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Lambeth Palace restores lost wallet after 65 years

20 March 2015


Target: part of a wall at Lambeth Palace is braced against collapse, in October, 1940. Archbishop Cosmo Lang reported in a speech to the diocesan conference that he had been bombed out of the palace 

Target: part of a wall at Lambeth Palace is braced against collapse, in October, 1940. Archbishop Cosmo Lang r...

A WALLET lost at Lambeth Palace 65 years ago has been returned to its owner, after it was found during restoration work.

In 1950, Edward Parker, then a 24-year-old electrical contractor, was repairing bomb damage from the Second World War when his wallet slipped down the back of a medieval bookcase. 

He was upset by the loss, as it contained the only picture he had of his father, and a photo taken the day he and his wife Connie discovered that they were to become parents for the first time.

Last month, workers at the Palace found his wallet. The leather was beginning to perish, but the pictures and other contents were still intact. The story was picked up by a BBC Newsnight reporter, James Clayton, who used documents in the wallet to trace Mr Parker, now 89, to an Essex care home.

Mrs Parker, aged 90, remembered her husband's distress the day he lost it. "I know he was upset. He came in and said: 'I lost my wallet.'

"One of his mates said to him: 'What did you lose, Ed?' and he said 'The money I don't worry about; it's the memories that I lost. I had some photos of my mum.' The last time he saw a picture of his dad was when he lost the wallet."

Still safe inside was the photograph taken of the couple, arm-in-arm on the pier at Eastbourne, the day that Mrs Parker announced that she was pregnant. "I was frightened to tell him, because we didn't have any money," she recalled.

Also safe were several other family pictures, along with invoices, receipts, old union cards, the results of a chest X-ray from 1948, and a National Service card from 1944.

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