Next Talk Monday 16th March: Broadway’s Schools

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.

 

Debbie Williamson
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.

Next Talk Monday 17th February: A Builder In Broadway, Charles Edmund Steward

Charles E. Steward (1874-1954)

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.

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

St Michael’s Church Choir Supper Thursday 14th January 1892

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.

 

 

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Broadway in 1887

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.

Debbie Williamson
Broadway History Society

Notes:
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.

1899: A New Post Office for Broadway

Broadway Post Office

Broadway Post Office c1900

On Friday 1st December 1899, Broadway’s new Post Office opened to the public at 25 High Street, Broadway. The new building, designed by the London architect, Sir Edward Guy Dawber1, was built in Cotswold stone by Espley and Co. of Evesham2.

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

 

Notes:
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 (born Reading, 1868).

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

A Brief History of Broadway Tower

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

imagesAbout 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

300px-Broadway_Tower_2012During 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.