The Broadbents of Longwood c.1796-c.1930, compiled from family records and other material by Robert Broadbent and illustrated with drawings by Moira Broadbent from contemporary photographs. Privately duplicated: Chipstead, Surrey 1976.


[A copy of this privately distributed work is in the *NJB family archive. I have reproduced it quite accurately, maintaining Robert's page numberings, and have only corrected a few minor obvious typos and spelling errors. The work has been placed online with the permission of Robert's grandson Roger Broadbent. DBHB]

PDF version here.







THE BROADBENTS OF LONGWOOD (c. 1796 — c. 1930)


COMPILED FROM FAMILY RECORDS AND OTHER MATERIAL BY
ROBERT BROADBENT AND ILLUSTRATED WITH DRAWINGS BY
MOIRA BROADBENT
FROM CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHS.

PRIVATELY DUPLICATED:
CHIPSTEAD, SURREY
1976



Note. My chief sources in writing this book are the records of Sarah Ann and May's Life of her father Sir William. Several living relatives have helped with information, and I should mention especially Arthur's daughter Esther, Theo, son of Harry and grandson of John Edward, who told me about the Mills, and Enid Lodge, daughter of "young" Julia and granddaughter of Butterworth . To them and the others, many thanks.



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Preface


I cannot claim to be more than the editor of this history, because almost all of it is based on the records which Sarah made, and most of the rest on May Broadbent's Life of Sir William and on information received from relatives, especially my cousins Esther and Theo. I can contribute only a few memories, but I have felt free throughout the book to make comments, with which readers may agree or disagree as they choose. I have also added the local descriptions.

Sarah made two records, one of the family, which goes back to the 18th century and ends with the death of her father John Broadbent II in September 1880, and her private record which continues throughout her life to the last entry in 1930.

After the early history, the family record consists mainly of extracts from letters, laboriously copied out, strung together with explanations and comments of her own. Occasionally, but not often, she quotes from her private record. It appears from internal evidence that she began the family record about 1858, when she was almost sixteen, but she revised it from time to time, since in recording events of a particular year she sometimes hints clearly about what is to come. An example of this is the "dark shadow" of Mary Jane's later illness which hung over the joyous Christmas of 1860. The form is chronological, and this arrangement gives little idea of the characters of the various members of the family. I have therefore found it necessary, when writing the short biographies, to go through the record again and again selecting material relating to each subject. For the reader this means that JB II, Butterworth and others appear many times after they have been pronounced dead. I do not think this is a great disadvantage, as I have done my best to avoid repetition.

The private record begins with Sarah's conversion in 1857. It is not a daily diary, and relates almost entirely to her own thoughts, religious life, and frustrations. It is extremely introspective, and at least nine-tenths of it is entirely unsuitable for inclusion in this book; I have therefore used it very little, and only in relation to herself or, on other matters, after 1880 when the family record ends. Entries in later years become more and more spasmodic; at one point there is a gap of over four years, and in the 1920's she normally made an entry only twice a year, on her birthday in October and either at Christmas or New Year. At this period, when she was bedridden, she tried to go through her papers and destroy "what was of no use", but found the task too much for her. This is perhaps fortunate.

Other sources are Sarah's privately printed Memorial of Arnold Broadbent (1865-1895), and May Broadbent's "Life of Sir William Broadbent, KCVO, FRS", who was her father. Both are long out of print. May drew on Sarah’s family record for much of the early part of her biography. I have also had some help from assorted family papers and obituaries.

Some highlights of the story, such as Butterworth's astonishing death-scene, and William's experience of being snowballed in Manchester, have been printed before, but since few of my readers will ever have had the opportunity to read them I make no apology for including them in this little book.

A word about the abbreviations JB I and JB II, and the notes in brackets. There are too many Johns in the family, and something had to be done to distinguish them. I do not like abbreviations, but this seemed the simplest way. I do not like footnotes either, so when an explanation is needed in the middle of a quotation I have put it in brackets with my initials RB. In a few instances I have replaced pronouns by proper names to clear the sense, without adding initials.

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The principal acknowledgement must be to Molly, the widow of my first cousin Ted Barton, who made this chronicle possible by passing Sarah's family record on to me. I must thank Esther and Theo Broadbent for much valuable help, and I also thank others for their help and interest in this project. I have also had great assistance, especially about JB I and the early period, from Mr. H. L. Broadbent (no relation) of Gledholt, Huddersfield.



View Broadbent locations in a larger map

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Introduction


This is the story of a Victorian family, living in a bleak and somewhat remote part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, who raised themselves from the position of yeomen and peasant proprietors to the top of the upper middle class. It begins with the Industrial Revolution, and continues throughout the great expanding period of the Victorian Age and the British Empire. Of the sons, the eldest became a baronet, one of the leading physicians of his age, another had a long and successful career in the Royal Engineers and was awarded the CB, and a third became Mayor of Huddersfield, gained the CBE, and achieved some national prominence by being a pioneer in the field of prevention of infant mortality.

John Broadbent I, the first member of the family of whom we have any record, was born at Helme, Meltham, near Huddersfield, on March 12 1758. There is a tradition in the family that their ancestors came from Saddleworth on the western side of the Pennines, but if this is true they must have arrived on this east side before JB I's time. By 1796, when his son JB II was born, he had moved to Longwood Edge.

JB I was a small wool manufacturer, of the class described by Arnold Toynbee in "The Industrial Revolution" as follows: "They were entirely independent, having capital and land of their own, for they combined the culture of small freehold pasture-farms with their handicraft." As will be seen, this is an exact description of the life of JB I and the early Broadbents.

Longwood Edge, which is three miles west of Huddersfield, is built with its back to a steep hillside, about 500 yards northwest of Longwood village, and faces southwest. The house, of grey stone, was probably built in the 17th century as two cottages, as it has two doors on the frontage, numbered 1 and 2 even as late as the 1920s, but during the whole period which we are covering it was occupied as a single dwelling, and was considerably enlarged about 1878, when gas was installed. At the front there is a terrace about eight feet above the road; the drawing room off the half-landing has french windows on a level with the rising garden, and at the rear there is a high retaining wall with the bedroom windows only just above it. At the east end of the rear a flat croquet-lawn has been made.

The house is surrounded by its own fields, sloping upwards very steeply above it, but more gradually below it to the foot of the valley. In this valley an attractive stream flows through a small wood (the only remnant of the long one which gave the village its name), past a ruined mill to two reservoirs, divided by a causeway and bridge.

The mills which were the family's livelihood were built about a quarter of a mile beyond the dam which bounds the east end of the larger reservoir. They are about half a mile walk from Longwood Edge, at a much lower level.

On the further side of the stream and reservoirs there is a considerable hill rising to more than 1000 feet, known as Scapegoat Hill. On the plateau top there is a large village; its residents were in my time always known as "Topothillers"; it is said that in the time of JB I they kept very much to themselves and spoke a patois of Danish. It was the Industrial Revolution which brought them down the hill and made them Yorkshiremen.

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The road, called Lamb Hall Road, which passes Longwood Edge has always been private. It runs straight, and flat along the hillside towards the beginning of Longwood Village, where in my young days the trams terminated, at the top of the steep road downhill called Dod Lea. Northwest of Longwood Edge, the road continues past a row of cottages known as The Stoops for about a third of a mile before petering out near Snow Lea, which was another stone-built house occupied by members of the family.

Just west of Longwood Edge on the opposite side of the road are the coach-house and barns of the old farm, and it is stated in the "Life of Sir William" that JB I's woollen manufactory was in this area; no buildings of this kind existed in my day. There is however a roadside spring opposite the barns; this is good water, and no doubt accounts for the position of the house.

To complete the list of Broadbent houses in the area, Gatesgarth at Lindley was in the family very early, having been the home of JB I's father-in-law. JB II lived there till his father's death in 1837. Afterwards it was the home of Benjamin all his married life, and of his son after him. Lindley is about two miles north of Longwood Edge, over the top of the steep hill which rises behind it.

Oakscar was built in 1897-8 for JB II's daughter Sarah, and was left by May Broadbent to "young" Theo, who lived there with his family till about 1970. This is about 300 yards from Longwood Edge towards the village, just short of the Wesleyan Chapel.

Finally, in 1902 Quarry Hurst was built at the foot of an old quarry for an invalid member of the family, and later on my parents lived there from 1920 to about 1955.

All these houses belonged to the family, and it is sad to think that every one of them has now been sold. They served us all well over many generations. There is now no Broadbent living in Longwood, for the first time in nearly 150 years. This is one of the reasons which made me think that this story had to be written. Theo Broadbent however is still Managing Director of the Mills.

This is a very bleak and cold part of the world, with much snow in winter, compensated for only in part by very good skating during the frequent hard frosts.

Longwood village is built on the side of the long rocky hill which runs behind Longwood Edge for more than a mile to the east. It has a single main street of old stone houses, with short side roads up the steepest part of the hill and longer ones downhill. The inhabitants during our period were, apart from a few shopkeepers, all engaged in the woollen manufacturing industry, either in the Broadbent mills or others; one of these was right in the village, and two more were at the eastern end of the descending main street. The Broadbent mills at the valley bottom were separated by fields from Longwood, and were not far from the adjoining valley village of Milnsbridge.

In JB I's time the inhabitants of Longwood (and of Huddersfield) were a rough lot, described by a contemporary writer as "debased and wild in their manners almost to savagery". Their favourite pastimes were bull-baiting and cockfighting. Bull-baiting was the principal attraction at the Longwood "Thump" or annual feast. John Wesley preached near Huddersfield to "the wildest congregation I have seen in Yorkshire". It may well be that the unregenerate nature of the local people was one of the causes of the conversion of JB II to Methodism.


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The Farm


It must be remembered that Longwood Edge, unlike the other Broadbent houses, was a farm as well as a dwelling. Hay was cut annually from the fields (no other crop is mentioned, and the land was probably too poor for any grain crop), and one gets the impression that this was almost always ruined by rain, which in some years fell with such intensity on the sloping fields that it was feared that it would be entirely washed away. There was also a vegetable garden below the coach-house and barns.



Longwood Edge (Google StreetView imagery presented though http://www.streetcities.com)


Cows, pigs, and a horse or two were generally kept, and I remember a cowman John Pickard in the 1920's, a remarkable fellow with wide bow legs, due to rickets, and one front tooth, to which he tied his pipe with a piece of string. It was perhaps not surprising that his broad Yorkshire speech was hardly intelligible. He ended up as the gardener at Gatesgarth, and was still around in 1937. He is the first example so far mentioned of the mutual trust and fidelity of the family and the local people; there were a great many others, extending back to the time of JB I, who was saved by his own employees from being shot by the Luddites in 1812; it will be remembered that they took violent action against the introduction of machinery.

The farm however played a very small part in the Broadbent economy, which was entirely dependent on the Mills. It is probable that its principal contribution to the budget was fresh dairy produce and pigmeat, and a horse to pull the phaeton which was the family transport during the latter part of the 19th century.


The Mills


I have mentioned that JB I had what was then called a manufactory at his home, but no trace of it now remains. There was also a warehouse at Longwood Edge for a long time in one of the barns; JB II is recorded as "pottering about" in it till he was nearly eighty, an age he attained in 1876.

The first warehouse away from Longwood Edge was Lamb Hall, just on the Huddersfield side of where the Chapel was later built, on the opposite side of the road. It survived as a dilapidated barn like structure well into this century, and the road, the same one which passes Longwood Edge and goes on to Snow Lea, is still called after it.

The origin of the Parkwood Mills, as the Broadbent mills have always been known, is that some time in the 1830's the family acquired "Butcher's Mill" in payment of a bad debt. This was a small square mill, driven by a waterwheel, the pit for which still exists. It is now known as No. 1 Mill, but when my cousin "young" Theo first joined the company it was still referred to as Butcher's Mill by some of the older inhabitants.



Parkwood Mills (Google StreetView imagery presented though http://www.streetcities.com)


Nos. 2 and 3 Mills were built later in the century, and all were equipped in due course with two horizontal steam engines, one of which replaced the waterwheel. Both these engines were still running in my youth, one alleged to be eighty years old, though I think this must have been an exaggeration. The larger and more recent was a magnificent piece of Victorian engineering. It had two cylinders with enormous piston-rods yearly twenty feet long, and the non-moving parts were painted green and gold. Its power turned a vast wheel on which was a roperace. Manila ropes about two inches thick ran upwards to all floors of the building, where the power was transferred to belt-drives which ran the looms, spinning-machines and other equipment. To my young mind it gave an impression of illimitable strength, as it purred away with very little sound. Today the Mills are run by electricity.

