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Edwardian Wickhamford

This article brings together many photographs of Wickhamford and its residents in the Edwardian era. Edward VII reigned from 1901 until 1910, but many people think of the era as that between the death of Queen Victoria and the outbreak of the Great War. The pictures included here roughly span the period from the mid 1890s until the middle of the War. The people mentioned are recorded in the 1901 and 1911 censuses and information on the houses comes from the Government Valuation Survey, which took place between 1910 and 1915.

Wickhamford Manor, The Church and Wickhamford Lane

The Victoria County History of Worcestershire, published in 1901, records that the Manor was for many years in the ownership of the Sandys family but that it was purchased by J. P. Lord in about 1860. By 1901 the trustees of his estate still owned the Manor and it was rented out to John Idiens, a local coal merchant.

The East front of the Manor House in around 1901.  The wall separates the Manor grounds from the Church and until the 19th Century a stone barn stood in that vicinity.  Its stones may have been used to construct the wall.
The East front of the Manor House in around 1901. The wall separates the Manor grounds from the Church and until the 19th Century a stone barn stood in that vicinity. Its stones may have been used to construct the wall.

John Idiens and his wife, Alice, were in their mid 40s and they occupied the Manor from some time in the 1890s until the early 1900s. They lived there with their four sons and a daughter, one son, 20 year old Harold, being a farm bailiff. The family emigrated to British Columbia, Canada, after moving out of the Manor.

Alice and John Idiens, in about 1900, relaxing in the garden of the Manor.
Alice and John Idiens, in about 1900, relaxing in the garden of the Manor.

 George Lees-Milne bought the Manor in 1906. Over the following decades he was to alter the appearance of the Manor and the village with new buildings in the 1930s in the Arts & Crafts style. He and his wife, Helen, lived in the Manor with their three children, Audrey, James and Richard. In 1911, they had four live-in domestic servants. The field bounded by Golden Lane and Willersey Road had fruit trees and blackcurrants and a line for a light tram for moving the produce from the field.

The Lees-Milne family on holiday in 1912 at Aberdovey beach.
The Lees-Milne family on holiday in 1912 at Aberdovey beach.
Domestic staff in the garden of Wickhamford Manor, ca 1913.
Domestic staff in the garden of Wickhamford Manor, ca 1913. In the back on the right is Elizabeth Johnson. Other names are unknown, but those at the Manor in 1911 were Annie Helen Shaw-Sands, the housekeeper; Rachel Severn, the parlour maid; Sarah Elizabeth Harrison, the nurse and Elsie Mary Hardiman, the under-nurse. Some of these may be in this picture.

Next to the Manor is the Church dedicated to St John the Baptist. Before the Great War there was no boundary wall to the West end of the churchyard or between that and the Manor front garden. Instead, there was an iron railing fence.

The Church with iron railings and entrance gate.
The Church with iron railings and entrance gate.

To the West of the Manor, across Badsey Brook, Wickhamford Lane heads towards Evesham and a pair of houses stand near the stream. In 1911, the Hardiman family, George Higgins and Emily Jane and their 10-year-old daughter, Doris May, occupied one of these. George was labourer at a fruit farm, possibly the one opposite the Manor. His sister, Elsie, worked at the Manor.

Doris May Hardiman in about 1918.
Doris May Hardiman in about 1918.

The Village Street

The road linking the Manor to the main Evesham to Broadway road was known only as the village street in the 1911 census. In what is now the front garden of Hody’s Place stood a terrace of four brick and tile, 3 bedroomed cottages. George Lees-Milne demolished these in the 1930s to make room for the present house. In 1911, the families of Frederick Norman, Theodore Moisey, George Brotherton and George Eden occupied them. All four men were working as market gardeners.

In front of the row of terraced cottages where Hody’s Place now stands.
Pictured, in about 1913, in front of the row of terraced cottages where Hody’s Place now stands, are:- Charles Halford, Edith Florence Halford (nee Moulbery), Sarah Anne Brotherton (nee Moulbery),George Harcourt Brotherton, Beatrice Emily Pitt (nee Moulbery) and George H Pitt. The child is Beatrice May Brotherton, daughter of Sarah and George.

