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Remembering the Duke's visits to SATRA

Looking back to the times Prince Philip came to Kettering to learn more about the research being conducted by SATRA.

The world’s media carried one story in common on Friday 9th April 2021, after the death of HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at the age of 99. This news undoubtedly brought back memories of two special days to a number of SATRA’s former and current members of staff.

SATRA has been honoured by visits from several members of the British royal family over the years. One of these took place in July 1965, when HM Queen Elizabeth II was accompanied by her husband on a guided tour of the various departments around SATRA House in Rockingham Road, Kettering – our previous head office and research laboratory centre. The Queen and Prince Philip showed great interest in SATRA’s work, with Her Majesty particularly attracted to the projects relating to children’s shoes. Almost everyone at SATRA was involved on that memorable occasion – even the most junior representatives of the team, who often had the privilege of explaining to the royal couple how the test machinery operated.


Prince Philip first visited SATRA’s laboratories in 1965 – seen here talking to Joy Smith with John Bunten in the background

Twenty-nine years later – in May 1994 – the Duke visited SATRA’s Rockingham Road facilities once again, this time to officially declare open the organisation’s new state-of-the-art conditioning laboratories used for the evaluation of materials and finished footwear, which had become fully operational at the start of that year. As during his earlier visit, the prince spent time with the members of staff discussing the various fields of research conducted at SATRA.


The Duke of Edinburgh returned to SATRA in 1994 to open SATRA’s new conditioning laboratories

The facility in Rockingham Road was home to SATRA’s offices and laboratories from January 1947 until operations moved to the current headquarters – also in Kettering – in the late 1990s. 

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 30 of the May 2021 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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