Apologies for such a small sized photo for this weeks Friday Photo – in fact I’ve cheekily borrowed this photo from rightmove, the online estate agents.
It’s Wilton Grange – the apartment blocks in Pinfold Lane at the top end of Meols Drive just before you enter West Kirby. In fact, Pinfold Lane is possibly in West Kirby.
But here’s a question for you:
What is the connection between these flats and Lord Brockett, otherwise known as Charlie Brocket and seen in, amongst other things I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here?
No idea? Well the answer is beer.
Let me explain…
St James Cemetery (excellent website) in Liverpool is at the rear of the Anglican Cathedral. The cemetery occupies ten acres of ground which were once the final resting place of nearly 58,000 souls. Look around the cemetery and you might find the final resting place of Robert Cain (pictured) born April 29, 1826 in Spike Ireland, Cork, Ireland. After moving to Liverpool with his father and working for a period of time on palm oil ships out in West Africa he set himself up as a brewer in the late 1840s. He married Ann Newall, the daughter of a shoemaker in 1847 and in 1850 the couple began brewing on Limekiln Lane in the Scotland Road/Vauxhall area of Liverpool. Within a few years the quality of Cain’s brews was such that he expanded the operation, moving to a small brewery on nearby Wilton Street. By 1858 the brewery needed to expand again and supported by his growing collection of pubs Cain bought Hindley’s brewery on Stanhope Street, Toxteth, where the current Cain’s brewery now stands.
By 1896, when the company became Robert Cain and Sons Ltd, Cain was one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the city. After the death of his wife he moved to an even larger house near Hoylake and was followed by most of his children, who lived in their own flamboyant mansions nearby.
Robert Cain fell ill in late 1906 and after six months of declining health he died at home on July 19, 1907 during a heatwave. His lavish funeral on July 23 took place on a day of thunderstorms and torrential rain, but despite the bad weather a crowd of 3,000 attended and had to be restrained by the police at the gates of St James’s.
William Cain donated his house at Hoylake, known as Wilton Grange, to the nation as a convalescent home for injured officers. Both sons, Charles and William, became baronets and Charles Cain. or Sir Charles Nall-Cain, became Baron Brocket, of Brocket Hall in the County of Hertford in 1933. The peerage has sinced passed down to Lord Charlie Brocket – the chap you may have seen on TV (more detail here at wikipedia). You can read a fuller biography of Robert Cain on this page.
So that’s how an old property on the edge of Hoylake is linked to a reality TV celebrity contestant with a less-than-perfect record in insurance claims!
And wouldn’t it be great if one of you could send me a photo of the old Wilton Grange house – fingers crossed!
[UPDATE 11-10-2010] Many thanks to Chris Hankin who informed me of this page that shows a bedroom inside the old Wilton Grange house.
[UPDATE 11-10-2010] I’ve just noticed this one too with the suit of armour at the top of the stairs.