A Fine Type of Englishman

I can’t remember how old I was when my father sat me down and explained that people lie. I do recall that he would subsequently say, often, that a particular person of his acquaintance would “lie and look at you”.

Theresa May has looked into a TV camera on hundreds of occasions in the last few years and lied to the British people. She continues to do so. She will never stop. (It’s clearly pathological.)

Claudius Galen WHEELHOUSE died a hundred and ten years ago. He was a surgeon of some renown, and in his years of retirement in Filey was variously a magistrate, churchwarden and chairman of several organizations at the centre of town life.

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Ah, those were the days, when people who served the public had high ideals of duty.

1849_OssyridecolumnsThebes_cgwAt the age of 29, Claudius was engaged by Henry PELHAM-CLINTON, Earl of Lincoln and later the 5th Duke of Newcastle, to take “medical charge” of a yacht setting out on a voyage around the Mediterranean. Claudius was able to indulge his interest in photography. He was an early practitioner of the Talbot-type process, producing paper negatives from which quantities of prints could subsequently be made. (Image left by Claudius is of the Osyride Columns at Thebes. Thirteen years later a rather more famous early photographer, Francis BEDFORD,  would follow in his footsteps.) The Mediterranean voyage ended in shipwreck but, safely back in England, Claudius presented his negatives to his employer. In March 1879 they were destroyed in a fire at Clumber House, along with many other works of art. Fortunately, Claudius had made an album of prints and the images lived on to illustrate some of his traveller’s tales.

One particularly wonderful story, told by Pam Smith, concerns a remarkable encounter between Claudius and another Filey ancient.

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In memory of CLAUDIUS GALEN WHEELHOUSE F.R.C.S., born 29th of December 1826, died 9th April 1909.

‘Waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus’

And of AGNES CAROLINE, his wife, born October 10th 1824, died April 13th 1911.

Claudius died at Cliff Point, the former Coastguard House at the end of Queen Street.

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Postcard, no date, courtesy Christine Hayes

It may seem inappropriate to now take you back to Brexit but I watched a video this morning, made by a fine type of Swedish Man, and wanted to share it.

Beatrice Novelli

6_20170406WheelhouseHouseReflected1_6mThe houses on Cliff Top in Today’s Image, reflected in a Filey Sands tidepool, have been flipped and turned so that they “look right”. The tallest dwelling is the old Coastguard house at the end of Queen Street, named Cliff Point when retired surgeon Claudius Galen Wheelhouse lived there.

I have been researching the SOUTHWELL family for a post next week and found Cliff Point mentioned, so I’m taking the opportunity of the photo “anniversary” to introduce Beatrice.

Her birth was registered twice, in the December Quarter of 1855, and in the March Quarter of the following year. Her given names were Helen Beatrice. She died in 1923 and on her gravestone she is Beatrice Helen. It may have been a bureaucratic slip but perhaps her parents had a change of mind after registration because she is “Beatrice H”, aged 5 at the 1861 census. The family name was transcribed as NOVELLE that year, NOVELLI in 1871 and NOVELLO in 1881. Beatrice married into the SOUTHWELLs in 1888, a family that also fell prey to government clerks. Beatrice Helen and Harry Glanville had nine children and two of their sons were sacrificed in the mud of Flanders. One is not easily traced because the CWGC has him under a different name to the one his family preferred.

Augustin Novelli was born in Manchester and described as a “Counselling Physician” in 1871. He must have had a lucrative practice because his household that year contained eight servants and a governess.

The SOUTHWELL household in 1871 was also well populated with servants. Harry Glanville Senior, ten years younger than Augustin, had seven servants. Obviously, being a “Clergyman without care of souls” paid well. He died unexpectedly between an afternoon of rabbit shooting and an evening game of billiards. The Stamford Mercury reported on 11 July 1890 that he had…

…by his many estimable qualities of mind and heart, won for himself more than common esteem and affection from all classes.

Harry Glanville Junior, aged 19 in 1881, was enumerated in the village of his birth, Limber Magna in Lincolnshire, but was staying with relatives. He gave his occupation as “rabbit fancier”. He must subsequently have decided to get serious about a career. Ten years later he was a law student, married to Beatrice, a father of three, and an employer of seven domestic servants, including two stud horsemen and a groom. A fourth child was born in Caistor in 1892 and the fifth in South Hampstead the following year. The London adventure was short-lived and the last four children entered the world in Filey. In 1901 the family was living on the Crescent but in somewhat diminished circumstances. They only had two servants. Harry was now a solicitor but perhaps not a successful one. It isn’t clear what came first, marriage break-up or Harry’s fall into drug addiction, but in 1908, while living in London, he took an overdose of “veronol” and died. The coroner’s verdict was “suicide whilst temporarily insane”.

In 1911 Beatrice was living in a house named ‘Bohemia’, in Mitford Street, Filey. Her 21-year- old son, Edmund, a law student, was with her. When he left Filey, Beatrice moved into a bungalow at Cliff Point, where she was looked after by a housekeeper, Grace JENKINSON, who clearly became a good friend. In February 1923, Beatrice was staying with Grace, not many doors away at 93 Queen Street. She had her own room and on the evening of the 17th, while getting ready for bed, her nightdress was set alight by the gas fire. Her screams for help were quickly answered, the flames extinguished and Dr. SIMPSON called. Sadly the burns and shock were severe enough to cause her death three days later.

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To our dear mother, BEATRICE HELEN SOUTHWELL, born Oct 5 1855, died Feb 20 1923.