Lord Ashton, the donor of the Gardens, is a man of princely
benefactions and probably the bounds of his generosity will never be known; he has never let
his left hand know what his right hand was doing. For years in Lancaster, Morecambe and
district he maintained a private system of relief, which was popularly said to disburse a sum
above that distributed by the Guardians.
His father, the late Ald. Williamson, gave to Lancaster its unique Park, but
Lord Ashton spent a fortune in laying it out and equipping it, and then provided a sum of money
sufficient to maintain it in perfection forever. It was his generosity which mad possible the great
scheme for the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. He built the Ashton Wing to the Royal Albert Institution
for the training of the feeble-minded at a cost of £15,000; the Queen Victoria statue in Dalton
Square cost £14,000, and the Ashton Memorial in the Park cost £35,000, and the Town Hall and set of
municipal offices at Lancaster absorbed £155,000. It is popularly said that he paid £300,000 for
Ashton Hall, and bought it practically at a moment's notice.
One one occasion he paid the election expenses of all the Liberal candidates who
needed it in Lancashire, and he gave £40,000 to the Party war chest. The late General Booth used
regularly to stay a night at Rylands in passing, and never left without a £1,000 note in his
pocket. F. M.
St.Anne's Express, 1916