Next Meeting: Monday 21st February 2022 – 500 Years of Broadway Maps
Our next meeting will take place on Monday 21st February starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall. The Society looks forward to welcoming back David Ella as our speaker with his illustrated talk entitled 500 Years of Broadway Maps.
During David’s talk we will be looking at a wide range of maps which include Broadway, created from the 1570s through to 2020. While interesting and attractive in themselves the maps will be used to try and resolve some unanswered historical questions about Broadway and Broadway Hill. We will look at old county maps, and also unpublished estate maps for Middle Hill, Spring Hill, and the Countess of Gainsborough’s estates in Chipping Campden, which ran to the top of Broadway Hill. Amongst other things, we will look at the engineer’s diagram for the 1820’s roadworks on Broadway Hill, alongside an angry letter from Sir Thomas Phillipps who provided the land. We will find out why Broadway is in Worcestershire, why Five Mile Drive is only two miles long, and finally try and resolve how Colonel Lygon displayed the Battle of Waterloo at his Spring Hill estate, just beyond Broadway Tower. Closer to the village we will look at the “Haunted House”, and understand why one of the houses in the High Street lies at 45 degrees to the road – with the help of the Broadway Enclosure Map.
There will be a table display of original 17th and 18th century maps which can be viewed either before or after David’s talk.
Hand sanitiser and masks will be available. The Comittee will set out the chairs prior to the start of the meeting but please feel free to move them if you would prefer to sit in a different location in the hall. In line with current guidance we will leave the doors to the hall open until just before the start of the talk to allow as much fresh air into the hall prior to the start of the meeting. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact a member of the committee.
HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, visited Broadway on Friday 15th March 1968, when he paid a visit to the Gordon Russell factory and the Lygon Arms Hotel. During his visit, the Duke met several villagers, workers and former workers of the furniture manufacturer Gordon Russell Ltd. Afterwards the Duke had lunch at the Lygon Arms with directors of the hotel, Gordon Russell Ltd, and Sir Gerard Nabarro MP for South Worcestershire, before a tour of the hotel which had recently been extended and refurbished.
Gordon Russell Ltd was first awarded a Royal Warrant in 1938 by Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen1, the firm having supplied pieces of furniture on a number of occasions to King George VI and his family. In 1957 the firm were commissioned to make another piece of furniture by the Royal Family. Employee, John “Jack” Blakeman of Broadway, was involved in the manufacturing of an occasional table, designed by Richard Drew “Dick” Russell, depicting a map of the D-Day Landings2. The table was presented by HM Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke, to President Eisenhower during their stay at the White House in October 1957. It was following this special commission that the Duke was invited to tour the Gordon Russell factory in Broadway.
Amongst the villagers the Duke met on 15th March was Philip Chinn (see photo below) whose father worked in the Drawing Office at the factory.
After lunch at the Lygon Arms, the Duke toured the hotel meeting members of staff. Following his visit, one of the new conference and entertaining rooms in the newly built Orchard Wing, The Edinburgh Room, was named after the Duke.
The following newspaper report of his visit to Broadway appeared in the Birmingham Post the following day, 16 March 1968:
An informal Duke of Edinburgh put workers at their ease yesterday when he visited the Broadway furniture factory of Gordon Russell Ltd. He questioned them in detail about their training, work and home lives. Barriers of reserves and shyness broke down, and he received uninhibited answers.
The Duke’s arrival brought rousing cheers from the scores of villagers lining the main street. After signing the visitors’ book, he was shown around the factory by Sir Gordon Russell and the firm’s chairman, Mr. D.G.S. Russell. He was welcomed to Worcestershire by the Deputy Lieutenant of the County, Lt.-Col. I.W.D. Smith, representing the Lord Lieutenant, who was abroad.
The Duke was shown current and historical displays, and he put dozens of probing questions to his hosts about the furniture. In the contract room, he met 15 pensioners who had been specially invited back to their old place of work for the occasion. One of them was Mr. Lawrence Boyes, aged 67, who retired from the firm two years ago. Mr. Boyes, who was in a wheelchair, told the Duke that he had worked at the factory for 36 years. Also among the pensioners was Mr. H. Alloway, who was mainly responsible for the lecture bench and lectern which the Duke, as President, presented to the Royal Society of Arts in 1957.
