Mainly For Brummies But All Are Welcome To Join In The Birmingham Fun & Chat


THE GALTONS - What a family..

#1 by winkle , Sun May 13, 2012 9:24 pm

There were a heck of a lot of Galtons in the late 18th and early 19th Century around Brum, and this thread may hopefully tease out some of the major family players, and their contributions to the greatness of this fair City of ours. So bear with me for a spot of character setting, and a first ponk at defining their importance.

Despite the fact that they were devote Quakers, Samuel Galton (1720-1799) and his son Samuel John Galton (1753-1832) had a large gun-making factory in Birmingham. When Samuel senior died, his son Samuel John, and grandson, Samuel Tertius Galton (1783-1844) wound up the business and set up a bank in Birmingham instead. Earlier, Sam J had rather fortuitously married a Lucy Barclay of London, whose family was well into Banking. You may have heard of Barclays Bank? She was perhaps preposterously known as ‘the fair Quakeress’ and reputed to be the illegitimate daughter of a George III and a Hannah Lightfoot. Typical mischievous Daily Mail-like punt I expect...but I digress. Someone may care to track down the ‘truth’ for me. Thanks.

Sam Tertius Galton married Frances Darwin (daughter of Erasmus Darwin), whose family later also included the ‘origin of the species’ chap Charles, and one of them also got mixed in with the Wedgwood pottery lot for extra spice.

The Galton boys were great mates of Priestley, Eramus Darwin, and other prominent members of The LUNAR SOCIETY, who frequently used to meet at Sam Galton’s home GALTON HOUSE in Steelhouse Lane (where the gun factory was). The Gaumont Cinema later stood on the site of Galton House, and as a tribute to the Lunar Society connections, featured a beautiful ceiling depicting the star spangled heavens, with a central moon and the signs of the zodiac surrounding it.

When he sold the gun making business, he left Steelhouse Lane and moved into Duddeston Hall, “amid scenes of perfect and luxuriant solitude”; where today Galton Street runs down to Duddeston Mill Road alongside the railway marshalling yards. Here, in Sam’s days, “was a four acre lake where flocks of assorted exotic wild fowl would flock to him for feeding when he blew a whistle”. No change there then…

Questions: I have never seen or heard of Galton House in Steelhouse Lane, and would love to see a picture of it? And the gun factory? And the ceiling of the Gaumont, which I went to many times and can only vaguely remember the films I saw, never mind the ceiling…? Anyone oblige? Thanks again for staying with me thus far. But there's more I'm afraid...but first a few pictures...first of Samuel Tertius Galton, then two of Duddestaon Hall, now gone...

Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)[[File:Dudeeston House 1.jpg|none|auto]][[File:Duddeston House 2.jpg|none|auto]]


winkle  
winkle
Posts: 98
Date registered 02.22.2011

Last edited 05.13.2012 | Top

RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#2 by phil ( deleted ) , Sun May 13, 2012 9:52 pm

Now here me thinking that all Galton ever did was write Hancock and Steptoe & Son in conjunction with Alan Simpson. Pray continue Mt Winkle as you know you have a captive audience in myself when it comes to the history of Birmingham.

phil

RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#3 by winkle , Mon May 14, 2012 2:32 pm

Samuel John Galton, ST’s dad, was a member of the ‘Society Of Friends’ Quaker meetings for forty years, despite being under the continuous threat of expulsion for un-quaker like gun making plus alleged connections to slave trading. He lived in BARR HALL, which I believe was the original St Margaret’s Hospital Building, also a venue for Lunar Society Meetings. It was his butler that was accredited with first referring to the LUNAR SOCIETY as “the lunatics”. Is this fabulous looking place still standing?

Meanwhile, later on, one of the other Galtons - Hubert Howard Galton (1854-1928) bought the Warley Estate (a snip at £7,300) and got the world famous Humphrey Repton to do the gardens at WARLEY ABBEY, his beautiful stately pile; which was kindly demolished by the Council in 1957.

But who amongst you can elucidate the “Ghost of the Grey Lady” mystery connected to those once fabulous gardens?



Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)Bild entfernt (keine Rechte)
Barr Hall, then three of Warley Abbey. They certainly liked Baroque architecture methinks...


winkle  
winkle
Posts: 98
Date registered 02.22.2011

Last edited 05.14.2012 | Top

RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#4 by phil ( deleted ) , Mon May 14, 2012 3:10 pm

Winkle

Last I heard Great Barr Hall was derelict and almost falling down. There was some talk of the trust that now owns it allowing it to be vandalised and attacked by arsonists several times so it will be beyond reasonable repair and it then could be used to build new housing. As you can see from this photo lifted from Google Earth housing was beginning to encroach the hall (in the left hand corner) when the Google aerial survey was done.

