This week at The Archive we are delighted to present one fantastic brand new title – the Felixstowe Times – which we welcome alongside 141,165 brand new pages. Meanwhile, from Darlington to Derry, from Worcester to Wales, we’ve updated our existing titles from across the United Kingdom and Ireland.
So read on to discover more about our new and updated titles of the week, and also to learn about a most scandalous divorce, which was announced in the pages of the Felixstowe Times and would lead to the abdication crisis of 1936, that of Wallis Simpson, who was then a resident of Felixstowe.
We have a wonderful Felixstowe find for you, and it is none other than the Felixstowe Times, our new newspaper of the week. The Felixstowe Times was founded in 1922, and it went by its full name of the Felixstowe Times and Visitors’ List. Serving the Suffolk port and resort town of Felixstowe, it cost just one penny and filled eight pages. Unusually, to reflect the importance of the holiday season in the town, it ran every year between Easter time and the end of the October, taking a rest in the colder winter months.
Its eight pages were filled with predominately local news, with a focus on the town of Felixstowe as a resort. For example, the 11 April 1924 edition of the Felixstowe Times featured a spread which concentrated on Felixstowe as the ‘ideal resort,’ alongside extensive photographs of the town. Indeed, at the this time, Felixstowe topped the rankings of British towns and cities for having the most hours of sunlight.
A lively publication, interspersed with photographs, the Felixstowe Times contained news that concentrated on the town, reporting on everything from new housing schemes to the Medical Officers’ annual report, from the Felixstowe Cottage Hospital to the Felixstowe Secondary School. The Felixstowe Times, meanwhile, reported on the entertainment available in the town, as well as reporting on sports such as football and tennis. A truly local paper, the publication also detailed the places of worship in Felixstowe, alongside railway timetables and high tide tables.
Finally, a mention of the Felixstowe Times would not be complete without looking at its visitors’ lists. Every week the newspaper would publish comprehensive lists of visitors to the town, providing an address of where they were staying, and the name of the town or city where they were from.
That may be it from our new titles of the week, but we have exciting updates to eight of our existing titles. Leading the charge is the Derry Journal, which is one of Ireland’s oldest newspapers, to which we have added nearly 60,000 brand new pages. Meanwhile, this week also sees significant updates to the historic Manchester Evening News, with over 18,000 brand new pages joining that particular title. We’ve not neglected our Welsh titles either, with over 13,000 brand new pages joining Swansea’s South Wales Daily Post, whilst the years 1912 to 1923 and 1925 to 1927 join Ireland’s Galway Observer.
A Felixstowe Decree Nisi – Society Scandal in Suffolk
On 31 October 1936 the Felixstowe Times published an article entitled ‘Felixstowe Decree Nisi – Undefended Suit At Suffolk Assizes.’ What follows is a fairly nondescript account of the granting of a decree nisi in a divorce case, only, it is not nondescript at all, when one realizes who the divorcing couple are.
The article begins:
Mrs. Wallis Simpson, giving an address at Beech House, Felixstowe, was granted a decree nisi with costs, by Mr. Justice Hawke at the Suffolk Assizes at Ipswich on Tuesday. She alleged that her husband, Mr. Ernest Aldrich Simpson, committed adultery at the Hotel de Paris, Bray-on-Thames, in July this year. The name of the woman concerned was not disclosed in open Court, but was stated to be in the petition.
The report of course relates to Wallis Simpson, the then mistress of King Edward VIII. At this point in time, her position was a poorly kept secret, but it was not reported on by the press. All that would change in a matter of weeks, however, when the news of the King’s decision to abdicate to marry the American divorcée hit the headlines.
Wallis Simpson had stayed in Felixstowe, meanwhile, in order to claim residence for her divorce from her husband of eight years, Ernest Simpson, so that she could marry King Edward VIII. The Felixstowe Times piece, however, makes no mention of the royal connection, instead outlining the background to the divorce case:
Mr. and Mrs. Simpson were married at Chelsea Register Office on July 21st, 1928. They afterwards lived at addresses in Berkeley Street, W., and Bryanston Court. There were no children of the marriage.
Under the heading of ‘A Change in Husband’s Manner,’ evidence was submitted against Ernest Simpson:
The case for Mrs. Simpson was that she lived happily with her husband until the Autumn of 1934, when there was a change in his manner towards her, as he became indifferent to her and went away alone and stayed away week-ends. After Easter this year she consulted her solicitors and she subsequently received information upon which the petition was based.
No mention was made of Wallis Simpson’s own affair with the monarch. Wallis Simpson, herself, ‘went into the witness box,’ whilst other witnesses, Archibald Travers and Dante Buscalia, waiters at the Hotel de Paris, and Christian Haesler, a hall porter at the same hotel, testified to Ernest Simpson’s infidelity.
The Felixstowe Times reported how, after the twenty-five minute session, ‘Mr. Justice Hawke granted a decree nisi with costs to Mrs. Simpson.’ The rest, as they say, is history, with Edward VIII electing to abdicate in favour of the woman he loved on 10 December 1936. The couple married in June 1937, and were known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Find out more about the abdication crisis, society scandals, and much more besides, in the pages of our newspaper Archive today.
This week we have updated eight of our existing titles.
You can learn more about each of the titles we add to every week by clicking on their names. On each paper’s title page, you can read a FREE sample issue, learn more about our current holdings, and our plans for digitisation.
|Derry Journal||1886-1890, 1925, 1943-1949, 1956-1974, 1978-1980, 1982-1988|
|Galway Observer||1912-1923, 1925-1927|
|Manchester Evening News||1993|
|Northern Daily Telegraph||1914|
|South Wales Daily Post||1990|
|Worcester Daily Times and Journal||1912|