George Downing

George Downing, born on 23 Nov 1844, was the oldest son of William Downing. The ‘G’ of the Smethwick Malting firm ‘G and WE Downing‘ refers to him and his partnership with his brother William Edmund Downing. He never married and had no children, dying at the age of 49.

George was baptized in Holy Trinity Smethwick on 22 Dec 1844 and lived in his early years in Holly House on the Oldbury Road in Smethwick. His mother Emma Downing refers to his teething in a letter dated 1845. She was to die before he reached the age of 7. He appears to have attended a school in Edgbaston (1861 census) and by the early 1860’s the family moved into a new residence at Holly Lodge, his father having remarried in 1856.

George and his younger brother took over the running of their father’s malting business at an early stage and oversaw its rapid expansion. This brought considerable wealth to the two Downing brothers. A third half brother Thomas Lee Downing, twenty four years George’s junior, eventually also took his place in the firm.

George used some of his new found wealth to buy property in North Wales and either bought or built Tan-yr-allt in Llandudno sometime in the late 1880’s.

His nephew Noel Downing received a book for his fourth birthday in 1892, signed by his ‘loving Uncle George’. However, by this time George was probably dying – after a sustained illness he died in Llandudno on 8 May 1894. His will shows that his estate was worth over £61,000.

In his memory a stained glass window was erected in St Paul’s Llandudno, probably at the behest of his sister Louisa Jane.

George Downing Memorial Stained Glass (Courtesy St Paul’s Church Llandudno)

Last updated on 17 September 2020 by JJ Morgan