Luggers Hall (formerly Luggershill)

Luggers Hall, Springfield Lane, was built in 1911 for the Broadway Colony artist and landscape designer Alfred Parsons (1847-1920). Parsons chose Scottish architect Andrew Noble Prentice FRIBA, to design the house for him. Prentice was well know for his work in and around Broadway having designed several prominent buildings and extensions. These amongst others include; a music room at Court Farm House (c1899), Orchard Farmhouse (c1905), Willersey House (1907), Barn House (1908), Buckland Manor (1910), Abbot’s Grange (1911) and later the Lifford Memorial Hall in 1915.

A close friendship between Parsons and the American artist Francis Davis ‘Frank’ Millet began when Parsons, Millet and the painter, Edwin Austin Abbey RA, lived together at 54 Bedford Gardens, London. The Broadway connection was cemented by regular visits from Mary Anderson de Navarro of Court Farm, a famous actress at the time. In the mid 1880s, Millet and Parsons moved to Broadway and Millet rented Farnham House, overlooking the green in the heart of the village. In 1896 Parsons designed the gardens at Court Farm and he also designed the gardens for Mr & Mrs Rees Price at Bannits, Church Street.

Around 1904 Alfred Parsons purchased the land on which Luggershill was built from his close friend Millet, who by then had moved to Russell House. Andrew Prentice having been appointed to design the house departed from his usual architectural detailing which has been compared to the Arts and Craft style of Lutyens, with tall chimneys, mullioned windows, traditional construction and handcrafted details. Luggershill is often quoted as being an Arts and Craft building but it is not. There is very little influence from this movement which was by the early 1900s coming to an end. The style of Luggershill is confusing, it is more Neo-Classical with Georgian all bar windows letting in plenty of light (as would be expected for a working artist).

The influence of Prentice on the house, however, is evident with its preponderance of tall chimneys and use of his typical staircase design which appears in several of his earlier buildings. Consistent with the area the Prentice chose local Cotswold stone from Guiting Power and a local natural stone on the roof. The design layout is simple using a ‘Z’ shape plan incorporating a large painters studio lit by a substantial north light window, together with sitting room, dining room, kitchen with scullery, and service rooms on the northern side. Although the design does not have the romanic details of many of the houses in the area it does enjoy a delightfully light interior with a near perfect floor plan for raising a family even today.

Parsons was successful both as an artist and landscape designer. He included in Luggers Hill a servants’ flat on the second floor with its own entrance and staircase. The original servants’ call system is still in place with bell pushes in all the principal rooms. Externally, Parsons created at Luggershill several small gardens incorporating a number of his well know design features. The original nut walk created from hazelnut trees and the curved stone colonnade across from the house on the same central axis are still in tact. The walled vegetable garden has gone and now contains a central fountain and rose garden. The parterre garden has also been re-configured in more recent times and the influence of Parsons’ favourite colours in the garden exist to this day with a preponderance of pinks, blues and yellows.

Restrictive covenants imposed by Parsons in the house deeds remove the rights to extend the house and Luggershill remains little altered since it was first built in 1911.

14 December 1918: Broadway Women Vote in a UK General Election for the First Time

Votes for Broadway Women

On 14 December 1918, women in Broadway, providing they were over 30 and they or their husbands were an occupier of property, were able to vote in a general election for the first time. The 1918 election had been called by the Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, immediately after the Armistice with Germany which ended the First World War.

Eight and a half million women in the UK were eligible to vote following the extension of the franchise in the Representation of the People Act 1918. This amendment to the Act had followed 50 years of campaigning by suffragettes across the world for suffrage or ‘Votes for Women’.

Broadway Suffragette who “Affronted the King by Creating a Scene in the Throne Room” (Daily Mirror, June 1914)

In Broadway, Rose ‘Eleanor’ Cecilia Blomfield (1890-1954) and Mary Esther Blomfield (1888-1950), daughters of Sir Arthur and Lady Sarah Louisa Blomfield of Springfield, were members of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). Eleanor and Mary established a branch of the Non-Militant National Union Suffrage Society in the village and were founding members of Broadway Women’s Institute.

Mary Blomfield made the headlines in June 1914 when she fell to her knees before HRH King George V and Queen Mary at Buckingham Palace. Mary begged their Majesties to stop the force-feeding of suffragettes who’d gone on hunger strikes in prison, and was forcibly evicted from the Palace by the police.

Mary and Eleanor Blomfield
Mary and Eleanor Blomfield, 1914

 

Polling Day, 14th December 1918

The first polling day for women in Broadway passed without incidence. It was reported in The Evesham Standard on 21 December 1918 that:

Polling day at Broadway passed off with very little excitement. A gentle stream of voters made their way to the polling station during the day, and at no time was there any rush, in fact the last hour was the quietest of the day. It is believed the women polled as strongly as the men. Cars and carriages belonging to Commander Monsell’s supporters were busy, especially during the afternoon, and they are very confident of the result of their efforts at Broadway.

Voter turnout for the election across the country was low, however, the British Conservative Party candidate, Sir Bolton Eyres-Monsell, retained his Evesham seat in the election and continued as a Member of Parliament until October 1935.

 

Meeting: 18th October 2021 – An Illustrated Talk by Robin Goldsmith Entitled Seeds of Victory, The First World War

The History Society’s October meeting will take place at 7pm on Monday 18th October 2021, in the Lifford Memorial Hall. Robin Goldsmith will be giving an illustrated talk entitled Seeds of Victory, the First World War.

In the summer of 1914, Britain had a small, tightly funded army, widely considered to have the best trained soldiers in the world. It had been extensively restructured and modernised following conflict against the Boers in South Africa, that ended in 1902. A General Staff had been created to command the Expeditionary Force.

No-one, German, French nor British predicted the nature of the war that would break out that summer. The Prussians and French had had a dry run in 1870-71, which the Prussians had won convincingly. From that conflict both had learned the wrong lessons and Britain was determined not to become embroiled in a continental war. How did Britain’s small Imperial Army transform itself, over four years into the most powerful force on the Western Front? It is a story of enterprise, initiative, innovation, organisation, and determination. Surprised? Let me tell you something.

All welcome. Non-members £3 on the door. Annual membership costs £10 per person.

 

Broadway History Society