ANTIQUE IVORY MODEL OF DUKES FOLLY HOTEL SOUTHPORT BY A W KIDDIE
A lovely ivory model of the Old Original Hotel or Dukes Folly by A W Kiddie, the first two storey house built in Southport in 1792, the hotel was built by William Sutton and it was considered a wild foolish speculation, surrounded by a small picket fence, with descriptive plaque, standing on a mahogany base with a mahogany framed glass case.
William Sutton (known as The Mad Duke or The Old Duke) was a local forward thinking man from North Meols (North of Southport) who, in 1792, took advantage of the fashionable new trend of sea bathing by building a bathing house at South Hawes, 2 miles south of Churchtown) and, realizing the importance of the newly created canal systems, gambled with the idea of a hotel by the seaside just 4 miles away from the newly constructed Leeds and Liverpool Canal to and from which he arranged transport for potential guests.
Born in 1752, he was originally the landlord of the Black Bull Inn in Churchtown (now the Hesketh Arms) and known as a good natured, jovial gentleman who entertained his regulars by playing the fiddle.
He constructed his “Original Hotel” at the southern end of what is now the mile-long and much-admired Lord Street, but was nothing of the sort at the time. Rather, the project became a source of disbelief and amusement to the folk of Churchtown and Meols, who referred to William Sutton as “The Mad Duke” and the hotel as “Duke’s Folly”. The hotel was described as being ‘in the southern hawes of nowhere’ at that time, “hawes” (or “meols”) being the local word for sand dunes.
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