Image, 1910 postcard. The Cornhill, in front of the town hall steps.

EADT – 10th May 1910





At noon on Monday his worship the mayor of Ipswich (Mr. Alexander Gibb, J.P.), proclaimed the accession to the throne of King George V.


Although rai n had fallen heavily during the morning, and the weather was still squally, a large crowd assembled in front of the Town Hall, and when the hour struck the Cornhill was full of loyal subjects and townsfolk. A number of the senior scholars of Ipswich School watched the proceedings with the greatest interest, and children from many of the elementary and secondary schools were to be seen in charge of their teachers among the people, the schools having been closed half an hour before the usual time by order of Mr. Hepburn Hume, the Secretary to the Education Committee, in order that they might learn a bit of history at first hand. Immediately facing the fine flight of steps which leads to the main entrance were posted the band of the 4th Suffolk Regiment, under Bandmaster Bradley, and a square was kept open by a hundred men of F Battery Royal Horse Artillery, under the command of Major H.D. White Thomson, D.S.O. Lieut. W.L. St. Clair was also on duty. A posse of police attended, wearing broad crepe armlets, under the direction of Captain A.T. Schreiber, Chief Constable.


The Mayoral procession issued from the Town Hall a few minutes before the time appointed. First came a police officer bearing the Sword of State in its sheath of crimson velvet; behind were two Town Sergeants bearing the maces of silver-gilt. Next followed the Mayor in the full robes and chain of his office, escorted on the left by Mr. Francis Charles Ward, J.P. (Deputy Mayor), and on the right by Mr. Will Bantoft (Town Clerk), who carried the Royal Proclamation. Immediately behind them were the Mayoress, Mrs. Gibb, with Miss Gibb, Miss Flett, and Dr. and Mrs. W.A. Gibb. Grouped around them were Mr. H.M. Jackaman, J.P. (H.M. Coroner for the Borough), with Mrs. and the Misses Jackaman, and the following Justices of the Peace: Mr. Alderman Fred Turner, Mr. Alderman Edward Packard, Mr. Alderman S.R. Anness (with Miss Anness), Mr. R.D. Fraser, Mr. Alderman W.F. Paul, Mr. C.E. Tempest (with Mrs. Tempest), Mr. George Moss, Mr. W.O. White, and Mr. H.W. Raffe, with their Clerk, Mr. J.W. Rouse, and their Assistant Clerk, Mr. Ambrose Day. Other members of the Town Council present were: Mr. Alderman Geo. Fenn, Mr. Alderman Bunnell Burton, Mr. E.C. Ransome (with Mrs. Ransome), Mr. R.G. Bennett, Dr. Francis Ward, Mr. W.T. Botwood, Mr. J.F.C, Hossack, Miss Mary Coulcher, Mr. F.E. Rands (with Mrs. Rands), Mr. J.B. Cullingham, Mr. J.R. Staddon, Mr. A.A. Bennett, Mr. B. Bird, Mr. T.B. Read (with Mrs. Read and Master Edward Read), Mr. F.A. Bales, and Mr. S.H. Daniels. Mr. Alexander Moffat (Deputy Town Clerk), Mr. A.M.N. Pringle (Medical Officer of Health), Capt. Stephen Phillips (Harbour Master), and Mr. James Price (Borough Organist) were other officials who attended.

Among others present at the Town Hall, or in the immediate neighbourhood, were Mr. E. Pemberton (Consul for Denmark and Norway), Mr. Godfrey Pritchard (District Registrar of the High Court). Canon Melville Piget (Rural Dean), the Rev. W.E. Fletcher, the Rev. N. Peers Adams, the Rev. W.F. and Miss Clark. Mr. A.K. Watson (Headmaster of Ipswich School), Mr. W.J. Catchpole, Mr. Wm. Reavell, Mr. F.G. Bond, Dr. G.S. Elliston, Mrs. and Miss Hoyland, Mr. Henry Herbert and Miss Gladys Vanderzee, Mr. John Cairns, Col. C.M. Downing, Mr. Ernest Hart, Mr. John Josselyn, the Misses Hocking, Mrs. and Miss Ivy Roberts, Mr. J.W. Aldous, and Mr. W.E. Kersey. A prominent figure was Mr. C.F. Hunnibell, now in his eightieth year, who has distinct recollections of the proclamation at Ipswich with similar ceremony of Queen Victoria in 1837, and who in 1872 conducted the musical portion of a service of thanksgiving, held on the Cornhill, for the restoration to health of the late King, then Prince of Wales.


The proclamation, of which a full text is given elsewhere, was read by the Mayor, uncovered, and when its conclusion was reached the band played the National Anthem, and cheers were given for His Majesty King George V.


