Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Sudley House, Liverpool

Last week GB, Partner-who-loves-tea and I went to Sudley House in Liverpool.  I would have taken photos of the outside but it was raining stair-rods both when we arrived and when we left.
The school that I went to was Holt High School for Boys - a school founded by the Holt family.
George Holt, who settled at Sudley House, came from a family of prominent local businessmen. His father, George Holt Senior, was originally from Rochdale. He moved to Liverpool as a young man and made his fortune as a cotton broker. In 1820 he married Emma Durning, who came from a rich and long-established Liverpool family. The couple were active in local politics and educational and philanthropic schemes.  They also collected art on a small scale. Their diary records some of their purchases, most of them made from local artists.
George Holt married Elizabeth Bright. Their only child Emma was born in 1862. The family lived in Edge Lane and then West Derby before settling at Sudley House in 1884.  Emma, who was 21 at the time, lived at Sudley for the remaining 60 years of her life. Emma was also a noted philanthropist. Like her father she was a strong supporter of Liverpool University. She never married, so with her death in 1944 George Holt's line came to an end. She bequeathed the house and the collection of paintings assembled by her father to the city of Liverpool.  For a time Sudley House housed a local library.

Today Sudley House is one of the few period homes decorated in a Victorian style that still has many of its original features. It is also the only surviving Victorian merchant art collection in Britain still hanging in its original location. Some of my favourite pictures were the following:-

A Treatise on Parrots by Henry Stacey Marks (1829-1898)

Love’s Palace by J M Strudwick (1849-1935).  
This painting was commissioned by Holt himself.  The subject is based on a poem by G F Bodley.

Mrs Sargent by George Romney (1734-1802)

The Windmill by Thomas Creswick (1811-1869)

A Lake Scene by Sir Edwin Landseer (1802-1873)

Return from the Mill by Rosa Bonheur (1822-1899)

Landscape, Hampstead (1848) by John Everett Millais (1829-1896)


  1. It must be a fascinating place - if the walls could talk...!
    At first, I was a bit confused about who married whom there. Did I get this right: George Holt senior married Emma Durning, and they had a son also named George? George Holt junior married Elizabeth Bright, and they had a daughter named also Emma?
    All those Georges and Emmas... :-)

    1. Yes, you got it right, Meike. It used to be very common to name sons after their fathers and daughters after a grandmother, aunt, or mother. When I first worked in hospital records I found one family with four generations with the same first name and no middle name, living at the same address, and only distinguishable in the records by their date of birth.

  2. A wonderful reminder of the visit CJ. It must have been at least 4 decades since my last visit!

  3. Looks and sounds like quite an amazing place. The Return from the Mill, with the patient pack animals, would capture my attention for quite a while were i to visit.


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