Mitre tavern had great view of historic event

I AM still receiving memories of Ipswich public houses following the feature in Kindred Spirits recently looking at the many public houses now gone forever from our area.

David Kindred

I AM still receiving memories of Ipswich public houses following the feature in Kindred Spirits recently looking at the many public houses now gone forever from our area.

One of those I featured was the Mitre Tavern which stood at the corner of St Helen's Street and Bond Street, Ipswich. This once-thriving pub is long closed and the building replaced.

This public house had a grandstand view of an event that changed the history of our Royal Family.

Philip West, of Bixley Drive, Rushmere St Andrew, has sent me a photograph of a well-attended outing from the pub in 1937.

He said: “I am standing in front with short trousers aged eight. My late mother, Mrs West, the landlady, is in the front and next to her is the barmaid, Mary.

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Also my second brother Alan is on the left with the tall paper hat. He died during the Second World War and is buried in what was Freetown. My mother took over the Mitre in 1922 when her father, my grandfather, died. She was the first lady licensed victualler in Ipswich.

“The Mitre was refurbished as shown in the photo in 1929, the same year as the Regent was built on the opposite side of St Helen's Street.

The rear of the Mitre had a flat roof, which overlooked the County Hall and when Mrs Simpson obtained her divorce we were able to view the comings and goings of the cars and people. The policemen, when not on duty, used to frequent the Mitre. It is noticeable how small the buses or coaches were then.

“The outing must have taken place on a Sunday as most of the men worked on Saturdays. Also there was a lack of traffic, which enabled them to stand in the road for the photograph.

“As far as I can recall I was told the outing was either to Clacton on Sea or Yarmouth, their favourite places. My father died in 1934 and my mother continued to run the Mitre until her retirement in 1946. I believe it was demolished in the 1970s.”

- The divorce case of Wallis and Ernest Simpson, was heard at Ipswich Assizes on October 27, 1936, in the County Hall, Ipswich: The divorce meant that the uncrowned King Edward VIII could marry Mrs Simpson. The King decided to abdicate.

The timeline of this huge event in the history of the Royal Family was:

- January 10, 1931 Edward and Wallis Simpson first meet;

- January 20, 1936 King George V died and Edward became King;

- October 27, 1936 Wallis Simpson granted decree nisi at the County Hall, Ipswich;

- December 10, 1936: Edward VIII signs Instrument of Abdication.

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