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There were many ancillary buildings, including a dyehouse which existed from the earliest times. In my time there were buildings on each side of the road, connected by a pedestrian bridge. The main ones south of the road were occupied by the Broadbent companies and included their offices, while the single building to the north was let, floor by floor, to tenants. More is said later about the developments in the Mills, particularly in the life of Butterworth.

The Broadbents were good employers, and there has been a remarkable absence of industrial unrest or strikes, even to the present day. A few strikes there have been, one as far back as 1896 which caused the family great anxiety, but they have been common to the whole industry.

In general, management of the Mills was a humdrum affair, though the state of trade was often a cause of worry, and in the early days there were times when there was hardly enough money to pay the staff and the coal bill. Accidents did however happen. There was once a serious smash of one of the engines, which did great damage, and a letter to John in India describes another, which took place on 27 January 1879:

"We had just finished (midday) dinner when Robert came running up to say that there had been an accident with the crane and John Haigh was badly hurt. Ben ran off at once with brandy and cottonwool, and while Dr. Haigh bound up the wounds Charles drove Dr. Walker to Huddersfield to have all ready at the Infirmary. It was evident his leg must be amputated, it was so frightfully crushed, but we thought that would be the worst, but when Ben arrived at 8... he was told that he had died 5 minutes before. Poor Ben, it has been a terrible blow to him. We all went to the funeral. It was a terribly cold day, and the snow was nearly a yard thick at the top of the hill." John replied: "...I have felt John Haigh's death very much. There are few men in any station in life for whom I cared so much; he was so true and loyal..."

There were also a least two fires. Arthur gives a graphic description of one, on June 1, 1875. "We were all waked up by the buzzer at 4½ (4.30 am), Ben and I rushed down to the Mills, which were almost hid with clouds of smoke and steam. As we got nearer we were tremendously relieved to see the flames proceeded from a drying-store, which is separated from the large mill by the engine-house and is fireproof. We have a good Fire Brigade, and when we got down the hose was out and ready for playing. As soon as we got the water turned on such a deluge was poured on the fire that it was mastered in quarter of an hour. I got drenched to the skin within a few minutes and was also somewhat scorched."

The following is a list of Broadbents who have occupied a managerial position in the Mills, with their approximate dates. Some have been partners, others managing directors or directors, according to the structure of the companies at the time. It will be noted that there is a great deal of overlapping. Also, in recent times there have been and are many directors who are not members of the family.

c.1825 - c.1875 John Broadbent II
c.1855 - 1873 Butterworth
1873 - 1930 Arthur
1875 - 1925 Benjamin
c.1886 - 1895 Arnold
c.1923 - 1952 Colonel Theo (my father)
c.1920 - 1938 Benedict
c. 1950 Theo


external image John%20and%20Esther%20Broadbent.jpg

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The Family


John Broadbent I was three times married. By his first wife Ann he had a son and probably a daughter; by his second Mary nee Dyson three sons and two daughters, none by the third, who was also named Ann. John Broadbent II was the eldest son of the second wife. Sarah's record is confined to the history of her father and his family, with a little about his brother Joseph. This silence about the rest of the family is probably explained by a series of family quarrels in the early part of the 19th century, which came to a head with the dissolution of partnership between John and his two brothers on 14 February 1842. It was brought about by one of the brothers speculating, probably in wool futures. Later on, brother Joseph caused great concern to the family by going bankrupt; they were torn between a desire to assist him and the fear that if they did so they might bankrupt themselves. They did give some assistance, but with great caution. Joseph and his family lived at Snowlea till at least 1861, but after that nothing further is heard of him.

The dissolution of partnership or the quarrels may be the background to a curious incident which occurred in my younger days. An American lady whose maiden name was Helen Jo Broadbent called on my parents in the 1930s and said she was in search of her ancestors who came from Longwood. There followed naturally a considerable effort to trace the connection but it was unsuccessful, largely because the lady could not remember the first name of her ancestor. It may be that the quarrel between him and our family went back to the son of JB I by his first wife. In any case the lady remained on friendly terms with my parents for some years, though I never met her myself, as I was in India.

To return however to JB I. May Broadbent records that she was told by an old woman, who lived in one of the cottages nearest to Longwood Edge, how completely they were isolated from the outside world. She had great respect and affection for JB I, who took the deepest interest in their family concerns, encouraging the parents in the bringing up of their large family, and finding work for the children as they grew up, on the farm and in the "manufactory".

JB I was a man of strict integrity, but a shrewd and successful man of business. He and his household regularly attended Longwood Church, where he and his second wife Mary were buried in a family vault. Mary died in 1805; after JB I's burial in 1837, the vault was next opened to receive my mother's ashes in 1952, followed by those of my father in 1961. JB II and all the Longwood members of his family were buried in the chapel yard.

JB II was born on 11 March 1796 at Longwood Edge, and lived there till he was nine years old, when on the death of his mother he was sent to his grandfather Dyson at Lindley. He was educated at Huddersfield College and the Moravian School at Fulneck. There he was a very good pupil, and later said that he learnt more in his last term there than in the whole of his previous education.

On leaving school he first worked on the farm at Longwood Edge, but soon began to accompany his father on business trips to the East Riding. He formally entered the business when he was twenty.
He was a great reader, and his books included the works of Tom Paine and Voltaire, described by his daughter as being "Of a mischievous character." He himself said after his conversion that their effect was to harden him till he had no natural feelings. At this time he was on bad terms with his step-mother, though fond of his brothers and sisters.

When he was 24 occurred his conversion to Christianity, an event which not only changed his own life but affected even his father, and laid down the guide-lines which governed the whole lives of all his children as well. It is in fact the first really important event in this family history.

What happened was that when he was in Hull market on business he saw a man who was unloading sacks of potatoes drop down dead. He was conditioned to regard even death with indifference, and at first he regarded this incident simply as a curious spectacle. A doctor soon arrived, who felt the man's pulse, roughly tore open his waistcoat, took his hand again, then carelessly flung it from him, saying: "Dead enough". The doctor's coldblooded indifference roused John to anger, and he said to himself, "Here is this man who has seen suffering and death in all its forms, and yet can behave in this way to a fellow creature. He must be a brute." Then all at once his own conscience smote him and said, "Thou art as bad as the doctor." He was smitten with an intolerable burden of sin, and shrank away as if guilty of some crime.

He wrestled with his sin for some weeks, but hope came to him one day as he was riding to York, and soon afterwards he joined the Wesleyan Methodist Society at Lindley. In his determination to be a Christian he thought at first that this object was incompatible with his position as a business man, but soon found out his mistake, and followed his Christian course for the rest of his life. His daughter Sarah concludes, "Nothing was more remarkable than his unfailing joyousness." - There is a portrait of him in late middle age which bears this out; though the picture is of no great artistic merit, it appears, from a surviving photograph and facial characteristics which appear both in him and his descendants, to have been a good likeness; the character is that of a calm, genial and pleasant man. When roused however he had almost mordant pen, as will be shown later.

Esther Butterworth, who became his wife in May 1832, was born on 12 January 1810, so she was nearly 14 years younger than her husband. She was the fourth of nine children, and "the atmosphere of her home was one of earnest piety, and (she) often expressed her gratitude for godly parents."

She was very happily educated at the Moravian School at Gomersal, near Leeds, till Christmas 1826, when she returned home and is described as "busying herself with domestic duties" along with her sister. She first met her future husband on a visit to her cousin at Longwood, who was married to one of John's brothers, but the courtship was protracted. Esther was of a timid disposition in relation to the outside world, though extremely determined in her own house, and was well known to her children as an inveterate pessimist. Consequently she viewed the responsibilities of marriage with disfavour for a long time. Her portrait, a companion piece to that of her husband, shows a black-draped lady in a lace cap, with tightly pursed lips, altogether a formidable figure. Esther Broadbent, her last surviving grandchild, writes: "She always ruled the household in favour of her sons. The daughters were there simply to wait on their brothers, who never raised a finger to help in the house. She had no patience with any interest in scholarship for girls. When the actual housework was done there was plenty of sewing and mending to occupy their time." It is a harsh picture, but true enough. Sarah in her record copies out a prodigious quantity of her letters, but they contain almost no facts; they are intended as pious admonitions, liberally supported by Biblical quotations. I have used them very little.

After their marriage the Broadbents went on a honeymoon tour to Scarborough, Bridlington and Flamborough, and then returned to Lindley. This village was a great disappointment to Esther, who considered its whole aspect "inexpressibly dreary", to make matters worse two public-houses had been built almost next door to the house. None the less, when John offered her a house in Longwood she decided in favour of Lindley, where she devoted herself to the Wesleyan Church. At this time JB I used to ride over from Longwood Edge on Sundays, with his third wife Ann on a pillion behind him.

Babies soon arrived for John and Esther. The first died, but William was born in January 1835, and Butterworth in the same month of 1837. Changes were however in prospect.

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JB I at Longwood Edge was old. Having been converted to Methodism by his son, he gave land for a chapel on the hillside east of Longwood Edge and its nearer fields, and the foundation stone was laid in the spring of the last named year. He and his sons JB II and Joseph each contributed £50 towards the building. He did not however live to see it completed, but died in the summer. His wife lived on till 1859, but not at Longwood Edge, and she is seldom heard of again.

JB II and Esther removed to Longwood Edge, where they, their children, and their youngest son Arthur after them lived till the late twenties of this century.


The Chapels


A digression is necessary at this point to describe the Wesleyan chapels in Longwood. The first was the one built above the road on land given by JB I. The sole remains of this is an archway, formerly over the front door, near the grave of JB II. It had no pews in it when it was dedicated, and was therefore known as the Shell chapel, a name which was transferred in later days to the second chapel, and was current even in my youth. I do not know the date of the dedication, but an organ was installed later, and was dedicated with much ceremony in 1848. The family habitually attended two services there on Sundays, and there were many special services as well, often of a missionary nature. The chapel was the hub of their religious life, which was so important to them, and to a large extent it was also the centre of their social life.

Later a large building was erected near the chapel for a Sunday School, and a large graveyard was provided out of Broadbent land. This contains the tombs of all the resident family who died after it was laid out; the most noticeable of these is the Italianate mausoleum of Benjamin in one of the upper corners.

Much later, about 1905, the existing chapel was built next to Oakscar on the lower side of the road, towards the village. Sarah cut the first sod with a spade which is still preserved in the family. This is a long, high, and somewhat gaunt building; it is the one well known to me in my youth, though my immediate family was Church of England, and we attended services at the chapel only on rare and special occasions.



The existing Wesleyan Chapel (Google StreetView imagery presented though http://www.streetcities.com)



The Family (continued)


Now that John and Esther were established at Longwood Edge their family continued to grow. Mary Jane, their first daughter, was born in April 1839, Sarah Ann in October 1842, and John Edward, my grandfather, in April 1845. Eliza (Leila) arrived in January 1848, and Benjamin in May 1850. One cannot help feeling that Ben's name was chosen because he was expected to be the last, and so was given the name of Jacob's lastborn in the Old Testament. In fact there was a long gap after him, but as an afterthought Arthur was born in 1855, when his mother was 45 years old.

The ages of the family are in my opinion significant. Since John was nearly fourteen years older than Esther, he was almost 36 when his first surviving son was born, and by the time William and Butterworth were adult he was in late middle age. He was 59 when Arthur was born. He was always a patriarchal figure to his family, and, in practical terms, his age meant that when his sons became adult they were forced into responsible positions at a very early age. This had a pronounced effect on Butterworth especially, as he had to take over almost the sole management of the Mills in his twenties, and, together with his incurable tendency to overwork himself, this probably contributed to his early death. The same fate nearly overtook Arthur in much later years.

The family finances were always tight when the children were young. They had to be educated, and money had always to be found for the Chapel. Even when Butterworth largely took over the Mills from his father, he was always looking ahead and enlarging the buildings and the business, at great cost. The eldest son William had decided to be a doctor, and then as now this involved a long and very expensive training. When he was nearly 30, and in practice, he writes to his father that it is a great grief to him that he is still not financially independent. So life at Longwood Edge was always frugal, and every member of {p10} the family was taught to be economical in the use of money. Normally the family had one maidservant, and Esther dispensed with a nurse after William and Butterworth were born.

