16 Woodbourne Road, Edgbaston

The first family home of the Noel and Molly Downing was 16 Woodbourne Road, a large house in Edgbaston. The house is situated within two miles of both the centre of Birmingham and the Downings’ Maltings in Smethwick.

They probably rented this property and had several live-in servants to maintain it. Molly’s diary recounts how in August 1919 the newly-weds returned directly from honeymoon to their new home.

Gardens at 16 Woodbourne Rd, 2016 © Robert Powell and Co

Gardens at 16 Woodbourne Rd, 2016 © Robert Powell and Co

Some of Molly’s meticulous records survive, including her duty roster for the Cook, The Parlour Maid and the Between Maid.  It offers an interesting view into the daily routine of meals and housework in the house. There would also have been a resident Nanny – after 1924 this would have been Elizabeth Dekeuwer. 

The house still stands today and sales particulars for 2016 exist giving a good idea of the rooms and original lay out.

Sources and Notes

  • Molly Downing’s pocket diary and archive
  • Downing family photographs
  • The 1921 census (5 Jun 1921) shows the following five residents
    • William Noel Downing, aged 32, Maltster
    • Constance Mary Downing, aged 31
    • Pamela Downing, aged 11 months
    • Florence May Breeze, aged 42, Cook
    • Esther Irene Riley, aged 24, Parlourmaid