Broadway Pottery and Broadway Honey, Keyte’s Lane, Broadway
Tel. Broadway 2234
Broadway Honey and Broadway Pottery was set up by Alick Edward Wheeler in the 1950s. Wheeler was born on 7 July 1906 in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, the son of Thomas Edward, a draper and tailor, and Helen Wheeler (née Crane).
In 1037 in Bromsgrove, he married Joyce Elizabeth Torkington (b. Bucklow, Cheshire on 10 June 1908). By 1939 the couple had moved to ‘Crofton’, Offenham Road, Evesham. Wheeler followed in his father’s footsteps and opened a drapery shop in Evesham known locally for its womenswear. Wheeler was a keen beekeeper and won many awards at local shows for his honey which he later produced on a commercial basis. His wife, Joyce, was a keen golfer and a member of Evesham Golf Club for many years. They were both keen walkers and members of Evesham Rambling Club.
In 1950, Wheeler purchased land at the far end of Keyte’s Lane in Broadway. He employed Evesham architect, Thomas R. Bateman (of Messrs. Pemberton1 and Bateman) to design a house, and planning permission was granted in September 1950 for a Cotswold stone house, ‘Lower Fold’.
Broadway Pottery and Broadway Honey
After the move to Broadway, Wheeler pursued his interest in beekeeping and kept a number of hives on two thirds of an acre in the grounds at Lower Fold. By June 1953, there were 125 full colonies of bees and 30 queen rearing colonies at Lower Fold and by 1957 he kept hives on land along the Evesham Road in the village. Wheeler sold the honey under the name Broadway Honey. At a hearing in the Evesham Valuation Court on Monday 15 June 1953, when the rateable value of Lower Fold was being reassessed, Alick was asked asked why it was essential for him to carry on the honey business in Broadway, he replied “it was good from a business point of view to have the word Broadway on his honey labels”.
Wheeler wanted to make his own honey pots and in 1955 he was granted, permission to construct a workshop/pottery in the grounds of Lower Fold which he called Broadway Pottery.
Wheeler employed Muriel Tudor Jones, who lived with her mother on the High Street in Broadway (next to Little Gables on the corner of Keyte’s Lane), to work alongside him in the pottery. Muriel was an experienced potter who had worked at the Coldstone Pottery – she later established a pottery in Chipping Campden (1963-1980). Margaret Charlesworth, Elsie Crump and Betty Rose were also employed at the pottery which also made jam pots, jugs, tea and coffee sets and Christmas gifts. The pottery was open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm and often at weekends in the run up to Christmas.
Broadway Pottery specialised in ‘slipware’ pots. Slip is an aqueous suspension of a mixture of clays and other minerals such as mica, felspar and quartz. Slipware is made when the slip is placed on to the hard clay body of the pot before it is fired by dipping, painting or splashing. The bottom of the pots was impressed with “Broadway Pottery” in a cursive script.
Wheeler exhibited his honey at many local shows winning a number of awards over the years: in November 1950 at Evesham Autumn Show, his honey and honeycomb won, and he won classes for his honey at Evesham in 1954 and at the Bath Show in 1953. In June 1957 Wheeler won the Burtt Challenge Cup at Bredon Fete for the best honey in the commercial class, also winning in the best granulated honey and light honey classes.
On Saturday 29 June 1957, 16 members of the Witley (near Worcester) branch of the Beekeepers’ Association visited Broadway. Invited by Wheeler, the party visited the orchards on the Evesham Road where Wheeler kept the hives and afterwards visited Lower Fold to see where the honey was extracted from the honeycomb and put into pots.
The Wheelers retired in 1969 and moved to Craven Arms, Shropshire. Joyce died in 1990 and Alick on 31 October 1992.
Broadway Pottery continued for a few years after Alick retired. Lower Fold was purchased by Thomas Bateman (one of the original architects) and he rented out the pottery firstly to Brian Sykes from Stow-on-the-Wold, and then to Henry Cumberland of Childswickham. The pottery closed when Henry Cumberland retired.