Founded in 1884 by Louth Naturalists',
Antiquarian and Literary Society
Registered Charity No. 1145436
A Local Independent Museum
Quality Assured Visitor Attraction
Welcome to Ruth's 2020 Blog, where I'll tell you about what we have in Louth Museum. You can also read and discover more from last year's blog.
|11th February 2020|
Just before Christmas we received an email from the Remington Carriage Museum in Alberta Canada saying they are restoring a Shanks Road Coach that had belonged to W G Smyth of Elkington, and asking if we could provide any relevant information. This query has generated a lot of interest, and you may have seen an article by Peter Chapman in the Grimsby Telegraph.
William Grenville Smyth was born in 1857 in South Elkington Hall. The Hall is now demolished, but the stable buildings are still there. After he retired as a Captain in the Lincolnshire Regiment, W G Smyth and his American-born wife lived in fine style in Elkington. Smyth was a sportsman who enjoyed big game hunting in Africa and America, he claimed to have ridden with every pack of fox hounds in the country, he cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats in five days and he regularly skated on Louth’s skating rink.
Coaching was one of his passionate hobbies; even though he had a motor car he preferred to travel in one of his horse-drawn coaches. It is said that he was the only man who could drive a four-in-hand at a trot into the yard of the Mason’s Arms.
Mrs Smyth did not share these hobbies, and one can imagine that she felt neglected, living a life of relative seclusion in Elkington. The couple divorced which created nationwide attention, W G Smyth moved out of Elkington Hall, and the Shanks coach was bought by Sir Geoffrey Harmsworth of Thorpe Hall. It spent several years in the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, before it went to Canada in 1985 as part of a bequest from Sir Geoffrey.
Jeremy Masterson who is restoring the coach in Alberta commented that the old coach is in surprisingly good condition, although the front wheels need new felloes and new spokes. The current owner of the coach is having it restored so she can hitch up her finest teams, load it up with friends and family, and take to the road.
|14th January 2020|
In working through our backlog of items in the museum this week, we came across a 1944 invoice from H W Tyson for the repair of a double bass belonging to Brian Howe. We already have several other items in the museum collection that relate to Tyson: a violin he made in 1923, a photo of him making stringed instruments (shown here), another invoice dated 1930, a photo of him with the Louth Choir, and copies of newspaper reports from 1937.
Herbert William Tyson was an extraordinarily talented member of the Louth community. Born in Welton-le-Wold in 1876, the son of an agricultural labourer, he attended Kidgate Primary School. By the age of 14 he too was employed on a farm, but moved on to work for a wheelwright in Washingborough. At the beginning of the 20th century he returned to Louth, married, and lived in Newmarket, where he had his own business as wheelwright and joiner. We know exactly where this was because we have a photo showing the location which is now Ashtons Carpet Warehouse.
Herbert was a carpenter and self-taught musician who developed his carpentry skills to make stringed instruments. His musical abilities were widely known in Louth, and then in October 1937 he became nationally recognised when the BBC made the very first broadcast of a concert performed in Louth. This concert in the Town Hall was also exceptional in that every one of the instruments of the orchestra, with the exception of the piano, had been made by H W Tyson, and the conductor of the orchestra was H W Tyson.
In the 1939 pre-war register H W Tyson’s occupation was “Master joiner, undertaker, violin and cello maker”. He died in Louth in 1960 at the age of 83. His obituary described him as “Well-known in musical circles both as a player and maker of musical instruments.”
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