The Duke was introduced to 5 apprentices who have gained Premier awards in the craftsmanship competition organised by the Gloucestershire and South Worcestershire Productivity Association. The award winners, Jonathan Millichap, Nigel Warner, David Boston, Robert Bearcroft, and Roderick Goodman, stood behind examples of their work as the Duke spoke to them. In another department, the Duke chatted with Michael Horne, aged 20, of Mill Avenue, Broadway, who was compiling lists of orders. The Duke was surprised to hear that Michael travelled all the way to Birmingham in the evenings for classes in cabinetmaking and design.
Martin Hall, age 25, explained to the Duke that the details of a plan he was preparing for the furnishing of a hostel at Bedford College of Education.
When he crossed the factory yard, the Duke stopped and spoke to wives of employees, who had left their housework to see him. Mrs. Hilda Jones, of Orchard Avenue, Broadway, told the Duke that her husband, Bert, had been working at Gordon Russell Ltd. as a cabinet maker for 40 years.
In the crowd was Mrs. Lillian Blakeman, whose late husband, Jack, made a formica-top table which the Queen presented to General Eisenhower several years ago. After leaving the factory, the Duke walked along a sunlit pavement, to the sound of enthusiastic clapping, to lunch at the nearby Lygon Arms. There he was introduced to Sir Gerald Nabarro, MP for South Worcestershire; Mr. J.D. Wilson, chairman of Evesham Rural Council; Mr.W.R. Pritchard, chairman of Broadway Parish Council, and Prof. R.D. Russell, the design consultant of Gordon Russell Ltd.
After lunch he toured the hotel, visiting the new kitchens, the Orchard Wing, which will come into use in a few weeks, the Garden Wing, completed a few years ago, and some of the 17th century rooms in the original building.
It was the first occasion that the Orchard Wing could be used, and this was made possible by the special efforts of the architects, Russell and Hodgson, and the builders W.A. Cox (Evesham) Ltd. The first advance copy of the Gordon Russell’s autobiography, Designer’s Trade, was sent from London so that he could present it to the Duke. The book, published by Alan and Unwin, will be on sale from May 23. Gordon Russell Ltd, was founded by Sir Gordon in 1919, after he returned from war service. His father, Mr. S.B. Russell, had an antique business which he started shortly after taking over the Lygon Arms in 1904.
Debbie Williamson Broadway History Society
Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon (4 August 1900 – 30 March 2002), later known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. Her Aunt, Lady Maud Bowes-Lyon lived at Orchard Farm, Broadway.
The table was manufactured in English walnut, the top was in Formica with a screen-printed map of the D-Day Landings used by President Eisenhower (reproduced by Thomas De La Rue & Co Ltd.) and topped with plate glass. The legs and rails of the table were covered in black calfskin which an inscription referring to the presentation of the table by the Queen to the President. The table took 4 weeks to make and travelled with the Queen and the Duke on their aeroplane to North America.
The next meeting and talk hosted by Broadway History Society will take place on Monday 16th March 2020. Starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Councillor Elizabeth Eyre will be giving an illustrated talk entitled Broadway’s Schools.
Elizabeth’s talk will cover the day to day running of the schools in Broadway including Broadway National School from its opening to its relocation on Lime Tree Avenue. Although there have been private schools in the village, Broadway’s village school, at The Old Schools, was the main centre of education from the mid 19th century1 until it closed on 22nd December 1914 and then new Broadway Council School2 on Lime Tree Avenue was opened on 12th January 1915.
All welcome. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments will be served before the talk.
Broadway History Society
1. In 1855, when Sarah Ann Hedgecock was school mistress, there were 15 boy and 25 girl pupils enrolled at Broadway National School. From 1880, Horatio Kilwood was School Master with Miss Edith, Prince Mistress of the Infants and from 1883, William ‘Billy’ Timms who moved to Broadway Council School in 1915 with Miss Clements, Mistress of the Infants.
