The Holt family

Detail from 'Emma Holt', Percy Bigland, 1889

George Holt came from a family of prominent local businessmen. His father, George Holt senior, was originally from Rochdale. He moved to Liverpool as a young man and made his fortune as a cotton broker. In 1820 he married Emma Durning, who came from a rich and long-established Liverpool family. The couple were active in local politics and educational and philanthropic schemes. They also collected art on a small scale. Their diary records some of their purchases, most of them made from local artists.

George Holt married Elizabeth Bright. Their only child Emma was born in 1862. The family lived in Edge Lane and then West Derby before settling at Sudley in 1884. Emma, who was 21 at the time, lived at Sudley for the remaining 60 years of her life. Emma was also a noted philanthropist. Like her father she was a strong supporter of Liverpool University. She never married, so with her death in 1944 George Holt's line came to an end. She bequeathed the house and the collection of paintings assembled by her father to the city of Liverpool.