This morning my office was emptied and sent to the new office in Leeds where it will open for business on 30 April.
As the last bits were being loaded we came across three boxes containing the manuscripts of Bishop Blunt's sermons (he was the second Bishop of Bradford – from 1931-55), the original texts of his Presidential Addresses to the Bradford Diocesan Conference, and an envelope containing the correspondence he received following the address that sparked the abdication crisis in December 1936. It will need to be properly archived (once I have found out to whom they legally belong and to whom they should be disposed).
Clearly, people were as horrible then as they can be now. The internet has speeded up the pace at which vitriol can be sent, but the green ink letters I read this afternoon also betray bile and venom – albeit in beautiful and elegant English.
The abdication crisis was provoked by Bishop Blunt – in the context of asserting everybody's need of God's grace, but aware of the gossip about the King's relationship with Mrs Simpson (although he denied knowing and said he had been referring to the king' slack of churchgoing) – adding one sentence:
… if he is to do his duty faithfully, we hope that he is aware of his need. Some of us wish that he gave more positive signs of such awareness.
This sentence was picked up by the media and the scandal erupted. The rest is history.