2. The building of the new Broadway Council School by Epsleys & Co, started on 16th March 1914. When the new school opened, on 12th January 1915, it could accommodate 170 pupils. The staff were: William Timms (Head), and teachers Miss Edith Timms, Miss Edith Neal and Miss Maud Colllins.
The next meeting and talk hosted by Broadway History Society will take place on Monday 17th February 2020. Starting at 7pm in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Committee Members Mary and Nigel Smith will be giving an illustrated talk entitled A Builder in Broadway, Charles Edmund Steward.
Charles Steward (1874-1954) was a Broadway Parish Councillor, Captain of Broadway Fire Brigade, and builder in the village and surrounding area between 1898 and 1954. Charles was instrumental in building many of the houses in Broadway we know today and Mary and Nigel’s talk will include some of the interesting building projects Charles and his firm, Steward & Co., worked on.
All welcome. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments will be served before the talk.
Shortly after Reverend Francis A. Morgan was appointed Vicar of St Michael’s in 1887 (see below) he arranged a supper for members of the church choir. The Church Choir Supper was then held annually whilst he was Vicar.
The 5th Choir Supper took place on Thursday 14th January 1892 in the National Schoolroom. The Evesham Journal reported:
“About 30 sat down to a bountiful spread, which was served in the infants’ room, the Vicar being in the chair. Amongst those present were Mrs and Miss Pauline Morgan, Alderman Averill, Messrs H.T. Morgan, A. Wylde-Brown, W. Timms, A.R, Williams, W. Gill, W.H. Biles, A. Roberts, J.J. Bollard, M. Biles, G. Riseley, F. Stokes, G. Hunt etc. After the repast the Vicar, in the course of a few remarks, suggested that they might give a little bonus to the boys who stayed in the choir after they had passed through the standards. They now had a very good choir. There were some members to whom he felt he could not do anything but express his warmest thanks for the way in which they backed him up and he mentioned especially Mr Williams and Mr Gill. He passed on to speak of the necessity of their attending practice and service regularly, and in conclusion said they could do no better than re-elect Mr Gill leader of the choir. Mr Gill having acknowledged his re-appointment, the Vicar thanked him for again taking office and for his services in the past. Having chosen Walter Benn and Richard Foss as the two boys to look after the choir books he proposed the health of the organist thanking him for his work in connection with the choir. Mr W. Timms replied, and submitted in eulogistic terms the health of the Vicar. The Vicar in reply spoke of the great interest which Mrs Morgan and himself always took in the choir. Mr A.R. Williams said a few words on the importance of attending practice and said they were glad to welcome the Vicar back amongst them in restored health. Alderman Averill thought the choir might have a little trip during the summer, say down to Worcester where they could go to the Cathedral and hear the singing there. Worcester was one of the most completely restored cathedrals in England and he never found one in which the services were better rendered. Mrs Morgan also addressed a few words to the company and then an adjournment was made to the adjoining large room and a musical programme was gone through. Amongst those present at the concert were Viscount Lifford, Miss Caffin, the Misses Hensley, Mrs and Miss Clare-Balle, Miss Bedford, Miss Williams, Miss Morgan (West End), Misses Brick, the Misses Fridlington, Mrs Timms. Messrs H. Averill, G.M. Cook, Stanley (Snowshill), T. Gillett etc.”
Accompanied by Miss Morgan on the violin and on the piano by Mr H.T. Morgan, the programme included:
Good King Wenceslas – The Choir
Hybrias the Cretan – Mr S. Fleming
The Manger Throne and Wot cher – Mr M. Biles
We’ll all go a Hunting Today – Mr G. Riseley
Riding on top of an Omnibus – Mr T. Gillett
Billy Stutters – Mr J.J. Bollard
A Piano Waltz – Miss Clare-Balle
My Mother – Mr W. Timms
The Toreador – Mr S Fleming
He ought to have a Muzzle on – Mr Gill
The concert ended with all singing God Save the Queen.
