At the invitation of cricket fans Antonio de Navarro and Mary Anderson de Navarro, the Australian cricket team visited Broadway on 7th August 1921 during their Ashes Tour of England. Around noon, a convoy of seven cars carrying the team were greeted by a crowd of villagers lining the High Street as it made its way to Court Farm.
The Australians, in the middle of a first-class match against Warwickshire at Edgbaston (which they went on to win by an innings and 61 runs), were spending their rest day touring the local area, hosted by Sir Herbert Austin, Chairman and founder of the Austin Motor Company Ltd. Aged 18, Austin, had emigrated to Australia where he had trained as an engineer, married an Australian girl, and spent the first 15 years of married life in Australia, mostly in Melbourne, before returning to England in 1893.
The Australians, captained by ‘Big Ship’ Warwick Armstrong, spent an hour at Court Farm where they met; Capt Theodore Rodocanachi MC (Captain of Broadway Cricket Club), John Morris (Broadway Parish Councillor), Maud Caffin (daughter of Rev. Charles Caffin, the Vicar of St Michael’s), Father George, Father Wilfrid and Father Edward Green (St Saviour’s), the distinguished pianist Harold Samuel, and two of Broadway’s doctors, Dr William Alexander and Dr Charles Standring who both had cricketing connections with the Australian team.
Touring with the Australians was Dr Roland ‘Rowley’ Pope, the team’s doctor. Dr Pope, like Dr Alexander, had studied medicine at Edinburgh University and played cricket for the University’s Eleven. Dr Pope had also been a good friend of Dr Henry ‘Tup’ Scott, captain of the Australian Cricket Team in 1886. Dr Scott retired from cricket at the end of the 1886 Ashes Tour and had stayed in London to pursue a career in medicine.
During Dr Scott’s time at King’s College Hospital he had played cricket with Dr Standring, who had joined Broadway Cricket Club shortly after his move to Broadway in 1893. Within a few months of playing for Broadway, Dr Standring was elected to the Club’s Committee and served as Captain of the Club for 10 years from 1895 to 1905.
After a tour of the garden and Chapel at Court Farm, Australia’s captain, Armstrong, said that the chapel “was the most unique and sweet thing he ever saw and would carry the memory of it in his heart”. Harold Samuel gave a short piano recital before the team left Broadway calling at Capt Rodocanachi’s home, The Hill, at the top of the High Street to take in the view before heading for lunch in Stratford-upon-Avon. At Stratford the team met the English novelist Marie Corelli and visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, and Shakespeare’s monument in Holy Trinity Church before heading back to Birmingham.
A Broadway cricket enthusiast showed pardonable excitement when he heard of the arrival of the Australian cricketers on Sunday. Yes, he would snapshot them. So he borrowed a camera and cleaned and repaired it, and procured some plates after half-an-hour’s search. Then he hastened to the top of the village, hopeful of taking some fine pictures. Yes, it was very disappointing then to hear that the cricketers had departed half-an-hour before, and that not only had he no snapshots, but he had missed seeing them.
The Evesham Journal, 13 August 1921
Australia won the 1921 Ashes series. They won the first three matches against England (held at Trent Bridge, Lord’s and Headingley) which meant they had won 8 in succession, an unequalled sequence in Ashes Test Matches. The last two matches of the Test series (held at Old Trafford and The Oval) were drawn.
How Broadway Celebrated the Silver Jubilee of HM King George V
In March 1935, a Broadway Jubilee Committee of 50 villagers, chaired by Clement Parsons (of Luggershill, Springfield Lane), was appointed to organise a number of events across the village to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of HM King George V. Under Treasurer, Alexander Lomas1, a Jubilee Fund was set up which raised a total of £148 2s to fund the village’s celebrations.
On Monday 6th May 1935, Broadway celebrated the King’s Jubilee in style. The day started at 9am with a peal of church bells at St Eadburgha’s Church. Members of the Broadway branch of the British Legion, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides accompanied by a number of schoolchildren processed down the High Street to the War Memorial on the green, where a Service of Thanksgiving was held at 10.15am. The service, officiated by the Rev. Vincent H. Patrick, Vicar of St Michael’s, and the Congregational Minister, Rev. S.T. Butler, was attended by hundreds of villagers gathered on the village green.