Attached pictures:
You do not have the necessary rights to view attached pictures
phil

RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#5 by mikejee , Mon May 14, 2012 7:12 pm

Here are some pics taken 2009 of great barr hall (not by me)

Attached pictures:
You do not have the necessary rights to view attached pictures
mikejee  
mikejee

Founder Member
Posts: 3.265
Date registered 12.26.2009


RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#6 by winkle , Fri May 18, 2012 6:52 pm

Sam Tertius Galton bought Claverdon Leys Estate near Warwick for the family, where he and his family are buried in Claverdon Church.
His son, Sir Francis Galton (1822-1911) was perhaps, even more eminent.

Educated at King Edward’s School, he left to pursue more practical avenues than this ‘Classics' leaning academy could offer, and as he was wealthy enough to travel widely, he explored unknown tracts in South West Africa for a few years.

In 1863 he published work on the mapping of weather, and is credited with coining the phrase ‘anti-cyclone’ for nice weather systems. He was also fascinated by hereditary and he built a laboratory in London for work on the subject in the course of which he became interested in fingerprints. His conclusions led to the use of fingerprints by the police (and CSI Miami some lots) in Criminal detection. Fingerprints and anti-cyclones - Made in Birmingham. I like it.

winkle  
winkle
Posts: 98
Date registered 02.22.2011


RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#7 by Sheldonboy , Sat May 19, 2012 8:30 pm

Interesting story Winkle, I must say I had never heard of Great Barr Hall.


I started out with nothing and I've still got most of it left
http://brummiestalking.org.uk/

 
Sheldonboy

Founder Member
Forum Administrator
Posts: 43.994
Date registered 12.22.2009


RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#8 by Voltman , Sun May 20, 2012 12:50 pm

The photo's seem to support the "derelict and almost falling down" claim and at the same time there is evidence of some attempt to preserve the building.
The fence being pushed over might indicate vandalism but we have to live in hope.

SB, I was sure Barr Hall has been mentioned on this forum before.
I can't find any reference to it but have you tried the forums new search engine, it pretty good.


You and I should use anendlessstreamofvowelsandconsonants to form the words we will use to effectively assemble a forceful tirade of
well constructed sentences which will aid and assist us in our tireless struggle to virtually eliminate verbosity
http://brummiestalking.org.uk/

 
Voltman

Founder Member
Technical Administrator
Posts: 18.426
Date registered 02.24.2010


RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#9 by phil ( deleted ) , Sun May 20, 2012 1:22 pm

Volty

I think the recent evidence of protection works is only because of the fact the new owners were forced into it after they discovered that there could be no departure from the listing schedule. I can't see any evidence of restoration works.

phil

RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#10 by Sheldonboy , Sun May 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Posted by Voltman
The photo's seem to support the "derelict and almost falling down" claim and at the same time there is evidence of some attempt to preserve the building.
The fence being pushed over might indicate vandalism but we have to live in hope.

SB, I was sure Barr Hall has been mentioned on this forum before.
I can't find any reference to it but have you tried the forums new search engine, it pretty good.


Volty Old Bean as I have said before, there are now 64888 posts on our lovely little forum. I don't get time to read everything with the best will in the world. I do try of course


I started out with nothing and I've still got most of it left
http://brummiestalking.org.uk/

 
Sheldonboy

Founder Member
Forum Administrator
Posts: 43.994
Date registered 12.22.2009


RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#11 by winkle , Mon May 21, 2012 6:10 pm

Sir Douglas Galton KCB FRS, a cousin of Sir Francis, was born at Hadzor house, Worcestershire, in 1822. His father was John Howard Galton, son of Samuel "John" Galton. His mother was Isabelle Strutt, the daughter of Joseph Strutt (philanthropist), mayor of Derby.

He was educated at Birmingham, Geneva, and at Rugby School under Thomas Arnold. He graduated with distinction from the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and was commissioned second lieutenant in the Royal Engineers on 18 December 1840. At the Royal Military Academy he created something of an examination record by coming first in every subject. A right swot evidently, a bit like our Phil...

Commissioned in the Royal Engineers, he used an electric spark for the first time to ignite gunpowder while blowing up the wreck of the Royal George in Spithead in 1842 (which before you ask dek, was a wrecked ship, not an old Pub OK?).

After service abroad, including work on the fortification of Gibraltar and Malta, he came home to work on bridge building in iron; railway construction; London drainage; The Thames Embankment; and other projects. One of his great interests other than that lot was improving sanitary conditions in Hospitals, and it was perhaps way too ironical that he should die in 1899 of septicaemia (blood poisoning). One of our greatest Civil engineers, nurtured in Brum. Incredible man.

