When famous comedy singer George Formby’s former house in Fairhaven was put up for auction in June 1961, people were queueing round the block just to get in and get a glimpse.
He had died around three months earlier, after suffering a heart attack at the age of 56. His wife Beryl, who the house Beryldene was named after, had died at Christmas the previous year.
In his will, the With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock star, had left the majority of his estate and wealth to fiancée Pat Howson, with whom he became engaged in February 1961. The will was contested by his family. Because the will was contested, Formby’s solicitor insisted that a public auction was held for the contents of Formby’s house, which took place over three days.
George and Beryl had lived in the house – built in 1936 – for eight years, after buying it from the Irish singer Josef Locke.
Crowds flocked to the auction, not only for a chance to see the home of the popular star, but also a chance to buy a piece of history, by bidding on his possessions. Around 300 people packed into a specially-erected marquee on the lawn.
Bidding started at £5,000. The house, on Inner Promenade, was bought by a Mrs Murray for £9,000. It did not fetch the amount the auctioneer, Ted Fielden, expected. A Gibson banjolele in a case went for £130. Two pressure cookers, 22 pans and oven dishes fetched £13 10s, the kitchen scales £2 5s and two kettles £2 12s. The garden hammock in which George and Beryl spent much of their time in the garden in the summer sold for £47.
The Gazette said, “an obviously disappointed Mr Fielden” had described the house sale as “one of the best buys in the market in Lytham St Annes this year.”