The Grosvenor Family of Broome House

George William Grosvenor, the head of Woodward Grosvenor & Co, Kidderminster Carpet Manufacturers, and his family lived in Broome House in Broome to the West of Hagley from about 1875 to 1899. He was a JP, Deputy Lieutenant and in 1897 High Sheriff of Worcestershire.

Broome House was sold in 1904 for £6500 and the family then moved first to Elmley House in Blakedown and finally to Park House, Hagley, where he died in 1923. The four children feature in some of the photos and correspondence held by the Downing and Evans family of Hagley.

Ellen Emily Grosvenor, known as Nellie, the eldest child, was born on 15 Mar 1876 and married the solicitor Percy Evers in 1900. They lived in Thicknall Rise, a large house that had been built by them just outside Hagley. Percy Evers is often mentioned in Molly Evans‘ diary and is probably the man leaning against Wilmot Evans in the photo taken after a picnic on 14 Aug 1915. By the same estimate, Nellie would be the lady behind him.

George Herbert Grosvenor, known as Bertie, was born on 20 Jan 1880. He studied at New College Oxford and obtained a first in Natural Sciences. He was drowned in Polzeath, Cornwall in 1912 attempting to rescue his brother-in-law Ralph Evers, who also drowned. The large black-rimmed photo of him was probably kept in our archives in memory of this tragic story.

Mary (Molly) Grosvenor was born 2 Jul 1882 and married John Donaldson (Jack) Harward, another solicitor. The two sons-in-law founded a legal partnership to become Harward and Evers of Stourbridge.

John Ernest Grosvenor, known as Ernie, was the youngest child and born on 1 Nov 1887. He was a contemporary of neighbour Noel Downing at Harrow School, both starting there in Sep 1902.  Ernest left Harrow, aged 16, in 1904 and according to the Harrow register went “into business” presumably the Carpet Business. However he also joined the Territorials by taking a Commission as Second Lieutenant in the Worcester Regiment in Mar 1905 and rising to Captain in Aug 1912.

He married Margery Gertrude Bentall in early 1915.  She was the daughter of an agricultural machine manufacturer in Maldon, Essex. The match would appear to have attracted several disparaging comments from letters we have from both Wilmot Evans and Noel Downing. At about this time ‘Ernie’ appears on photos with the Evans family taken at the back of the Lawn, Hagley.

Whatever the underlying cause of the misgivings expressed in the letters, the Downing, Evans and Grosvenor families continued in close contact. Ernest continued to serve in the 7th Battalion Worcester Regiment attaining the rank of Major, serving in Palestine. After the war, Ernest became MD of the Carpet business and lived in Rockingham Hall from about 1927 and was thus an even closer neighbour to the elderly William Edmund Downing in Elm Lodge. Mary Simpson (née Downing) became godmother to one of Ernest’s granddaughters, Clare Hingley in 1945. Later Ernest’s mercurial career took a further turn and he was ordained and became a priest, serving as a Curate in Blakedown. He died in 1963.

Sources and Notes

  • Elliot Evers: Butterflies in Camphor, A family Chronicle, Research Publishing Co, 1974
  • Pat Dunn: Hagley, A Village at War, 2014, HH&FS
  • Harrow School Register, 1800-1911, 3rd Edition, Longmans, Green and Co. London 1911
  • Emails from Donald Main grandson of John Ernest Grosvenor
  • Diaries of Molly Evans, 1914-1919
  • Molly Harward’s daughter was Sylvia Robinson (b 1904) neighbours of Stephen and Hazel Haynes in the 1960’s
Last updated on 8 January 2019 by JJ Morgan