Monday, 6 April 2009

This cartoon is a Southport classic. Sadly I recognise that the impact will be diminished as due to the poor reproduction I shall have to explain it. The cartoon was published on the 3rd October and shows Brighouse in the centre. The bag at his feet says: 'Mr Hall temporary resident at the Prince of Wales Hotel'. The door on the left has Marshall Hall skulking behind it and above it the notice 'Business transferred to Southport till Oct 11'(polling day). To the right is a confident Dr Pilkington whose door proclaims 'established for 30 years' See below for a different (and superior reading of the cartoon)

The poster behind Brighouse titled the Political Pill outlines some of the things the electorate have had to swallow:
Bad Land Laws, Intemperance, crushing taxation, broken pledges, old age poverty, war office blunders, toy guns, bad rations, no tents, hospital scandals, shabby treatment of colonials-more killed by disease than bullets....
The invalid soldiers below hear the grave announcement that Mr Hall will address a meeting of invalids this afternoon in the Albany Gardens
'Dr' Hall: Here gentlemen you have the most wonderful medicine in the world, made by a firm of political doctors who have spent five years on its manufacture. It is warranted to cure every disease known to the British constitution. Don't ask me what it is made of, but trust me and swallow it quickly. I've lots of cases.
Invalids (in chorus): No thanks. We're quite satisfied with the old doctor. We've known him for 30 years. You can take your pills back to London.
This represents a recurring theme in Southport elections where the Tories display the weakness for a flash lawyer from out of town, most memorably the Liberal victory of 1987 when Ronnie Fearn trounced a Welsh barrister Nigel Thomas. He foolishly pretented to have taken up residence in the town when it truth he was occupying a holiday let. It was not difficult to obtain details and photographs of his temporay home. He duly lost and has to the best of my knowlege not been seen in the town since.
stop press:
Michael Braham has very gently pointed out to me that there is another interpretation of this cartoon:
I think you may have slightly misinterpreted Number 2. The man with the wig and bag marked Prince of Wales Hotel is Marshall Hall who was an outstanding orator. Sam Brighouses` County Coroners Office was based in Ormskirk hence the note above the door that business was transferred to Southport until October 11th. He was seen as the shadowy figure behind Marshall Hall having introduced him to the Consituency and promoted him. Brighouse was quite a character. I have a full page obituary from the Visiter displayed in the Office.What it doesn`t say is that he was in fact the last person to be elected Coroner in January1884. There were no laws about election expenses. I believe any freeholder could vote but you had to go to Ormskirk to cast your vote. I have been told on good authority that he offered any one wishing to vote 2/6d. to cover the cost of travel from Southport and the cost of a meal! Needless to say he easily defeated his opponent Mr Linden Ryley, a Solicitor from St. Helens.