Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The earliest-born person to cut a record was the grandfather of a Liberal Party leader

Sir Tollemache Sinclair has featured on this blog before. Writing of his grandson, the Liberal leader Sir Archibald Sinclair, I said:

Sinclair was orphaned at an early age and lived at Thurso Castle, the home of his grandfather Sir Tollemache Sinclair. The castle was a gothic pile which had been reconstructed by Sir Tollemache to his own design and was notable for its orchestrion - a sort of mechanical organ which he loved to play.

Thurso Castle was damaged by a sea mine during the second world war and largely demolished in the 1950s as a result. Some claim that it was never particularly structurally sound in the first place.

Sir Tollemache, who was a Liberal MP himself, has another claim to fame. He is the earliest-born person whose voice is preserved on a disc (as opposed to a wax cylinder).

Born in 1825, he cut a number of records in 1906. You can hear him above giving Byron both barrels.

Sir Archibald Sinclair's grandson is John Thurso, who was Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross between 2001 and 2015. He was a member of the House of Lords before that and is now one again, having won one of those strange by-elections for hereditary peers.

Thanks to a reader on Twitter for putting me on to this.

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