Broadway in 1887

The following article about Broadway was published in the Gloucestershire Echo on 24th August 1887 and the Cheltenham Chronicle on 27th August 1887:

Broadway is geographically in Gloucestershire but topographically is a peninsula of Worcestershire which juts out into the neighbouring shire. Broadway is about five and a half miles from anywhere, and just six miles from everywhere. Two hundred years ago, or even so far back as Shakespeare’s days, Broadway may have been a place of note. Now it is a place of no account, except as one of the quietest, sweetest, most peaceful, and most pastoral “out of the world’ villages in all England. It consists of one wide, straggling street, of quaint old stone-built houses with gables and dormers, Tudor chimneys, casements with leaded panes of old glass, mullions, carved doorways, finials and high-pitched roofs. There is an amazing hotel, the Lygon Arms, which would have driven Dickens wild with delight, and in another ancient hostelry, now turned into a private residence, are the old oak beams and floors, old windows and wide chimney-nooks which were there when Charles I slept – or more probably only laid down his uneasy head – after a disastrous battle. On the walls of these fine houses apricots and vines grow freely, and their fruits ripen.

There is a village green, the chosen club of all the village dogs, who romp and race there from morning till night. The well-planned kennels of the North Cotswold Hounds are in the village, and when they are seen coming down the wide street the way in which the other dogs “get up and slide” is most diverting.

At the extreme end of Broadway in an old house, with an old garden, shut in by a high old wall, an American colony of artists1 have established themselves, painting and drawing all day long with intervals of lawn-tennis for exercise; and there, the world forgetting, but not by the world forgot, they lead an ideal life of work and art and simple healthful occupation. They have their models male and female, after their kind in an adjacent cottage; and they have fitted up a great old barn as a studio, from which are sent out many notable pictures.

The country round about Broadway is a mixture of flat cornlands and rolling hills, profusely timbered with splendid elms, ash-trees, and oaks, and the district is literally studded with old abbey barns, old manor houses, and old churches, in most quaint and picturesque styles of architecture. Beautiful walks through pastures and coppices, over hills, superabound in every direction. People in search of quietness, fresh air, and something rather out of the common-place in rural life might do worse than find their way to Broadway. To get there is not just as easy as to get to Charing Cross, but it can be done by taking the train to Evesham, or utilising a smart four-horse coach2 that leaves the Plough at Cheltenham for Broadway every Saturday afternoon at five o’clock, for a delightfully picturesque drive of sixteen miles to Broadway. The very difficulty of getting to Broadway enhances its charm of isolation. If it were nearer a railway-station it would be more noisy and less nice.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:
1. The Broadway Colony of artists included; the American artist Francis Davis Millet (1848-1912) who lived at Farnham House and Russell House and also rented Abbot’s Grange on the village green, and John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) who painted Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose in the gardens of Farnham House and Russell House during the summers of 1885 and 1886 whilst staying with the Millet family. Millet’s most famous painting Between Two Fires was painted at Abbot’s Grange. Frederick Barnard, an illustrator of Charles Dickens’ novels and the portraitist Paul César Helleu were also visitors to Broadway at the time. The Artist Colony Room at Broadway Museum and Art Gallery provides an insight into their art and their lives.
2. The Four-Horse Coach started running between Broadway and Cheltenham in August 1887. The coach ran every Saturday at 9am from the Lygon Arms Hotel, Broadway, calling at the White Hart Hotel, Winchcombe, to The Plough Hotel, Cheltenham, returning at 5pm the same day.

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Broadway History Society

Broadway History Society, Broadway, Worcestershire

4 thoughts on “Broadway in 1887”

  1. My great grandfather James (Jimmy) Jones ran the kennels and my grandmother Annie Louisa was born there in 1888 the fifth born child of a total of ten!

  2. One of my family surnames is Broadway and I’ve traced them to the 1600’s in Cuxham, Oxfordshire and have always wondered if they came from Broadway.

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