Sutton Hoo: How the EADT broke the story [Includes links to Original EADT story from 1939]
THE fabulous Sutton Hoo discovery gave the EADT one of its biggest “scoops” – but we almost missed the boat (no pun intended).
Because of fears over the security of the site, Ralph Wilson, the managing editor of the EADT and Evening Star, had agreed to a news blackout on the story until such time as all the priceless treasure had been made safe.
That was fine, until word inevitably started leaking out, mainly at the London end. The curator of Ipswich Museum then had a conversation with Mr Wilson, during which he voiced his fears about two things: Firstly, that “Fleet Street’ would break the story first, and secondly that the big London museums would take all the glory, and the real hero, Basil Brown, would be forgotten.
Spurred into action, Mr Wilson briefed his chief reporter, Herbert Bowden, about the story of a lifetime.
He then supposedly locked the startled journalist in the old boardroom at the EADT’s Victorian premises in Carr Street, Ipswich, while he wrote the story.
He was operating working on the premise that reporters like nothing more than telling everyone about a good story!
Bowden worked long into the night to produce his epic, before being “released” and allowed to go home – where he found his wife had given birth to a baby. So, a world exclusive and a baby in one night!
Footnote: The above is based on hearsay passed down from one generation to the next at the EADT. As far as I know, the story has never been written down. So, if this version contains the odd exaggeration, please forgive me!
[Photos from the National Trust’s Sutton Hoo 70th Anniversary Garden Party (part of the ‘Sutton Hoo’ set) on my Flickr site, on the sidebar]