Research by Maretta Fawcett and Jacqueline Arundel
Walter Woodhead was a local artist and when he died in 1946 he bequeathed many of his own pictures to the Collection. Lytham St Annes Borough Council records of 30 September 1946 do not indicate how many there were, but current records shown 22 pictures, both oils and watercolours, plus a sketchbook containing 34 drawings.
Woodhead was born on 23 April 1866 in Bradford, Yorkshire. His father Thomas Woodhead, born 1830, was the High Bailiff, Bradford County Court and his mother was Elizabeth Reid Lunn, born 1842, They married in 1865 in Wakefield and Walter was the eldest of 10 children. They lived at Wells Road, Ilkley with two servants. In 1891 Walter lived in Wharfedale, Yorkshire; sometime in the following years he was working as a book illustrator in Ilkley.
After his father's death Walter, then aged 44, moved to Lytham with his mother and two sisters. Walter was a divinity student, with private means, living at 35 Oxford Road, St Annes on Sea; later he lived in Bromley Road and Albany Road. Woodhead, along with Walter Eastwood (1867-1943) and Harold Partington (1852-1928) was a founder member of the Lytham St Annes Art Society. He was also a well-respected member of St Annes Parish Church. His grave is located in a prominent position close to the main door of the church.
Fiona Wilson, a local church historian, explains:
'Walter Woodhead became a sidesman in April 1916 to assist the church wardens in handing out service books and tidying the church etc. He became a Church Warden in 1924 and was 'Peoples Warden', which means he was elected by the parishioners. At the time he also became a member of the Parochial Church Council. He remained in office as Warden for only one year, retiring in 1925.'
The Church Magazine of May 1925 contains an article written by the vicar:
'I am sure you will share with me regrets that Mr Woodhead did not see his way to continue in office as Peoples Warden for another year. He has filled the office with much credit and to the satisfaction of the congregation. He has served during a very busy year and I wish to thank him for his loyal devotion to the Church.'
The Parish Magazines of August and September 1946 record his burial on
7 August 1946 and his bequest to the church:
'The Late Mr Walter Woodhead It is with gratitude that we have to record that he has bequeathed in his Will (a) £2000 for the Parish Church Clergy Endowment Fund and (b) £1000 for St Margaret's Clergy Endowment Fund. These legacies are most generous and will indeed greatly help our parochial finance where it is at present most needed.'
In 1946 £3000 would equate to £90,000 today (written in 2015).
Acc No 115 Works by Walter Woodhead in the
Lytham Art Collection
1 Acc No 85 Farm Cottage
2 Acc No 113 Landscape and River Scene
3 Acc No 140 Greba Castle, 'Isle of Man'
4 Acc No ? Bolton Abbey
5 Acc No 253 St Annes-on-the-Sea 1913
6 Acc No 86 Cottage on the Sandhills
7 Acc No 134 Rocky Coast Scene (chalk pastel)
8 Acc No 144 In the Orchard
9 Acc No 127 Fylde Bridge
10 Acc No 142 Roses
11 Acc No 117 Landscape and Mountain Stream,
A Yorkshire Dale (oil)
12 Acc No 96 Fylde Landscape (oil)
13 Acc No 84 St Annes Parish Church
14 Acc No 143 Scene in Switzerland
15 Acc No 256 Still Life with Sweet Pea and Lilac
16 Acc No 159 On the Moor,Ilkley
17 Acc No 138 The Harbour, Brixham, Devon
Acc No 115 Small Landscape
Acc No 116 Mountain Torrent
Acc No 130 River Scene
Acc No 136 The Harbour, Whitby
Acc No 141 Furness Abbey (pencil drawing)