The Mayor then formally bowed to the assembled people, who returned his salute, and retired to the Library of the Town Hall with the Justices and Corporation of the borough and a large party of guests, and there drank the health of their Majesties the King and Queen Mary, in accordance with ancient custom and tradition.


Before His Worship the Mayor had finished reading the proclamation on the Town Hall steps, the boom of cannon was heard reverberating through the town, and this was followed at intervals of fifteen seconds by twenty others, constituting a Royal salute in honour of the new King, which was fired by J Battery of the Royal Horse Artillery, at the top end of Christchurch Park. While the salute was in progress the teams stood in Park Road, while the guns were stationed within a few yards of the North fence. Orders to fire the salute were not received at the Barracks until about 11 o’clock, and the fact that within an hour the full battery of six guns, each attended by full detachments of eight, were on parade in the Park in full dress, was a creditable piece of work. The officers on duty, who wore bands of crepe round their arms were Captain J.E.C. Livingstone-Learmouth, in command, and Lieut. Lord D. Malise Graham. On account of the absence of notice there were very few people present to witness the firing, but several came hurrying up before the last gun was fired.




While these ceremonies were going on, the flags at most of the churches and public buildings were hoisted to full mast, and at St. Mary-le-Tower Church, the twelve ringers were in attendance. Conducted by Mr. James Motts, they “rang round” and fired the bells several times, afterwards proceeding to give Double Whittingtons and Queen’s Changes, concluding with various touches of Steadman’s Cinques. Later in the afternoon the bells were again run in celebration of the event of the day.





EADT – 9th May 1910






There were no performances at the Ipswich Hippodrome on Saturday, but Mr. Douglas Bostock, the manager, gave the public an opportunity in the evening of paying a tribute of respect to the memory of the departed Monarch by listening to appropriate selections of music by the orchestra. As this was the first public gathering of the kind in Ipswich after the sad event it was not surprising that the building was filled with representatives of all classes. It was a striking gathering, and the feeling of reverence was notably memorable. Mr. Sydney Davies, the conductor, had arranged a short but carefully selected programme, which was extremely well rendered by the augmented orchestra. It commenced with the hymn, “O God our help in ages past,” which the audience stood up and sang. Mozart’s “Gloria” and Haydn’s “The heavens are telling” from the “Creation” were feelingly played, and were followed by Chopin’s “Funeral March,” which was beautifully rendered, the audience standing throughout. The National Anthem brought an impressive half-hour to a close. The orchestra played from the stage, and the scenery was draped in black. The sacred concert on behalf of the benevolent fund of the Musicians’ Union, arranged for Sunday evening, was postponed.


The opening tea of the Petrel Rowing Club, arranged for Saturday evening, was postponed. Both Ipswich and East Suffolk cricket matches were scratched.


Sunday was a day of profound sorrow, which found expression at the fully-attended services in the churches of every denomination, while the Salvation Army and Town Mission bands played the “Dead March” in “Saul” and other funeral music in the streets.


The Clerk to the Education Committee (Mr. J. Hepburn Hume) has addressed to the head teachers of the public elementary schools in the borough the following letter:- “I am instructed by the Chairman of the Education Committee to request you be good enough, when the children assemble on Monday morning, to refer to the death of his late Majesty King Edward VII., in such terms as you consider appropriate and suitable, and the Chairman will be obliged if you will kindly state that you do so by his special request.”


Miss Grace Roe, organiser of the W.S.P.U. (Ipswich branch) writes: “The local members of the Women’s Social and Political Union wish to express their great sorrow at the terrible loss that our country has sustained through the death of our beloved King. In consequence, all engagements will for the time being be cancelled.”



Suffolk Chronical & Mercury – 13th May 1910





The lamented death of King Edward has been a sudden and a startling blow to the British people at home and across the seas. A week ago, when we went to press, there was no hint of any serious illness beyond the intimation that the King was suffering from a bronchial cold. On the Thursday the King was giving audience to high officials; before midnight last Friday he had breathed his last. The nation had hardly time to realise the King was ill before King Edward was dead, and a new King proclaimed in his place. So dramatically sudden an end, while a beloved Monarch was still in the full sphere of all his useful activities, has touched the heart of the British people very closely, and the national mourning is at once genuine and sincere.


History will pass its verdict on the nine years reign of King Edward VII., and historians will have open to them documents and details which are not now accessible. We may be sure, however, that history will not only endorse the verdict of this generation, but that the more that is known of King Edward’s work and influence, the more that story will redound to the late King’s credit and renown. When Edward VII. came to the throne he was already entering upon his sixtieth year, and sixty is all too late a date for a man to take up rule and leave his mark upon the times. But our late King never shirked his duty, and to the very day of his death he was throwing himself heart and soul into the routine conduct of public affairs.


