Newspaper cutting dated 16 March 1906
SUDDEN DEATH OF MR. J. L.BIRLEY.
A FATAL OPERATION.
The death of Mr. John Leyland Birley, which occurred at his residence,
Millbanke, Kirkham, on Sunday morning, was a painful shock to his many friends in the
neighbourhood. The deceased gentleman has been suffering from an internal malady for several years
,the end was painfully sudden, for he was walking about his grounds on Saturday morning. About six
years ago he underwent a successful operation for the same complaint at his house in Hastings
Place, and probably did not look on the repetition seriously. The operation took place on Saturday
morning, but he died early on Sunday, at the age of 49.
AN INTERESTING PERSONALITY.
The deceased was a most interesting gentleman. He belonged to a family whose
forefathers had been identified with the industrial life of Kirkham for the past century, and who
have shared largely in the local and county administration. He was educated at Uppingham public
school, and afterwards at Queen's College, Oxford. At the latter place he was a good average
scholar, and distinctly above the average as an athlete, winning several valuable cups for long
He came into possession of Millbanke at the death of his mother about 1889, and
then established a residence at Hastings Place, Lytham, He has travelled widely, having been round
the world three times, paid extended visits to all the countries in the world except the colder
regions. Many interesting lectures have been given in Kirkham dealing with his travels. He took a
very small part in public life, though at one time he was a member of the Kirkham Council and the
Fylde Board of Guardians, being also chairman of the Wesham Parish Council from its formation till
He was a man of wide and sympathetic benevolence and gave an annual treat to the
Kirkham railway workers and the workhouse inmates, and he was a trustee of the
THE LATE MR. BIRLEY ON HIS MINIATURE RAILWAY.
Wesham Parish Church. His greatest interest, however, centered in his hobbies,
of which he had many, the grounds of Millbanke, about 20 acres in extent, allowing him to carry
into execution some unique enterprises. Among the fruits of his labour was a miniature railway,
half-a-mile long, with an engine and two coaches, an illustration of which is given herewith —Mr.
Birley being in the rear car. He has a miniature lake, with a model steam launch on it, and a
little windmill to pump water into his lake, all of which he made himself. The grounds comprise a
small golf links, and half-a-dozen tennis courts (one of concrete), and the meetings of the Fylde
Tennis Club when held at Milbanke were greatly looked forward to. Two steam launches which used to
be on Lytham beach named the "Lorna Doone" and "Stephanie," and which are now docked near the
Shipyard, were amongst his productions. Though Mr. Birley had a
HOST OF FRIENDS,
and membership of many local societies, his heart was in his workshop, and in
the midst of his many hobbies, it is no wonder that he was something of a recluse. Despite this
fact, however, he took the greatest pleasure in giving joy to others, and many a party of private
school boys and girls from Lytham have spent a happy half holiday on his railway, lake, and tennis
Another of Mr. Birley's hobbies was "ships," of which he had a very large and
varied collection of models and photographs, from Noah's Ark downwards almost. There was hardly a
ship of any importance about which he could not give a full history.
He had also a large collection of model steam engines, and had a passion for
photography, having hundreds of albums. Latterly he added rose culture to his many pursuits, and
had at the time of his demise about 2,000 rose plants of many varieties.
He had also two motor cars, one of which he made himself. He was a member of the
Yacht Club. He had at heart the progress of musical matters, and was an active member of the Lytham
A regular worshipper at St. Cuthbert's Church, his last visit was paid just a
fortnight before his death, and his last visit to Lytham was a week since last Tuesday. He will be
much missed by the Lytham station staff, by whom he was greatly esteemed. They often received hares
and rabbits from him in the shooting season. In former days, when the railway regulations were not
so strict as now, he would often make the journey from Lytham to Kirkham on the engine rather than
in the carriages.
The remains of the late Mr. John Leyland Birley were Impressively laid to rest
in St. Cuthbert's Churchyard on Thursday upon. The fully choral service was conducted by Rev. Canon
Hawkins, and Rev. W. T. Milton (Kirkham), assisted by Revs. F. Tile and J. F. Thorpe. As the
cortege entered the church, Mr. S. H. Broughton, Mus. Bac. (Oxon.), played " O rest in the
" Dead March " (Saul) as it left. The coffin, which was of plain oak, bore the
inscription "John Leyland Birley, died March 11th, 1906, aged 49." The hymn " On the resurrection
morn," was sung in church, and " Peace, perfect peace" at the graveside.
