Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 8°C


Felixstowe: Town honours its most notorious resident, Wallis Simpson

17:46 11 December 2012

Pat Todd, the designer and creator of the unveiled plaque honouring where Wallis Simpson stayed in Felixstowe, speaks at the unveiling on Thursday, 6 December.

Pat Todd, the designer and creator of the unveiled plaque honouring where Wallis Simpson stayed in Felixstowe, speaks at the unveiling on Thursday, 6 December.


THERE is little left today of the Felixstowe that Wallis Simpson knew – and hated – but now the seaside town has something by which to remember its most notorious resident.

Mrs Simpson’s Felixstowe

WALLIS Simpson didn’t like out-of-season 1930s Felixstowe, cut off from the international social scene in a house she felt was far too small for her needs.

She wrote in her autobiography: “My first impression of the little house in Felixstowe was dismaying.

“It was tiny, there was barely room for the three of us (two friends and herself), plus a cook and a maid, to squeeze into it.

“The only sounds were the melancholy boom of the sea breaking on the deserted beach and the rustling of the wind around the shuttered cottages.

“No hint of distant concern penetrated Felixstowe.

“When I walked down to town for the mail and the newspapers not a head turned . . . on fair days, we used to walk alone on the beach and for all the attention ever paid to us, we could have been in Tasmania.”

Beach House – which stood in Undercliff Road East – was demolished after an arson attack in 1989 and replaced by flats.

The five-bedroom seafront house where she stayed for just six weeks in 1936 is long gone, and she would recognise little of the seafront and town centre where she walked with her friends.

Now though the spot where Beach House stood in Undercliff Road East has been marked with a plaque, put up by the Felixstowe Society as part of a trail around the town recognising places connected with famous people.

Artist Pat Todd, who with her late husband Mike sponsored the plaque and also makes the plaques, said Mrs Simpson was always the first name people mentioned when talking about people linked with Felixstowe.

“It’s a real honour to make these plaques and this has been quite an exciting one to do because of all the history associated with it,” she said.

“It is lovely that we now have Beach Place where Beach House once stood so that people can enjoy the views of the sea that Mrs Simpson once enjoyed or apparently didn’t enjoy.”

Phil Hadwen, vice chairman of the Felixstowe Society, said there was still huge interest in Mrs Simpson’s connections with Felixstowe, although she only stayed as a residence requirement while her divorce went through at Ipswich at the height of the abdication crisis to allow her to marry Edward VIII when he gave up the throne.

“Edward used to visit her while she was at Beach House – his plane would land at Brackenbury Cliffs and he would go to the Fludyers Hotel near the house to have a few pints with the locals,” said Mr Hadwen.

“She, of course, famously hated Beach House, which she thought was a hovel and Felixstowe was too isolated, too far from city life.”

The plaque is one of 12 the society has now put up to mark the resort’s associations with the famous including Lawrence of Arabia, the Empress of Germany, codebreaker Harry Fensom, Thomas Cavendish and Sir John Mills.

1 comment

  • De mortuis nil nisi bonum....but I think we all agree she ended up getting what she deserved.

    Report this comment


    Friday, December 14, 2012

Hundreds of youngsters braved the cold October temperatures to celebrate all things autumn at the Holywells Park Apple Day.

Severe traffic delays on the A12 in Feering, Essex, have been caused by a two car crash.

Suffolk police officers have been called to a clown sighting in Haughley, near Stowmarket this afternoon.

A Kesgrave man accused of attempting to rape a schoolgirl has been cleared by a jury.

Two boys with “hearts of gold” will be handed a BBC Radio 1 teen hero award for their charity work in Sudbury on Sunday, following the death of their close friend when he was just 13.

A Suffolk-based charity auction which has attracted bids from all over the world and raised more than £870,000 since its inception is aiming to break the £1million mark for national and local charities this year.

Some stores display a polite notice next to initial merchandise asking shoppers not to rearrange the items to create rude words.

Rail company Greater Anglia has unveiled a new weapon in its battle against problems caused by leaves on the line during the autumn.

Although I’m a fan of the show Spamalot - I went to see the touring production at the Regent five years ago - I have to admit I only wanted to see the Company of Four’s version as my cousin Jo is in it (very good as a sweary minstrel, I have to say!)

Detectives have said they have not given up in their quest to find the body of alleged Suffolk double murder victim Sylvia Stuart.

Most read

Most commented


Show Job Lists

Topic pages


Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24