It has occurred to me to wonder to what extent they spoke in the Yorkshire dialect, which in that part is very broad, and has proved very persistent (happily) even to the present day. There are no records on this subject. I am of the opinion that JB I must have been fairly broad in his speech, but JB II, who was highly literate and intelligent, was probably much less so; he had been partly educated at a boarding-school. William was trained by doctors and soon went to London to live; he must have spoken standard English from his early adult years, and would encourage his brothers and sisters to do so as well. John went to the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and Ben to Oxford. All these would affect the others who for the most part remained in Yorkshire. I cannot remember any Yorkshire accent in Sarah or Ben; Arthur had perhaps a slight northern intonation, but not specifically Yorkshire. John, after long years in India and then in the south of England, was indistinguishable from a southerner.

The family was a remarkably united one, and there were close ties of affection between the parents and all the brothers and sisters throughout their lives, and Longwood Edge was much beloved by all of them as "the old home". This unity is the more striking because the dates of birth of the children ranged over a period of 20 years; William became a houseman at St. Mary's Hospital, London, when Arthur was not yet two years old.

The causes of this unity must lie in the warm climate of affection supplied by the parents, the strong devotion of the whole family to Methodist Christianity and their constant joint efforts to extend this in the village, and perhaps to some extent in their isolation from the rest of the world.

On this point, Sarah's record does not show them taking much interest in politics or the world at large, though JB II always maintained that he had taken an intelligent interest in such affairs throughout his life. There is no reference in the record to such stirring events of the 1850s as the Crimean War or the Indian Mutiny. Probably this is mainly due to Sarah's youth at that period, but one must always remember that although she quoted continually from letters she was selective, and tended to preserve what interested her personally. The American Civil War is mentioned two or three times, but always in the context of its effect on the woollen industry; the start of it caused a severe depression, but later business improved because of the federal Government's large orders for military uniforms.

An exception to this apparent lack of interest in foreign affairs was the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1, which aroused considerable debate in the family, perhaps because it was not far from home, and several of the family had visited Paris, where William studied for quite a long time. John in India was imprudent enough to express strong sympathy for France; William replied temperately putting the opposite point of view, though he was seriously concerned about the fate during the siege of the pleasant family with whom he had lodged in Paris. But the war produced a characteristically forthright comment from JB II, which must be quoted:

"You (John) seem to sympathise with France, and certainly I feel deeply for those, our family acquaintance, who I expect are now in Paris. But nationally I have none: their Infidelity, and Popery, and Pride and Ambition and Falsehood and Dissimulation had raised the cry to Heaven for vengeance. In my long life I have paid special attention to special circumstances and whether my lips have said or not, my heart has said, "Jehovah reigns". In my youth I was never a Bonapartist. I well remember the old scamp when he appeared to be prostrating all Europe at his feet, till the Great Ruler said, "Thus far shalt thou go, but no further.". When William was at home he said, "Your old friend (Napoleon) has proclaimed war against Prussia", and my reply was, "It is his last great mistake". I felt persuaded it would be a disaster for him, but it has proved very much more so than I anticipated. "

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As we are on the subject of JB II's literary style, this seems to be a good point to insert his "Commination", taken from a rent-book. He did not sign it, but internal evidence shows that he was certainly the author. I have corrected some obvious spelling mistakes in my copy, but have retained the abbreviations and the lack of punctuation:

"August 1856

This memorial is to certify that in the year 1852 J. Ramsbotham the Agent of Miss Thornhill and the Huddersfield Waterworks Company conspired to take the water from Petty Royds Springs which they knew belonged to Longwood and other Mill owners and for that purpose commenced cutting a drain which was completed and the water diverted in the month of Decr. in the same year and that in the same month (after every remonstrance had failed) an action at law was commenced by myself Armitage Brothers John Brook and Wm Shaw which has resulted in a decision by the Court of Exchequer that we could not establish our claim.

This is further to certify so long as this memorial shall exist that this action on the part of the agents of Miss Thornhill and the Waterworks Company from its commencement to its termination has been characterised by the most infamous falsehoods and perjury that the whole affair has been one of the most infamous schemes ever plotted and perpetrated by man that everything has been done which stratagem could devise to establish a claim to which they had no more right than they had to the Mills which the water supplied.

Firmly as I believe in a Great Supreme so firmly I believe in the doctrine of retribution and feel assured that such an act of deliberate and determined robbery will be followed by retributive justice and that the God of Heaven will have a controversy with the principal actors in this affair.

I will therefore insert a list of the Waterworks Company and others which have been prominent in the action that myself and my successors may mark the course of the men which could be guilty of such an act of villainy.

J. Ramsbotham Miss Thornhill and Agent

Geo Crowther Engineer to Miss Thornhill and the Waterworks Company the plotter of the whole affair and guilty of the awful and deliberate perjury John Atkinson Petty Royds. " (Followed by a list of worthies from various parts of Huddersfield, none from Longwood).

History does not relate whether a dreadful fate overtook these sinners. One feels that the earth should have opened and swallowed them up, like Korah Dathan and Abiram in the Old Testament, and not least the unspeakable J. Ramsbotham, horns, tail and all. But I should now return to the family.

Their unity encompassed also their daughters-in-law. They were fortunate in that the two eldest sons married two sisters; Butterworth married Julia Harpin in December 1862; almost at the same time William became engaged to her sister Eliza, and their wedding took place a few months later. The Harpins had been friends of the Broadbents for many years, and no doubt it was a great comfort to the sisters that they had married in the same family; in any event they were instantly accepted into the warm family milieu. Possible engagements were always examined with the greatest seriousness, because if marriage followed divorce was unthinkable. Leila was twice in trouble over men whom the family considered unsuitable, and the second affair ended in tragedy when the young man suddenly died just when the family were beginning to come round.

John also had trouble; from Calcutta he wrote announcing his engagement to Dora Nicholson, and a month later he reported that he was to be married in a few days, as indeed he was. This failure to consult the family resulted in both his parents ceasing to write to him for many months, which caused both him and Dora great grief. John had excellent practical reasons (arising from conditions in India, Dora's misfortune of being an orphan, and his own immediate prospects) for hurrying on the marriage, but these were not understood at home. Eventually it was Butterworth’s wife Julia (ever loving) who put things right by writing to Dora:

{p12}
"... I do so sympathise with you in the feeling of entering a new family, and I want you to feel not in the least hurt if you do not hear from Father or Mother at present. I know it will be all right and that if you knew them you would think them the kindest and best of parents: but Mother is always very slow to form new friendships and the news was so sudden to her that she is only just getting over the surprise.... She is almost if not altogether my highest standard of a Christian, and I cannot say less of Father. I always feel as if I was his own child, for he always treats me as such. The sisters too, as well as the brothers, so kind and good; indeed we are all united as any family could be, and I doubt not, dear Dora, when you come to England you will have a very warm welcome amongst us." She was right; the parents' letters started again, and when John and Dora came home in 1878 she was fully accepted at once.

Like many English families before and after them, the Broadbents regarded Christmas as the great festival of the year. Every Christmas is lovingly recorded by Sarah, but to me that of 1860 is the most splendid of all. In its utterly different way it can be compared and contrasted with the famous Christmas at Dingley Dell in the "Pickwick Papers": both are a story of sheer human happiness. From Sarah's record:

"My father went up to London for a few days and brought Mary J. home with him on the 14th Dec.

"Mary J. writes to William Dec 19th: "I am revelling in the sweets of home. I wish you were here too. I don't like your being by yourself. I hope nothing will prevent your coming... Soon after we came in it began to snow, and now we have real Christmas weather; the snow looks so pure. Our family increases day by day; Leila came today."

"The following day my father in going to the Mills had a fall in the snow which alarmed us at first, and threatened to cast a cloud over our Christmas; his weak knee was badly hurt, but after a day or two in bed he was able, though lame, to get about again.

"When we heard that William had contrived to snatch a few days there seemed nothing wanting to make this long-looked-for Christmas all we anticipated. The joy of meeting each other after long absence made our hearts dance with delight. We realised as we had never done before the strength of the tie which bound us together, and throughout the happy homes of England there was no happier than ours that Christmas Eve. After the younger ones were gone to bed William, Butterworth, Mary J. and I gathered round the fire, Mother also lingering with us, but finally constrained to go to my father who was partly confined to his room by his recent fall. The future presented itself to us in its rosiest hues, and we discussed our various plans and projects with no suspicion of the dark shadow that lay between us and the next Christmas.

"The 27th was the day fixed for our friends from Holmfirth to come, and so wishful was William to spend it with us that though it involved sacrificing his return ticket and he had to be at Mr. Coulson's early the following morning, he decided to remain and return by the night train. Our friends (the Harpins; Butterworth and William married Julia and Eliza Harpin within three years RB) came by an early train, and the reservoirs being firmly frozen over and the air keen, fresh and brilliantly clear, the very perfection of a winter's day, we spent nearly the whole day on the ice. The brightness of the outer world was in perfect harmony with the gladness within, and everything transpired to make the day one of purest happiness. As we parted in the evening, some to return to Holmfirth and William to London, we all agreed that we should never forget this happy Christmas. Julia Eliza and Matthew stayed all night, and we found ourselves sitting round the fire, the same six who had sat there exactly a year ago, we could not help thinking of the changes which had taken place since then and wondering what the coming year would bring.

"The next day we returned with them to Holmfirth to be present at the Heade Edge Missionary Meeting. It was late after our long walk from Heade Edge when we arrived at Birks House (home of the Harpins — RB) , but we could not forgo our evening chat, and after supper disposing ourselves on the rug round the dining-room fire we stayed till 3 o'clock. The consequence was we found our bedroom fire out, and being a bitterly cold night Mary J. caught a chill, which was increased by the walk home from Lockwood the following evening in a severe snowstorm.

{p13}
"On the following Monday, stormy as it was, Mother, Butterworth, Mary J. and I went to the Watchnight service. With what light hearts we that night left the inside warmth and gladness to plod through the deep snow, and with what joyousness we returned and let in the New Year, and how blithe and gay we were as we drank our hot coffee and talked of the glad New Year just ushered in."

The "dark shadow" in the future was Mary Jane's tuberculosis, to which I shall return in her sadly brief biography. The poor girl literally got her death of cold on that bitter night at Holmfirth and on the long walk back to Longwood Edge from Lockwood.

It is worth considering the local journeys which are described in the Christmas story above. Both the Harpins and the Broadbents travelled to Holmfirth and back. Holmfirth is a little town about six miles by road south of Huddersfield, and seven miles from Longwood by road, situated in a valley running down from the top of the Pennines. By train it was necessary to walk to Lockwood, the next station east of Huddersfield on the way to Penistone, and over two miles from Longwood Edge. From there a train could be taken to Brockholes, where there was a change to the branch line which ran to Holmfirth. I do not know how far Birks House was from Holmfirth Station, but there was a "long walk" from Heade Edge. Altogether these were astonishing expeditions in the midwinter snow, and some of the walking was at night. For this they would have carried a candle in a metal and glass frame, adequate in the snow; we were still using these in the twenties at Quarry Hurst when I was a boy. But the interesting thing is the vigour and stamina of these Victorians, surely lost today. Of course they were young and strong, determined to have their fun, but with hindsight one can say that it was all far too much for Mary J. with her weak chest.

But the most appealing account of Christmas Eve comes from William, in a year when he was prevented from coming to Longwood:

"24 Dec 1862. How true it is, L'homme propose, Dieu dispose. I thought to have spent this evening in happy talk at home, to take my part in the glorious Christmas hymn (to a Huddersfield man the Christmas hymn is "Christians, awake: salute the happy morn"; at the pre-Christmas recital by the Huddersfield Choral Society of Handel's Messiah, the performance always opened with the soloists, choir, and the packed audience singing this hymn, accompanies by the orchestra and organ; once heard never forgotten -- RB) to hear once more the scraping of feet and the muffled voices, and start up in my comfortable bed with the exclamation "The Singers"; to listen to the old familiar strains, which somehow seem never to lose their freshness, and to catch them again coming more faintly, and perhaps more sweetly, through the cold night air from a distance... "

The Singers were very much a part of a Longwood Christmas. In later years, when Sarah was keeping house at Longwood Edge for Arthur before his marriage, she used to become very irked with her brother's elaborate preparations for a substantial meal in the "warehouse" for these worthies when she herself was up to her eyes in preparing the family banquet for Christmas Day. But when The Singers actually came all was forgotten.

