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The Liverpool Connection

August 21, 2009 Mary Greg Comments Off on The Liverpool Connection

I hadn’t realised Mary had given quite as many things to Liverpool.  Its great they got back to us so quickly and with such good information.  I wonder if they would be interested in the exhibition?  I can feel a tour coming on – Manchester, Liverpool, Hertfordshire…!! Sharon

Mary’s links with Liverpool

A while ago Sharon asked me to find out about a dolls house offered to Mr. Arthur G. Quigley, curator at the Liverpool Museum in February 1929. So I emailed National Museums Liverpool and they did indeed take the dolls house, its accession number is 30.112, but before this gift she sent a whole range of items in 1929. Including…

Sarah Thrifty, Pedlar doll; Elizabethan brass spoon; Silver case scissors; Seal and Chatelaine;

Mary did like those chatelaines! There are too many items to list here but I could email it to anyone who is interested. As well as the objects there is a revealing note from the deputy chief librarian…

Mrs. M. Greg is the grand-daughter of Samuel Hope, Banker, of Liverpool – after whom Hope Street is named. She is over 80 years of age, and, as she put it, “I am anxious to do something for the children of my native city.”

The Hope famly must have been a prominent family of the city, no wonder they partied with the Rathbones and married into the Greg’s. I’m going to do a bit more research on Samuel today. The librarian then goes on to describe the dolls house…

The house which Mrs. Greg offers was made by Hummerston, of London. It is about 3’6″ by 2’6″ high, with the front hinged. It is early Victorian in architecture, and the furnishing of the apartments are of the period 1830-50, showing in complete deatail the mode of life of its inhabitants.

I can’t find a Hummerston’s of London but perhaps it has something to do with Mr Hummerstone of Westmill? He also mentions that Miss Hope, Mary’s sister gives objects to the museum…

Miss Hope, who lives in the same block of flats as Mrs. Greg, offers a model of a Swiss Kitchen – an excellent exhibit, in a glass case about 15″ square.

Deputy Chief Librarian, Donations by Mrs. M. Greg and Miss Hope, 6th June, 1929


The Herkomer Drawing

August 16, 2009 featured, Mary Greg 1 Comment
The Herkomer Drawing
Mary Greg aged 36 by Hubert Herkomer, 1885

Mary Greg aged 36 by Sir Hubert von Herkomer, 1885

Just as Melanie told me she had unearthed a Herkomer drawing of Mary in the archive I came across a reference to it in the letters.  On Sept 11th, 1941 Mary writes about more things she is sending to the Art Gallery including

…”a portrait in pencil – or chalk – of myself by H. Herkomer which Mr Batho asked for.”

The accession number of the portrait matches the date of the letter, so that’s definitely when it came into the collection.

At the time of sending Mary was 91 and beginning to pack up the flat in London as it was getting too much for her (she moves to Cheshire). As the portrait was made when she was 36 It must have been with her for a long time and probably hung somewhere at Coles and the London flat.

The art historians amongst you will already know that Herkomer was a well known and successful artist of his day.  His work can be found in numerous UK collections including the Tate, the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Academy of Arts, where he was Professor of Painting from 1899 – 1900 and again 1906 – 1909.  His most famous paintings include On Strike (1891 held at the RA) and Hard Times (1885 held at Manchester Art Gallery).

How did Herkomer end up drawing Mary? Interestingly the portrait of Mary is also dated 1885. Is that how he came to draw her, through the Art Gallery connection? Did Thomas Greg commission the portrait of his wife?

There is another possible connection in that Herkomer moved with his second wife to Bushey, Hertfordshire where he built a house about 40 miles from Coles.  Might they have been part of the same social scene?  Did the Gregs put in a good word for him at the Art Gallery and encourage the purchase of the painting?  Or were they not involved with the gallery at this time and the whole thing is just conjecture and coincidence?

I have added the links to Herkomer for those who would like to find out more.  Sharon



William’s Obituary

I spent today in the archives looking through newspapers and reports and I came across several obituaries for William Batho…

He entered the department in 1897 as a junior, being one of a staff of eight; in 1914 he was made assistant curator, and in 1928 deputy curator over a staff of 58. Mr Batho never professed a deep knowledge of art…  “He was gifted with tact and common sense… It would be difficult to meet a more kindly, courteous and painstaking man. He would always listen patiently to grievances.”

