FORMER Eastbourne resident Peter Willoughby has been reunited with a caricature of his grandfather – the town’s medical officer of health and an Honorary Freeman of Eastbourne – 70 years after first seeing it when he was a schoolboy.
The Devonshire Club, Eastbourne’s oldest club, has caricatures of prominent members hanging on the wall of the bar and Peter remembers the day Dr William George Willoughby took him into the club and showed him the sketch.
He decided to contact the club on the off chance the caricature might still be in existence and was delighted when the club told him that it was and sent him a copy. Dr Willoughby was made a Freeman of Eastbourne in 1939 and is one of only 31 people to have received the honour from 1903 to the present day.
His grandson, who lived in Eastbourne for 27 years, said, “Sometime before the war, when I was around eight or nine-years-old or at the most 10, my grandfather took me to the club and I remember seeing the caricature of him and other members. I do recall the visit being out of the ordinary and a privilege for a youngster and it made quite an impression on me.”
Devonshire Club chairman Adrian Carter said, “When Mr Willoughby contacted us we went straight into the club bar where the caricatures are on the wall. Much to everyone’s surprise the picture, showing Dr Willoughby with 12 other members and drawn sometime in the 1930s by an artist who signed himself MEL, was still hanging there, together with a couple of later ones showing other notable members over the years. We were very happy to make a copy of it so Mr Willoughby can now show the full caricature of ‘a baker’s dozen of Eastbourne celebrities’ to Dr Willoughby’s great-great-great grandchildren.”
The Devonshire Club, which first opened in 1872, was formed by the Duke of Devonshire and local friends and dignitaries. It is now located in Hartington Place with the present Duke of Devonshire as president.
The club, which has a restaurant, lounge bar, snooker lounge and smaller lounge, is a popular meeting and dining place. New members are welcome call 734713, email email@example.com or visit www.thedevonshireclub.co.uk