Open Gardens and an Afternoon of Sports on Broad Close
During the afternoon, various sporting events, organised by the North Cotswold Athletic Club were held at Broad Close including events for the younger children and a men’s cross country race from Broad Close up to Broadway Tower and back – the race was won by J. Stokes2.
The athletic events, conducted under the rules of the Amateur Athletic Association, were organised by a Committee headed by Brigadier-General Napier assisted by; Frank A. Folkes (Secretary and Treasurer), Captain C.M. Napier, Dr William G. Alexander, Dr M.C. Beatty, Reginald Y.T. Kendall3 (of Abbot’s Grange), Charles Steward, Mr Harvey, A. Beard, C. Ingram, G.F. Knott, Archibald J. Bridgeman (Headmaster of Broadway Council School), Miss Tilley, Miss Ingles, R. Rawlings, R. Stokes, R. Holland, Rex Morris, and L.J. Smith.
Music for the event was provided by L. Hensley and the prizes were awarded by two of the village’s oldest residents, Thomas and Elizabeth Figgitt4. The couple were driven to Broad Close from their home at Swan Cottage along the High Street in an open-top waggon provided by Don G.S. Russell (owner of the Lygon Arms). After the sports, a tea party for children and parishioners was held in a marquee erected on the Recreation Ground.
From 12 noon until 4pm, gardens across the village were opened to the public. The open gardens were organised by the Jubilee Gardens Committee headed by Miss Pemberton and Miss Webb. The gardens, which were open free of charge, included: Orchard Farm (Lady Maud Bowes Lyon), Court Farm (Mary Anderson de Navarro, garden designed by Alfred Parsons), Lygon Arms (Don G.S. Russell), Bannits (Mrs Rees Price, garden designed by Alfred Parsons), Farncombe House (Frank Burges OBE), Abbot’s Grange (Reginald Y.T. and Evelyn H. Kendall), Austin House (Stratford C. and Eva A. Saunders) and Luggershill (Clement Parsons).
Torchlight Procession to the Beacon at Broadway Tower
After dark, a torchlight procession of villagers made its way up to Broadway Tower where a beacon bonfire had been built by the Boy Scouts with wood provided by George Foster. The bonfire at the Tower formed part of a chain of beacons across the country. HM King George lit the first of the beacons in Hyde Park, and at 10pm the chain of beacons around the country were lit. As the Broadway Beacon was lit, a red, green and yellow rockets, symbolising the colours of the Scouts, were fired. It was reported that thousands of people made their way up to Broadway Tower to see the beacon and firework display.
Jubilee Dance and Jubilee Trees
The following Thursday evening, a Jubilee Dance , organised by Joan Warren, Violet Folkes, Mabel Figgitt, J. Keyte and P. Derrick, was held in the Lifford Memorial Hall. Villagers danced the night away to Eddie Mace and his Super Band, and prizes to the best dancers were awarded to Mr & Mrs Ken Riley and May Keyte.
After the celebrations, two commemoration oak seats set on staddlestones were installed on the High Street. The remainder of the Jubilee Fund5 was used to purchase a number of horse chestnut and lime trees, the ‘Jubilee Trees’, were planted along the Cheltenham Road and High Street, many of which can still be seen today.
Alexander Fred Lomas (1896-1965) was Manager of the Broadway branch of the Midland Bank.
The results of the cross-country race: 1st: J. Stokes, 2nd: Les Arnold, 3rd: Victor Dudley Tittensor (1916-1989), 4th: W. Payne.
Today, the Gordon Russell Design Museum, Russell Square, in Broadway, is reopening its doors after a period of closure. The Museum will only be open on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am-4pm. Visits must be pre-booked and tickets are available via the Museum’s website.
The Gordon Russell Museum tells the story of the Gordon Russell furniture company, which was based in Broadway for over 60 years, and explores the influence and legacy of Gordon Russell’s designs on a broad spectrum of 20th century design.
The Museum has implemented new safety procedures to ensure visits are as safe and straightforward as possible, and visitors who pre-book will have the whole museum to themselves during their booked time slot.
