FOLLOWING THE death of George VI, the reign of Edward VIII gets off to shaky start in this recording (BBC library number 1171A) made on 21 January 1936. It features Sir Gerald Wollaston reading aloud the proclamation of Edward’s accession from a balcony at St James’s Palace You can see the balcony as it overlooks Friary Court in the picture below.
A fanfare blown by the State Trumpeters precedes Wollaston’s delivery, and the proclamation is made against the background of a lengthy gun salute from nearby St James’s Park. Wollaston seems to be thrown slightly by some of the gunfire, and at one point he fluffs his lines. The omens sound poor for the brief reign of a man who wasn’t up to the job.
The reverse side of the disc has a continuation of the ceremony with words from the broadcaster Howard Marshall, best remembered for his work as a cricket commentator.
Audio digitisation and restoration by the London Sound Survey. Many thanks to BBC Worldwide for granting permission to reproduce this recording here.