Walter Showell

Walter Showell, the Oldbury brewer, was born on 26 September 1832. He was baptized in St Martin’s Birmingham on 25 Oct 1832. He undoubtedly had a difficult childhood. His father, also Walter Showell, died when he was only three in 1835. His mother, Eliza Ann Breakspear, remarried in 1840. In the 1841 census the eight year old Walter can be found in the household of his Aunt, Mary Ann Hands. It seems he was brought up in the Hands household rather than with his mother, who inherited a family from her new widower husband. Walter trained as a Chemist and Druggist before entering the Brewing trade. His uncle, Thomas Showell, is listed as a licensed Victualler in the 1851 census so there were strong family connections with the trade.

Walter Showell married Sarah Cheshire Hartill on 2 May 1854. She came from a family of farmers and maltsters. They had three sons and ten daughters. His sons Charles and Walter (Uncle Walle) eventually took over the brewing business.

It would appear that he built up Crosswells Brewery in Oldbury pretty much from scratch, first in Simpson Street, Oldbury and then on a site in Langley, starting as a small brewer but growing tenfold over a period of twelve years. By 1871 Walter Showell and Sons was an important town brewer for Oldbury and Birmingham and wealth and some status flowed with the success. The Langley Maltings built at this time bear testimony to the size of the operation – unfortunately these were destroyed by fire in 2009. In 1885 Walter unsuccessfully stood for the Birmingham parliamentary division of Bordesley as a Conservative candidate. In 1886 he first published a “Dictionary of Birmingham” – which is a directory of the time widely available on the internet as an eBook.

The acquisition of large numbers of pubs, extending into Wales, in the 1890’s shows that his ambition was considerable but the business eventually proved to be overstretched and was sold by his sons only thirteen years after his death in 1914.

Walter Showell and his wife were, nonetheless, instrumental in supporting their local church – giving generously to the consecration of a new church at St Michael and All Angels, Langley, consecrated in 1891. A chapel of Ease at St James, Rounds Green was also built in 1892 with a further donation of £2500. Sarah Showell presented stained glass in the East Window of the chapel in memory of her father Joseph Hartill. A plaque, mounted in St Michaels, dated November 6, 1895 carries the name of Walter Showell and his wife in recognition of their donations. This is recorded with photos in the history of St Michaels by Terry Daniels.

The residence of the Showell family moved relatively frequently. Addresses move from Edgbaston (1879) to the Dorridge, Knowle (1887) and Bell Hall, Belbroughton (1891) . Some time in the later 1890’s Walter Showell moved to Stourton Hall in Kinver near Stourbridge, where he died in 1901.

His will shows a very large estate of over £150,000.

Family of Walter SHOWELL and Sarah Cheshire HARTILL

Husband:Walter SHOWELL (1832-1901)
Wife:Sarah Cheshire HARTILL (bap.1835, d.1910)
Children:Hannah Pitt SHOWELL (1855-1941)
Sarah Louise (Louie) SHOWELL (1857-1929)
Charles Hands SHOWELL (1858-1915)
Elizabeth Baker (Lizzie) SHOWELL (1860-1930)
Walter SHOWELL (1862-1933)
Priscilla Cheshire SHOWELL (1863-1942)
Mary SHOWELL (1864-aft1937)
Ellen SHOWELL (bap.1866, d.1949)
Alice SHOWELL (1867-1939)
(John) Henry SHOWELL (1869-1933)
Kate SHOWELL (bap.1873)
Florence Dolly SHOWELL (bap.1874, d.1951)
Daisy Ethel SHOWELL (1876-1953)
Marriage2 May 1854Parish Church, Oldbury1

Husband: Walter SHOWELL

Name:Walter SHOWELL
Father:Walter SHOWELL (bap.1803, bur.1835)
Mother:Eliza Ann BREAKSPEAR (bap.1811, d.1875)
Birth26 Sep 1832Birmingham, Warwickshire
Baptism25 Oct 1832 (age 0)Saint Martin’s Birmingham
Residence1841 (age 8-9)Birmingham with Mary Ann Hands (an orphan?)
Occupationbtw 1851 and 1854 (age 18-22)Chemist’s Apprentice
Occupation1861 (age 28-29)Ale and Porter Merchant
Occupationbtw 1871 and 1881 (age 38-49)Brewer (Cross Wells Brewery, Oldbury)
Residence1881 (age 48-49)104 Hagley Road, Edgbaston
Politics1885 (age 52-53)Conservative Candidate for Bordesley Division of Birmingham
Residence1887 (age 54-55)The Dorridge, Knowle, Warwickshire
Residence1890 (age 57-58)Bell Hall, Belbroghton
Residence1901 (age 68-69)Stourton Hall, Stourton, Staffs
Death31 Jul 1901 (age 68)Stourton Hall, Kinver, Staffs
Will3 Jan 1902 (age 69)Bequeathed £2000 to St James Church, Rounds Green

