George Bullough was born on the 28th February, 1870, in Accrington, the eldest son of John and Bertha Bullough.
He was educated at Harrow as a young gentleman in a manner very different from that of his father. He did spend some time working on the shop floor but the flair for engineering was not in him. When his parents divorced he was 12 and away at school. His mother was allowed to see her two elder children for a week and then back to school they both went. It is not known whether or not they had any more contact with her but it is probable that George’s sister Bertha Bullough did as Edward Bullough is listed as staying with her in the 1911 census. George grew into a very tall good looking young man who loved horses.
His school books are still in the library in the castle and many bear ink blots and other signs of a bored student. Going into the cavalry would seem a natural progression. There have always been rumours of some sort of affair with his step mother Alexandra Mackenzie but this has been refuted by Ian’s son Roderic in correspondence with Alastair Scott, author of ‘Eccentric Wealth: the Bulloughs of Rum’. She was after all only a few years older than he so it is likely rumours would start. One of the rumours is that he was sent on his world tour by his father to keep him away from Alex. He didn’t however start on his travels until some time after his father’s death, which in 1891 was just a few days before George’s 21st birthday.
Accompanied by Robert Mitchell he set off on travels which took him all over the world, and during which he amassed a collection of furniture and artefacts he first used to furnish Rhyddings Hall, Oswaldtwistle then later brought to his new castle on Rum. Much of the furniture to be seen throughout the castle is the product of these journeys. The library at the castle holds a superb collection of photograph albums which illustrate the tours but they are in the main photographs they bought along the way, not taken by George or Robert.
One of the few photos which include George Bullough (seen on right) and probably Robert Mitchell on left riding an elephant
Some indeed illustrate events which took place years before their visit. At first on his travels he used ordinary passenger shipping but later bought a yacht, which he named the Rhouma. When the South African War broke out, George decided to render assistance and the yacht was accordingly taken down to be moored in Table Bay and it was converted into a hospital ship for the convalescence of soldiers. Following the end of the war, some of the convalescents formed the first residents of the newly built castle. George’s reward was a knighthood.
At some point, George must have met Monica Charrington. She and her husband Charles had separated after she was cited in the divorce of Earl Cowley and his wife. She was very keen on hunting and hunted with the Ledbury of which George was a member and indeed became Master. In November 1902 George was cited in the divorce of Charles and Monica in the case of Charrington v Charrington and Bullough. The Times gives full detail. George and Monica were married on the 24th June 1903 in Kinloch Castle on Rum. It has been said that George received his knighthood in recompense for allowing his name to be used in Monica’s divorce instead that of the Prince of Wales. While Monica was very beautiful and certainly eligible as one of the Royal mistresses, it is unlikely in the extreme that this was the reason for the knighthood which was otherwise given in recognition of the part George played in the loaning of his yacht the Rhouma as hospital ship for twelve months during the Boer War. Charles and Monica Charrington had been separated since 1896. There was plenty of evidence given to show that George was indeed having an affair with Monica and they had much in common, including a love of Africa.
Following their marriage in Kinloch Castle, Monica set about making alterations to parts of the Castle and stamping her mark on it as can be seen in the Drawing Room and the Empire Room. Their main home was in Redmarley d’Abitot in Gloucestershire.
After selling the Rhouma, he then in 1913 bought a smaller yacht which he also named the Rhouma (herein known as Rhouma II) but the days of leisurely sails to Madeira were over and the war years intervened.
The Bulloughs had an association with Newmarket which spanned over fifty years. In 1928 they had a house, Warren Hill, built in the town. Following the death of Sir George in 1939, Lady Bullough lived there until her own death in 1967 at the grand age of 98 years. Sir George Bullough was an early and long term, (1920-1939), supporter of Jack Jarvis (later Sir Jack Jarvis). Jack was an up and coming trainer at Park Lodge Stable, Newmarket when Sir George entered his running horses into his care. “Golden Myth” winner of the Ascot Gold Cup and Ascot Gold Vase in 1922 (a record) was trained at Park Lodge. For a short period Sir George also used Newmarket trainers H. C. Leader (who trained Lady Bullough’s horses) and Frank Butters.