Sarah in her account of later Christmases continually refers to this particularly happy one of 1360, and to the "unbroken circle" of the family. It was not to remain unbroken much longer: Mary J. died in 1864, John went to India in 1868, and Butterworth died in 1873. In addition William was not always able to come for Christmas, with his increasing professional and family commitments.

All the family were very hard workers; in the circumstances of Victorian life they had to be in order to survive. There was no welfare state, and the fortunes of the family depended on sufficient earnings by the men. The younger children had to be educated from these earnings. In the home there were no vacuum cleaners, washing-machines or refrigerators, and they made their own bread, so the women were always hard at work in the house, and there was sewing and mending to do as well.

{p14}
Their recreations were mostly out-of-doors, skating when possible, and above all walking in the countryside. They travelled about all over the country, as far as Penzance in England, and also to Scotland. They went by train, of course. Once arrived, the fit members of the family went on their long walks, and the mountains of North Wales were a favourite area for these. Later when money was rather more plentiful they explored Europe also, and William became greatly enamoured of the mountains of Switzerland.

Indoors, children's games were permitted, indeed encouraged, though cards were taboo, and Butterworth's Julia had to give up whist, of which she was very fond, when she married him, They read many books, and there was much hymn-singing, especially on Sundays. Family prayers were derigueur every day. The men worked so hard that they had little time for relaxation, and the women sewed and embroidered.

...

From this point, as the family grew up, the story is best told in the individual biographies of the brothers and sisters, so I pass to the last years of JB II and his wife Esther.

JB II’s constitution was basically healthy, though he suffered from lameness in his later years, and when Butterworth took over the Mills he confined himself to "pottering about the warehouse" at Longwood Edge, and doing the accounts at home.

On his 76th birthday he wrote: "I have watched the course of events for sixty years, and my great wish has always been to see the downfall of Napoleon and the Pope; one is accomplished, and I should rejoice to see the other." His children, especially William, were to take a more tolerant view.

In October 1875 he had a bad attack of rheumatic gout. In the spring of 1876, on his 80th birthday, he overbalanced and fell heavily in his room; the shock and injury left him almost completely paralysed, with pains and fever which threatened his life. Even this he survived for some years, though the paralysis never entirely left him. His mind was unaffected, and he was alert to the last.

In 1877 he had the great joy of seeing the return of the son who was probably his favourite, John Edward, on furlough from India after more than eight years. He had never expected to see him again (reasonably enough in view of his age), and he regarded this reunion as a special mercy from God.

In 1876, he had gifted the whole of his property to his four surviving sons, who thereupon made a family settlement. They had to wait till John came home, and the whole thing was not completed till January 1879, when John was on his way back to India. The brothers divided everything including the business between themselves, allowing only maintenance to their parents and sisters during their lives, and the same to Julia and her children. The arrangement was typical of the man-dominated world of the period. There is no indication that the women were even consulted.

It had never occurred to the family that Esther, in good health and so much younger than her husband, could possibly go before him. Yet this is what happened. Early in 1878 she developed cancer of the breast. William had her brought to London; he was by now a well-known and rising physician, able to command the services of the leading doctors of his age, and she was operated on by no less a person than Professor (later Lord) Lister, with the assistance of Sir James Paget, another famous Victorian after whom two diseases are still named. She was anaesthetised with Chloroform. The operation was for the time successful, but she suffered terrible pain. She went back to Longwood, but the disease soon returned, together with the pain. What was worse, she was unable to nurse her paralysed husband, or even, for months before her death, to be moved into his room.

{p15}
The end came on 11 October 1879. William’s description is a moving one:

"My poor mother was released from her sufferings last evening, more speedily than I had expected.

"I did not get (to Longwood Edge) till after 2pm, by which time she was scarcely capable of giving any manifestation of consciousness and had long been unable to speak. All they could see was that her eyes turned constantly to the door in evident expectation, and all I received of recognition was a feeble look.

"Up to this time, although they had told father she was worse, he had not realised it, and I had to tell him she was dying. It was a great shock to him. When I had gone back to mother's bedside, he said to a cousin of ours who was sitting with him: 'You will find a warm coat of mine in the other room; bring it here. Then tell William I want to see him.'When I got to him he said: 'Is mother conscious? Will she know me? I want to kiss her once more. ' I said of course that we would take him to her. He replied: 'That's right', and then said not another word while we were making preparations. I will not trust myself to say anything about the interview, and indeed I will only add that she lingered till 7 o'clock and then passed peacefully and quietly away, her mode of death realising literally the words in which she used to speak of it: 'the weary wheels of life stand still.'

"We cannot but be glad that it is so."

John did not long survive her. In his helplessness he longed to die and rejoin his wife., During the winter it did not seem that he could live, but in the spring he rallied and regained some of his former cheerfulness, but it was not for long, and he died on 11 September 1880. William writes his obituary:

"My dear old father has at length attained his long-desired haven. He died yesterday.

"This death leaves a great void in our hearts though we cannot be sorry that he is released from weariness and suffering, and for myself it is rather a feeling of great solemnity and seriousness than of grief and sadness that has come over me.

"He was a good man — the best man I have ever known, and I cannot but feel how far short of his standard I come. I do not hesitate to say that he was a great man too. There was something in his character which commanded respect, and he had an influence altogether unaccounted for by his means and position. There was an entire absence of self-assertion, but his equals all gave way to him, and among his workmen his word was law. He always had his choice of the best men, and men would work for him as they would for no one else.

"He has left his mark on the world — a real, if not a conspicuous one. The moral and religious tone of the whole neighbourhood was raised by his influence, and who can estimate the value of this throughout so long a life? Materially too he has been a benefactor. Driving up the village the other day, my brother pointed out house after house, good, substantial stone houses, built for themselves and occupied by our workpeople. Some, indeed have become manufacturers and have made fortunes, but I think more of the comfort of the many.

"Intellectually he was an undeveloped poet, not that there was anything brilliant about him. It was indeed only in his prayers that the poetic element appeared, and that not in any excitement or vehemence, but in the quiet family prayers, which were always extemporaneous. Well, he is gone ...."

And of his funeral:

"I feel moved to continue my letter about my dear old father and to tell you about his funeral, which seemed to belong to another age and generation altogether, more simple and natural than our own, and to be more like a tribe following an old patriarch to the grave than a modern burial.

"I think I told you how he had arranged every detail of his own funeral long since; he had seen the village carpenter and given him instructions about the coffin, he had our head mason up to his room and told him exactly how the vault was to be constructed, so that he and my mother should lie side by side, and how it was to be closed, and he had made my brother write down all particulars with regard to the proceedings of the day itself. Sometimes after a restless night, when asked how he had slept, he would say, 'Well, not very well, but I have been superintending my own funeral.' All this was before my mother's death and in the anticipation of her surviving him; when she died he had not the heart to give a single direction or to express a wish, and when we asked if he would like so and so done, he would only say he left it all to us. So far as I know, he has never said a word about his own funeral since.....

"According to his wishes, then, our near relations and a few intimate friends came to the house. All others assembled at the school-room connected with the Chapel, where breakfast was provided for those who came a distance before the funeral; for those living in or near the village after it.

"At about half-past ten the coffin was brought down from the bedroom and placed in the passage unclosed, and while the minister who had charge of the service read a chapter and prayed with ourselves and the friends, the people, who had by this time come up from the school-room, filed past to have a final look at my father's face, entering by one door and leaving by another.

"My father had chosen the chapter to be read, as he had the hymns and even the tunes to be sung. You would never guess what the chapter was, and you could not, without knowing him intimately, at all understand his choice.

"The minister seemed puzzled at first, and one could see that he thought there must have been some mistake; but as he read on a gleam of light seemed to fall upon his understanding, his intonation changed, and it was to him a revelation of my father's mind. The chapter was Isaiah 54.

"The Methodist burial service is that of the Church of England without, or, as in my father's case, with the interpolation of one or two hymns and a short address and prayer. After the psalms we had over again the first hymn, and sung as it was heartily and with feeling, with all the parts well given and especially the bass, one felt there was not only music in the tune but poetry. Poetry in the tune itself as well as the words, which, indeed, usually is the case in my father's favourite tunes, only you must have a singing congregation to do them justice.

"The second hymn is the grandest ever written, and to it again the tune was a worthy match. I think my dear old father would be satisfied if really there in spirit, superintending, and as he said in his playfulness, his own funeral.

"The last solemn and hopeful words were said, and we returned home, leaving the chapel-yard full of people waiting respectfully till we had gone, before they too had a last look into the grave..."

So JB II passed to his rest, a pillar of Victorian provincial society, and in the fullness of his eighty-four years, to be reunited, one must hope, with his dear Esther.

I intended, when I started this history, to make it a memoir of my grandfather John Edward, but I soon found his parents and his whole generation must be in the main subject. Since I started to write and to re-read my sources, I have been tempted to the conclusion that JB II was perhaps the finest of all, decisive but kind, forthright and utterly honest, true throughout his life to the Christian principles he had worked out for himself in his youth.

His death was the end of an era, as his children knew, and it is no wonder that Sarah ended her family record with his funeral. Before I pass on to the individual biographies of his sons and daughters, I think it is fitting to include a short selection from his letters to his son John Edward in India, because they reveal so much of his character.

{p17}
"29 January 1869: ... Yet though absent in person I can be with you in spirit, and in thinking over your rambles I sometimes forget my lame leg and forget my age, and enjoy some of the finest scenery, but I awake, and behold it is a dream... When I was your age I was a very movable subject, and especially before my conversion got more or less acquainted with every class of society. I never conversed with a man long without taking stock of him. You will no doubt have unpleasant circumstances to meet with, but you must meet them like a Christian, ever remembering that 'when a man's ways please God He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him'... My purpose is to include a scrawl to you once a month with the others so long as my head and hands and eyes are capable, and when they fail I hope memory will never fail to record that I have a distant son who needs my prayers."

"26 February 1869: ... You state how your patience is tried by those about you. There was a man in York some years ago, in relating his Christian experience was in the habit of praising God for that religion which could cure bad temper, and I have witnessed some extraordinary instances of that kind, but perhaps none more so than in myself. Before my conversion I was easily provoked, and though my self-control at that time scarcely ever burst out the violence of irritation burnt strongly within. My conversion was a complete turning about: anger and pride and covetousness were my besetting sins, and I was aware they would require a double guard, and I to a great extent conquered. I remember my first resolve was that as the world so abounded in misery and wretchedness my part should be to do all in my power to diminish it, and so to guard and watch my temper as not to let it rise in my breast, much less appear in my eyes or my actions. At that time I had the management of our business on my hands, but Grace triumphed. Of course I am ignorant of the class of men you have now come in contact with, But they are men, and you must treat them as such ... I am weaker as you may expect, and my lame leg fails me more and more, and I want your regular step to help me; But I have none of that anxious care which is considered the common lot of old age, but feel to wait with patience the time of my departure...."

"7 May 1869: (John had just told his father of his inconclusive encounter with a tiger.) It is a great pleasure to me that you are satisfied with the path you have chosen. I don't think I should have disliked it when I was your age. I hope in the far-off land to which you have gone you will be blessed and made a blessing... But what of your visitor, Master Tiger? Have you despatched him, or has he retreated? because if you have got him I shall want his skin. I think you did wisely to retreat under the circumstances, but if he had come out upon you your duty would have been to fight him firmly and fairly. I should not like to face a tiger, but I have never met with a beast yet that could withstand my firm gaze...."

"29 October 1869: I am almost sorry you are leaving your mountain district; you know I am a thorough countryman — no taste for town bustle, and no town entertainment or anything of that sort could ever induce me to leave Mother and her youngsters..."

"13 January 1870: ... We got the photograph, but had much rather have had yourself. I was not very much pleased with it. There is a sternness in the countenance which you did not take from home with you and which I should not like to see increased. You know I can be stern enough sometimes, and perhaps have had to be so with you occasionally, but you know how soon all passed off again..."

Not long after this John Edward got himself engaged and married, and there was rift with his parents; although this was healed, JB II's pleasantly intimate letters to his son were not renewed, and so we must bid farewell to this grand old man, though any friends whom he has made among my readers will be glad to know that he will turn up again during the biographies of his children.