Broadway Fete and Sports Day Organised by the Broadway Branch of the Comrades of the Great War Association
On Monday 2nd August 1920, the Broadway Branch of the Comrades of the Great War1 held their annual Fete and Sports Day at Broad Close. A committee, chaired by Donald Russell (owner of the Lygon Arms) with sports secretaries, W. Benfield. A. Ingram and M. Bates, organised the afternoon’s activities. The sporting events included; flat and hurdle racing, pony racing, bowling for a pig (which was won by Mr Sandals of West End) and a greasy pole. There was also a costume parade – the prize for the best dressed was awarded to Charles Savage who dressed up as a female land worker.
A tent was erected at Broad Close and refreshments were supplied by Mrs Nicholls, Mrs Warren, Mrs Jacques, Mrs Austin Davies, Mrs H. Collins and Mrs C. Jordan and the Broadway Brass Band played during the afternoon. The prizes were awarded to the winning competitors by Antonio de Navarro of Court Farm.
The Evesham Standard & West Midland Observer reported the following results on 7th August:
100 yards handicap for boys under 14: 1 R. Burrows2, 2 G. Lloyd 3. F. Dyer
Ladies egg and spoon race: 1 Elsie Steward3, 2. N. Lloyd, 3. C. Savage
120 yards flat handicap: 1 Augustus Cotterell4, 2 P.G. Biles5, 3 A. Hardwick
220 years hurdle race: 1 Charles Steward 2 J. Harrison 3 J.C. Biggs
Half mile handicap: 1 J. Cotterell, 2 C. Barnett, 3 Charles Steward
One mile flat handicap: 1 J. Cotterell, 2 W. Hartwell 3 P.G. Biles
100 yards veteran race (over 50): 1 W. Gilder6, 2 Fred Hill, 3 W.H. Biles
300 yards flat handicap: 1 H. Sandals, 2 D. Holland, 3 J.C. Biggs
440 yards obstacle race: 1 J. Cotterell, 2 Charles Steward, 3 J.C. Biggs
One mile walking race: This proved very exciting with Robinson and Folkes making a dead heat for first place with Steward well up.
Three teams entered for the tug of war, the visitors’ team obtaining the verdict rather easily. In the pony racing:
Ponies 13 hands and up: 1 Mr F.C. Cotterell’s ‘Blue Bell’, 2 Mr A. Proctor’s ‘Jenny’
Ponies up to 13.2h: 1 ‘Lightning’ 2 ‘Jenny’
Ponies up to 14h: ‘Lightning’ won easily, 2 ‘Jenny’
Horses of any height: 1 Mr F.C. Cotterell’s ‘Never Mind’, 2 Mr J. Atkin’s ‘Paddy’
Following its success, the fete and sports day was repeated the following year at Broad Close. It was held on the August Bank Holiday 1921 but following the amalgamation of the Comrades Association to form The British Legion the event was not held again.
In 1935, the North Cotswold Athletic Association organised an afternoon of sports on Broad Close, part of the village’s celebrations of the Silver Jubilee of HM King George V.
Broadway History Society
1. The Comrades of the Great War was formed in 1917 as an association to represent the rights of ex-servicemen and women who had served or been discharged from service during the First World War. It was one of the original four ex-service associations that amalgamated on Sunday 15th May 1921 to form The British Legion.
2. Reginald Harry Burrows (1906-1957)
3. Elsie Horne Steward (1909-1999), daughter of Charles E. Steward.
4. Augustine Cotterell (1901-1965)
5. Percy George Biles (1898-1996)
6. William Gilder (1859-1930)
During the evening of Thursday 21st August 1919, starting at 6.30pm, Broadway Parish Council held a dinner for the discharged and demobilised service men of Broadway who had returned home at the end of the First World War.
The dinner, held in the Lifford Memorial Hall, was suggested and planned by Parish Councillor Archibald Renfrew, MRCVS. Mrs Mary Renfrew was in charge of the catering with many villagers contributing to the supper, the meat provided by West End farmer and Vice-Chairman of the Parish Council Austin Williams. Nurses from Farncombe Red Cross Hospital and members of the Parish Council, amongst others from the village, waited on the tables. The Evesham Standard and West Midlands Observer reported:
About 170 sat down to a hot dinner of beef, mutton and two vegetables; a variety of tarts and sweets followed and beer and cigarettes haded round. The tables were beautifully and artistically decorated with flowers…..and flags and bunting.