Rev. Francis Augustine Morgan (1838-1921)
Francis Morgan was the second son of Rev. Samuel Francis and Mary Juliana Morgan of All Saints Church, Birmingham. He was baptised on 23rd August 1838 at All Saints Church, Birmingham, Warwickshire. Francis was educated at Wadham College, Oxford, receiving his BA in 1860 and MA 1863. He married Annie Bridget Harriet Rowlinson in Chepstow in 1865.
Francis was the first Vicar and and builder of St Paul’s Church, Bath (1869-1885) and then Vicar of Chepstow before moving to Broadway in 1887 with his wife Annie and two daughters, Charlotte and Pauline). Rev. Morgan retired to Somerset in 1910 and died, aged 83, on 10th November 1921. He is buried in Locksbrook Cemetery. Lower Weston near Bath, with his wife (see photo) who died the following year, aged on 22nd December 1922.
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.
Broadway History Society
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.
Since 1848, the post office in Broadway had been housed in an office adjoining Mr Foss’s shop on the opposite side of the street. Following the opening of the new premises the Evesham Standard & West Midland Observer reported:
Broadway like other small Worcestershire towns has prospered and the business at the post office has considerably increased. It is the post town for many villages around, and has become a quite important office. Up to last week the Post Master, clerks, and all the messengers were obliged to do their work in the one small office and little room remained for the public. The new building which has been erected nearly opposite the old office affords good accommodation. There is a general office for the public to transact their business and another well-fitted room for the messengers and sorting. There is a separate entrance from the street for the messengers. The Post Master, Mr A.G. Moulden3, will reside on the premises.
The Old Post Office, as it is now known, is currently occupied by Rikki Tikki Toy Shop with a private apartment above the shop.
Debbie Williamson Broadway History Society
1. Sir Edward Guy Dawber, RA (King’s Lynn, 3rd August 1861 – London, 24th April 1938) was an English architect working in the late Arts and Crafts style, whose work is particularly associated with the Cotswolds. He was knighted in 1936. Dawber also designed Bibsworth House, Broadway.
2. Charles Edmund Steward of Broadway, an employee of Espley and Co., worked on the building of the Post Office in 1899. His granddaughter, Mary Smith, and great grandson Nigel Smith, will be giving a talk entitled A Builder in Broadway, Charles Edmund Steward, on Monday 17th February 2020 in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway from 7pm.
3. Albert George Moulden was born in Reading, 1868. He was a keen cricketer and played for Reading Post Office Cricket Club. He was elected to the Committee to Broadway Cricket Club in February 1900.
Isaac Averill, was known as the ‘Gentleman of Broadway’. He was born in Broadway on 21st August 1830, the oldest son of Isaac Blakeman Averill JP (for Worcestershire and Gloucestershire) and Mary (née Osborne) of Broadway. Isaac had 12 siblings. His family were wealthy farmers having farmed several hundred acres in and around Broadway for over 300 years.
Broadway Parish records show that there were Averills (surname also spelt Averell or Avery) in the village from the early 1600s and that Isaac was descended from the marriage of John Averell and Alice Hawkes which took place in Broadway on 2nd November 1602.
Isaac grew up in Broadway at South View House, 46 High Street. The house had been rebuilt in 1804 and was later known as Broad Close. He was educated locally before attending Cheltenham College as a day pupil from 1842 to 1847. After leaving school Isaac gained further farming experience when he spent 15 months working for Mr Roberts in Waterperry, east of Oxford. Following his return to Broadway, Isaac went on to farm at Gorse Hill Farm, Clump Farm, Collin Farm and Home Farm, farming several hundred acres of farmland he had inherited on the death of his father in 1858.
Aged 30, he married his cousin Sarah Averill (born in Broadway c1827), the daughter of his Uncle Stephen Averill JP of Broadway, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire. Isaac and Sarah were married on 15th December 1860 at St Andrew’s Church, Holborn, in London.
Isaac was an active member of Broadway’s community and described Broadway as an “old fashioned village, healthy and attractive”. He was a Magistrate (Chairman of the Evesham County Bench), County Councillor and a Parish Councillor from 1855. In 1857 he was appointed Highway Surveyor and he organised the installation of the fence along the bottom of the village green to preserve the green from damage from passing carriages. He was also Chairman of the Gas Company, a Guardian of the Poor and one of the managers of the Samaritan Club.