{p18}

PART II. The Brothers and Sisters


1. William Henry


[See also his Wikipedia entry here.]

William, born in 1835, is the only one of my subjects who had his biography published. This was entitled "The life of Sir William Broadbent, KCVO, FRS", was written by his daughter M(ay). E. B., and was published by John Murray in 1909. It is long out of print, but one can occasionally come across a copy in second-hand booksellers' shops. It is a major source for this short history, second only to Sarah's records. William was the most distinguished of his family, achieving a baronetcy and the friendship of the courts of Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.

After attending a dayschool in Longwood, William and his younger brother Butterworth went as weekly boarders to Huddersfield College. The former left school at 15½ and was at first intended to go into the business. For two years he continued learning the various processes of wool manufacture, and assisting his father, but he did not like business and wished to become a doctor. As soon as Butterworth was ready to take his place, his medical training was arranged, and he left the Mills.

An uncle was in practice in Manchester, and William was apprenticed to him for five years – on payment of a premium. This sounds to us a strange way of starting to become a doctor, but there existed a Royal School of Medicine in Manchester, and the premium was supposed to cover fees, though in practice it was far from doing so.

After matriculating at London University in general subjects, he was brilliantly successful at the Royal School at Manchester in 1855, winning several prizes. But like all his generation he had to work desperately hard, and his health suffered.

He was also thrown willynilly into his uncle's practice, because, as May Broadbent delicately puts it, the latter "at times gave way to intemperance, ... being often quite incapacitated from attending to it". So William walked his round, looked up his books at home to identify each ailment, and then made up his own prescriptions. Only then could he turn to his own training. It was cruel labour, but he later said that the experience was invaluable. He even had to take charge of the books of the practice and send out the accounts.

Two letters give an interesting account of the Manchester of that period.

"2 December, 1856: I have had so much to do in the practice lately that I have had scarcely any time for study. Nearly every morning I have to walk four miles and see a patient before going to the hospital, and often when I should be working in an evening I have a long dismal round of five or six miles. Today it has been snowing very fast; the streets are consequently covered to a depth of several inches. I set out to see two patients immediately after the six o'clock lecture, when of course it was quite dark, the snow still falling fast. I walked along as fast as the slippery streets would allow me, and as I came to a low part of the city I had a foretaste of the treatment I was to expect, in the shape of a snowball. Soon after a second from a group of men standing at the door of a spirit vault took off my hat. The men set up a loud laugh and retreated into the shop.

"I had seen one patient and been hit several times more, when unfortunately I fell in with a regular mob of mill-hands. The cry was set up, 'Here's a hat', and they began to pelt me with all their might. My hat went, and I was hit on every part at once and completely bewildered. Picking up my hat and holding it on with one hand my spectacles with the other, I made my way from them. I was dreadfully vexed. Well, I got along till I came to another very bad part: I was going down a street and was told I had better turn back. I soon came up to a group, but as they were engaged {p19} in pelting a poor woman, I approached them unperceived. I saw what I had to expect, so when one had just hit the poor woman on the head, I walked up to him, gave him a kick behind and a good cuff which sent him rolling in the snow. The rest I believe thought I was a policeman, for I walked quietly on, not heeding their shouts and threats, and not a snowball was thrown at me. I saw my other patient and reached Broughton tired and wet, but had to set off again to the surgery, and here I am writing this letter. Now is not this a long letter to write when I am so tired and weary?

"19 February 1857: I quite enjoyed the walking or driving to see the patients, but today Manchester has been like one huge wash-kitchen on a washing day with a smoky chimney. The fog positively feels sticky, and it makes my eyes smart to drive through it.

"We have had rather an eventful time since Uncle and Aunt left. A new coat of mine and my famous old study coat, with four teaspoons, have been stolen. Then our manservant roused me out of bed one night at about 1 am to dress his wounds, as he had had a narrow escape from being murdered by a set of garotters... I have been taking my tea and writing at the same time, and now I am going out to have another taste of the fog."

One is tempted to say, "Plus ça change...", except perhaps for the fog.

He joined Manchester Royal Infirmary, while continuing his studies at the Royal School, where he continued to win prizes. He passed his examinations at the College of Physicians and Apothecaries Hall in London, and began to seek appointments as a house Surgeon, but was repeatedly disappointed.

Accordingly it was decided that he should continue his studies in Paris, where the Medical School was internationally famous. He found lodgings with a Protestant clergyman called Armand-Delille, and he remained a life-long friend of this family. He returned to London in July 1858.

He passed the London MB with honours and a gold medal, and in December was appointed Obstetric Officer at St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington, the beginning of a lifelong association with that institution. Late in 1859 he was made a Registrar, and Curator in 1860. In the same year he achieved his MD and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians. He also set up his first home on Seymour Street. His sister Mary J became his housekeeper.

William became engaged to Eliza Harpin immediately after Butterworth had married her sister Julia in December 1862. They were married at Holmfirth in August 1863, and spent their honeymoon in Paris and Switzerland. They went to Longwood Edge for Christmas, the last of the "complete family circle". Sarah writes:

"There had been some doubt about John being able to come for Christmas on account of his examination, but we could not reconcile ourselves to his absence, and Christmas Day found us once more a complete family circle. It was a happiness to recognise that William's and Butterworth's marriage had in no way interfered with our family unity, Eliza and Julia being as much a part of the family as any of us; and the baby (Julia's) formed a new interest in our Christmas gathering and was an object of great attention."

William was elected to the permanent staff of St. Mary's in March 1865, but he was still in great financial straits, especially now that he was married. His career however continued to develop favourably, and he spent much time writing important medical papers, which were highly regarded and undoubtedly widened the frontiers of contemporary medical knowledge.

In 1864 he became the Honorary Secretary of the British Medical Benevolent Fund; he was Treasurer from 1873 to 1900, when he became President, and remained so till his death.

Residence in London changed some of William's views. In religion, though he remained a sincere and practising Christian, he abandoned Methodism for the Church of England; he also began to tolerate Roman Catholicism. Writing to John in India at Christmas 1868 he says:

"Beware of letting your aversion to Popery and Romanising tendencies carry you too far. Remember that Roman Catholicism is after all a {p20} form of Christianity, and in the presence of heathenism all Christians should be brethren. Tens of thousands go to Heaven through the Romish Church — it has its thousands of devoted servants who though involved in many errors and superstitions, are servants of Christ. You fear that Popery may regain its supremacy here. I have no such fear, and if it should, it would be displacing not the pure truth held by Protestant churches, but infidelity.

In India, at any rate, it must do more good than harm, and if you find yourself side by side with some priest who is living a pure, upright, devoted life, do not let your disapproval of many of his tenets prevent you from giving him your friendship and support,"

Going on to discuss Ritualists, he ends his sermon: "You can never be wrong.... in putting a charitable construction on the actions and motives of others, especially in matters of religion."

About India: "Practically, your first duty is towards the natives, over whom, in God's Providence, we are set as rulers for their good. This constitutes our only right to be in India. You will never look upon them as brute beasts, but as fellow-creatures whose material and moral welfare it is your business to promote. It is in this way that you will best serve your Queen and country."

Politics: "You must have patience too with us Liberals, Most men come back from India extreme Conservatives. I think the development of your mind will carry you in a contrary direction. Always be ready to give us credit for good intentions at least, even when we seem to be pulling down what in your idea are the bulwarks of the Throne."

This long letter may be thought rather stern and mandatory, but William was older than John by ten years, and the latter had only been in India a few weeks when it was written.

As time went on, not only did William's family grow, May, John F. H., Walter, Gertrude and Madeleine, but at last finances began to improve, and he was able to indulge his passion for walking in several parts of the Continent, but especially in Switzerland, where he loved to climb mountains. He was fortunate in being able on his holidays to shake off almost immediately his perpetual burden of overwork, and return refreshed.


It is not my intention to dwell on all the medical honours which William received as his career advanced, nor am I qualified to do so; it is enough to say that he reached the top of his profession. But his connection with the royal family is of general interest.

This started in November 1891 when Prince George of Wales (later George V) fell ill with typhoid fever, William was called in for consultation, and was in daily attendance for more than a month. On one occasion he had a long interview with the Queen.

In January 1892 he spent a pleasant weekend at Sandringham at the invitation of the Prince of Wales, and a week later he was called there again to attend the Duke of Clarence, who was desperately ill with pneumonia. Unhappily the Duke died, and the next day William was called to the Queen at Osborne House. Here he had to tell her the whole story of the Duke's illness, and was kept standing for an hour and a quarter. After this he was taken to another room to meet other members of the royal family, and "could hardly crawl upstairs". He then talked standing for another 15 or 20 minutes. "They were very pleasant and cordial, but I was glad when the interview was over." One cannot but feel that the royal protocol of the period was singularly inconsiderate to guests.

On 7 February 1892 the Prince of Wales wrote William the following letter:

"My dear Dr. Broadbent,

There is no one who stands higher in the medical profession than you do, and I am most anxious to ask you to accept the appointment as my Physician-in-Ordinary, not only on account of the high position you hold, but as some mark of gratitude and appreciation for the services you {p21} rendered to our beloved sons during their dangerous illnesses.

It pleased God to take away one and leave the other, but all that lay in your power, with the knowledge and skill which you possess, was done to save their lives.

Believe me,
Yours very sincerely,
ALBERT EDWARD.

William and his family had earlier moved from his original house in Seymour Street to a better one in the same street, and in 1892 he transferred to 84 Brook Street, where he remained for the rest of his life. His own comments on the new house were:

"Perhaps the most interesting event of the year has been our removal to Brook Street. It is really a beautiful house, a great deal too good from one point of view, i.e., accustoming the children to appearances and comforts which they will scarcely be able to command later, and which therefore they may miss.



84 Brook Street, London; the house of Sir William Henry Broadbent (assuming no renumbering has since taken place).


"I was compelled to move, however by my work, and — as far as one can be justified in living in a fine house — was justified by my income and position in taking this house when it offered itself.

"I have taken over £13000 during the year, but this cannot possibly be maintained, and while it lasts it is slavery. What I feel most is being away from Eliza and the children so frequently on Sundays, and again at Christmas."

I quote this because it is entirely typical of the man; the emphasis on the needs of his work, the care for his family, his own "slavery", and his careful record of his earnings, go a long way towards summing up his character, but one must not forget his abiding interest in Longwood and in his brothers and sisters and their families.

In 1893 William was made a baronet on the occasion of the marriage of the Duke of York. This honour was in many ways the climax of his career, but more was to come; in 1897 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. When Queen Victoria died in 1901, he was appointed Physician-in-Ordinary to the new King and the Prince of Wales, and was appointed KCVO. He was also made Chairman of the Advisory Committee to draw up plans for the King Edward VII Sanatorium for tuberculosis sufferers at Midhurst. No doubt this was because he had taken a prominent (and controversial) part in forming the National Association for the Prevention of Consumption and other forms of Tuberculosis. It is my opinion that his memory of Mary J's untimely death had some part in the interest he took in the effort to curb this particular disease.

The Coronation of Edward VII had to be postponed because he fell ill with appendicitis. William was of course one of the physicians most involved, and when the operation was successful and the postponed Coronation took place, he had a prominent position in Westminster Abbey, as he did on several other royal occasions.

In 1905 he suffered the severe grief of the sudden death after child-birth of his daughter Gertrude, who had been married to the Rev. H. P. M. Lafone in 1895. She left five children.

In 1906 he greatly enjoyed a visit to Canada, but towards the end of that year he was taken ill with pleurisy, pneumonia and heart failure and never fully recovered. He died of a further heart attack on 10 July 1907, and was buried at Wendover, where for some years he had had a small country house.

May Broadbent concludes her biography with extracts from letters and speeches about her father made by his colleagues, which are too technically medical to be reproduced here. The tenor of them is his unceasing efforts for the advancement of medicine for the benefit of the human race, his arrival in London without friends and subsequent advance to the top by his own merit, and his kindness and sympathy for his patients.

{p22}
All these things are true. I never met Sir William, as he died before I was born, but as I grew up there was still a strong and respectful memory of him among my elders. Certainly he never forgot the relatively obscure family from which he came, and would drop everything to come to Longwood if he was really needed. Often also he came simply for relaxation at the week-end.