The principal mourners were : —Mr. Horace Mellor, Mr. Eric Mellor, Mr. Philip
Mellor (Isle of Man), Mr. EL M. Birley (Ribbleton), Mr. F. W. Peel (Manchester), Mr., S. Gask
(Lytham), Rev. P. G. Harris (Oswaldtwistle), Mr. J. F, Birley, Mr. C. EL Atkinson (Single. ton),
Captain H. Nickson, Mr. Nickson, Dr. J. C. Fisher, Major P E. P. Crawford, Dr, A. Eason, Mr. R. S.
Jewison, Dr. J. S. Slater, Mr. A. D. Chambres (Chester), Mr. Arthur Hassall (Oxford), Mr. Alfred
Hassall (Bebbington), Mr. Jas. Parsons (London), Mr. R. Cookson, Mr. J. Needham (St. Annes), Mr. R.
M. Ballantyne (Manchester), Rev. R. M. W. Holme (Weeton), Mr, A. W. Carrington, J.P., Mr. A. S.
Poole, Mr. G. B. Bellamy, Mr. L. Rosewarne (representing Lytham Hockey Club), Mr. J. Bennett, Mr.
T. H. Brewer, and Mr. W. Edmondson (representing the managers of the Wesham day schools), Mr. Geo.
Tootell, F.R.C.O. (representing the Lytham Orchestral Society), Messrs. J. Willacy, W. Edmondson,
Jos. Ainsworth, J. Sanderson, and J. Hall, clerk (representing the Wesham Parish Council) ; Mr. R.
H. Bowdler (representing the Kirkham Council); Mr. Addison Birley, Mr. Hutton Birley, Mr. P. L.
Birley, Mr.W. J. Dickson, Dr. Wiggles-worth (Kirkham), Mr. Wilson (Preston), Rev. J. W. Barker
(Wrea Green), Rev. T. C. Walton (headmaster of Kirkham Grammar School), Mr. H. Langdon Birley,
Inspector Scott, Sergt. Warwick, and the following tenant farmers: Messrs. Sanderson, L. Kirby,
Wade, E. Kirby, R. Swarbrick, J. Downham, Balshaw, and Royles, besides all his servants.
Private carriages were sent by Mr. Tom Miller, Singleton Park ; Mr. Addison
Birley, Mrs, Birley, Scarside.
Floral tributes were sent by the following Phillip and Eric (nephews), Mr.
Horace Mellor, Mrs. Horace Mellor, Messrs. Luke and R. Kirby, Mrs. G. Carr and Misses Audley and
Crummack, Mrs. H. Birley, Mr. and Mrs. F. H. Mellor, Rev. W. T. and Mrs. Mitten, Mrs. Bindloss, Mr.
and Mrs. E. W. Mellor, Mrs. and Miss Myers, Misses Mendee, Edie, Gertie and Hilda Bellamy, Mr. and
Mrs. G. R. Bellamy, Mr. J. M. Jackson, Mrs. Wyndham Hale, Mrs. and Miss Hayes, Mr. and Mrs. P.
Birley, Mr,. Chas, Blagdon, Mr. and Mrs. H. Outran, Mr. and Mrs. Jewison, and family, Mr. and Mrs.
Braddell and family, Mr. and Mrs. Hassall, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Leigh, Mrs. Hutton Birley, Misses Ada
and Helen Birley, Mr. and Mrs. W. Peel, Mr, and Mrs. Needham, Mr. and Mrs. Parsons, Mr. E. Calvert,
Mr. and Mrs. Addison Birley, Dr. Wiggles worth, Mr.F. Aspden, Mrs. Ratcliffe and family, Mrs. and
Miss Edleston, Mr. and Mrs. Carrington and family, the Lytham Hockey Club, and the Lytham
Orchestral Society. Messrs. E. Wilson & Son, Lytham, carried out the entire funeral
arrangements with becoming dignity.