George Langworthy

An author says he was inspired to write a book about a man dubbed the ‘Salford Saint’ after hearing his story while holidaying in the Costa Del Sol.

George Langworthy, the subject of the book, inherited a fortune from his Salford-based family before emigrating to Spain.

Now the story of George Langworthy has been published in a book, “The Englishman of the Peseta: The Life and Times of George Langworthy”, which tells of how George gave all his money away to the poor of Torremolinos, in Spain.

The author, Mike Shapton, is from Liverpool but heard about George’s story while holidaying in the Costa Del Sol ten years ago.

The Costa Del Sol. (Image Credit: Mike Shapton, Remi F Compoy, Francis Ternero)

After George’s wife died of pneumonia, he threw himself into religion. Bit by bit, he donated his £32,000 fortune (approximately £3m today) to those in need, giving money to anyone who could recite a passage from the bible to him.

For each verse recited, he would give the reader a peseta, which is the former unit of currency of Spain. His good deeds earned him the title “Englishman of the Peseta”, securing his legacy forever.

George Langwothy’s estate, the first hotel in The Costa Del Sol. (Image Credit: Mike Shapton, Remi F Compoy, Francis Ternero)

He said: “George was quite wealthy but ended up giving it all away. At the time, Torremolinos was a simple fishing village. If you didn’t catch anything that day you didn’t eat. It was a rather hand to mouth existence.”

Mike continued: “The amount of money George was giving out was enough to feed an entire family!”

He added: “Part of the reason he started giving away his money was because he had become a Christian scientist, and they follow short verses in their bible. All you had to do was recite one of these verses and you’d earn your peseta.”

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(Image Credit: Mike Shapton, Remi F Compoy, Francis Ternero)

With no money left, George turned his house into a hotel – the first hotel to ever be built in the Costa Del Sol. This laid the foundations for what has become one of the World’s most popular tourist destination.

Mike said: “After he’d given away all his money, he had none left to maintain his estate, so he handed over the estate to his staff, who then turned it into a hotel.

“Effectively, that was the first hotel on what we now know as the Costa Del Sol.”

George’s legacy in Salford is secured through his uncle, Edward Langworthy, the 5th Mayor of Salford. He and his brothers used to own the Greengate Mill, which was established in 1840, providing much-needed jobs to many in the area.

The Greengate Mill Sign, across from Strangeways Prison, Salford. (Image Credit: David Poucher)

In recent years, over 40 tonnes of debris from the Mill has been retrieved from the River Irwell. This includes the sign which once stood atop the building. The sign was placed along the Irwell, just across from Strangeways Prison, honouring the legacy of the Langworthy family forever.

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