From my study of him, I conclude that he had a first class brain, which he used to the full in his incessant work, but he was not really an "intellectual". Indeed he once admitted that in this respect he was inferior to Ben (in the unfortunate fashion of the times, Sarah, the most intellectual of all, did not enter the reckoning). But in addition to his mastery of the medicine of his time, and his work for the extension of human knowledge in this field, he was an excellent and practical administrator.

In relation to his family, it can be said that he was very conscious that he was the eldest brother, and he was inclined to be dictatorial on occasion and could be very tough if he considered that his interests had not been properly looked after by his brothers in Longwood. But he was loved and respected by them all, and of course it was he who put the Broadbents on the social map, a process which was continued by his eldest son Sir John, also a distinguished doctor at St. Mary's, and indeed by his other surviving children. May, who never married, was a member of the London County Council for many years, and herself did much for London's hospitals. The second son, Walter, another doctor, practised in Brighton, and after his father's death made and published a collection of his medical writings. (William had a considerable literary gift, as can be seen by the letters which I have reproduced in this chronicle). The youngest daughter, Madeleine married Dr. Louis Hamand, who was for some 35 years organist of Malvern Priory and wrote a monograph on the marvellous mediaeval windows in that great church.

May says almost nothing in her biography about Eliza, her mother, and one senses a conflict of personalities. The latter survived her husband by several years, and I once met her when I was a little boy. It is a faint memory; I recall a kind but rather grand old lady, of whom I felt instant awe.


2. Butterworth


Butterworth was born at Gatesgarth in January 1837, and came to Longwood Edge as a baby on the death of JB I in the summer of the same year.

He went to school at Huddersfield College with William, but only till he was fifteen, when because William started his medical training he had to join his father, who was then 58, at the Mills. Sarah writes of 1865, when Butterworth had a severe illness: "He was then nineteen and for the last four years had been my father's mainstay in the business; and during that time had experienced that change of heart which in his case they looked upon with peculiar satisfaction. The wild, reckless, high-spirited boy had caused them many anxious hours, and it was with more than ordinary joy and thankfulness (that) they saw him as he grew up gradually inclining to the good, till at last he had taken the decisive step which they knew, if spared, would ensure a life of usefulness. It was only very gradually that strength returned after this illness; his pale wan face and trembling stop were a strange contrast to his previous activity, and he never entirely regained his former robustness."

I feel that as Wordsworth nearly said, "shades of the prison-house closed around this growing boy"; it is greatly to his credit that he accepted his fate, and bent all his energies to shouldering the whole family’s burdens. May Broadbent said of him: "Butterworth..., nearest to William in age, was his constant companion in boyhood and his intimate friend when they grew up to manhood. He was naturally full of life and spirits; his broad forehead, from which the curly hair fell back in waves, and his open face, with its singularly bright smile, were indications of a disposition and character which attracted all who came in contact with him". A photograph which I have shows exactly these characteristics, with the addition that when it was taken he was going slightly bald above the forehead and had a small beard under his chin, going round to his ears. He had very dark hair.

external image Butterworth%20Broadbent.jpg

{p23}
At 21 he thought of becoming engaged to be married, but held back, partly at the request of his parents. This was as well, because in the summer of the same year, 1858, he met his future wife Julia for the first time. She had just been converted to Methodism.

Meanwhile he was travelling on business in all weathers, largely in Lincolnshire, where he found he was welcomed by those who had known his father. He gradually became the dominant figure in the business, though JB II never totally gave up till he was nearly 80; even when he was unable to move from Longwood Edge he still helped with the accounts.

In his management of the Mills Butterworth was always forward-looking; he was prepared to spend or even borrow money to enlarge the buildings and expand the business, but it was always risky. Meanwhile he kept the family on a tight rein financially; he was in a position to do this because the Mills in his time were almost the only source of the family income; they drew from the business what Butterworth, taking into account the necessities of education as well as daily living, thought could be afforded, and nobody gainsaid him.

He writes to William on 2 February 1861: "They are progressing rapidly with the new mill. Money is awfully scarce; it is mercy you have not to draw heavily on us. We have laid out on the new mill £1900 and Bridge Mill has £1100; we should have done nicely if we had not built, but I do not regret, though we shall be put to inconvenience, no doubt, for a time." This is typical of many of his letters, some of which were much less optimistic. But he was basically hopeful. Again to William on 18 Febrauary 1861: "With respect to the Balance Sheet, it is not nearly as good as I had hoped for, but I do not complain. I don't like retrogression, but on the whole we ought to be very thankful. It is well this stop in trade has come now instead of next year. I think trade will revive by the time we have the new mill running."

Butterworth felt very much alone in his job. In 1861 John was sixteen and in his last year at school; he had shown no clear desire for any career, but the family opinion was that he should enter a profession, probably medical; in this context Butterworth writes: "John seems decided for the medical profession. I do not attempt to dissuade him because it is my decided opinion that he will do best in it, but I do not like to be left alone; supposing my health should fail, how then?"

This was a bad year. Mary J was already very ill, Ben's serious trouble with his knee had begun, and JB II was also far from well. On top of all this the engine at the Mills broke down, causing great damage. Butterworth was trying hard to see his way to marry Julia Harpin, and these disasters were almost too much. To William on 21 September from Hull: "I suppose before this reaches you the bad news from home will have disheartened you as it has me. It was a terrible shock to me this morning, but my mind had been prepared for it. I really get low-spirited sometimes; we have had a very poor year, and now this misfortune comes. But we must not be faint-hearted; we shall yet get on with God's blessing... I have quite given up any idea of Snow Lea now. I intended to ask Father to buy it. My chances of getting married next year diminish. I can't be more careful nor can I work harder... It will soon be Julia's birthday. Poor child! to have to share my anxieties and troubles...."

Atlas with the world on his shoulders at the age of 24! But in a few days, though still depressed about the Mill breakdown, he is more cheerful: "It encourages one wonderfully to do one's best, and so I will. The new mill is approaching completion; it is a first rate handsome mill, built very cheaply, and I may congratulate myself. Our trials are for some good, I am sure."

But things turned out even better than expected, as his wedding was fixed for December, and in October 1862 he went to stay with William in London and to buy furniture for Snow Lea, which had after all been bought for him and Julia. His troubles however were not over; to William on 18 November: "Father and Mother both declare I am going headlong to ruin, following my predecessors at Snow Lea (Uncle Joseph and his family who had gone bankrupt RB), only outstripping them all. It is too late to talk now when I have ordered nearly everything.... Sorry to say things are looking very dark as to our future at the Mills. You may fancy how I feel in the midst of it all — absolutely nothing being made, and me spending at this rate. " And next day:

{p24}
"I am at my wits' end. I am really miserable and don't know what to do. Father and Mother blaming me and grieved at me, with the darkest look-out before us in business, and harassed and bothered on all sides..."

Poor desperate man. But, to quote Sarah: "At last the great day came ... (It) was a very happy one; the guests consisted solely of the members of our and the Harpin families, so there was no stiffness or formality. The carriages came for us at half past eight, four of us in each. The ceremony was at St. John's Church (Holmfirth) at half past ten, and the wedding breakfast at Birks House immediately afterwards. The weather was singularly favourable; there was not a single drawback. Everything conspired to make the day a complete success. All the clouds seemed to have passed away. The bride and bridegroom were in excellent spirits, and my father and mother were as happy as any of us. There could not be a brighter wedding day or one more full of happy omens."

Butterworth and Julia returned from their honeymoon in the Isle of Wight to Snow Lea on Christmas Eve, and the whole Longwood family, who had been engaged in herculean efforts to get the house ready in time, were there to meet them. It was to be a wonderfully happy marriage, and Julia, who had long been a friend, was immediately accepted. Sarah says; "(She) had taken her place in the family from the first as if she had always belonged to it."

Trade however, continued bad. Butterworth decided to go into the yarn trade to keep the mill machinery moving, but this cost money without any immediate return; he became as depressed as ever, but in July, 1863 they had a stroke of luck; he writes, "our immediate necessities have been most providentially supplied by someone paying an account before it was due. I could not imagine how we were to get over next week ..." William, who was to be married almost at once, had been compelled to draw on the family, albeit unwillingly.

Edie, Butterworth and Julia's first child, was born on 19 September.

Life went on. Butterworth shared to the full the family's delight in touring, walking, and mountain-climbing. Like William, he had the capacity to shed his worries when he was on holiday. In August 1864 he was at Ambleside with Julia, Sarah and Leila. They went on a delightful trip in a hired boat on Lake Windermere, and were "all in the highest spirits". Another day after going to Keswick they decided to climb Helvellyn from Wythburn, starting after tea at 5.30 pm. Having once done the same thing myself, but not at that hour, I think I would not have made so late a start. They toiled, and three Catholic priests who met them halfway said they would never make it; the girls were discouraged, but "I rallied them like a general". On they went, and at 7 o'clock the girls had had enough. But Butterworth was not deterred, and "after 15 minutes of the hardest work I ever did I suddenly came to (the summit) and the most glorious sight my eyes ever beheld. Rushing down I brought up all the girls. The sun set most gloriously — not a cloud or a bit of mist obscured the view".

By September 7 he was thinking of building another mill. "In the meantime I am making it a subject of special prayer for guidance. It will greatly increase my responsibility if we do it, but in my judgement it will be for the future benefit of the family, and if circumstances clearly direct us to it I shall willingly undertake it." Note the first person singular; he knew now that he was in sole control of the Mills. In October he wrote; "We have decided on the new mill. It is rather a bold spec. with money at 9 per cent. Of course it has had much serious thought and prayer, and I believe it will prove right though we shall be embarrassed for a long time". The mill was duly built, and was successfully let to tenants.

But he began to suffer severely from "neuralgia" (?migraine) with dreadful lack of sleep, and had to go on holiday twice at short intervals. William was in no doubt; "Butterworth's illness is the result of work and anxiety". He sent £20. to help with the family difficulties over money.

All fell on Butterworth; Sarah writes: "Father is quite unequal now to the wear and tear of business; he cannot bear it." But Butterworth recovered, perhaps because there was an improvement in trade; in January 1866 he writes to William: "The last year has been tolerably prosperous; God had mercifully preserved us from serious misfortunes and our prospects for the future are hopeful. We have both received blessing in the shape of sons and heirs during the year, so that it has been rather eventful."

The son born to Julia in 1865 was Arnold.

It was not very long however before the financial worries began again; John passed out of Woolwich into the Royal Engineers, and his uniforms and equipment, things hitherto unknown to the family, were so expensive as to fill them with gloom. Sarah said she had never seen Father and Butterworth so harassed, and the latter said that a man had need have £1000 a year to meet all his expenses in such a position (as John's). In fact the Mills had to be mortgaged: Butterworth says: "It was a painful thing to Father to sign the mill mortgage... it is humiliating to me but I felt it most to see how it hurt Father. We must never be satisfied to let it remain, and I do hope Father will live to see us redeem ourselves." He even considered letting Snow Lea for ten years and moving to a smaller house, but managed to avoid this.

Butterworth was fully committed to Christianity, and was a keen missionary in the neighbourhood of Longwood. To John, 19 October 1866: "... We are having outdoor services at Outlane (two miles west of Longwood Edge RB). We began three Sundays ago, to the astonishment of the natives who came to their doors as we passed and wondered what new idea had taken us. The idea originated in this way: we were talking about the people who never attend any place of worship, and we resolved to try some unusual means to get them to come to the chapel. I gave a short address to them out of doors and invited them to come in; they talked together and they all came in; it was one of the best times we ever had. What roused us to these efforts was the fact that 16 young men were taken up at Outlane for Sunday gambling; when one thinks how they are serving Satan, and what fine soldiers they would be for Christ it makes my heart burn for their salvation".

Natural and other trials continued. Trade was bad, and in November it rained in torrents "and so filled the mill dam that to prevent it bursting they had to make an opening at the side and turn the water into the road. Butterworth had to be knee deep for some time to encourage others to work, and humanly speaking it was only through his energy and tact that it was saved. Father had gone to examine the reservoir and got his foot fast (stuck — a Yorkshire expression RB) and only by pulling his foot out of the boot was he able to extricate himself ..."

Things went on fairly quietly for Butterworth, apart from his unending work at the Mills, for more than two years, though the whole family was much affected by John's departure to India in November 1868. But early in the following year he overworked himself at the special missionary services and had to rest at home: "Part of my illness I have no doubt has been the result of over-exertion at our special services. It may be imprudent to use one's self up in that way, but I know it would be just the same if the same thing were to do again".