The Guardian, ‘Death of Mr. W. Batho’, 3.9.1937


Perhaps his greatest work for the Manchester Art Galleries was the making of arrangements for the safe transportation of very valuable loan collections which came to the city from time to time.

Manchester Evening News, ‘He Guarded Art for 40 Years’ 2.9.1937

Poor William, he was in his 64th year. He was certainly patient with Mary’s grievances.

Although William was highly praised by the gallery it seems Mary was less celebrated when she died in 1949. Other than the small obituary in the Times we already know of, I found no cuttings in the archive for her whatsoever, I was quite annoyed as I flicked through the pages and other benefactors were mentioned, poor Mary. Its a sure sign I’ve become too involved with the project!


A passport to Royalty?

July 22, 2009 Mary Greg 3 Comments
Held in the OPUA Collection at Platt Hall Museum of Costume

Held in the OPUA Collection at Platt Hall Museum of Costume

Worn and faded inside

Worn and faded inside

In finding the Rebekah Bateman Hope of the passport, did anyone notice further down in the Hope Family tree document, a marriage between Alexander Faulkner SHAND and Augusta Mary COATES?  They had a son Philip Morton SHAND whose descendants included Camilla Rosemary SHAND who is married to Charles Philip Arthur George Windsor – or Prince Charles as we know him!  Now if that doesn’t add value I don’t know what does!!  Sharon

Thomas Greg’s family tree

July 22, 2009 Mary Greg Comments Off on Thomas Greg’s family tree

Have a look at this link on YouTube to see Thomas Tylson Greg’s family tree.

This ties in beautifully with Melanie’s post about the Hope family tree: the one above was found by Sharon and is of the Greg side of the family. With no women mentioned. As Sharon says,

I had to pencil the women in myself!

I’ll put an image of the family tree on this post later so that you can see it while listening to Sharon talk about it.

The Hope Family

July 22, 2009 Mary Greg 2 Comments

After a morning of visiting perhaps every family history website known to man I eventually made some progress. The photographed obituary mentions Mary Greg’s parents Thomas Arthur Hope and Emily Hird Hope. I simply typed this into google and came across an independent site ‘The Family Tree of Peter A. Brown’. He traces the Hope family back to John De Hope (1626-1674)

I focused on Thomas and Emily and discovered they had 12 children! One of Mary’s sisters is the mysterious Rebekah Bateman (1842-1901), named after her grandmother of the same name. Harriet Selina and Arthur are mentioned as in the passport as well as Caroline mentioned in the letters. The children were born in either Sefton or Liverpool, however I couldn’t find Mary’s birth date and place. None of the Mary Hope’s mentioned were born in 1849 and most had died by 1901.  

I intend to draw up a proper family tree in the next few days as the website is a bit disjointed but feel free to look up all the Hope’s in the meantime. You can also look up Births and Deaths. It’s all rather exciting!


in her 100th year

June 24, 2009 Mary Greg 4 Comments

I have been photocopying the correspondence to send to Sally for transcribing.
I got a bit emotional yesterday when I came to this…
Mary was still corresponding with the gallery up to her death.

Ear trumpets and grannies

June 16, 2009 Mary Greg 3 Comments

07-10 Mary and daughter Amy GregI found this picture on a website about Samuel Greg Junior – son of Samuel Greg from Quarry Bank Mill. I loved this photo of Mary Greg (was Mary Priscilla Needham) who was his wife (they married in 1838 and had 2 sons and 6 daughters), and mother of Amy Greg sitting beside her. Is this the grandmother and mother of our Mary? I absolutely love Mary Priscilla’s ear trumpet. Does it survive in our Mary’s collection? I really want to find an ear trumpet now. What a useful tool.
Actually, it reminds me of a seminar we went to last week about mental health and schizophrenia: we did an exercise about hearing voices, and I had to speak through a makeshift ear trumpet.