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War Memorials

Now don't pretend you thought she was going to get away with all this? This time, the hot flame of publicity burnt Lizzie . The press arrived in Toft in droves to witness and photograph the show she put on for them. The doctor who had attended the birth was produced as the star witness and he turned out to be none other than Dr Arthur Ireland in person. No less a person than the Vicar of Toft was called upon to visit the house to baptise the little boy which Lizzie lay in bed cradling . He reported that Lady Haldon told him that Lord Haldon knew about the baby before his death and that he was very glad about it.


But all kinds of other people began to report some very strange events to the press and through them, to the police. A local woman, a Mrs Basford,  reported that a strange woman had appeared in her village asking if any poor person would like to have an  unwanted child adopted? As Mrs Basford  had just given birth to a boy for whom she had  no particular use, she had stepped forward and volunteered her child, arranging for him to be collected on 13 March 1939. 


It didn't take long for the police to discover that Lizzie and Arthur Ireland had remarried on her 60th birthday, 2 October 1939, and various witnesses described other marriages. War broke out towards the end of 1939 and Lizzie's felonies were shelved for a while. In the interim,  Lizzie  returned to the baby to its  natural mother and replaced him with a plastic doll which she carried around with her but sad to say, "Edward Basford"  the real child, died soon after his return to his natural mother.


In November 1940, LIzzie, and her secretary/companion Isabella Blackett  were brought to court,  charged with conspiring to commit an offence under the Forgery Act relating to the forgery of a birth registration. They were  charged jointly with offences in connection with the registration of a birth. Lizzie was also charged with double bigamy. Arthur Ireland was tried separately and charged with additional offences. It was a case which brought delight to the popular press as every imaginable corner of not only Lizzie's life but the lives of both Lord Haldons were revealed to the public.


Readers discovered that the 3rd Baron slept on park benches when visiting London; that the 4th Baron had worked for Selfridges as a packer - the only work he could get - after a very decent career in the army in WW1 - and that at the time Lizzie met him, was existing on 14s 11d a week from what was then called Public Assistance, out of which he had to pay 10s a week rent for his bed-sit. He had stolen from those who  had tried to help him and had served 2 months penal servitude in 1928 for theft. When he was arrested for theft a second time, he was put on probation. At the time Lizzie wrote to him as Lady Clive, the 4th Baron had no money to pay for the medical attention he so desperately needed and was only 42 when he died of an untreatable ulcer.


Lizzie's  life story was dragged through the sensational press but she presented herself thorughout the trial  as a well-to-do woman of property who had  been accustomed to live in the best society wherever she went.. She was closely questioned about the Scottish marriage she claimed to have had and produced what she called "a certificate of marriage" written on paper franked with the House of Lords Crest.. She went on to say that she had been engaged to Lord Haldon's father but that after his death she had become friendly with the son. They had decided to visit Scotland for a short holiday together. They called in at Gretna Green on their way but were told they did not have the necessary qualifications for marriage there. They journeyed on to Edinburgh and at the Royal Hotel, Lizzie declared, they had been married according to what Lord Haldon had told her was "the Scottish Law". But the hotel had no records of their visit, there were no witnesses to the so-called marriage and the Scotland Yard detective working on her case produced letters written by Lizzie from London on the dates she claimed to have been in Scotland.


The Palk family solicitor had spoken to Lady Clive (Lizzie)  after the funeral of Lord Haldon at Toft when she had told him she had an income of £20000 a year, some property at Eastbourne and that she was financing four doctors at Tunstall. A large portion of her money she said, had come from her father, a Mr Watson who had, she said, been a prominent distiller.


It will not surprise anyone to learn that it took the jury less than 40 minutes to decide Lizzie was guilty on all counts. In sentencing her to 3 years penal servitude, the judge said of her that she was driven by uncontrollable vanity to live her life as she had done. Her companion/helper Isabella Blackett was sentenced to 12 months for taking part in the conspiracy to deceive.


Neither woman was heard of again and though many have looked for Lizzie's death at later dates, this puzzle has still not been solved to the satisfaction of everyone. Joan Ireland, Lizzie's daughter married and hopefully managed to salvage something for herself and lead a happy life. Nothing has been discovered of the girl taken to France and abandoned in a convent there. Dr. Arthur Ireland took part in WW2 but nothing is known of his service life or of his life after the war. Sadly, Lizzie Ireland's story is a tale of unimaginable selfishness, manipulation and greed and the ending is entirely devoid of happiness.



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