HORATIO BRIGHT c1828 - 1906
Continued from PART 1
What I did not realise at the time I "found" Horatio living in Spring Hill was that he was "a remarkable figure of his day in the second half of the last (nineteenth) century" (Crookes Revisited" compiled by the Crookes Local History Group) and "a man of keen intelligence and masterful disposition.." (Sheffield Daily Telegraph)
His father SELIM BRIGHT was a prosperous watchmaker and jeweller who had a shop in Waingate, Sheffield. He married his first wife in 1849. MARY ANN TURTON was the daughter of Thomas B Turton, Master Cutler in 1846 and Mayor of Sheffield in 1850. THOMAS was one of the Turton Brothers - the family firm was called Turton Brothers and Mappin. The firm operated from the former William Greaves and Sons Sheaf Works. Horatio must have worked for his father in law as a traveler but after his marriage he became his business partner in the successful steel manufacturing firm of Turton, Bright and Co. who were based in Cross Smithfield, Sheffield. One of their chief products was the manufacture of high quality dies for The Royal Mint
Undoubtedly Horatio had made the "right" marriage but I'm sure his business career would have flourished without the marriage. He was reputed to be a hard nosed and dogmatic employer but his employees were paid higher than the average wage at the time. Horatio was Jewish by birth but he renounced Judaism and refused to adhere to any religious creed whatsoever throughout the rest of his life. This dogmatic refusal obviously did not however hurt his career in Sheffield. By 1881 he was living in Lydgate Hall, a far cry from Spring Hill !.
Fortunately there are two marvelous photos of the family and the Hall that have survived.
The first shows Horatio leaving Lydgate Hall in 1885. It was said that one of his more noticeable traits was that he used to travel to Sheffield in the mornings behind black horses and in the afternoons, behind grey horses. The above photo is obviously a family occasion and so he did not bother following his regime. The Hall itself was not large but was lavishly furnished with collections of china, furniture and silver. He also acquired over the years an art collection that was displayed in the house. The house was surrounded by extensive grounds and had substantial stabling for his horses. According to Douglas Lamb, he also purchased Crawshaw Hall near Stannington, and some land at nearby Moscar, which he intended to use as a family burial plot. He built a small mausoleum on the plot and it was here that Horatio's first wife MARY ALICE BRIGHT was laid to rest in the summer of 1891 at the age of 60. (GRO ref Ecclesall Bierlow June quarter 1891 volume 9C page 352).
There is a notice in the Births, Marriages and Deaths of the local newspaper The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent (Sheffield, England), Saturday, May 02, 1891;
BRIGHT - On the 26th inst. at her residence Lydgate Hall, Sheffield Mary Alice the dearly beloved wife of Horatio Bright, and daughter of the late Thomas Burdett Turton, of West Lodge, Sheffield
She was joined three months later by their only son SAMUEL BRIGHT. MARY ALICE was embalmed and placed in a glass sided coffin. The mausoleum was decorated with pictures, statutes and ornaments and fitted with mahogany panelling. He even installed a small hand operated organ so that he could play funeral music to his departed love ones on his frequent visits
According to the press, the deaths affected him badly and when he decided to retire "he virtually let the business go" His trade mark and goodwill were made over to the firm of William Jessop. and Sons Ltd
HORATIO BRIGHT died early in 1906 age 77 (GRO Ref Ecclesall Bierlow March 1906 quarter volume 9C page 2_9).
This is the obituary that appeared in the Sheffield Daily Independent dated 5th February 1906
In his published will, he left £136,220, most of which went to charities associated with London Hospitals but the will stipulated that all Sheffield charities were to be excluded from receiving any monies at all. Why Horatio made this stipulation is unclear but it did arouse a great deal of comment at the time. I have been told that the reason for this was an argument he had with the local hospital board in Sheffield. This is the report of the will in the Yorkshire Telegraph and Star dated 27th April 1906
Horatio also demanded that his burial was to remain as private as possible with no obituaries and no onlookers at the funeral. And so on the morning of 6th February 1906 Horatio's coffin was taken from the family home at Lydgate Hall by cab to his final resting place. According to "Crookes Revisited" a local reporter from the Sheffield Telegraph learnt of the funeral that was to take place at half past eight in the morning and traveled out to the family mausoleum which had been built at Moscar. It was known as "Moscar Rest." According to the report there was no religious ceremony with the only onlookers being the undertaker and the mausoleum's caretaker. The coffin was placed in the "beautifully decorated" mausoleum and Horatio was laid to rest alongside his first wife Mary Alice and his son Samuel who died in 1891.
