Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Death of Edward Langtry - New York Times Article

Edward Langry was probably the most unfortunate of the many men involved with the notorious Jersey Lillie.  Edward was Lillie's first husband and they were married in 1874 by Lillie's father, the Dean of Jersey.  Edward owned land in Ireland, was a keen sportsman and wealthy enough to own a yacht.  After marrying Lillie, everything that could go wrong for Edward, did go wrong.

Lillie was keen to make herself known in society and pressed Edward to move to London.  Edward despised London and felt similarly about society, he would much rather have been sailing in his yacht.  Sadly, Edward's family's business was affected heavily during the agricultural depression of the late 19 century and the yacht had to be sold, leaving Edward with a small allowance from the family estate with which to support his wife.  This was surely a hindrance for a lady with aspirations such as Lillie!  As Lillie rose through society, she began attracting the attention of wealthy and powerful men leaving Edward increasingly obsolete.  Friends of her admirers would take Edward away fishing so as to leave Lillie and her lovers, most famously the Prince of Wales, undisturbed.  Edward was a proud man and emotionally struggled to deal with the situation he found himself in.  Understandably his family disproved of Lillie's behaviour and as a result cut off his allowance.  Unable to come to terms with the lack of;  affection from his wife, the respect of his family and the loss of financial support he turned to alcohol and eventually lost his mind.  Contrary to the article below, in the years leading up to his death, Edward was a hapless drunk, barely surviving on a £35 per week (the allowance given by Lillie on the condition that he cut all connections with her).  He died a broken man, alone, in Chester Asylum.

Death of Edward Langtry

A clip from the TV series Lillie showing the sad end of Edward Langtry.  (Jump to 49:00.)

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Madeline Clifton (Nee Agnew)

Madeline Agnew was the wife of Thomas Henry Clifton who died prematurely aged 35 in 1880.  She was the mother of the notorious John Talbot Clifton who inherited Lytham Hall after the death of his grandfather in 1882.  This excellent piece by Patrick Baty contains some interesting facts about her life and the burial of Thomas Henry at St Cuthbert's Church Lytham.  Although Madeline's husband didn't become Lord of the Manor her legacy remains today in the form of Agnew Street in the west end of the town.
Your Very Loving Madeline

Thursday, 25 October 2012

John Talbot Clifton 1868 - 1928

John Talbot Clifton 1868 - 1928

John Talbot Clifton was the penultimate Squire of Lytham.  It was a young Talbot, of only 14, who inherited the family estate on the passing of this grandfather in 1882 as his father, Thomas Henry, predeceased his own father by two years.  The premature death of his father and frequent absenteeism of his travelling grandfather had left Talbot without appropriate guidance and understanding, regarding his future responsibilities (and certainly of economy). Concerted effort was made by Talbot's mother and strict Grandmother, Lady Cecily, but their attempts at discipline were rebuked.

Although at the time of Talbot's death the estate was still reasonably solvent, there is no doubt that it was his reckless spending and lack of interest in affairs at Lytham that started the Clifton's sharp descent into financial ruin and obscurity.  That said, you'd find it hard to find a more colourful, eccentric character with such an appetite for adventure and such an intriguing story.

Talbot studied at Eton then Cambridge...

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Ghost Telegrams

During July 2012 The Ghost Telegrams were broadcast throughout Lowther Gardens at Lytham.  After unassuming passers by, myself included, had realised they were not hearing voices, these telegrams were a pleasure to sit and listen to in such a quaint location.
"The Ghost Telegrams (volume 1) is a new sound art commission exploring the extraordinary founders of Lytham, the Clifton family, with the voice of Harry played by Ron Moody and the female voices by Jennifer John.

Compiled from unseen archives, these are the untold exploits of eccentric rogue Harry, reclusive mother Violet and Siberian adventurer John Talbot. Follow them from vast wealth through to financial ruin taking in Hollywood gothic, pawned Renoirs and poetic madness." - The Ghost Telegrams website

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Shape of Lytham's Market 'Square'

Some time ago I think I recall reading an interesting article about the triangular shape of the Market 'Square' in Lytham.  To my recollection the article stated that, before the expansion and transformation of the Lytham in the 19th century, the majority of the town could be encompassed by it's three main landmarks; Lytham Hall, St Cuthbert's Church and the town centre, forming a non-equilateral triangle.  Either by complete coincidence or by deliberate design the shape of Lytham's Market Square replicates this.  Whether intentional or by coincidence the shape of the Market 'Square' at the centre of Lytham representing the predominant boarders of the old town is quite interesting.

Map of Lytham and a close up of it's Market Square - Click to enlarge

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Wray Scarecrow Festival

Wray is a small village in the Lune Valley, just north of Lancaster, Lancashire. Every year the villagers put on a fantastic display of comedy scarecrows with this years theme being famous anniversaries; sinking of the Titanic, death of Charles Dickens etc.  All of the scarecrows were excellent, you can see a collection of photographs here.