Charles Chetwynd-Talbot, 20th Earl of Shrewsbury

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Description:Major Charles Henry John Chetwynd-Talbot, 20th Earl of Shrewsbury, 5th Earl Talbot and 20th Earl of Waterford (1860-1921) of Ingestre and Alton Towers. Under his patronage, Clément Talbot Ltd was founded in 1903 to import the popular French Clément car into Britain; the Talbot car brand was named after him. He was a friend of King Edward VII, and a keen sportsman and businessman. He was High Steward of Stafford in 1892.

As well as being a race-horse owner, his interests included fox-hunting, polo and yachting. Above all, he was a noted 'whip' (driver). He occasionally drove the 'Greyhound' coach service between his other home, Alton Towers, and Buxton. He once travelled the 121 miles from Llandudno to Alton in a day, even having time to stop to watch an hour's horse-racing at Chester.

The Earl felt his most exhausting day's driving was in 1889, when standing for a seat on Staffordshire County Council. He visited all the polling stations in the county and carried 189 passengers to vote. Despite suffering from blisters, he later felt it was worthwhile, "for I was elected on that occasion by a most satisfactory majority".

In London, the Earl ran his own cab company, owning 210 cabs and 365 horses. He was a great innovator: he developed solid rubber and pneumatic tyres for carriages, and 'noiseless' horse-shoes.

A caricature by 'Spy' entitled 'Cabs', published in 'Vanity Fair' on 30th July 1903.


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Donor ref:SCBPC-2009-84 (129/24182)

Source: Staffordshire County Buildings Picture Collection

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