The Scotsman newspaper included the following report in its Wednesday 7th February 1906 edition. This dates the funeral as taking place on Tuesday 6th February 1906
There was also a much shorter report in The Manchester Guardian dated also 7th February 1906
"As directed in his will the remains of Mr Horatio Bright the eccentric steel manafacturer of Sheffield were conveyed in a cab early yesterday morning so seven miles to the mausoleum that he built on the edge of Moscow (sic) Moors where the coffin was laid beside those of his dead wife and son. There were no religous rites"
But by far the most comprehensive report is a Sheffield Telegraph Special which is deserving of a separate article
THE FUNERAL OF HORATIO BRIGHT SHEFFIELD 1906
However the GRO indexes reveal that Horatio remarried in the March quarter of 1895 GRO ref Sheffield 1895 volume 9C page 491). His second wife was called CLARA MINNIE (nee HARLE born 1871) and was the 24 year old daughter of a Northumbrian Iron Merchant JOHNSON HARLE. Clara is listed in the 1891 Census as an "actress" lodging with a Police Constable Mallett at 37 Newbury Road, Bromley Kent.
"Mallett, Edwin 31 Devonport, Devon or Devonshire Head Bromley
Kent - Police Constable
Mallett, Selina 32 Liskeard, Cornwall Wife Bromley Kent
Harle, Minnie 20 Sunderland, United Kingdom Boarder Bromley Kent -Actress
Miller, Ada 20 Dover, Kent Boarder Bromley Kent - - Actress "
In The Era (London, England), dated Saturday, January 5, 1895; Issue 2937 and under the title "Amusements in Sheffield" there is a review of what is referred to "an annual" or what we would call a pantomime. It lists Minnie Harle as appearing in the cast of Robinson Crusoe at the Theatre Royal in Sheffield. The show received an excellent review from the correspondent but I am left wondering if this is where Horatio first met Minnie. The first reference I can locate for Minnie is in The Era dated Saturday, April 13, 1889; which states that Minnie, then aged 18, appeared in a production of "The Gold Man" an Irish drama by W R Waldron. The play held at the Lecture Hall and Opera House in Chatham, received a "fairly good reception" and Minnie was described as "charming" in her role as Oona.
Three years after marrying Horatio, Minnie gave birth to a son HORATIO HARLE BRIGHT. HORATIO had become a father again at 70! (update at foot of the page)
After Horatio's death and funeral in 1906, there was a Sale of Paintings owned by Horatio. The Scotsman dated Monday 23rd April 1906 reported
|SALE OF MODERN PICTURES - Several notable pictures figured in the collection of the late Horatio Bright, of Lydgate hall, Sheffield sold at Christie's in London, on Saturday afternoon. A diminutive Birket Foster drawing of a landscape was a decided success at 50guineas. Sam Bough's "Newhaven" was keenly contested for the price running up to 660guineas. In the Collection J. S. Cooper was represented by a splendid series of characteristic canvases "Canterbury Meadows" was the principal success yielding 280 guineas, followed by "Early Morning" 155 guineas. The third place was accorded to a pasture subject displaying the coming storm which contrary to some expectations did not take a higher rank than 95 guineas. B. W. Leader's "The Haymakers" was voted 105 guineas|
Just over fourteen months later on 1st June 1907 The Manchester Guardian carried a notice of sale for Moscar Rest
The 1911 Census has the following information about Clara
Name Clara Minnie Bright
Relationship to Head of Household Head
Condition Widow Gender Female
Age 39 Estimated Year of Birth 1872 Occupation Private Means
Employed Yes Working at Home No
Place of Birth Sunderland Durham
Address Knapp House Gillingham Parish Gillingham Town Gillingham Type of Building Private House
Number of Rooms 16 Inhabited Yes
Reference RG14PN12181 RG78PN688 RD257 SD3 ED6 SN1 Administrative County Dorsetshire Registration District Shaftesbury Registration Sub District Gillingham Enumeration District 6
Living with her was her 14 year old daughter MARY ALICE and an 11 year old son HILL BRIGHT. This is even stranger when the name of 12 year old Horatio Harle Bright has been crossed out!. Why Clara decided to change his name to HILL is a bit of a mystery to say the least. Attending the family were three servants and so they seem to have been left comfortably off by Horatio. Details of Knapp House Gillingham Dorset are in the notes section
According to one source Lydgate Hall, was left unoccupied for more than twenty years. The Sheffield Red Book does however give the following clue in it's obituary section
"January 8th 1917 - Sydney Broughton Halcomb, Lydgate Hall, Sheffield, a director of the firm Sanderson Brothers & Newbould who died at Beckenham, aged 52"
It may well have been occupied only part of the year, but after his death it was then used as a boarding house, and after that, by the Conservative party for meetings of the "Young Britons", a party youth group. And then, like many other fine houses in Sheffield, it was allowed to deteriorate into derelict ruin. It was eventually demolished and a private housing estate was built on the land.
And finally a letter in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph in 1933 gives an indication of Horatio in his prime!
