George Eastwood loaned a collection of carved ivories to Towneley in 1903. The loan was originally for three years but when Eastwood died in 1906 the collection became the first bequest to the museum.
Eastwood, born in Burnley in 1839, worked in a cotton-mill from the age of 10 until the great Lancashire cotton famine of 1864 compelled him to go to Manchester in search of work. There he established a lucrative business renting marquees and interior decoration for events such as weddings.
In 1880, he went to live in Southport on account of his wife's health. He entered local politics in Southport in 1887 and was chairman of the Liberal Party there in 1890 and Mayor of Southport in 1895. He was a great traveller, having visited the capitals and principal cities of Europe, including Turkey, and he had also crossed America and visited the Holy Land.