Guests stepping down from their carriages would be welcomed into this lovely entrance hall by the family. Introductions would be made, and refreshments offered. The room has immense appeal with it's black and white stone floor and magnificent fireplace. Fires would be lit in the winter, being replaced with flowers grown on the estate in the summer. Family portraits adorn the walls giving status and a feeling of time passing. Hundreds of Christmas trees must have stood here, where guests with full glasses have sung carols, and toasted the coming New Year. A room for celebration which still goes on!
A comfortable, relaxing room. Generations of Mrs. Clifton's would have met here to discuss their plans for the day. In the winter a blazing fire would add to their comfort. Breakfast could be taken here, or perhaps, a mid-morning coffee. Husbands occasionally would pop in, but this was mainly the ladies' domain. The latest newspapers were browsed for society gossip. Plans for the day were discussed and made. The serious business of the dinner menu was conveyed to the cook. Time was spent deciding what gown would be worn. Tiring work indeed! Who would be a lady of leisure?
Drawing Room / The Gold Room
From the hand-painted wallpaper to the glittering chandelier and mirrors, the ballroom shows us the sumptuous delights of a Georgian ball. Where elegantly dressed ladies and gentlemen would dance, entertain, and pass the time in flirtatious revelry. To us, their shadows dance endlessly on in the candlelight.
Dining Room / The Gillow Room
In the apse the magnificent mahogany Gillows of Lancaster sideboard presides over lavish Georgian entertaining. The table laid with Clifton crested china and glass. Livery coated footmen attend to every need. From the walls, family portraits look down. Would changes during the twentieth century from one large table to small intimate, lamp lit tables gain their approval? We have to imagine and decide.
Bouquets of flowers, trains, floating veils, serenely and slowly many lovely brides and bridesmaids have processed down this beautiful cantilevered staircase to the delight of their guests below. Romantic balls and parties bring back the past. We hear music from the ballroom. We see the colourful silks and satins as pretty young ladies are guided down the staircase, hands lightly on the arms of their partners. Names are announced. The scent of flowers fills the air. Romance holds sway, and the cares of the world disappear.
Added on to the house around the late Victorian age this room was for the gentlemen. A place essentially of their own. Coloured by sunlight dappled through richly stained glass windows, surrounded by sporting, and sailing prints, the room is reminiscent of a gentleman’s club. Bets were frequently made. These often, on a whim, and on any subject that came to mind. Large sums were frequently involved including parcels of land, much to the ruination of the Clifton estates. Male gossip, spiced with innuendos referred to ladies of pleasure. Their latest conquests would be hinted at along with more serious farming, and estate business. A game of billiards might even be played!
The Long Gallery
Surviving the flames that destroyed most of the Jacobean house, the hand cut planks of this gallery have felt the tread of feet for over four hundred years. Built to allow exercise, in the form of walking and simple sports in the very cold climate of the time. The gallery’s future would be in question. Fortunately the architect John Carr liked to incorporate the remains of an old building into the new, and this evocative room was saved. If the Chapel in the west wing became over-full, Recusant services would be held here during the times of Catholic persecution. Occasionally the gallery was curtained in the corner and used as a bedroom for priests. Civil war soldiers came and went, the Clifton family staunchly supporting the king. Parties were held here for the estate tenants to celebrate important events in the life of the family. Within recent memory is the conversion to a hospital ward during WWII.
Harry Clifton's Sitting room
This room has been used for different purposes and by numerous people over the years. Due to the photographic evidence in our archives, it appears to have been used by the young ladies Avia and Aurea Clifton at some point.
Although Squire, Harry spent little time at Lytham Hall, preferring London, Monaco and Los Angeles in his early adult life. He probably used this room as a combined bedroom and sitting room when returning to the Hall to visit his mother.
This was John Talbot and Violet Clifton’s bedroom from 1908.
The Sheraton-style bed was made for John Talbot Clifton, with an inlay of the Hand and Dagger (part of the family crest), which also appears on the fireplace. The motto is “Mortem aut Triumphum”, (Death or Triumph).
The embroidered headboard is in the style of Jacobean Crewel work.
When the Hall was built and before the woodland was developed, the view would have encompassed all the land from the Hall to the sea including the seashore which was part of their estate. This view was protected by Clifton covenant which forbade any building on land between the Hall and the sea, which includes Lowther Gardens and Lytham Cricket Club.
The larger panelled room is a strange feature in a grand Georgian mansion. The panels date back to at least the Jacobean times and were probably part of the original Lytham Hall.
Did Thomas Clifton want to save a small part of the old family seat before he demolished most of it? Who knows.
This bedroom was the preferred choice of the Duke of Norfolk when he stayed at the Hall. He was very friendly with John Talbot and Violet . John Talbot would often bring the Duke back some strange souvenirs from his travels and expeditions. He once gifted him a full size stuffed brown bear, which was one of two that he personally shot. He sent the other one to Lytham Hall which stood in the North entrance until the late 1930s. Lilian Griswold, Harry’s American wife, hated the masses of animal heads and trophy hunting souvenirs. She ordered them to be removed to the stables and it is even rumoured that she even had some thrown into the Lily Pond.
Hetty Clifton's Bedroom
This was Hetty Clifton’s favourite room at Lytham Hall. She spoke of the four windows letting in lots of natural light without the direct sunlight. She also referred to the room being blue and how it was her favourite colour. This room once housed a half tester bed like the one you can see on display. This bed was purchased and donated by the Queendeans Association in 2017 to help with our representation.
This room was originally used as the Estate Office, until the new building was erected in the centre of Lytham on Hastings Place.
Later it was used as a library during the late Victorian era onwards.
The room displays the huge oil painting by famous local artist Richard Ansdell. It depicts St Bernard and his dogs and is titled “ Rescue after the Storm “. The dogs have found the injured monk in the snow and alerted the others for help. It dates to 1862.
Other paintings include one of a young Hetty Clifton (previously Treves) and her parents, a young Augustus Wykeham Clifton in military uniform, and William Strickland. It is unknown why a painting of William Strickland is at the Hall as there is no known connection to the family at Sizergh Castle near Kendal.
The huge piece of furniture is a Georgian Housekeeper’s cupboard, perhaps made by Gillows.