The Hatton Family of Hagley House

The family of George Hatton moved into Hagley House in about 1912. Hagley House was a large Georgian building on the corner of the Birmingham and Stourbridge Roads. The previous occupant recorded in the 1911 census was Henrietta Moore, the grandmother of Hal Barlow. Henrietta’s husband Joseph Moore, a brick manufacturer, had died there in 1901.

Hagley House, 1905, © Hagley Community Association
Hagley House, 1905, © Hagley Community Association

George Hatton was the Managing Director of the Earl of Dudley’s Round Oak Iron and Steel works in Brierley Hill. The family seemed to move house frequently. For a time in the 1890’s the family had lived in Lawnside in Hagley where a number of the children were born.  As prominent Hagley residents the Hattons and their six children were close friends of the Downings at Elm Lodge and the Evans’ in The Lawn and feature frequently in correspondence and photos around this time in our archive.

"Broadway Sunday" in the Hatton's garden. Mrs Hatton, Daisy (& peach), Jack French, Howard [Hatton], and Mr Mower-Williams who is really a good bit taller than Howard and very good looking to boot!

“Broadway Sunday” in the Hatton’s garden. Mrs Hatton, Daisy (& peach), Jack French, Howard [Hatton], and Mr Monier-Williams who is really a good bit taller than Howard and very good looking to boot!

This photo is inscribed on the back in Molly Evans‘s hand and shows Mrs Louisa Hatton, her youngest daughter Daisy and her eldest son Howard. The date must be around 1913. Molly was particularly good friends with Daisy and her diary records regular suppers at the Hattons several times a week (1914-1915) and reciprocal teas and Bridge parties at the Lawn. The other two men on the photo would appear to be John Edgar French and Gordon Wickham Monier-Williams.

George Hatton and his wife Louisa had six children in all.

  • The eldest Eleanor Maud Mary Hatton, known as Ella, was born 12 Oct 1878 and died in 1964 unmarried.
  • Mildred Alice Hatton was born 13 Oct 1880 was the second eldest daughter and she married Francis William Yates in 1909.
  • William Howard Brinton Hatton, known as Howard, was born on 22 Aug 1882. He married a Hilda Hatton in 1913.
  • The third daughter was Kathleen Hatton born 22 Apr 1884. She married Major Percy Hastings in 1909, She was widowed when he died of wounds on 2 Sep 1914.
  • Margaret Hatton was born on 12 Aug 1886 and was better known as Daisy. She is mentioned in letters from both Wilmot Evans and Noel Downing. She married William Petrie in 1921 and died 26 Nov 1945 in Moray, Scotland.
  • George Arthur Lyon Hatton, known as Lyon, the youngest son was born 15 May 1888 and  served in the War in the same Kent regiment as his brother-in-law Hastings. He was a POW from Jul 1916 to Nov 1918. He married Joyce Reay in 1920. Evelyn Joyce Reay was the daughter of John Reay, JP, of Rockingham Hall and brother of Captain Noel Reay. Lyon Hatton is listed as solicitor and executor of John Reay’s will in 1924. Rockingham Hall was another large house up behind Hagley House, later the home of Ernest Grosvenor.

Lieutenant Wilmot Evans writes poignantly from the trenches in France to Mary Downing in Feb 1915.

The Hattons are a wonderful family. I have just written to Mildred to thank her for the nuts. She is rather a dear too isn’t she? Before all my love was wasted on Kathleen but I loved Mildred as well this time. I am thoroughly tired of this war Mary dear, and I wish something could be done to stop it. I suppose it will end in time, but I am afraid I shan’t be there to see it. Though my luck is still wonderful and people get killed on all sides of me even in the trenches. The men think I have a charmed life, but I am afraid it wont last much longer.

Picnic, 14 Aug 1915. Wilmot is far right

Picnic, 14 Aug 1915. Wilmot is far right

After a picnic, 14 Aug 1915. Wilmot is fourth on the left

After a picnic, 14 Aug 1915. Wilmot is fourth on the left

Molly records the Hatton’s picnic at ‘Temple’ on Sat 14 Aug 1915 and it is presumed that the two unannotated photos above come from that occasion. It took place two days after Wilmot had visited Buckingham Palace on a few days leave from Jersey to receive his Military Cross. Despite the semblance of a group of young people enjoying themselves, Molly states she had not wanted to go and laments that the picnic did not finish until 4.30. They went back to Percy Evers’ house, where the second photo is presumably taken, and there was a storm that prevented them walking home until dinner time. The smoke around Wilmot’s head is perhaps indicative of an uneasy foreboding that the enjoyment was very transitory.

Sources

  • Obituary of George Hatton: Engineering 21 Jul 1933
  • Censuses and 1939 Register from ancestry.co.uk
  • Molly Evans Diaries, 1914-1915
  • Pat Dunn: Hagley, A Village at War, 2014, HH&FS