But by June he was once more looking ahead, and this letter of 3 June to John is so typical of his attitude to the business that I shall quote it at some length: "What will you say when we have decided on an outlay of £2000 this year and are about to let the contracts? This has been thrust upon us, and I feel persuaded will be the right thing in the end. It is only part of the plan I have had before me for some years, but it has come sooner than I anticipated. It will yield a good return and make our premises far more complete. There are my children and William's growing up and if they take to business we might make a good large firm. It would be a fine opening for all of our families who preferred business; it would also be a good and safe investment for savings which we hope you and William may effect. Our mill property can scarcely be surpassed for convenience and water (so vital to woollen manufacture RB), and in venturing on competition with others we shall have every chance."

{p26}
In his next letter he has been bringing in the hay (for once the weather was fine for it), and says he has worked to the utmost of his strength.

In 1870 business was looking up a little, and he decided he would not have to leave Snow Lea. He goes on to John: "Having food and raiment and a reasonable prospect of the continuance thereof I am quite content. I accept my mission: it is to take the management of our family financial concerns, and the best recompense I can have will be to see our family rise and prosper, secondary of course to the highest of all rewards, the approval of God and the conscious sense of duty discharged ..." He ends: "This year there is included (in the family accounts) £100 given towards the new school, and I think we can continue to give £100 above our ordinary giving. We have done pretty well for the poor around us, and I intend to do more still in this way". As he and Julia had just decided to do without a second servant on grounds of economy, their personal sacrifice for good causes can be estimated.

In May 1870 the second son Willie of Butterworth and Julia died at the age of a year and seven months. It was their first great sorrow. On top of this bereavement came the startling news of John's engagement and almost immediately of his marriage, which caused consternation. To make up for Willie's loss Julia had a little girl, the younger Julia, later in the year.

In 1871 Butterworth built again, spending £1500 on a new warehouse; trade was good, but there was inflation: Coal went up 20 shillings per ton, and wages were up by 20 per cent. Butterworth was busy as usual, but at Christmas he got a severe cold which kept him indoors for a week: this was the first sign of the end.

Sarah writes in March 1872: "Butterworth's health was proving extremely unsatisfactory.... We often feel anxious about him, he is so far from being strong; when he comes in from the mills in an evening he seems quite exhausted, and can do nothing but lie on the sofa".

All that year and during the first half of 1873 one can trace his gradual decline: a few days work, illness and rest, then back to work till the next attack, generally more severe that the last. It could not go on, but when the end came it was fairly sudden. (Nobody says what Butterworth died of, and even William seems not to have diagnosed him, but my cousin Enid Lodge says that her grandmother Julia told her that it was "inflammation of the bowel", probably what we should now call appendicitis. In those days there was no operation for this. RB) His illness was complicated by the fact that Julia was in London with Arnold, who was suffering from a mild attack of typhoid fever. Butterworth himself was in London till the Sunday before his last illness.

After he returned to Longwood, William was first sent for, and Julia and Arnold (straight from his bed) a day later. The rest must come from William's letter to John, which I find so intensely affecting that even if nowadays we do not share the religious feelings so strongly shown, it cannot be omitted:

"I was sent for on Friday afternoon ... On arrival I found Butterworth suffering very much, but I did not apprehend serious danger. I remained with him throughout the night, and became alarmed. As Saturday wore on my anxiety increased, and on Sunday I feared the worst. I could not but hope; what made me disregard and set aside prognostications derived from my experience was Butterworth's unwavering confidence that God would restore him. No one could help sharing it, and I looked for a miracle. I left only to take just sufficient rest to enable me to go on nursing him. It will always be a subject of thankfulness that I was with him; the tender affection hid in both our hearts was brought out anew; we reverted to the terms of endearment and affection used in boyhood, almost forgotten since then. He reminded me that it was nearly twenty years since I have nursed him through typhoid fever. His fortitude under all his sufferings was superhuman — not a single murmur, not a sign of giving way, courage undaunted and incapable of being daunted — in this respect alone, if there had been none other, he was an honour to human nature. On Tuesday there was another delusive gleam of hope, but during the night his strength began to ebb so fast that I felt I dare not conceal from him any longer my fears. How I ever had courage to tell him that I could hope for {p27} his recovery no longer I cannot tell, and I cannot now recollect the words in which I did so. I know I was kneeling at his bedside, our hands locked, as they mostly were. For some minutes there was silence. I could hear both our hearts beating, but there was no change of countenance, no enquiring look to see what I really meant, as I had expected; and after a time I commanded myself so far as to say, 'did you understand me, lad?' 'oh yes, quite,' he answered. At length he began — thinking, as usual, about our interests first — 'about the Mills, I think the best thing will be' —. But this was more than I could stand. I begged him first to tell me his wishes for Julia and the children. These were few and simple; he asked Sarah to live with Julia, and expressly left the children in her charge. 'It is the only legacy I can leave you,' he said, 'but I hope it will be a happy one for them, and a happy one for you.' His great concern was the trouble it would be to Julia, that hope was apparently at an end. I had to break it to her, poor child! and to mother and all the family. God grant I may never have such a duty imposed on me again. We sent for one of the ministers to administer the Sacrament. Butterworth seemed so prostrate that he proposed to administer the cup only, without any service; but Butterworth put out his hand and said, "no, the Body first, the broken Body, the broken Body." I found he rallied a little too, and I saw there would be ample time for the service. Accordingly all came in. As the service was read, Butterworth, in a loud voice praised and glorified God. Every sentence elicited some triumphant exclamation, and while we were weeping he was exulting to partake for the last time of the blessed emblems. Nothing I could say would give you an idea of the exultation expressed by the tones of his voice, 'O may I triumph so, when all my warfare's past.' I thank God that May and John (William's children RB) as well as Butterworth's children, joined in that Holy Feast. Then came the leave-taking, with loving words to each, and messages to you, the absent one. Last of all came poor father; never shall I forget the sight or think of it without weeping — of him kneeling at the bedside, his venerable head bowed with a sorrow which could find no words, sobs shaking his frame, tears streaming down his face — older by ten years than he had been a week before. It was the only thing that elicited an expression of pain from Butterworth. As death approached, his mind began to wander for the first time. At length it occurred to me that we should sing, as we had done round the dying bed of dear Mary J. At once he was himself again, and joined in the singing in a broken voice. He made us sing some verses more than once, such as, 'Happy if with my latest breath I may but gasp his name', till at last his sight and hearing became dull, and he complained of our poor efforts, and seemed to hear other singing than ours. Oh! John, we loved Butterworth, but we little knew what a brother we had till his pure self-denying life was proved by his noble death. Never was victory over death and the grave more complete, never were Christ's promises to His own more fully vindicated. Although our Heavenly Father saw it right not to answer our prayers for his recovery, we must not question or interpret His dealings, save only as they convey lessons to our hearts. To go down to the edge of the river with such a one as Butterworth clears our ideas as to the realities of our existence, and shifts one's point of view considerably of things present and future."

The death of Butterworth was the most stunning calamity suffered by the family within the entire period of this history. William said, "the best among us to be taken first!, the very centre and pivot of the family!" These words are true, and how true they were is to be seen in the disarray into which the family business was thrown. JB II was 77, William was practising in London, John was in India, Ben at Oxford, leaving only Arthur, still only eighteen. He had been working in the Mills for a year or two as a useful apprentice and errand-boy, but now, with what assistance his father could give, he was hurled straight into the management, and in the course of the next few years nearly suffered Butterworth's fate. This terrible event also settled Ben's future; at Oxford he had ideas of going into the ministry, but as soon as he got his degree he was bundled into the Mills to help Arthur.

Poor Julia was left with three little children, supported only by Sarah. Julia and William alone knew the true worth of the husband she had loved and lost, and she was prostrated for a time. Within a few months she left Snow Lea, which Butterworth had battled so hard to gain and keep as their home, and went to live in a smaller house at Marsh, between Lindley and Huddersfield.

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Thirteen years later she married Mr. George Kenyon, a good and kind man who was an affectionate and well-loved husband and step-father.

Julia felt that she was very badly treated by her Longwood brothers-in-law. They gave her an allowance for herself and her children, but made her walk to the Mills from Marsh to fetch it, a good two miles each way. They also bitterly opposed her remarriage, even though they had nothing against George Kenyon, who was a Methodist minister. It was only after she had escaped to William in London that she was able to arrange this. It was, like her first, a very happy marriage, but it ended in a double tragedy when Mr. Kenyon died almost on the same day in 1895 as her son Arnold. Julia lived on until 1924, but I cannot remember her. She left a great memory behind her in the family, and there is no doubt that she possessed the rare and lovely trait of creating happiness all about her.

Of the children, Edie, whom I do remember, became a Methodist missionary and married the Reverend Alfred Vanes. They went out to Mysore in South India, where they became close friends with the Maharajah, one of the ablest and most enlightened Indian Princes. After some years they retired to Leek in Staffordshire, but when Mr. Vanes died Edie returned to her beloved Mysore, and died there. She had no children. She was a tiny bird-like person with quicksilver movements, and very amusing company.

Arnold went into the Mills, and was the great hope of the family till he died at the age of thirty of a tumour on the brain. His death was almost as great a calamity as that of Butterworth. A year before he died he married Mary Elizabeth (known as Pollie) Riley, but they had no children.

Young Julia married Owen Thompson, a QC who became a County Court Judge. She had five children and died after the birth of the last. Owen Thompson later married Arnold's widow Pollie, and they lived at Quarryhurst, Longwood, for some years.

Butterworth’s work lived after him. By his personal struggles he created a secure foundation for the family business, which thereafter suffered no serious troubles till the 1920s. He had always been hopeful that his new buildings would bring in a good income once they had been paid for, and he was right. Generations of Broadbent shareholders have enjoyed a useful income, even to the present day, and they owe this largely to Butterworth. It is the custom in the family to relate their rise in the social scale largely to William, and of course to an extent this is true, but Butterworth, so little known today because he died more than a century ago, was the second founder of the modern family. My researches in the archives suggest also that he was one of the most attractive of his generation; he was gifted and sensitive, and at his best he was gay. He loved particularly the society of his children. All in all he is one of my favourite subjects.


3. Mary Jane


Mary J, as she was always known, was born in April 1839, the eldest sister. May Broadbent remarks somewhere that the two eldest brothers and Mary J formed a particularly affectionate group, and this is certainly true. There was also a very close bond between her and William, as will be seen.
Very little appears in the records about the education of any of the girls, but I think it likely that, like their father, they went to the Moravian School at Fulneck; at any rate Leila did so. But the education of girls, as long as they were taught to read and write and sew, was evidently considered as of minor importance, and was therefore seldom referred to.

Mary J is hardly mentioned at all till 1858, when she was converted to Christianity, but this is probably due to the fact that Sarah, who was three years younger, did not start her record till that year, though it starts with a resume of past history. After her conversion, Mary J took her expected place in the family's chapel work, besides assisting her mother in the home.

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In August 1860 William after many disappointments found lodgings in Upper Seymour Street, and within a few weeks took over the house. Mary J was to be his housekeeper. Butterworth and their mother went up to London with her, certainly the first visit of both women to the metropolis. Mary J's first impressions were hardly favourable: "I am so glad mother came. I should scarcely have known what to do; it seems such a big house and things not really clean. I couldn't sleep last night, it is such a change from our quiet home." Esther also was not happy; Butterworth tried to persuade her to walk in the Park (with what success is not stated); she declared she would not live in London on any consideration. She and Butterworth soon returned to Longwood, and Mary J settled down to running William's home, with considerable success.

The Christmas of this year was the wonderful one of which I have already quoted Sarah's record, and it ended with Mary J catching the chill which was to cost her dear. But though a bad cough developed, she returned to London at the end of January, taking Leila with her to attend a new school. Up to this time she had been a very healthy girl, with fewer ailments than the rest of the family.

The cough continued, and she writes in her diary on 19 March 1861: "I have felt very unwell the last few days. I begin to feel very weak. I have not told them at home, nor shall I if I can help it. William has given me some medicine ..."

Butterworth went to London at Easter, but he did not help Mary J by taking her and Leila on the river on a bitterly cold day with a biting east wind. He also totally misunderstood her symptoms, attributing them to homesickness and a morbid dread of meeting strangers. (William had presumably decided not to tell the family yet what was wrong with her.) Butterworth's report to Longwood led to a letter from her mother taking her gently to task for her shyness, which can have been of no help.