In 1860 following the death of his Uncle Stephen, Isaac was made a magistrate for Worcestershire and in 1862 he was appointed a JP for Gloucestershire. He regularly attended the sessions at nearby Chipping Campden. He was also appointed Deputy-Lieutenant for Worcestershire and after just losing in the first County Council elections, coming second to Thomas Byrd by 40 votes, the County Council elected him as an Alderman.
Isaac was elected a member of the Sanitary Authority for Broadway in 1875. In the early 1870s, following several outbreaks of cholera and typhoid, local authorities were required to provide clean public water supplies and Sanitary Authorities were set up across the country. Isaac purchase the rights to a supply of spring water (located at the top of the village) and gifted the rights to the District Council for the village’s use before Evesham Corporation acquired it.
He took a great interest in the Broadway Mutual Aid Club and was a churchwarden of St Michael’s Church for over 30 years, presenting the church with its brass lecturn in 1899. Isaac also took an active role in the restoration of St Eadburgha’s Church.
On 28th April 1895, a dinner was held in his honour in recognition of his services to the village. The dinner was hosted by the George Coventry, 9th Earl of Coventry, and attended by Lord Lifford, Lieut.-General Henry Fanshawe Davies, JP, DL (of Elmley Castle), the Reverend Francis A. Morgan (Vicar of St Michael’s Church), Reverend S. Clarke and Edgar Flower2. Isaac was presented with a silver cup inscribed with the following wording:
Presented to Isaac Averill, Esq., by his numerous friends in the parish of Broadway and neighbourhood as a mark of their esteem and appreciation of his long and untiring service devoted to the interests of Broadway and district.
He retired as Chairman of Evesham Board of Guardians in 1901 after 40 years’ service on the Board. He had been first elected as Guardian of Broadway in 1861 and after 5 years was appointed a member of the Evesham Board. During his time on the Board he was in charge of building a new chapel and a hospital for the Evesham Union Workhouse (in 1870).
Isaac was also a keen sportsman. He hunted with the North Cotswold for many years and was involved in the building of the hunt kennels and stables in the village in the 1860s. He was also a founding father of Broadway Golf Club (1895) and a member of Broadway Cricket Club and Lawn Tennis Club. In 1897 he gave some of the land he owned opposite South View (Broad Close), adjacent to Keyte’s Lane, to Broadway Fire Brigade1 so that a new engine house could be built which was completed the following spring.
During his lifetime Isaac was interested in his family’s history and had records of his family dating back to the early 1500s. His Uncle Stephen, was a good friend of Sir Thomas Phillipps of Middle Hill and in 1899 Stephen Averill enlisted Thomas’s help along with Reverend Morgan, who held the Averill’s family register, to try and trace his ancestors. Isaac was keen to find out whether his family was related to William Averell, a Quaker, from Kent, who had fled England for America and settled in Ipswich, Massachusetts, in early 1637. No direct link was made by Isaac and Stephen Averill at the time, however, some references can be found today that possibly link a distant branch of Isaac’s family to the Society of Friends (Quakers) who settled on the east coast of the United States.
Isaac’s wife, Sarah died in 1901 after a period of ill health and it is reported that Isaac never recovered from her death. He died at home in Broadway four years later on 5th July 1905. He left his effects in his will to his nephews Stephen and George Averill. Isaac and Sarah are buried in St Eadburgha’s Churchyard with Isaac’s parents in the family grave.
When the village allotments off the Leamington Road were built on in the mid 1980s, one of the roads in the new housing development was called ‘Averill Close’ after the Averill family and the Gentleman of Broadway.
Edgar Flower (1833-1905) gifted a supply of spring water from the Middle Hill Estate, Broadway, in 1881, which supplied a reservoir in Childswickham and was piped to Evesham. Further reading: www.badseysociety.uk
Broadway Parish Records
The Worcestershire Archives
The School Registers of Cheltenham College
Earl Coventry Builds a Beacon Tower above Broadway
The site of Broadway Tower was common land until about 1771. The enclosure of Common land granted this to Sir George William, the 6th Earl of Coventry, who owned nearby Spring Hill House as well as Croome Court in Pershore.