On the opposite side of the road stood a cottage on the bend of road towards Badsey. In 1911, this was described as Manor Fruit Farm and maps of the period show orchards behind the house and where the cemetery is now. The house in now called Corner Cottage. The pair of houses now called Whytebury and Oakenfield were built in 1906, but before that there was a pair of thatched cottages on the site. 

The pair of thatched cottages next to what is now Corner Cottage in the background.
The pair of thatched cottages next to what is now Corner Cottage in the background. These were demolished in the early 1900s and local builders, Braziers, constructed a pair of brick houses, now called Whytebury and Oakenfield.

On the West side of the village street, further on towards the Sandys Arms were the three thatched cottages, that still remain – now called Robin Cottage, Old Vicarage and Weathervane Cottage. 

The thatched vicarage in about 1900.  The people outside have not been identified.
The thatched vicarage in about 1900. The people outside have not been identified.
The brick and half-timbered cottage with a tiled roof that was later restyled and named ‘Robin Cottage’.
The brick and half-timbered cottage with a tiled roof that was later restyled and named ‘Robin Cottage’.

 The present ‘Robin Cottage’ was restyled in the 1930s by George Lees-Milne, but until then was a brick and half-timbered building with a tiled roof. It was rented by Charles Halford in 1913 and later by George and Mary Robbins. George was a farm labourer and he and Mary had five children. – Joseph, George, Mary (‘Polly’), Lizzie and Kate. The latter two were to be married together at Wickhamford Church in 1931 in the first double wedding celebrated there. After the Robbins family moved out it was thatched and its appearance considerably altered; it was then named ‘Robin Cottage’.

Opposite the Vicarage, The Elms, now Elm Farm, was occupied by the Mason family in 1911. John Mason was another market gardener, but his wife, Elizabeth was Head Teacher at the Council School in Badsey. There were two of the Masons’ sons living at home at the time and the elder was 19 year old George Mason. He was to join the Army in the Great War and to die in France in 1917.

Elizabeth Mason, right, with a class of Badsey School pupils in 1898.
Elizabeth Mason, right, with a class of Badsey School pupils in 1898.

In 1906 and 1907, Hubert Richards erected glasshouses on the East side of the village street. There were 3 blocks of glass totalling 37,230 sq ft and heated by hot water pipes from 3 boilers; there were an open pit-well 16 ft deep, a wind pump and a galvanised iron tank on brick pillar. The nursery was sold to Henry Pearce during the War.

Windpump at Richards Nursery.
Windpump at Richards Nursery.

At the present 12 Manor Road in 1911 lived Stephen and Annie Styles, who were married the less than 2years before. Their baby son, also Stephen was to perish in World War 2.

Wedding day of Stephen Styles and Annie Ladner in late 1909
The wedding day of Stephen Styles and Annie Ladner in late 1909.
The picture was probably taken outside what is now 12 Manor Road.

The Walters family, Elias and Dinah, lived at what is now 8 Manor Road, with two of their sons, John and Robert. Both parents were in their sixties by 1911, but Elias, commonly known as Charles, was still working in market gardening.

Elias Charles Walters.
Elias Charles Walters.
Dinah Walters outside of the present 8 Manor Road.
Dinah Walters outside of the present 8 Manor Road.

At the present 6 Manor Road, lived Basil and Emma Griffin with their two sons, Frederick and Sidney. Basil ran his own market garden and, although he would be then in his mid thirties, like many men in the village, he enlisted in the Army.

Basil Griffin
Basil Griffin enlisted in 1916. He spent the latter part of the Great War in the Labour Corps.

 Back across and further along on the West side of the street was a pair of thatched houses then called Elm Cottages, but now joined and called Grey Gables. In these, in 1911, were two generations of the Heritage family. Hannah Heritage, aged 70 and widowed, lived in one with her unmarried son, Arthur and two grandchildren. In the other was her married son, Robert and his wife Mary and daughter Maggie. Both of Hannah’s sons were market gardeners.

