William Lyon Browne

William Lyon Browne was born in about 1845 and was a corn merchant from Shrewsbury. He had extensive business dealings with William Edmund Downing and the Downing’s malting business. This included social gatherings and shoots in Church Stretton and Ratlinghope from about 1880 to 1900.

W.E. Downing and W.L. Browne, Ratlinghope, early 1890s

W.E. Downing and W.L. Browne, Ratlinghope, early 1890s

His son Arthur Symonds Browne had a continued relationship with Noel Downing, only son of William Edmund Downing (see 1921 diary entry about a visit to Ratlinghope).

There is one intriguing photo in the collection of Mary Downing entitled “Dad & Mr Browne at Ratlinghope”. Most of the small photos in this set would appear to date 1895 to 1900 but this appears to be older. ‘Dad’ ie William Edmund Downing (b 1849) appears very young with a moustache, less grey and smaller than others photos of about 1900. Given these are non-studio photos taken on an early handheld camera the earliest date (technologically) we can give them would be 1890. ‘Mr Browne’ would be 45 on that basis.

A pair of affectionate letters from him to the six-year-old Mary Downing from 1889 survives in her writing box.

William Lyon Browne at one time served as Mayor of Shrewsbury in 1892. He died in ‘Hillside’, Church Stretton in 1902.

Last updated on 9 October 2021 by JJ Morgan