Felixstowe: Town honours its most notorious resident, Wallis Simpson
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.
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.
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“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.
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“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.