Robert and Arthur Heritage outside Elm Cottages.
Robert and Arthur Heritage outside Elm Cottages.
Hannah Heritage at Elm Cottages.
Hannah Heritage at Elm Cottages.

Next to Elm Cottages, in 1911, was Pitchers Hill Farm, run by William Smith. He and his wife, Elizabeth had seven children at that time. The farm is now called Wickham Farm and the adjacent Wickham House is under separate ownership to the farm.

Back on the East side of the road on the corner of the main highway was, and is, The Sandys Arms. In 1911 it was kept by George Pethard and his second wife, Hannah, and it had been in that family for many decades and also included a wheelwright’s business. George was to die later that year. The pub had two stables and an old brewhouse recorded in the 1912 Valuation Survey.

The Sandys Arms in the 1890s with Hannah Pethard and one of her children in the doorway.
The Sandys Arms in the 1890s with Hannah Pethard and one of her children in the doorway.
The Pethard family of the Sandys Arms in the mid 1890s.
The Pethard family of the Sandys Arms in the mid 1890s. Back row, left to right, Hannah, George and two unknown women who are said to be a servant and a friend, although they might be other relatives. Front row, the Pethard children left to right, Henry Jarrett, Millicent Gertrude, Florence and Vernon.
Millicent Gertrude Pethard, a servant (name unknown), Hannah Pethard and Florence Pethard feeding a variety of poultry.
Millicent Gertrude Pethard, a servant (name unknown), Hannah Pethard and Florence Pethard feeding a variety of poultry.

Pitchers Hill

On the South side of Pitchers Hill, alongside Badsey Brook, the Smith family had operated Wickhamford Mill since at least 1841. In 1911, Wingfield John Smith was the corn miller and he ran the business with his wife, Jane. Both were elderly by this time, but their only son, Albert Wingfield, had been born both deaf and lame due to a spinal condition and was of little help in running the mill. Tragedy was to befall the family in the last days of 1916, when father and son died on the same day of unrelated illnesses.

On the South side of the highway going towards Broadway, at what is now Windy Ridge (20 Pitchers Hill) George Pethard’s son by his first marriage, Edward, was living with his family in 1911. He was a carpenter and he and his wife, Annie, had three young daughters, Violet Lillian, Priscilla Marjorie and Nancy Kethleen.

The daughters of Edward and Annie Pethard – Priscilla Marjorie, Violet Lillian and Nancy Kathleen – in about 1910
The daughters of Edward and Annie Pethard – Priscilla Marjorie, Violet Lillian and Nancy Kathleen – in about 1910.
Freddie Mason and Sam Halford.
Freddie Mason (right) and Sam Halford. Apparently, Freddie played up and would only have his photo taken if Sam was with him. The photograph was taken on the grass verge outside 32 Pitchers Hill, Wickhamford. The boys are sat on a milestone that has long since gone.

Charles Mason, like most men in the village in Edwardian times, would have helped bring in the harvest on the local farms.

Bringing in the harvest
Eleven men working to bring in the harvest, now there might be two. The men may have been baling straw or threshing. The man with his arm around the small boy is Charles Mason. The small boy may be his son Harry. Just behind them can be see the wheel and drive belt powering the machine.

Next door to the Masons in the others half of the semi-detached houses lived William and Emma Moore, together with her parents, Charles and Comfort Colley. William market gardened on his own account, whilst his father-in-law, Charles, was a market gardener’s labourer, at the age of 66 in 1911.

William and Emma Moore and, seated, the 'in laws' Charles and Comfort Colley who were living with the Moores in 1911.
William and Emma Moore and, seated, the 'in laws' Charles and Comfort Colley who were living with the Moores in 1911.

At the present 44 Pitchers Hill, in 1911, lived the very large Halford family, Samuel and Rebecca with seven children and two grandchildren. Rebecca and most of her children were born in Offenham, but they now lived in Wickhamford where Samuel worked as a market gardener’s labourer.

Rose Halford, aged 21, in about 1916.
Rose Halford, aged 21, in about 1916.

