Next Meeting: Monday 16th September – The Old Coaching Routes across the North Cotswolds and Vale of Evesham

The Fish Inn is located at the top of Fish Hill above Broadway in an odd triangle of land which is part of Willersey

The next meeting of the Broadway History Society takes place on Monday 16th September 2019 starting at 7pm in the Main Hall, Lifford Memorial Hall, Lower Green, Broadway, with an illustrated talk by David Ella entitled ‘The Old Coaching Routes across the North Cotswolds and Vale of Evesham’.

All welcome to attend the meeting. Non-members £3 on the door. Refreshments will be served during the meeting.

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One Hundred Years Ago: 12th September 1919

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.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:
1. Dr William and Mrs Katrina Alexander lived at Pond Close, Broadway.

 

 

 

Broadway Station and Broadway’s Postman

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

Broadway Station 1904

Broadway Station, August 1904

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.

Broadway’s Postmen

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
1979

 

Broadway History Society

 

Notes:
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.

One Hundred Years Ago: 21st August 1919

Broadway’s Returned Soldiers Entertained

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.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:
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).

 

Sources:
Ancestry.co.uk
Broadway Remembers

Programme of Events 2019/20 – First Meeting Monday 16th September 2019

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.

worcestershire, broadway looking west in the 1930s 2

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 OctoberSir Thomas Phillipps, Bt (1792-1982). 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).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadway in 1855

Billing’s Directory and Gazetteer of 1855 describes the village of Broadway, Worcestershire, as follows:

Broadway is a very large village and parish, situate about 6 miles S.E. from Evesham, in the Upper Division of the Hundreds of Pershore. The village is about a mile in length, and the houses built principally of stone. During the good old coaching days, Broadway was a place of considerable note, having been one of the “stages” on the road from Oxford to London1, but since the introduction of the “rail” into the country it has lost much of its briskness, and has settled down in to a very quiet place, many of the chief inns being closed. The population in 1851 was 1629 inhabitants, being 58 less than in 1841.

The Church, dedicated to St Eadburgha, is an antiquated stone building, with square turreted tower, standing nearly in the centre. This building is only used in the summer months, it being a considerable distance from the village, and a new modern edifice2 has been erected, at the bottom end of the village, of a modern and chaste design. Rev. Samuel Franklin, Vicar; Mr David Brown, Organist; Mr John Tustin3, Clerk. Service 11am and 3pm.

The Congregational Chapel is a neat stone erection, in the centre of the village, built in 1843. Rev. William Pike, Minister. Service 10.30am and 3pm.

The Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is a small building, also situate in the centre of the village. No stated Minister. Service 11am and 3pm alternately.

On the left of the village, and a short distance from the main road, is a Catholic Chapel4, of a most unique and chaste design, adjoining which is a Monastery of Retreat, occupied by a certain number of devotees belonging to the Catholic persuasion. The edifice is erected in a similar style to the chapel, and possesses many architectural beauties in perfect unison with that building. Rev. John Bernard, Father of the Retreat.

There is a Free School, endowed in 1686 by Mr Thomas Hedges, for the education of twenty poor boys. Mr William Davis, Master.

The National School for boys and girls, is supported by contributions and the children’s payments. Sarah Ann Hegecock, Mistress. Average number of scholars – boys, 15; girls 25.

There is a School attached to the Catholic Chapel, wherein children are instructed by inmates of the Retreat.

The Police Station is at the top of the village. Richard Ball, Sergeant.

Post Office – Mr William Davis, Sub-Postmaster. Arrival 9am; despatch Worcester and the North 5.45pm; London 5pm.

Coach– Cheltenham, Stephens, Tues, Thurs, and Sat 8am.

Carriers – Cheltenham, Vizzard5 from own house, Thurs and Sat 7.30am. Evesham, Clarke6 from own house, Mon 9.40am. Stratford-on-Avon, Vizzard from own house, Fri 7.30am.

Notes:
1. On Monday 16th September 2019, David Ella will be giving an illustrated talk entitled ‘On the Way to London, old routes across the North Cotswolds and Vale of Evesham’ in the Lifford Memorial Hall starting at 7pm. All welcome.
2. St Michael and All Angels’ Church
3. John Tustin, Parish Clerk, farmer and Registrar of Births and Deaths, his son John was the village boot and shoe maker.
4. St Saviour’s, Leamington Road (previously known as Willersey Road).
5. Reuben Vizzard, carrier and shopkeeper.
6. Thomas Clarke, carrier and farmer.

Source:
1855 Billing’s Directory and Gazetteer

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Alderman Isaac Averill, DL, JP (1830-1905), Gentleman of Broadway

Isaac Averill

Alderman Isaac Averill DL JP (1830-1905)

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.

High Street, Broadway

46 High Street, Broadway

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 Averill Brass Lecturn St Michael’s Broadway

The Lectern donated by Isaac Averill to St Michael’s Church, Broadway

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.

 

Isaac Averill St Eadburgha’s Broadway

The Averill Family Grave, St Eadburgha’s Churchyard, Broadway

Averill

Averill Family Plaque in St Michael’s Church, Broadway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:

  1. For further information about the history of Broadway Fire Service see: www.broadwayfire.co.uk
  2. 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

Sources:

Ancestry.co.uk
Broadway Parish Records
The Worcestershire Archives
The School Registers of Cheltenham College