In October 1797, Admiral Duncan, later Earl Camperdown, won a naval victory over the Dutch at Camperdown (north of Haarlem). In celebration a bonfire was lit on Broadway Beacon Hill with fireworks and other events organised by Thomas Coventry, youngest son of Lord Coventry. The Countess of Coventry was so impressed that she persuaded Lord Coventry to erect a tower there. Plans for an ornamental folly were initially discussed with Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (who had designed the parkland surrounding Spring Hill) and the project was completed in 1799 by the architect James Wyatt after Brown’s death. The 65 foot Beacon Tower with its saxon castle design stands at 1024 feet above sea-level, the highest little castle in the Cotswolds.
Sir Thomas Phillipps and the Broadway Printing Press
Following the 6th Earl’s death, John Coventry, his second son, inherited the Tower and surrounding land. In the 1820s it was sold to the eccentric bibliophile Sir Thomas Phillipps who owned the nearby Middle Hill Estate. Thomas used the Tower from 1827 to house his printing press but during his ownership he neglected the building and it fell into disrepair.
In 1837 the vantage point of Broadway Tower was again used as a site for a Beacon Bonfire. On 20th June 1837, Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, an evening procession from the village ended with a bonfire at Broadway Beacon, one of 2,548 bonfires lit across the country to celebrate the Jubilee.
Gloves and Famous Visitors
Thomas Phillipps ceased to use the Tower after his move to Cheltenham in 1863. It is recorded that the Tower was used by glove makers for a while before 1866 when Cormell Price took out a lease on the building as a holiday home for himself and his friends. The location of the Tower with its wonderful views attracted many visitors including the English artist and designer Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris. It is believed that in 1876 William Morris wrote a letter from Broadway Tower which led to the formation of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings by William Morris and Philip Webb in 1877. Cormell Price, known affectionately by his friends as the ‘Knight of Broadway Tower’, and the Stanley family, reluctantly left the Tower after 11 years when Cormell gave up his tenancy in September 1878, after the death of Thomas Phillipps.
The Tower during the Second World War
About 1930, still under the ownership of the Middle Hill Estate, the Hollington family moved in as tenant famers. Mr and Mrs Hollington brought up their family there, cooking on a portable stove and climbing the winding stairs by candlelight as there was no electric light or gas. During the Second World War, whilst tenanted by Mr Hollington (who had joined the Observer Corps), the Tower was used as a look out post to map enemy aircraft.
On 2nd June 1943, a Whitley bomber on a training mission from Honeybourne airfield, crashed next to the tower in poor visibility. The crew: Pilot HG Hagen, Sgt EG Ekins, Flt Sgt DH Kelly, Sgt DA Marriott and Sgt RS Phillips all lost their lives in the crash.
Broadway Tower and the Royal Observation Corps
Broadway Tower remained part of the Middle Hill Estate until 1949 when on the death of Miss Emily Georgina Hingley it was offered to the National Trust as a gift. The Trust declined and the Tower subsequently passed to the Dulverton Batsford Estates when it was rescued by the Hon. Frederick Anthony Wills, 2nd Baron Dulverton of Batsford (1915-1992).
In 1950, following the Second World War, a new above ground concrete slab observation post, known as an Orlit A, was built. It was a very basic structure consisting of two small, separate rooms, equipped with little more than a telephone line that connected the men that manned the post to the regional control centre.
During the ‘Cold War’, a secret Royal Observer Corps nuclear bunker was built in 1961 approximately 180 metres from the Tower. As part of a larger network of 1,653 bunkers around the country, it served as an early warning system – built to study the effects of radioactive fallout from a nuclear attack. It was manned continuously from 1961, up until it’s decommissioning in 1991 at the end of the Cold War. The bunker has since been restored and is open to the public on certain weekends of the year.