More on Sir Douglas Strutt Galton from his family memoirs.

“After spending his early army life overseas he researched the properties of iron for railway structures, and served as secretary to the Railway Commission. He was a judge of railway appliances at Philadelphia, U.S.A. in 1869, and also at the Paris International Exhibition. Submarine telegraphy was another interest and he became a leading authority on the subject. A member of the Army Sanitary Committee, he gave advice on various topics including London drainage, and the sanitary condition of hospitals in the United Kingdom, and of military hospitals at home and abroad. He was, at various times, Assistant Inspector General of Fortifications, Assistant Under-Secretary War Department, and Director of Public Works.

For nearly forty years he was a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and was President from 1895-1896. A leading reformer, he promoted higher education for women. He was an active member for the Society for Aid to the Sick and Wounded in War, an organisation later developing into the Red Cross Society. Sadly, despite all his teachings in antiseptics, he died from blood poisoning in 1899, at the age of seventy-seven, and is buried in Himbleton churchyard. In Worcester there are two memorials to Sir Douglas. There is a stained glass window to his memory in the Cathedral, and in the Judges Lodgings at Shire Hall stands a bust by the famous sculptor Sir Thomas Brock.

winkle  
winkle
Posts: 98
Date registered 02.22.2011


RE: THE GALTONS - What a family..

#12 by winkle , Wed May 23, 2012 4:10 pm

The Grey Lady

For many years, stories have circulated in the district of a “Grey Lady” haunting Warley Woods. Numerous accounts have been given relating to the Grey Lady the earliest known of these dating back to 1822.
One evening in that year, not far from where the water tower now stands, an Oldbury man, Samuel Whitehouse, was found, dying of severe head injuries. He was on his way home after a day’s shooting wildfowl with his brother-in-law, Joseph Downing, a Rowley Regis farmer. They had spent the day on the Lightwoods estate, before going for a meal at the home in nearby Beech Lanes of a blacksmith, Thomas Fox. After a convivial evening they set out together before their ways parted. Not long afterwards Whitehouse’s horse was found, described as riderless and “in a state of eye-rolling terror” by a young lad, who raised the alarm at Fox’s. When he was discovered Whitehouse had apparently been robbed of his pocket-watch and several sovereigns. Downing offered a reward in the local press for information leading to the conviction of Whitehouse’s killer, but was himself arrested and charged with murdering him.

At the trial the defence suggested that Whitehouse’s horse had been startled “by the sudden appearance of the phantom form of a woman said to manifest itself close to the spot where the unfortunate man. was found”. It was claimed that the appearance of the Grey Lady was “utterly accepted and witnessed by numerous people in the district”. Other witnesses stated that the horse was of uncertain temperament, and although the two doctors who gave evidence disagreed as to whether or not Whitehouse’s injuries were consistent with being thrown from the saddle and his head then being crushed by a flailing hoof, these arguments were sufficient to sway the verdict and Downing was acquitted.

The children of Abbey Road School still scare each other with stories of the Grey Lady: One version says that if you use the toilets in the woods, she jumps up and bites your bum!

Another theory suggests that she was actually Lucy Galton, the wife of Samuel Galton, who purchased the estate in 1792. She was a Scotswoman, and, as a Quaker, would have habitually dressed in sober colours; she was also reputed to be a hypochondriac. Perhaps local memories of a sad-faced lady in grey gradually turned into stories of the Grey Lady. Samuel Galton did not, however, live at his Warley Estate, though he would have made visits there when the fields were being landscaped into parkland.

Another theory, and rather an attractive one, is that the Grey Lady is the phantom of Joan de Botetort of Weoley Castle. In 1325 she bequeathed her property, which included this part of Warley, to Halesowen Abbey. A condition of her bequest that the monks should pray eternally for her soul. The story goes that since the dissolution of the abbey in 1538, and the monks’ prayers ceased, Lady Joan’s restless soul has wandered the lands that belonged to her in life.

I blame global warming myself. 




Still looking for a photo or drawing of Sam Galton's mansion house in Steelhouse Lane before it became the Gaumont.

Showell's dictionary states that after he left it for the much grander Duddeston Hall, "it was converted to a banking house; then used for the purposes of a Polytechnic Institution; next, after a period of dreary emptiness, fitted up as the Children's Hospital, after the removal of which to Broad Street, the old house has converted to its original use, as the private abode of Dr Clay."

winkle  
winkle
Posts: 98
Date registered 02.22.2011


   

The Balti is a historic birmingham dish !!!!
Rowland Hill and a murder most foul....

Thank you for visiting our humble forum, make this your forum by joining us and posting your own thoughts and questions.
Xobor Create your own Forum with Xobor