Great grandson’s family heirloom find
Rare Victorian sheet music is on display at Winston Churchill’s former home after being entered into a competition by its composer’s great-grandson.
Cordelia Waltz, by virtually unknown Victorian Crystal Palace musician Charles Seaton, is on show at Chartwell, in Westerham, until the end of September.
The National Trust picked the book of sheet music, entered by Hugh Bailey, as South East England winner of its Treasure Forever competition which sought out invaluable heirlooms. The cover shows Seaton’s daughter and Hugh’s grandmother Agnes May Seaton, to whom the music is dedicated, when she was an 18-year-old girl. It was also the exit music at Mr Bailey’s mother’s funeral.
Mr Bailey said: “Cordelia Waltz is, in a way, a living link with this once-magnificent Victorian icon. I was delighted when I found out the music had been picked. I have been taking friends and family to Chartwell to see the exhibition.”
Mr Bailey inherited a stack of music composed by his great-grandfather when his mother died in 2005. He hired a pianist to play and professionally record the tunes onto CD. He said: “That was an emotional experience. To hear music that hasn’t been played for 100 years is special. I really like it.”
Mr Bailey also discovered that his two great aunts ran a music stall selling his great-grandfather’s compositions in the Crystal Palace before the building was transferred to the Admiralty in 1914.
He added: “It has really opened up a lot of other interests in aspects of my own genealogy. I also found out that Charles Seaton composed music for the man who introduced the ocarina (a flute-like instrument) to the UK from Italy.”
Mr Bailey is now keen to know if anybody else has any music by Charles Seaton. If so, contact reporter firstname.lastname@example.org or call the news desk on 0208 269 7013.
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