Broadway Tower Today
During Lord Dulverton’s ownership the land surrounding the Tower was developed in to a Country Park with its own herd of red deer and the Tower was converted in to a Museum.
The grounds and the Tower, with its wonderful views across up to 16 counties, are now in the ownership of the Will family and are open to the public most days.
Sir Thomas Phillipps, collector of the largest collection of privately owned books in the world, was born at 32 Cannon Street, Manchester, on 2nd July 1792. He was baptised later the same month in Manchester Cathedral. Thomas was the son of Thomas Phillipps, senior partner of Phillipps, Lowe and Company, calico manufacturers and printers of Cannon Street, Manchester. Thomas’s mother, Hannah Judd (née Walton), from Yorkshire, played no part in his upbringing. Although Thomas spent the first few years of his life in Manchester.
Thomas’s paternal grandparents lived near Broadway. His grandfather, William Phillipps, who had been born in London in 1700, farmed several hundred acres in the area surrounding Broadway, Childswickham and Buckland. William’s father, John, had been renting farmland in the area from Lord Coventry since 1706. Thomas’s grandmother, Mary (née Cotterell), was born in 1713, the only daughter of Edward Cotterell of Saintbury. William died in 1771 and wife, Mary, died in 1800. Mary is buried in the churchyard at St Barnabas Church, Snowshill, Gloucestershire.
The Middle Hill Estate, Broadway
When Thomas’s father retired in 1794 he purchased Middle Hill, Broadway, a large house, built in 1724, set in several hundred of acres above the village beneath Broadway Tower. The family moved in to the Middle Hill estate in 1796 where the young Thomas started his collection of books. Thomas spent all of his pocket money on books and by the age of six had already collected over 110 books.
Thomas was firstly educated by Richard Careless, school teacher of Broadway. He went on to Rugby School before studying at University College, Oxford, for four years obtaining his BA in 1815. It was at Oxford that Thomas continued to collect rather than merely research and catalogue old books and manuscripts. His hobby proved to be expensive in both time and money. Thomas needed a private tutor to help him prepare for examinations and although he was given access to an annual income of £6000 upon the death of his father on 1st November 1818, the Middle Hill estate was left in trust so that it could not be sold to further expand Thomas’s growing collection.
In 1819 Thomas married Henrietta Elizabeth Molyneux, third daughter of Major General Thomas Molyneux and they had three daughters, Henrietta (born 1819), Sophia (1821) and Katharine (1829). In 1820 Thomas was elected a fellow of the Royal Society and made a baronet in the following year in the George IV Honours aided by his father-in-law’s association with the Duke of Beaufort. In 1825 Thomas was elected High Sheriff of Worcestershire, a post his father had held in 1801.
From 1822, Thomas started to copy, commission and print transcripts of historical documents and following his purchase of Broadway Tower in 1827, he established a private printing press at Broadway Tower. Publications printed on the Broadway Tower press often carry a stencilled crest of a lion with ‘Sir T. P. /Middle Hill’ and the manuscript number added by hand below. Thomas’s obsession with books and manuscripts meant that from this point onwards he was in debt for the rest of his life. To cut costs he was forced to move to Europe (between 1822-1829), yet this enabled him to have access to manuscripts of leading continental scholars, for example, Gerard Meerman, the Dutch typographic historian (1722-1771), and it did little to curb Thomas’s spending habits.
In 1839 Thomas became acquainted with James Orchard Halliwell, a young undergraduate and Shakespearean scholar who had written to him requesting historical information. In exchange for an examination of the Cambridge libraries, Thomas printed a catalogue of scientific manuscripts that had been assembled by Halliwell and invited him to stay at Middle Hill in 1842. There, James Halliwell fell in love with Thomas’s eldest daughter Henrietta and despite initially agreeing a dowry James and Thomas fell out. The young couple were forced to elope and they married in August 1842. Thomas never forgave his daughter. He shunned numerous attempts at reconciliation with the couple and chose to criticise and deny his son-in-law at every opportunity.