Mr M. Murray-Davey2, the famous basso, came in and sang three songs, which were loudly applauded, the singer being recalled repeatedly. Dr Standring sang a topical ditty, causing much amusement.
Songs were given during the evening by the men, some capital comic songs being given by the Private George Smith3, who highly amused his comrades….. the harmony being kept up till past midnight.
Broadway History Society
1. Archibald Renfrew (1862-1930) moved to Broadway in 1892 when he took over Broadway’s Veterinary Practice. He was one of the first members of Broadway’s Parish Council and founded Broadway’s Working Men’s Institute. He rode with the North Cotswold Hunt, was a Member of Broadway Lawn Tennis Club, Golf Club and Bowling Club. He was a keen botanist and ornithologist, was one of the pioneers of the autochrome process of colour photography and the first owner of a motor-car in Broadway.
2. Opera singer, Michael Murray-Davey, lived at Willersey House, Willersey from 1912-1922. He was friends with the actress Mary Anderson de Navarro and her husband, Antonio de Navarro of Court Farm, Broadway. Murray-Davey studied singing in Paris under Ernest Masson and Jean de Reszke and made his debut at the Paris Grand Opéra in 1905. In 1909 he reached the London Covent Garden, where he was engaged till 1914 during several seasons. On 25th February 1912 he appeared as guest in a Sunday Night Concert at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and in 1922 he made guest appearance at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels. He still appeared up to the beginning of the 1940s.
3. Private 9563 George Smith served with ‘A’ Company, 2/6th Royal Warwickshire Regiment (source: Broadway Remembers).
The 2019/20 programme of events and talks starts on Monday 16th September. Meetings of the Society are held monthly on the third Monday of the month (except December) in the Lifford Memorial Hall starting at 7pm. Membership costs £10 (£15 per couple) and non-members are welcome to all of the meetings – £3 on the door.
September – December 2019 talks include:
Monday 16thSeptember: On the Way to London, an illustrated talk by David Ella on the old coaching routes across the North Cotswolds and Vale of Evesham which will include the history and role of the Fish Inn and the many other inns in Broadway.
Monday 21st October: Sir Thomas Phillipps, Bt (1792-1872). The Society looks forward to welcoming Gerard Molyneux, the great great great grandson of Thomas Phillipps to give a talk on his bibliophile relative who lived at Middle Hill and established a printing press in Broadway Tower.
Monday 18th November: Doug Eyre will be giving an illustrated talk entitled 1941, HMS Broadway and the Capture of the German Naval Enigma Machine. The US Navy Destroyer was commissioned as HMS Broadway in 1940 and refitted as a convoy escort, serving in the mid-Atlantic passage during the Second World War.
Monday 9th December: Hailes Abbey and the Mystery of the Holy Blood a talk by David Haldred on the holy relic received by the Abbey in 1270 which is believed to be a portion of the blood of Christ and how it transformed the monastery into one of the most important pilgrimage sites in England.
Apart from hosting talks, the Society conducts small pieces of research on Broadway’s history and publishes articles and images on this website, the Society’s Facebook page and its Twitter account (@BroadwayHistSoc).
The next meeting of the Broadway History Society takes place on Monday 18th March 2019 starting at 7pm in the Main Hall, Lifford Memorial Hall, with an illustrated talk by Dr Nick Humphries on Chedworth Roman Villa. Chedworth is now managed by the National Trust.
All welcome to attend the meeting. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting.
The next meeting of the Broadway History Society takes place on Monday 18th February 2019 starting at 7pm in the Main Hall, Lifford Memorial Hall, with an illustrated talk by Robin Jackson, Senior Project Manager of Worcestershire Archaeology on the 2017 archaeological excavations at West End, Broadway.
During the dig, the archaeologists found evidence of some of Broadway’s earliest known residents: Mesolithic hunter-gathers who lived on the site along Bunchers Brook around 10,000 years ago and some intriguing Bronze Age finds dating back over 4000 years and proved to much more important than expected. The main focus of the excavation work was a complex Iron Age and Roman settlement with some fantastic rare Saxon and Roman finds and an ancient burial site. Medieval remains were also found that predate the foundation of a planned town at Broadway in the late 12th or early 13th century, which later shrank in size to become the historic centre of the village we know today.
