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Sister dailies donate historic courtroom press bench to museum

A courtroom press desk with links to a key moment in royal history has been donated to a museum by two sister dailies.

The East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star have donated the desk from the old Ipswich Assizes, where Wallis Simpson’s divorce was granted on 27 October 1936, to the Ipswich Museum.

The desk was given to the EADT and Star in 1969 when the court closed, but the titles no longer have room for it after moving from their Lower Brook Street office to a new premises last month.

Mrs Simpson’s divorce paved the way for her to marry King Edward VIII, who abdicated as king in order to do so.

With the bench from left: Ipswich Museum's Bill Seaman, Carole Jones from Ipswich Council, and Ipswich star editorBrad Jones

With the desk from left: Ipswich Museum’s Bill Seaman, Carole Jones from Ipswich Council, and Ipswich star editorBrad Jones

The divorce was largely ignored by the British press, who observed a news blackout on the King’s affair, but it was covered across the world including by newspapers in her native land of the United States of America.

The desk was handed over to the museum by Star editor Brad Jones on Monday.

It had been used since Victorian times, and over the years bored reporters covering cases had scratched their names into the desk.

Bill Seaman, from the museum, said: “Graffiti like this is vandalism if it’s new – but after so long it becomes important social history.

“It tells us that as well as the great and good, there were ordinary people working here too.”

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  • November 30, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Desk? Where’s the rest of it? I think you mean desktop.

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