St Clare John Byrne
Born in 1831, St Clare John Byrne was the son of an Irish ship owner. He married Kate Chatteris in 1867, and they had three children: Henry, Arthur and Lionel. Henry was Muriel’s father. A world-renowned naval architect, St Clare John Byrne specialised in the design of luxury yachts - of which the Valiant was by far the largest.
Muriel described her grandfather as “a bit of a genius”, but she went on to say that he “never passed on a speck of it to his sons. They were awfully good at doing what they wanted to do, but never wanted to do a stroke of work.” Muriel’s mother and father settled down beside the Royal Liverpool Golf Club. “He [Henry] spent his days playing golf, his nights playing bridge. Summers we moved to the golf course at Barnton, outside Edinburgh, where he did precisely what he did the rest of the year – played golf during the day and bridge at night.”
The following article appeared in The New York Times on 26th August 1983: