On Saturday 3rd May 1952, Snowshill Manor near Broadway, which had been gifted to the National Trust by owner Charles Paget Wade1 in December 1951, was opened to the public by Professor E.A. Richardson RA.
Wade, an architect and owner of sugar plantations in the British West Indies, purchased Snowshill Manor, an adjacent cottage and 14 acres of land, in June 19162 when it was put up for auction. For generations it had been a farmhouse, and Wade spent much money restoring the house parts of which date back to the 15th century. The major part of the house is Tudor and the front door dates back to 1700. The farmyard was remodelled into an Arts and Crafts garden with the help of M.H. Baillie Scott (1865-1945).
Wade filled the manor house from floor to ceiling with antiques, curios, models and works of art. His eclectic collection attracted a number of visitors including J.B. Priestly, Virginia Woolf and Graham Greene. When Queen Mary visited it is reported that she said that the finest thing in the collection was Mr Wade himself.
Charles Paget Wade (1883-1956) was an English architect, artist and poet. He married Mary Graham (1902-1999) in 1946 and died suddenly on 28 June 1956 in hospital at Evesham.
The auction comprising of 8 lots, was held during the afternoon of 21 June 1916 in the Lifford Memorial Hall. The auctioneers were G.H. Bayley and Sons (Cheltenham and Broadway). Wade was serving with the Royal Engineers in France at the time and saw the auction advertised in Country Life Magazine. Lot 1, the house, farm buildings, stables and 213 acres of land sold for the sum of £5,800.
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.
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.
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.
September 1919: Broadway’s Women form a Women’s Institute
For women in rural villages such as Broadway, one of the greatest legacies of the First World War was the Women’s Institute Movement. One hundred years ago today, 12th September 1919, a meeting to set up a Women’s Institute for Broadway, was convened in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Broadway.
Proposed by Mrs Katrina L.H. Alexander, wife of Broadway’s GP Dr William G. Alexander1, the meeting, attended by many women of the village, was also attended by Lady Isabel Margesson, from the National Federal Council of Women’s Institutes in London, who gave a talk about the role of the WI and the growing number of WIs across Worcestershire and the country.
Lady Margesson and her daughter, Catherine, like a number of initial WI enthusiasts, had been suffragettes. Lady Margesson had chaired a meeting in Glasgow in September 1914 at which Emmeline Pankhurst had been arrested amidst ‘an outrage’, which bordered on a riot. By 1916, Isabel and Catherine were busy organising women to work on the land or in rural industries and to develop good parenting skills. They saw the WI as closely aligned to these causes.
It was unanimously agreed at the meeting that a WI for Broadway be formed and a working committee was elected to draw up a programme of lectures to be held on the first Wednesday of the month from October onwards. The membership subscription was initially set at 2s per annum and Mary Blomfield of Springfield House was appointed Secretary of the new Broadway WI. It was also proposed that discussions would take place to amalgamate the new WI with Broadway’s Women’s Social Club, after which a new Committee formed from both would be appointed in 1920.
Lady Margesson explained at the meeting that “knitting and needlework were not the only activitities of the Institute. There was boot mending, jam making and the learning of many useful tips in the management of a house or the running of a poultry farm. There would be lectures on subjects of interest such as housing, health, sanitation, concerts, whist drives and sales of work making it continually of interest.”
Meetings of the Broadway WI were initially held at Eadburgha House on the High Street. The newly formed WI flourished and became involved in many activities in the village in particular helping to improve maternal and child welfare in the village. Due to falling membership numbers, Broadway’s WI was disbanded in 2004.
Broadway History Society
1. Dr William and Mrs Katrina Alexander lived at Pond Close, Broadway.
The following account of Broadway Station and Broadway’s Postal Service was written in 1979 by Maurice Andrews MBE (1923-2016). Maurice Charles Andrews was born and grew up in Broadway where he attended Broadway Council School. The Second World War and work took Maurice away from Broadway but he later returned with his family in 1948. Maurice was Broadway Correspondent at the Evesham Journal for many years, a Parish Councillor for both Broadway and Willersey and a member of many clubs and organisations in Broadway. During his retirement, Maurice often gave wonderfully detailed talks on the Cotswolds and on the village he loved. The following account is from Maurice’s personal records that were donated to Broadway History Society by his daughter.
The Railway and the Post
The opening of the railway station in Broadway must have been a great day for the locals. It certainly was for the business people for whom it was a great increase in the number of visitors to an already well known village.
My father1 was then sixteen years of age, and living in Willersey, and in the years before the actual opening date he and his brothers had watched the progress of the construction of the line. He has told me often how, after coming in from work with the horses and waggons, he had to go across the fields at the back of the family’s cottage to bring back his younger brother, Harry, who with the other Willersey youngsters were watching the men at work.
The station opened on 1st August 1904 and dray loads of people came from the villages around to witness the opening ceremony. Many came from Willersey, including my father, and the children who were still at school were taken on drays to Broadway then treated to a ride on the train to Stratford. My mother2, then eighteen and working at the Broadway vicarage, took time off to attend with her father and mother, and sister Emily.
By the late 1920s my brothers and sisters, and I, came into contact with the life of the railway station when we were collecting the newspapers for delivery to the village. We delivered to homes from Evesham Road Reservoir up to Court Farm at the foot of the hill, and from The Vineyard down to The Lodge at the old church (St Eadburgha’s, Snowshill Road). We would probably be working on father’s allotment at The Meadow, beyond the railway on the Childswickham Road, and as soon as we heard the train coming along the line – the ‘coffee pot’ we called it – we would leave out onion tying or whatever jobs we were doing to run to the station to meet it.
