One of St Anne’s most famous former residents was the legendary George Formby, who died on 6th March, 1961. On 20th, June 1961 a public auction was held within the grounds of “Beryldene” in St. Anne’s, the home of George and his wife Beryl. Beryl had died during Christmas in 1960, and George passed away just three months later. The auction was required because George’s family opposed his final will. A few weeks before his death, George had become engaged to a school teacher named Pat Howson, and his most recent will left the Formby fortune almost intact to her. The auction attracted a lot of national publicity and was held over three days in a marquee in the grounds of George’s St Anne’s home. People queued up for hours to get in.
And now another auction of George Formby memorabilia is attracting international attention. Later this week, on Thursday 22nd May, a life-size model of Wigan-born George Formby, a collection of unseen family photos, a personal scrapbook, postcards, film scripts, and George’s prayer book will go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers.
Hansons say this is one of the most important collections of memorabilia relating to the star to come up for auction since the famous Beryldene sale. George Formby still has fans across the world and Hansons is expecting strong interest in all the items in the catalogue. These include two banjo ukuleles, each with a guide price of £10,000-£15,000. One ukulele was played by George in the 1935 film ‘Off the Dole’. Provenance with the instrument reveals it has appeared on several TV shows, including Richard and Judy in 1991. Formby fans can also bid on his Dallas Model C banjo ukulele (lot 169). Complete with original case, it bears the words, ‘Uke in D, Low’ written by Formby to identify the correct instrument as he didn’t read music. It comes with a sealed packet of Formby strings and was originally purchased by George’s brother, Frank, at the famous 1961 Beryldene sale (pictured below)
Other memorabilia includes a novelty table lamp modelled as Formby leaning on a lamp post (pictured below). It bears a plaque engraved with, ‘George Formby, Leaning on a Lampost (Film Feather Your Nest) recorded 5 September 1937, Regal Zonophone MR2490’. It was given to George by Noel Gay, who wrote Leaning on a Lamp-post and is estimated to fetch £4,000-£6,000.
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