A series of talks starting in Wakefield this week will profile the city’s own version of the Downton Abbey family – the Simpsons of Walton Hall.
The soap-factory magnates, like their TV counterparts, were defined by luxurious living, many servants, a fine estate, close family and plenty of friends.
But the origins and fortunes of the families were very different, for the Simpsons’ wealth came from modern industry.
While the returns from their soap factory were at times huge, the male Simpsons were consequently tied to it and their mistakes could – and did – court financial disaster.
Visitors will hear all about how the family’s situation was only restored by a financially beneficial marriage to a banker’s daughter.
The remarkable history of the Simpson family will be explored in a series of free talks by renowned Wakefield historian and archivist John Goodchild.
The talks take place on three consecutive Wednesdays, October 9, 16 and 23 at 2pm at West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield in the historic Registry of Deeds building on Newstead Road.
The talks will look at a variety of aspects of the family’s concerns using information drawn from their papers with original documents, plans and illustrations of the family.
Councillor Bill Urry, of the Archives, Archaeology and Trading Standards Committee, said: “We’ve all heard of the ups and downs of TV’s Grantham family – but who needs fiction when there is a true story as compelling as the Simpsons’? I would urge everyone with an interest to make sure they catch this series of compelling talks delivered by a local expert.”
Early booking is strongly advised by contacting West Yorkshire Archive Service, Wakefield on 01924 305980 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org