Some of the porters I remember were Frank Phillips3 and later Vic Hunt and Len Lloyd, the signalman, leaning out of his signal box and keeping an eye on things. George Collins, the shunter, was in the Goods Yard and others ‘on the line’ were Bill Horne, Ben Kilby and George Holford.
At the station daily, to collect parcels for delivery around the area would be Philip Rose and his son, Geoffrey, with their horse and dray, and to meet the visitors there would be the cars from the Lygon Arms and the big houses. At the time of arrival and departure of a train there would be much activity and bustle, then the station would be deserted and peace and quiet would return.
It is quieter today. No trains, no staff, no neat platforms, with their flowerbeds. Surely it is obvious to us all now, in 1979, with almost every road in the country packed with heavy lorries and cars, that the closure of many of our railway stations and routes was a great mistake. My guess is before the end of the century work will be put in hand to revive some of the old railway lines and stations, I hope so – who knows, as in 1904, in 2004 there may be another opening ceremony at Broadway Station4.
Closely connected with life at the railway station were the village postmen. As Broadway was one of the bigger villages the local Post Office had many postmen to cover a wide area of the surrounding villages. The postmen in my boyhood days wore the old ‘bucket’ helmets and nearly all the rounds were done on foot. I remember such postmen as Arthur Parker5, father of Arthur Parker the decorator, George Keyte, Arnold Folkes, Charlie Jarrett6, Teddy Charlwood, Walter Preston, ‘Postman’ Hall and “Postman’ Green (I never did hear the forenames of the last two – it was always ‘Postman”).
The Andrews boys came into contact with the postmen when they bought the mail to the station, and collected the incoming mail, and as we took the newspapers from the incoming train we had to undo the bundles quickly so that the postmen could have first copy.
‘Postman’ Green7 had three sons, David, John and Philip – Philip too became a postman – and our family members often relate an amusing story regarding David. At school, Mr Bridgman8 was nearing the end of a scripture lesson and he asked the class “Who was David’s father?”. A wit at the back of the class as quick as lightning replied “Mr Green the postman!”
‘Postman’ Hall lived in the cottage next to the Coach and Horses and Teddy Charlwood lived at Mill Avenue. Teddy was a former Army Sergeant-Major and I remember him in the early years of the 1939-1945 war, before I joined the forces, using his former skills in teaching us, the Local Defence Volunteers (later the Home Guard), our rifle drill. Teddy’s son Arthur, was also an Army man for many years.
Life for the village postmen is now very different. Most of them have motor vans in which to make their deliveries, unlike those of long ago who had to walk from Broadway, in all sorts of weather to Farncombe, Aston Somerville, Childswickham, Willersey, Saintbury, Buckland and to Stanton. However, like the railwaymen, the postmen, even today, especially in the rural areas, are an important part of the community and I always think there is something special about their character.
Maurice C. Andrews MBE
Broadway History Society
1. George Gazey Andrews, born Willersey on 9th March 1888.
2. Mary Andrews (née Pulley), born Broadway on 29th September 1886.
3. Frank Alfred Phillips (1897-1993) – see Broadway Remembers for further information.
4. Broadway Station was re-opened, part of the GWSR Steam Railway on 30th March 2018. The railway now operates a full steam and heritage diesel train service between Broadway and Cheltenham Racecourse via Toddington (the railway’s headquarters), Hayles Abbey, Winchcombe and Gotherington.
5. Arthur Parker MM, born Broadway in 1897 – see Broadway Remembers for further information.
6. Charles Jarrett joined the Post Office in 1918 after being discharged with wounds from the Royal Warwickshire Regiment in 1917. He retired in December 1954 after 36 years with the Post Office.
7. Harry John Green was born in Clerkenwell, London, in 1844, and served as a postman in Broadway for many years.
8. Archibald Bridgman, Headmaster of Broadway Council School.
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).
On Monday 12th December 2016, the Society will meet in Broadway Methodist Church Hall, High Street, Broadway, for a talk on ‘The Worcestershire Regiment in World War One’ by Dennis Plant starting at 7pm. Non-members welcome (£3).
Over 30 men from Broadway served with the Worcestershire Regiment in the First World War which saw action on the Western Front, the Middle East and Salonika. Several men from Broadway died whilst serving or having served with the Regiment during WW1 and are commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial on the village green:
Private 25249 Josiah James Baylis
Private 34604 William Robert Billey (2nd Battalion)
Private 203259 William Bishop (10th Battalion)
Private 15373 Albert Henry Clarke (11th Battalion)
Private 30483 Bertram Clarke (2nd Battalion)
Private 47558 John Sydney Cull (Yeomanry)
Private 2414, Francis Alfred Folkes (Yeomanry)
Corporal 240841 Leonard Frank Green (1/8th Battalion)
Private 15024 Gerald Haines (2nd Battalion)
Private 241170 Charles Jackson (9th Battalion)
Private 202406 Walter Jordan (1st Battalion)
Private 27819 Charles Hubert Keyte (3rd Battalion)
Private 22994 Alfred Layton (9th Battalion)
Private 241819 Frank Rastall (1/8th Battalion)
Lance Corporal 3674 George Sandel (1/8th Battalion)
Private 21387 Wilfred George Scrivens (4th Battalion)
Private 42530 Alec Silvester Stanley (2nd Battalion)
Amongst the men who served with the Worcesters during the First World War was Wilson William Keyte. Wilson was posted to Salonika with the 11th Battalion and was awarded the Military Medalin 1917 for stretcher-bearing duties during the Battle of Doiran. Two of Wilson’s cousins, George Thomas Handy and Albert Henry Clarke (see above) were involved in the same battle. At the end of the war, Wilson Keyte was awarded the Greem Military Cross, the highest decoration awarded by the Greek Government, for meritorious service in action.