Haile Selassie’s visit

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Earlier this year, my wife and I joined a small party of people with connections in the Huddersfield area on a two-week tour of Ethiopia.

It was a very interesting experience that reminded me of the first time that I heard about Ethiopia.

This was about 60 years ago, in Whitby, where I spent several family holidays in the late 1940s/early 1950s.

Each year, we stayed at Frampton House, Royal Crescent, Whitby.

I recall the proprietors, Mr and Mrs Baxter proudly showing their visitors’ book to their guests.

One of the most interesting entries concerned Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia.

I think at that time, the country was referred to as “Abyssinia”.

After planning my visit to Ethiopia, I decided that it would be interesting to try to find out what records still exist of Haile Selassie’s visit to Whitby.

An on-line search of holiday properties failed to locate Frampton House.

I also contacted Whitby Public Library but they could find no record of the visit.

I am writing to you to enquire whether there is a record of Haile Selassie’s visit in the Archives of the Whitby Gazette. Failing that approach, perhaps you could publish this request on your “Letters to the Editor” page in the hope that your older readers may recall the visit.

Haile Selassie left Ethiopia in May 1936, returning in May 1941 after spending most of his five years absence in exile in England.

After spending short periods in Worthing and Wimbledon, he spent most of his exile in Bath.

An internet search located a commemorative Blue Plaque in Malvern and a web page with photographs taken in the Brighton area mentions that they appeared in the Brighton and Hove Herald, and are now in the Brighton Reference Library.

I also found film on the internet of a Royal Visit to England made by the Emperor in 1954.

I think that it is unlikely that this 1954 visit to the UK included a visit to Whitby.

Not only was he travelling as a VIP, the year 1954 was about the end of the period when I took annual holidays in Whitby and I have a feeling that the Haile Selassie visit had taken place several years earlier, though I could be mistaken.

Dr J Stuart Thompson, 5 Charlotte Street, Cheadle, Cheshire SK8 1DT; email j.thompson430@ntlworld.com