Harry Clifton (1907-1979) John Talbot Clifton (1868-1928) Violet Clifton (1883-1961) Harry Clifton (1907-1979)



The Ghost Telegrams (Volume 1) by Alan Dunn, Paul Simpson and Jeff Young

Project launch, the voice of Ron Moody as Harry Clifton drifting across Lowther Gardens from hidden speakers, 10th July 2012

The Ghost Telegrams (volume 1) is a new sound art commission exploring the extraordinary founders of Lytham, the Clifton family, with the voice of Harry played by Ron Moody and the female voices by Jennifer John.

Compiled from unseen archives, these are the untold exploits of eccentric rogue Harry, reclusive mother Violet and Siberian adventurer John Talbot. Follow them from vast wealth through to financial ruin taking in Hollywood gothic, pawned Renoirs and poetic madness.

The Ghost Telegrams (volume 1) will be broadcast throughout Lowther Gardens during daylight from 11th – 30th July 2012 with a free CD available at Lytham Hall and Lowther Pavilion.

Images from inside the empty Lytham Hall, Alan Dunn, 2012

Dunn, Simpson and Young have collaborated on projects since SuperBlock for BBC Radio 3 in 2003. Dunn was short-listed for The 2012 Liverpool Art Prize, Simpson has recorded with The Teardrop Explodes and The Wild Swans and Young recently toured his stage version of Quadrophenia.

Ron Moody won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Fagin in the 1968 film Oliver! and Jennifer John is Artistic Director of the award-winning vocal collective Sense of Sound.

Recording Ron Moody, Resident Studios, London, 2012

Recorded in Resident Studios London and Parr Street Studios Liverpool, this project is part of ‘Revealed: The coastal gems of Lytham, Ansdell, Fairhaven and St.Annes-on-Sea’, a feast of art, culture and entertainment on the Fylde coast in July 2012 brought to you by Lancashire County Council working with Fylde Borough Council.

With thanks to Paul Kelly (Lancashire County Council), Stewart and Adam (Resident Studios), Rich (Parr Street Studios), the Lytham Hall Archive Group and Ron and Jennifer.

Mixing in Parr Street Studios, 2012

The Ghost Telegrams (Volume 1) are imagined messages from an elderly Harry Clifton, last family heir who blew the Clifton fortune on bad horses and ambitious business schemes. He was the poet, artist and film-maker, son of adventurous explorer John Talbot Clifton and reclusive Violet. John Talbot chased Inca treasure and wooly mammoths in Siberia. After his death the young Harry, burdened with the family fortune, financed Hollywood films, opened Art Galleries, acquired a horse to ride in the Grand National (he came fifth), self-published his own poetry, sold the family Renoirs, bought fast cars and gambled wildly. By the 1960s he had squandered over £3,000,000 and Lytham Hall closed for good.

The Cliftons across Lytham, 2012


CDs edition of 500

Some useful links

The history of the Clifton’s Lytham Hall is here

The Friends of Lytham Hall website is here

A history of the Clifton family can be found here


Dunn, Simpson & Young recommend ‘The Clifton Chronicle’ by John Kennedy for further reading

An MP3 version of the final CD mix is available on Soundcloud. The full CD is now available, email for copy.

2 thoughts on “THE GHOST TELEGRAMS”

  1. Robin Blackledge said:

    Hi jeff long time. Lovely site. have you a copy of the scripts we did for consiton? Would love to archive them at some point . Robin

    • Hi Robin,

      I’d have to look. Rob Cooke said a couple of years back that he had the texts because he was thinking of putting a pamphlet together. I’l look through the files and get back to you. Good to hear from you, hope life’s good. I’ll email you. Jeff

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