LACK OF DUE DILIGENCE, THE WRONG PRINCE AND PORK SCRATCHINGS – by Colin Sutherland

LACK OF DUE DILIGENCE, THE WRONG PRINCE AND PORK SCRATCHINGS


A rather self-indulgent departure from the norm today, if you’ll excuse us, by way of a 220-year-old letter which we are singularly pleased to list for sale.

 

It was composed in 1799 by Dr Robert Jackson, a noble Scot, and inspector general of army hospitals. A greatly respected man of his time who served the British military for some fifty years, Jackson was a hugely influential character, credited with saving many thousands of lives due to improvements in care implemented at his behest.

 

Our letter is simply a request for reimbursement for travel costs incurred on an expedition and addressed to the man who was one of Jackson’s foremost patrons and proponents, Prince Frederick, the Duke of York and Albany.

 

Frederick is a figure most often purported to be the titular “Grand Old Duke of York” of up and down again hill-marching renown, and whose name was briefly – if erroneously – associated with a pub situated on The Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells.

 

This pub, as luck would have it, is directly opposite the site of our soon-to-be-open retail premises, under the historic Pantiles Clock on the flagstone-paved walkway. The once venerable tavern was, in actuality, named after another Duke of York entirely – Prince Edward (the younger brother of King George III) in whose honour it was titled shortly after his death in 1767.

 

Although it’s a simple case of mistaken identity, the confusion is indicative of the forensic attention to detail one should observe before apportioning provenance to any antique – or naming a pub. We look forward applying due diligence to our research under the watchful gaze of the ‘proper’ Duke of York, albeit in absentia, and will – in all probability – be toasting his memory once or twice in his erstwhile domain…