Thomas’s first wife, Henrietta, died in 1832, aged 37. In 1848 he secondly married Elizabeth Harriet Anne Mansel, daughter of the Reverend William Mansel (Rector of Eldesborough, Buckinghamshire, and the son of Sir William Mansel, Bt). Thomas continued to expand his collection of books and manuscripts which attracted scholars from all over the world to Middle Hill including the American historians William H Prescott and Jared Sparks, the American painter and author George Catlin and the English born Australian landscape artist John Glover (Thomas was a patron of John Glover and George Catlin).
The Move to Thirlestaine House in Cheltenham
Throughout the 1850s Thomas became preoccupied with what should happen to his collection after his death which by then took up 16 of the 20 rooms at Middle Hill. He had so little room in his bedroom that he slept for many years on a sofa in the drawing room and the dining room was kept locked except for mealtimes. Discussions held with Oxford University fell through when Thomas proposed in return that he should become chief librarian of the Bodleian Library. In 1861, he accepted an invitation to become a trustee of the British Museum but he then refused them access to the collection when his recommendations for improvements at the Museum were not adopted. The Middle Hill estate remained promised to Henrietta despite her marriage, yet Thomas was adamant that his collection would not be inherited by her husband, James.
Thomas moved to Thirlestaine House in Cheltenham (now owned by Cheltenham College) in 1863 which also gave him more space to house his collection. It took two years, 230 horses and 160 men to transport the 60,000 manuscripts and 30,000 books to the new site where he continued to collect, catalogue and entertain leading academics until his death on 6th February 1872. His wife, Elizabeth, also died the same year.
Thomas was buried in the churchyard at St Eadburga’s Church, Snowshill Road, Broadway. Thirlestaine House and its contents, including 60,000 manuscripts and 50,000 printed books, were left in trust for his youngest daughter, Katherine, with a life interest for her third son, Thomas Fitzroy Fenwick. The Halliwell family and all Roman Catholics were to be banned from entering the library which was to remain intact. However, by 1885, the Fenwicks could no longer afford to maintain the house and collection and so acquired judicial approval to disperse its contents. Manuscripts were sold in groups to private collectors and foreign governments and there were a series of auctions at Sotheby’s. In 1946, the remaining collection was acquired by Lionel and Philip Robinson, antiquarian booksellers of London, who continued to disperse the manuscripts at further auctions at Sotheby’s and through their own retail catalogues. Between 1977-1983, they sold what was left of their holdings to H.P. Kraus, dealers of New York.
On Monday 21st October 2019, the Society looks forward to welcoming Gerard Molyneux, the great great great grandson of Sir Thomas Phillipps to give a talk on his bibliophile relative. The talk will take place in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway, starting at 7pm. Talks are free to members (membership £10 p.a), non-members are very welcome £3 on the door.
The Annual General Meeting of Broadway History Society will take place on Monday 20th May 2019 in the Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway, starting at 7pm. Copies of the Agenda and Annual Accounts can be obtained from the Society’s Hon. Secretary, Nigel Smith, and will be available on the night.
After the AGM, starting around 7.30pm, there will be a light hearted quiz on Worcestershire hosted by Robin Hill. A small prize will be awarded to the winning team. The hall will be set up with tables and chairs and it is suggested that Members (and any quiz loving friends they wish to bring along) make up teams of 4 for the quiz.
A complimentary glass of wine and snacks will be served after the AGM. All are welcome to join us for the AGM and the quiz.
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.
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 World Chain of Light is conducted annually by Toc H members worldwide. It takes place on the 11th – 12th December to commemorate the first opening of Talbot House in Poperinghe, Belgium, and the birthday of Toc H Founder Padre Tubby Clayton.
The first Chain of Light was started in 1929 in Perth, Western Australia. In 1961 the Chain was started at Dor Knap (which had been acquired by the movement in 1959) on the edge of the Cotswold Hills above Broadway.
At 9pm local time on the 11th December the host Lamp at Dor Knap was lit and a vigil held for 24 hours. The chain then moved westwards around the world with branches all lighting their lamps at 9pm local time until the chain of light was completed at 9pm on the 12th December. A short service was prepared by the members of the host Broadway Toc H Branch which included a message that was circulated worldwide for use during the observance.