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.

The Purloined Rector

While looking for information about the early “photographist” Oliver SARONY, I happened upon this irresistible tale.

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Oliver, born in Quebec in 1820, came to England to make his fortune and wandered the eastern half of the country for about ten years before settling in Scarborough. His studio stamp there seems to have first appeared in 1857.

The Reverend WHEELER was only about 21 years old when Oliver stole his soul and the tramp Mulligan made off with his image. The cleric’s long life of good and faithful service to the Anglican communion was rewarded with the honorary title of Canon of Worcester. He died in 1910 aged 76. Find him on FamilySearch Tree.

Oliver died in 1879. I plan to visit his last resting place on Saturday and will write more about him then. If you can’t wait, the Scarborough Civic Society offers a detailed and profusely illustrated account of his life (as a PDF).