If King Edward had been content to confine himself to the routine duties of his high office he might still have earned the gratitude and affection of his subjects, but he was not content so to restrict his energies. He saw his grand opportunity to appeal to the conscience of his people and to the peoples of Europe, and he grasped the skirts of happy chance. When he ascended the throne the nation was sick and disgusted with the prolongation of the war in South Africa, and was only asking for peace. History may tell us that the King’s influence was actively working to bring about the consummation of the peace at Vereeniging, but whether that is the fact or not we know that the King did not proceed to the ceremony of his formal coronation until the last rifle shot, fired in anger, had been heard in South Africa


What was done could not be undone, but King Edward determined to see to it that the occasion for future wars should be reduced to an absolute minimum, so far as the arts of diplomacy could effect that happy issue. Without going outside the path marked by custom and precedent for a constitutional King, who must act through and on the advice of his Ministers, King Edward became the dominant factor in the new peaceful era of arbitration arrangements. In the first years of his entirely peaceful reign, Great Britain became linked up with the Various Powers of Europe in a chain of arbitration treaties; so frames as to reduce occasions of international differences into the smallest possible limits. Simultaneously the other Powers began to make similar arrangements one with another, and Great Britain’s example set the friendly fashion for Europe.

Nor did King Edward rest satisfied with the mere paper treaties which foreign Ministers and Ambassadors prepared and signed. He divined that personal influence must be brought to bear, if paper treaties were to become a binding moral force upon series of visits to foreign countries, to be supplemented and followed by the Royal welcome to foreign Princes, Presidents, and official representatives, who came to our shores. The gentleman and the man of the world, as King Edward was, never omitted the slightest chance to do some tactful thing or to say some lofty word. It was proverbial through Europe the nice things King Edward did and said, and it is no exaggeration to say that he was altogether the most popular Monarch in Christendom.


It is to the credit of folks generally that they are always ready to recognise singleness of purpose in the great ones of the world, and at least to appreciate great and noble ideas. In this spirit men freely accorded to King Edward the title of the Peacemaker, and they fell under the influence of the cause the King had at heart. King Edward strove unceasingly to establish friendly relations with the Kaiser and the German people, and all his actions were directed to counteracting the German invasion scare, which so many of his more foolish subjects were only too ready to accept as true. If Jingo spirits had only accepted the lead which the King gave them, the British taxpayer might have been spared many millions of money now being frittered away in costly warlike preparations.


The great outstanding feature of the last reign is that the British Empire has enjoyed peace through all its territories. Happy is the country which has no history, and this happy result cannot be dissociated from the peaceful enterprise of King Edward. Men will remember hereafter that it was King Edward’s Ministers who were able to bring about a complete and loyal union of South Africa, within less than ten years of conclusion of a disastrous racial war. The words of the Book of Common Prayer – “Give peace in out time, O Lord” – have been realised in the reign of Edward VII., and the whole nation is the better off for these quiet years. Peace and security have given an enormous impetus to foreign trade, so that April, the last completed month of King Edward’s reign, is a record, overtopping all other Aprils for the volume of business done. The workers and industrial classes, to whom the free flow outward and inward of trade and commodities means almost life itself, have good reason to bless the pacific tendencies of a Ruler whose peaceful policy has influenced the world to lay aside strife and bickering for the useful interchange of merchandise. To the humblest toilers and to those who earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brows, the death of King Edward has come with a sense of personal loss, bringing a feeling of deepest regret for the loss of a beloved and honoured King.


King George V., who now rules in his father’s stead, has a brilliant and subtle example to follow, and his life training is all in favour of his making a good King. King George has learned how to serve and obey from his training through the various grades of the Royal Navy. The nation men, and the King, who has learned the duty of the sailor is well equipped to rule. Nor do the qualifications of King George end there. He is known to be a book student of constitutional matters, and he has been a not infrequent attendant at the debates of the People’s House of Commons, which are an education in themselves. It is not, however, mere books knowledge of domestic and imperial affairs that the new Sovereign possesses. He is a lover of the quiet country life, a good sportsman, and a most excellent shot. He has travelled to every part of the Empire, and seen the men and cities in the British Dominions beyond the seas. He knows at first hand something of the ideals and aspirations of our Colonial kinsmen, and he commands their confidence and personal loyalty. This is a good equipment for the constitutional ruler of a widespread Empire, and King George V. begins his reign with everything in his favour, and a glorious example to follow.

God Save the King.






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