The next piece of information I have on the family is from The Times dated Tuesday 1st March 1960 in the section headed "LATEST WILLS". It states
MRS CLARA MINNIE BRIGHT of Bishop's Stortford, Herts, widow of Horatio Bright, left £42,472 gross, £41,807 net (duty paid £10,721) If her daughter Mary be still living at her death in a dwelling house left under the terms of her will, the net proceeds from the sale of the house are left to St Dunstan's. After other bequests, the testatrix left the residue on trust for her daughter Mary for life and then to the Royal Veterinary College, London.
I knew that Horatio had a son by his second marriage but I knew nothing of a daughter. I checked the FreeBMD site and in the September quarter of 1896, there is a registered birth for a MARY ALICE BRIGHT (GRO Ref Ecclesall Bierlow Vol 9C Page 441). I will need to check the 1901 Census to confirm but it seems likely that Mary was named in memory of Horatio's first wife. The two other interesting thing to note is that there is no mention of a son and so it must be presumed that he predeceased her, and that Clara herself never remarried. She remained a widow for over fifty years.
As for the firm of Thomas Turton, it was closed in 1980 as part of an EEC plan to reduce steel capacity throughout the European Community.
There is rather a sad postscript to Horatio's life or rather death. In 1983 a report in the local newspaper The Sheffield Star brought their readers attention to the plight of the Bright Mausoleum at Moscar Top. In January, grave-robbers had broken in through the half-inch thick steel door and ransacked the coffins. The police investigation focused on robbery as being the motive for the desecration - the bodies interred were believed by the robbers to have valuables on them. (There was indeed a persistent local rumour that Horatio Bright's wife had been buried with her jewels, and a well-known local character (now long deceased) had made an unsuccessful attempt to break into the mausoleum in the 1930s).The Trustees of the Mausoleum were unable to confirm if anything was taken.
In order to prevent similar attacks Sheffield City Council applied to the Home Office to have the remains removed from the Mausoleum but this was refused. Rather ghoulishly further attempts were made at desecrating the bodies inside the Mausoleum resulting in the Home Office reversing their initial refusal. Once permission was granted for exhumation, the Council removed the remains of the family and re-interred them in the local municipal cemetery at Crookes, Sheffield. A simple headstone marks the final resting place of Horatio and his family. Rather ironically, the cemetery is more or less adjacent to where Horatio lived in the last years of his life - Lydgate Hall
A photo was kindly sent to me in December 2006 that sadly shows the degree of desecration that occurred in the Bright Mausoleum. Six months later, in May 2007, I received the following two photographs. They were taken in Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield and show the final resting place of Horatio, his first wife Mary Alice and their only son Sam. It seems rather sad in a way - Horatio had spent both time and a lot of money on the Bright Mausoleum at Moscar, but to no avail. The other rather puzzling point is the last wording on the gravestone
LET NO-ONE ELSE REST REST HERIN
and the lack of any date for Horatio's death. "He went to sleep" seems unfinished to me and the grave certainly gives no indication that Horatio was
"a remarkable figure of his day in the second half of the last (nineteenth) century"
The burial records for the Bright family are as follows
BRIGHT, Horatio (~, age 76). Died at ~; Buried on June 7, 1985 in Unconsecrated ground;
Grave Number 2572, Section D of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield. Remarks: (Exhumed) removal of remains from Bright Family Mauselem. Moscar, Sheffield; Died 3 Feb 1906.
Plot Owner: of ~. Page No 132
BRIGHT, Mary Alice (~, age 60). Died at ~; Buried on June 7, 1985 in Unconsecrated ground; Grave Number 2572, Section D of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield. Remarks: (Exhumed) Removal of remains from Bright Family Mauselem. Moscar, Sheffield; Died 26 Apr 1891.
Plot Owner: of ~. Page No 132
BRIGHT, Sam (~, age 37). Died at ~; Buried on June 7, 1985 in Unconsecrated ground; Grave Number 2572, Section D of Crookes Cemetery, Sheffield. Remarks: (Exhumed) removal of remains from Bright Family Mauselem. Moscar, Sheffield; Died 2 Se 1891. Plot Owner: of ~. Page No 132
A contributor on the
Sheffield History Forum
visited the site of the Bright Mausoleum at Moscar in late January 2009. He
"... At one time you could see it (Bright Mausoleum) from the road (A57) among the trees, but it is hard to see now as the area is so overgrown with small trees, rhododendrons etc. After negotiating some boggy ground and ducking under branches (a machete might have come in useful) I found the mausoleum more-or-less intact surrounded by its railings. The doorway and window-arches have been sealed up and the chimney cowl which used to grace the apex of the roof is now on the ground at one corner, see photo."