All welcome to attend the meeting. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting.
Our next meeting and talk by David Clark, entitled ‘Sentenced Beyond the Seas, Worcestershire Women Convicts sent to Australia’, will take place on Monday 21st January 2019, starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall.
In 1787, Britain chose Australia as the site of a new penal colony and the first fleet of 11 convict ships set sail for Botany Bay arriving on 20th January 1788 to found Sydney, New South Wales, the first European settlement on the continent. Other penal colonies were later established in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) in 1803 and Queensland in 1824. Western Australia was founded in 1829 as a free colony and received convicts from 1850 onwards. South Australia and Victoria, established in 1836 and 1850 respectively, remained free colonies. Penal transportation to Australia peaked in the 1830s and dropped off significantly the following decade. The last convict ship arrived in Western Australia on 10th January 1868.
The majority of convicts were transported for petty crimes. More serious crimes, such as rape and murder, became transportable offences in the 1830s but since they were also punishable by death, comparatively few convicts were transported for such crimes. Amongst the convicts were women from Worcestershire. David will recount the true and fascinating tale of 8 Worcestershire female convicts sentenced to death or transportation in the 1780s to the ‘Land Beyond the Seas’. One of the women would be the progenitor of the largest living family group in Australia today, another would return to England a rich woman.
David Clark was born and raised in London and has lived and worked in Germany and Australia but returned to the UK in 1970 to live in Worcestershire where he is now retired. His career has included working in a shipping office in London’s dockland, as a rep for foreign newspapers and magazines, at Plumrose Foods, Kalamazoo Business Systems, Mazda cars and Rothmans Cigarettes. David has worked in theatre management, had two shops and ended up working for Age Concern. He was also a City Councillor for 20 years and served as Mayor of Worcester.
All welcome. Non-members £3 on the door.
Refreshment will be served at the end of the meeting.
Our next meeting and talk will take place on Monday 19th November in the main hall of the Lifford Hall starting at 7pm. During the meeting Committee Member, Michael de Navarro. will be giving an illustrated talk on the J.M. Barrie’s celebrity cricket matches held in on the village green in Broadway from 1897 to 1899.
Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting and non-members are welcome (£3 on the door).
Talk by Rob Hedge, Find Specialist at the Broadway Museum & Art Gallery: The Lost Landscapes Project is examining two centuries of research into Ice Age natural history and archaeology in Worcestershire. From hippos in Cropthorne to the Chadbury rhinoceros, the talk will examine the significance of Bredon Hill, the Cotswold edge and the Vale of Evesham to the story of Ice Age Worcestershire.
Rob is a public archaeologist and finds specialist for Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service. He is currently working on the Lost Landscapes project. Throughout 2018, the project will be holding events and exhibitions exploring over half a million years of Worcestershire’s prehistory, from the time our ancestors arrived until the end of the last Ice Age 12,000 years ago.
Admission £10, includes a refreshment. Doors open at 6.30pm, talk starts at 7pm.
Venue: Broadway Museum & Art Gallery, Tudor House, 65 High Street, Broadway, Worcestershire WR12 7DP
The next Meeting of the Broadway History Society will take place on Monday 15th January 2018 starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway.
During the meeting, historical performer and founder of Discover History, Paul Harding, will be giving a talk on the Battle of Worcester. The Battle took place on 3rd September 1651 and was the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarian New Model Army, some 28,000 strong, defeated King Charles II’s 16,000 Royalists, of whom the vast majority were Scottish.
All welcome. Non-members £3. Refreshments will be served at the end of the meeting.
Our next meeting and talk will take place on Monday 20th November 2017 in the Parlour at the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway. The meeting will start at 7pm and our guest speakers will be giving a talk on ‘A Victorian Christmas’.
Everyone is welcome to our meetings. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments are served at the end of the meeting.
Our next meeting and talk, the first of the 2017/18 season, will take place on Monday 18th September 2017 in the Parlour at the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway. The meeting will start at 7pm and our guest speaker will be Keith Cattell who will be giving an illustrated talk ‘On a Wing and a Prayer – the Cathedral Builders’.
All are welcome to our meetings. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments are served at the end of the meeting.