Wife: Sarah Cheshire HARTILL

Name:Sarah Cheshire HARTILL
Father:Joseph HARTILL (1805-1859)
Mother:Sarah CHESHIRE (1807-c. 1883)
Baptism27 Nov 1835Dudley, Worcestershire
Death22 Jul 1910Honeycroft, Cowley, Uxbridge, Middlesex

Child 1: Hannah Pitt SHOWELL

Name:Hannah Pitt SHOWELL
Spouse:William Edmund DOWNING (1849-1939)
Birth2 Mar 1855Oldbury, Worcestershire
Baptism21 Mar 1855 (age 0)Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death7 Oct 1941 (age 86)Hagley

Child 2: Sarah Louise (Louie) SHOWELL

Name:Sarah Louise (Louie) SHOWELL
Birth1857Oldbury, Worcestershire
Residence25 Jul 1910 (age 52-53)Honeycroft, Cowley, Uxbridge, Middlesex
Informant on mother’s Death Certificate
Death21 Jun 1929 (age 71-72)Paddington

Child 3: Charles Hands SHOWELL

Name:Charles Hands SHOWELL
Spouse:Amy Gertrude LUDLOW (1863-1946)
BirthQ1 1858Oldbury, Worcestershire
Occupation1901 (age 42-43)Brewer
Death2 Sep 1915 (age 57)West Hill, Highgate
Obituary11 Sep 1915 (age 57)Staffordshire Sentinel

Child 4: Elizabeth Baker (Lizzie) SHOWELL

Name:Elizabeth Baker (Lizzie) SHOWELL
Spouse:Robert William EDGINTON (1851-1935)
BirthQ4 1860Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death12 Sep 1930 (age 69)Clevedon, Somerset

Child 5: Walter SHOWELL

Name:Walter SHOWELL
Spouse:Eliza SHAKESPEARE (1863-1917)
Birth1862Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death5 Aug 1933 (age 70-71)London

Child 6: Priscilla Cheshire SHOWELL

Name:Priscilla Cheshire SHOWELL
Spouse:James Barry TAUNTON (1862-1909)
Birth1863Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death1942 (age 78-79)Merioneth

Child 7: Mary SHOWELL

Spouse:Richard Arthur Prior TAUNTON (1863-1943)
Birth1864Oldbury, Worcestershire
Deathaft 1937 (age 72-73)Folkestone, Kent

Child 8: Ellen SHOWELL

Name:Ellen SHOWELL
Spouse:John Edgar TONKS (1866-1932)
Baptism15 Apr 1866Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death11 Jul 1949Windacre, Godalming

Child 9: Alice SHOWELL

Name:Alice SHOWELL
Spouse:Harry Lawrence USHER (1866-1947)
Birth1867Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death16 Jan 1939 (age 71-72)Dunbar, East Lothian

Child 10: (John) Henry SHOWELL

Name:(John) Henry SHOWELL2
Spouse:Ada Eugenie WEBB (1879-1975)
Birth1869Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death22 Jun 1933 (age 63-64)Clippesby, Fleggburgh

Child 11: Kate SHOWELL

Spouse 1:Ernest Frederick DAVID (c. 1862-1898)
Spouse 2:Archibald Hamilton TROW (1866- )
Baptism5 Jan 1873Oldbury, Worcestershire

Child 12: Florence Dolly SHOWELL

Name:Florence Dolly SHOWELL
Spouse:James Edward CROMBIE (1862-1932)
Baptism16 Aug 1874Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death24 Aug 1951Parkhill House, Dyce

Child 13: Daisy Ethel SHOWELL

Name:Daisy Ethel SHOWELL
Spouse:Arthur Patrick NICOL (1873-1962)
Birth1876Oldbury, Worcestershire
Death20 Jul 1953 (age 76-77)Perthshire

Last updated on 10 November 2018 by JJ Morgan