There was a four page article that was published in the August/September 1966 edition of the Sheffield Spectator written by N Bradley. It is in effect an overview of Horatio's life and it does include references to both Horatio's immediate family. and his place in the larger Bright family tree. I have reproduced the article in pdf format
THE FUNERAL OF HORATIO BRIGHT SHEFFIELD 1906
Further information on Horatio's family can be found on
"On 3rd February 1906, one of Sheffield’s most eccentric characters died. Horatio Bright was interred, without fuss or religious ceremony, in a mausoleum that he had constructed some years previously to house the remains of his first wife and son. In the early hours of the morning, Bright,s remains were carried, in a cab, from the family home at Lydgate Hall, Crosspool to his resting place at Hollow Meadows. There were no mourners, only the undertaker and the mausoleum’s caretaker witnessed the interment. His estate was valued at £137,000, but his will shocked Sheffield as not a single penny was left to good causes in the city. The trustees of the will were specifically instructed to give nothing to Sheffield charities.
Horatio Bright came from a wealthy family of Jewish jewellers and had been a prominent figure in the iron and steel industry. He started out as a representative for Turton Bros & Mappin and was so successful that he married the daughter of Thomas B Turton.Bright’s firm of Turton, Bright & Co made high quality dies for the Royal Mint. He exhibited a stubborn streak and was reputed to be a harsh taskmaster, although his employees were paid higher than average wages. He lived up to his wealth and indulged his passion for horses. He often took the reins of a splendidly turned-out coach and four, accompanied by out-riders in livery, to welcome guests to Lydgate Hall.
A double tragedy struck the family in 1891, when in the space of five months, both Bright’s wife and only son died. Both were interred, without religious ceremony, in a specially built mausoleum, the interior of which was sumptuously furnished and contained a small organ. Bright had been determined to carry out the last rites himself and this gave rise to gossip and speculation that he had abandoned all his religious beliefs. Bright visited the mausoleum regularly; playing the organ while his groom dusted the coffins and other furniture. Remarkably, his wife’s coffin contained a glass window so that Bright could gaze on her face. The tragedy took away all his interest in outside affairs and for the last ten years of his life he devoted little time to his business.
His death and burial attracted little interest in the local press, indeed Bright had left strict instructions that neither his life, career nor burial were to be given publicity.
The story took another strange twist. In1983 a report in the Sheffield Star highlighted the plight of the Bright Mausoleums at Hollow Meadows. In January there had been a break-in; grave robbers smashed their way through a half-inch thick steel door and ransacked the coffins inside. The police were working on the theory that the vandals believed there were valuables interred with the deceased. The trustees who looked after the Mausoleum and its surroundings were unsure if anything had been taken. The City Council wanted to deter further such attacks and asked the Home Office for permission to remove the human remains – this was refused. After a number of other attempted desecrations permission was finally given for the bodies to be exhumed and they were re-buried in Crookes Cemetery where a simple headstone marks the final resting place of one of Sheffield’s great eccentrics"
Description: Knapp House
Grade: II Date Listed: 16 August 1960 English Heritage Building ID: 103001
OS Grid Reference: ST8033626459 OS Grid Coordinates: 380336, 126459 Latitude/Longitude: 51.0372, -2.2818
Location: 1 B3081, Gillingham, Dorset SP8 4NQ
Locality: Gillingham Local Authority: North Dorset County: Dorset Country: England Postcode: SP8 4NQ
As I was preparing an addition to this article I found that Clara could have only lived in the house a relatively short while, the CWGC has a record of an officer who was killed in the Great War and whose parents lived at Knapp house
JACKSON Patrick Arthur Dudley - Lieutenant 2nd Battalion, The Royal Irish Rifles 36th Ulster Division. Killed in action 4th January 1917. Aged 19 Only son of Lt/Colonel and Mrs Cecil Jackson, of Knapp House, Gillingham, Dorset. Commissioned in 1914. Buried in Hyde Park Corner (Royal Berks) Cemetery
In March 2021, I was contacted by an author who was researching the life and works of a Sheffield composer DORA BRIGHT. They had recently completed the catalogue of Dora Brights works and created a page on the Musicalis website with a background on her life.
Dora Estella Bright | The Classical Composers Database | Musicalics
The author also has an email address to collate potential interest around Dora and so if anyone has any further information on Dora you can contact the author directly. They created the address for an article on Dora which will be out in the Summer 2021 edition in Musical Opinion.
"Crookes Revisited" compiled by the Crookes Local History Group
The Scotsman newspaper - Wednesday 7th February 1906 - Monday 23rd April 1906
The Times - Tuesday 1st March 1960
Lest We Forget - Douglas Lamb
The Sheffield Star - January 1983
Sheffield Red Book
Sheffield History Forum
The Manchester Guardian 1st June 1907
The Sheffield Spectator for August and October 1966
Sheffield Daily Independent dated 5th February 1906
1911 UK Census
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This page was last updated on 06/03/21 11:34