Towards the parish boundary, in the present 93 Pitchers Hill, the Cox family lived in 1911. William and Alice, in their mid-40s, had seven of their eleven children still at home. All of their children survived infancy. William ran a market garden on his own account and in that year his two elder sons still at home, John Henry and Albert, worked with him.

Cox family, mid 1900s
The Cox family moved to Pitchers Hill in the mid 1900s. The picture shows William and Alice Cox of Pitchers Hill, with 8 of their 11 children -clockwise around parents - Ernest (b. 1904), Wilfred (b. 1900), John Henry (b. 1893), Albert (b. 1896), George (b. 1890), Frank (b. 1898), Alice (b. 1902) and Ruth (b.1906). They also had three older sons - Charles, Joseph and James.

Six of the Cox boys were to serve in the Great War. Albert, George, John, Charles and James survived, but Frank, who enlisted under age, died of heatstroke in Salonika, Geeece in July 1916, just short of his 18th birthday.

On the North-Eastern boundary of the village lay Whitfurrows Farm. In 1911, this was in the hands of the Warman family. Herbert and Rose had seven children at that time and had been married for 13 years. Although living in the farm house, Herbert was only a labourer on the farm. Despite being around 45 years old, he enlisted in November 1914 and served throughout the War. A number of the Wickhamford market gardeners had allotments at Whitfurrows. Stanley Moss-Blundell of Longdon Hill, at the other end of the village, grew 15 rows of raspberries here in 1913.

Longdon Hill

Moving towards Evesham from the Sandys Arms there were a number of semi-detached cottages. The occupants in 1911, the Pitman, Jones, Freeman, James, Hallam and Andrew families were all occupied in farm work or market gardening.

At Field Farm, Benjamin Carter and his wife, Emily, had a large farmhouse with 15 rooms but all of their seven children had by then left home. For extra income they took in farming students as boarders. Further towards Evesham were the present Oxley House, where Benjamin Swift was a fruit grower; Orchard Farm, with Wilson Allchurch as a foreman market gardener and Longdon Court, where Stanley Moss Blundell was another fruit grower. To date there are no available period pictures of these properties and only a few photographs of the occupants, but not from the Edwardian period.

The ladder suggests these men have been picking plums and damsons. Left to right: Charles Mason of 32 Pitchers Hill, Arthur Davis, John Field of 71 Pitchers Hill, unknown, John Newbury, unknown.
The ladder suggests these men have been picking plums and damsons. Left to right: Charles Mason of 32 Pitchers Hill, Arthur Davis, John Field of 71 Pitchers Hill, unknown, John Newbury, unknown. The scene dates from the pre-Great War period.
George Thomas Hancock (1895-1945)
This is George Thomas Hancock (1895-1945) who lived on Pitchers Hill. The picture was taken about 1916 and sent to his younger brother Henry Stephen Hancock who was in the Army. It shows plums packed into baskets.
On the back is written 'Dear Harry, I am sending you one of my photos. I don't know what you will think of it. I was working along Evesham road when it was taken, plum picking. Hoping you are in the best of health as it leaves all of us at present, with best love from all, George.' Sadly, the picture was returned to the family with Harry's possessions after he was killed.

Garden-party-newspaper-notice.jpg

Garden Party, Wickhamford, 1909
To end on a happier note, the funds raised by this event contributed to the building of the Church next to the Workman Bridge, in Evesham. The Mrs Carter mentioned as hosting the event was at Field Farm on Longdon Hill.

Apart from the occasional fete (above), sport was also a part of village life and there was a football team called Wickhamford Albion before the Great War. It is not known where they played their home games.

Wickhamford Albion team and support staff, possibly in the 1909/10 season.
Wickhamford Albion team and support staff, possibly in the 1909/10 season. The player on the centre (indicated by two Xs) is thought to be George Cox, who emigrated to Canada in 1910.

Acknowledgements

All of the photographs used in this article are from other Wickhamford sections on the Badsey web-site, where credits for their use are given. Thanks are duly given to all of those who have shown interest in this work and supplied material.

Tom Locke, October 2012