criteria governing the use of other Royal titles, ie the title should be allowed unless there were strong reasons to the contrary and provided the institution or building was financially sound and reputable.

We accordingly consulted the Department of Education and Science, the Arts Council and the Duchy of Lancaster Office. The Department of Education and the Arts Council speak well of the project and warmly support the application. The Arts Council have in fact given financial support to the company which is to perform in the theatre and have also contributed, together with the University of Lancaster and the Pilgrim Trust to the cost of the construction of the new building. The Duchy of Lancaster Office oppose the proposal, however, on the grounds that the intended name would encourage the belief that the title is one of Her Majesty's titles and that it would be wrong to single out Lancaster for such a special favour, particularly as other Lancashire towns may suffer upheaval under the forthcoming re-organisation of local government boundaries.

We are not convinced that the Duchy of Lancaster Office's arguments are valid ones, particularly as the title to be used is Duke and not Duke of Lancaster.  It would not, we feel, necessarily be assumed, even in Lancashire, that this implied official recognition of the title. The theatre will evidently be of some importance and since the proposal is well regarded by the Department of Education and the Arts Council, we are disposed to recommend that the application be granted. However, in view of Her Majesty's position in relation to Lancashire and the possibility that She might be invited to visit the theatre or become its patron, we feel that the matter is one on which Her personal wishes should he sought. We should also he grateful to know whether Her Majesty is content that any future applications should he dealt with on the basis outlined above.

 


 

DRAFT LETTER   C

TO

Lt Col Rt Hon Sir Michael Adeane

CCB GCVO

Buckingham Palace

 

The Town Clerk of the City of Lancaster has written to ask for permission to name a new civic theatre in Lancaster "The Duke's Playhouse".    The title has been requested on the grounds that The Queen is the Duke of Lancaster and that the title would therefore be an appropriate and very popular one.

At first sight the proposal seems quite unobjectionable, but we have considered it as being for a Royal title because this is clearly how the City Council would regard it, and also because in the particular location of Lancaster the word "Duke" has a special significance.

Whether or not The Queen is Duke of Lancaster is a moot point, and as you will know there has been much argument about this in the past.    What we can say with certainty is that the words "Duke of Lancaster" form no part of The Queen's official title.    However, Her Majesty, in common with her predecessors,  has approved the inclusion of the words "Duke of Lancaster" in the Loyal Toast in the county since this is an ancient custom which Lancastrians are jealous to preserve.

We have consulted the Department of Education and Science and the Arts Council.    They both warmly support the application.    The Arts Council, the University of Lancaster and the Pilgrim Trust have all given financial support to the venture, and it is expected that the building will be open for use, both as a theatre and as the regional film theatre of the British Film Institute, towards the end of this year.    We are satisfied that this is a worthy application and-other things being equal-we would recommend its approval.     The office of the Duchy of Lancaster, however, whom we have also consulted, oppose the intended name on the grounds that it would encourage the belief that the rank in question was one of Her Majesty's titles and that it would be wrong to single out Lancaster from other Lancashire towns, which may suffer upheaval under the forthcoming re-organisation of local government, for such a special favour.

We are not persuaded by these objections to alter our view and are still disposed to recommend that the application should be granted.  But we feel that this is a matter in which the Queen may have personal wishes.    It possible that Her Majesty might be invited to visit the theatre or to beoome its patron.    I should be very grateful, therefore, if you would apprise Her Majesty of the application and advise me as to whether She has any personal wishes.

I should also be glad to have your views on whether you consider that a formal submission should be made in this case.

But although the Title Duke might seem innocuous enough, we feel that The Queen may have personal wishes about the use of the title in this particular context. There is also the possibility that Her Majesty might be invited to visit the theatre or become its patron.  I should be very grateful, therefore, for your advice before proceeding further.  Unless you consider it necessary, we would not propose that a formal submission should be made.

 


 

Lt-Col the Rt Hon Sir Michael Adeane GCB GCVO                                     

Buckingham Palace                                                                       14 July 1971

 

The Town Clerk of the City of Lancaster has written to ask for permission to name a new civic theatre in Lancaster "The Duke's Playhouse".  The title has been requested on the grounds that The Queen is the Duke of Lancaster and that the title would,   therefore, be an appropriate and very popular one.

 

At first sight the proposal seems quite unobjectionable, but we have considered it as being for a Royal title because this is clearly how the City Council would regard it, and also because in the particular location of Lancaster the word "Duke" has a special significance.

 

Whether or not The Queen is Duke of Lancaster is a moot point, and as you will know,   there has been much argument about this in the past.    What we can say with certainty is that the words "Duke of Lancaster" form no part of The Queen's official title.    However,  Her Majesty, in common with bar predecessors, has approved the inclusion of the words "Duke of Lancaster" In the Loyal Toast in the county, since this is an ancient custom which Lancastrians are  jealous to preserve.

 

We have consulted the Department of Education and Science and the Arts Council.   They both warmly support the application.    The Arts Council,  the University of Lancaster and the Pilgrim Trust have all given financial support to the venture,  and it is expected that the building will be open for use,  both as a theatre and as the regional film theatre of the British Film Institute, towards the end of this year.    We are satisfied that this is a worthy application and - other things being equal - we would recommend its approval.    The office of the Duchy of Lancaster, however, whom we have also consulted, oppose the intended name on the grounds that it would encourage the belief that the rank in question was one of Her Majesty's titles and that it would be wrong to single out Lancaster from other Lancashire towns, which may suffer upheaval under the forthcoming re-organisation of local government,  for such a special favour.

We are not persuaded by these objections to alter our view and are still disposed to recommend that the application should be granted.    But although the title "Duke"  might seem innocuous enough, we feel that The Queen may have personal wishes about the use of the title in this particular context. There is also the possibility that Her Majesty might be invited to visit the theatre or to become its Patron.    I should be very grateful,  therefore, for your advice before proceeding further.    Unless you consider it necessary, we would not propose that a formal submission should be made.

 

K. P.  WITNEY

 


BUCKINGHAM  PALACE

 

16th July, 1971.

 

Dear Kenneth,

 

Thank you for your letter of 14th July.

 

The Queen would have no personal objection to the new Civic Theatre in Lancaster being called "The Duke's Playhouse."

 

Should such a title be granted it should be made clear to the applicants that it does not in itself provide any grounds for special Royal attention towards the Theatre.

 

I agree with you that a formal submission is not necessary.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Michael Adeane

 

 

Kenneth Witney, Esq.

 


 

Our Ref. RYL/69 135/5/1

Your Ref. TC/ECT/121/10

The Town Clerk

Town Hall

LANCASTER

 

23 July 1971

 

Sir.

 

With further reference to your letter of 5 May I am directed by the Secretary of State to say that permission is hereby given for the new civic theatre in Lancaster to be named "The Duke's Playhouse."

 

It should be noted that the grant of the title does not is itself provide any grounds for special Royal attention to the theatre.

 

I am Sir

Your obedient Servant

 

Feakins


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