She returned home on 27 April, and they all at last realised the true situation. Sarah writes: "My heart sank at the first glance of her. The languor of her movements, the expression of weariness and suffering on her face, the subdued quiet greeting, all spoke of some inexplicable change... She yielded herself at once to be nursed..., smilingly remarking, 'You make quite an invalid of me now that I am come home'". William was at once written to about her, and he confirmed that tuberculosis had made considerable progress. However with the warmer weather and sitting in the garden she improved.

In June Butterworth took Mary. J, Sarah, Ben and Arthur to Llandudno, and Esther joined them later. It seemed to do Mary J good, and they stayed for a month. In spite of some haemorrhages she appeared to be gaining ground even after their return, and she went to stay with the Harpins at Birks House, where however she was taken seriously ill. But still she recovered to some extent, and for the next few months the record is mostly about illnesses of other members of the family, and the engine breakdown at the Mills.

On 24 December she wrote: "A few months since I scarcely dared expect to spend this Christmas on earth, and yet I am permitted in some degree of health to enjoy it. I hope we shall have a very happy Christmas, all of us ..." But it was not a happy one, but "quiet and sad", as Sarah says, "we had even forgotten to sing the Christmas hymn till just before going to bed, and when Mary J went upstairs and with tears whispered to my mother the doubt whether she would be with us next Christmas it was only giving expression to what was in all our minds, and had been weighing on our spirits the whole day."

William wanted Mary J to return to London in the spring of 1862 but she became worse, and could not go. On a visit to Longwood in May he examined her lungs and told her the disease had not got worse or touched the other lung, but her diary entries show that she knew she would die and was resigned to it, though wishing to know how long she had to live. But as the summer advanced she improved again and went to Scarborough for the family holiday. William took her back to London in September, and she went to the Exhibition held that year and was delighted with it. She returned to Longwood with her father on 1 October.

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She was in good form at Christmas, thrilled with the engagement of William and Eliza Harpin: "I do rejoice very much in their happiness; they are worthy of each other. I know no one else worthy of either of them."

By March 1863 she was in London again, at the time of the public welcome to Princess Alexandra and the marriage of the Prince of Wales. These were the most dramatic days of her life: "This great day is over at last. I went out with William this morning to see the decorations. The streets were so gay and the bells ringing, crowds of people all looking so pleased and excited. We came home till Miss Schwann and one of her brothers called for us; then we went to take our places.... We really had a splendid view from the balcony. The Prince and Princess were in the last carriage; they bowed and looked up; in the next carriage before them were her two sisters and brothers. The whole went by very slowly; you can scarcely have an idea of the scene — the thousands upon thousands of people cheering with all their might; it was thrilling." Monday: " William thought he would take me down to London Bridge to see the beautiful decorations; we took an omnibus but came to a standstill within half-a-mile: the streets were quite blocked up, so we got out to walk. We pushed our way for a while through the crowd, then we had to cross, threading our way between carriages and under horses’ heads.

I got very frightened. At last we got nearly to London Bridge; I had been wanting to turn back for some time, but William thought it would be worse going back than forward. However, just as we were crossing a broad street, the last one we had to cross, I got so terrified I almost fainted; we managed to get into a shop where they were very kind and gave me some water. Then we had to think how to get home again: it was quite impossible to get a cab, so William went to see if we could get to the steamboats; he thought we might try. When we got near the place we met two men carrying a woman who had fallen into the water. As we got nearer the crowd began to thicken: however we managed well enough till we came to a bridge where the boats land: here the crush was most awful, really a struggle for life. William was so pale; he was frightened for me; there was no getting forward or backward; we were helpless. I begged a farmer-looking man to keep them from crushing me. I had an awful squeeze once, though William was doing his utmost to protect me; then this man put his arm and shielded me on another side. I kept quite calm all through this, silently lifting up my heart in prayer to God, for I felt He alone could protect. At last we got into the boat, and away we came very comfortably to Hungerford Bridge, where we took a cab home. Nothing will ever induce me to go down there again."

I sympathise; I was once in a similar London crush on VJ Bay after the fireworks; it was very frightening indeed, with girls fainting all around.

She stayed two or three more weeks training William's new house-keeper, who tended to be extravagant with the household accounts. Then she returned to Longwood Edge with John, but paid another visit with Sarah to William at the end of May. She seems to have been pretty well at this time, and was bridesmaid at William's wedding in August.

Early in 1864 her health was again giving cause for anxiety, and William made great efforts to persuade the family to send her to London. She and they objected on the ground of expense, and Esther was always terrified that if she left home she would die away from the family. In the end she did go to London with John on 8 February.

But she was not well, and wrote to her mother on 7 March: "I think real sympathy and love help one to bear anything. It is difficult sometimes not to feel impatient, but when I think how many have to suffer much more and without the comforts which I have I feel I have more cause for gratitude than anything else. I have been mostly in a desponding state of mind ..." Her appetite too was not very good.

On 9 March she made the last entry in her diary, full of resignation. She also says: "I have been so haunted with the idea that I should never go home again alive; then, not being well, I long so intensely to be at home, it never seems to be out of my mind. It is my bedtime; I wish I could sleep better. I often say like poor Ben used to do, 'Smooth my bed and give me sleep.'"


external image Sarah%20Broadbent.jpg

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She returned to Longwood on 24 March with Sarah, who saw at once how much worse she was. At this point there is a gap of over four months in Sarah's record; when it resumes the family is found full of grief; Mary J had died on August 2. William was with her for the last few days of her life. On returning to London he wrote to Sarah: "A sense of our great loss came over me as home receded yesterday. One object of great love and of constant thought gone for ever, as far as this world is concerned — home no longer quite the same — the family circle no longer complete. There seems to be a great blank in everything".

Seven years later, Esther wrote to John and Dora, comforting them on the death of their firstborn: "... and then to lose dear Mary J, the sweetest flower that ever bloomed on earth — how I miss her! Her sweet gentle sympathising spirit can never be made up to me; but in her case the end was so glorious that the bitterness of death was taken away..."

Poor Mary J! I have difficulty in summing her up. Two very early photographs (positives on glass) remain, which I am satisfied must be of her. They show a round-faced girl of about 16 years, and were probably taken about 1855 before the process of printing photographs on paper had been invented.

There is no hint in the record of any romance in her life; this is perhaps a little surprising when one considers that she was approaching 22 years when the fatal chill struck at the end of 1860. Her outstanding characteristic seems to have been that she was lovable; not clever perhaps but sweet and gentle, as her mother said. The greatest tribute to her is that she was never forgotten by her family to their lives' end; may we think this a worthy epitaph.


4. Sarah Ann


Sarah was born on 19 October 1842. Once only does William in a letter refer to her as Sally; she was not a person to whom pet names readily attached themselves.

Her family record is the basis of this chronicle, as far as it goes, but when I had read it through twice or more I found her an ever more enigmatic character; she writes almost interminably about others and copies out their letters and her own, but tells the reader almost nothing about herself. It
was not till I was given access to her private record, as she calls it, or journal, that a great deal became plain to me. Having read this, one could write a book about Sarah, though it would probably take a genius to make it readable, but there is no scope for that here; I have decided that the best way to tell her story is to give a brief description of the facts of her life, with commentary, and then talk a little about her. The difficulty is that she lived a life of the mind which was entirely separate from, though influenced by, the incidents of her daily life, most of which were repugnant to her.

As usual there is no account of her formal education, and since William was not established in London till she was grown up he was unable to get her to school in the south, as he did Leila. When she left school she was expected by her mother to help in the house with the chores, washing, baking, cooking and sewing, for the large family and the frequent visitors. It was an occupation to which she had a lifelong aversion. Later she taught the younger children, which on the whole she enjoyed.

She was converted to Christianity in the Methodist sense at a very early age of fourteen, quite a long time before her older sister Mary J. There followed for three or four years what can only be described as a period of religious mania; her private journal at this time is about nothing else, and she was always trying to convert people whom she met by chance in the street. In particular she plagued her ungodly Uncle Dodson, who unluckily for him lived only a few hundred yards away at the beginning of Longwood village. He was reduced to rushing out of the house to escape her. She also suffered slightly at seventeen from what is now called anorexia nervosa, the disease of excessive fasting by emotional girls.

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Eventually this frenzy left her, though she remained a convinced Christian for the rest of her life, and took her full part in the chapel functions and the Sunday School, until she became too old and infirm.

She had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and taught herself Greek and some Hebrew, for the purpose of reading the Bible in the original languages. Her mother did not consider this a suitable occupation for a young woman, but Sarah was strongly supported by William, and carried on with her studies for many years. She was also more interested in the arts than any other member of the family, though she never had any formal training in them.

As she grew up she thought, as any young woman does, about possible marriage, but was always rather doubtful about it. In 1865 however a young minister named Mr. Pollock came to Longwood for the usual period of three years, and in course of time Sarah fell in love with him. He does not appear to have felt more than friendly appreciation of her good qualities, and she could not and did not blame him at all for rejecting her. When it was all over she wrote in December 1868:

"Well, I suppose every woman loves once in her life; if her love is not sought she gives it unsought, and pays the penalty. I have wondered sometimes why no man ever loved me. I don't know that I have ever excited the least admiration, while almost every other girl I know has been caressed and admired and worshipped to her heart's content. I know I have never used any arts to win it (sic) and have lately been waking up to a more distinct consciousness of the total absence in me of what men are most charmed by — beauty: and I feel myself growing older and plainer every day..."

It is true that Sarah was not beautiful; she was short, with a round face and snub nose, and she intentionally dressed with such Puritan plainness that she was unable to make the best of herself. She returns to the same subject the following year:

"I wish sometimes I was nicer-looking. I have such a very plain unattractive face nobody dreams of admiring me; and sometimes I feel as if I should like to be admired and loved..."

Again in the 1870s she was much attracted to the Cambridge lecturer who taught her Greek by correspondence, though she met him only a few times. But he was a rather eccentric person with a reputation as regards women which was none too good, and eventually he behaved to her in a manner which shocked her very much, and that was the end of it.

So she remained at home at Longwood Edge, driven by her mother to do all the work she hated, and discouraged from doing what she loved. Even after her parents died she was needed to keep house for Arthur, who was still single, and if she had wished to launch out on a career she had no money of her own. Once in earlier days she had had the idea of becoming a governess and saving money to start a little school, but when she wrote to William about the project he destroyed it with what she considered brutal directness.

Sarah shared to the full the family sense of unity, and was genuinely devoted to her parents, in spite of the difficult relationship with her mother, and to all her brothers and sisters. She felt it very deeply when the circle was broken, not only by the death of Mary J (whom she mourned for years) and Butterworth, but by the family weddings and John's departure to India. She could not but recognise that the marriages of her brothers gave them new ties which must be closer than those which bound them to herself and the old home, and her future looked very bleak.

Of course she was not always at Longwood Edge; she travelled widely in England and Wales on holidays and visits to relatives, and on several occasions in Europe, where she got as far as Rome. She even went to the Holy Land with Arthur in the mid-eighties; Arthur's daughter Esther gives an amusing description:

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"No conducted tours: when they were ready to leave Jerusalem a mob of half-broken Arab horses was produced, and Father was directed to choose one for himself and one for his sister. They had a whole train of servants, in the old days in India, and the dragoman went ahead and chose a camping-site, and had the tents pitched and the dinner ready for serving on their arrival each evening." Imagination boggles slightly at the thought of this staid Longwood couple in their Victorian garb trying to control their unruly mounts, but the tourist of that period was nothing if not adventurous, and I am sure they greatly enjoyed themselves, and that any danger was more apparent than real, and only added spice to the trip.

Another time when Sarah was away from Longwood Edge was in 1873-4 when in accordance with Butterworth's dying wish she went to stay with Julia and her family, first at Snow Lea and then at Marsh. But for the most part she was at home.

Eventually in 1896 what she must have dreaded took place. Arthur became engaged, and this meant that when he was married she would have to move out of Longwood Edge. It was decided by the family that a new house Oakscar should be built for her, just on the near side of the chapel from Longwood Edge. But this house was not ready in time, and she was put in the embarrassing position of sharing the old home with Arthur and Nellie till it was completed. My cousin Esther has a memory from this period which gives an idea of Sarah's quality: "When (my mother) came as a young bride to Longwood Edge, she was naturally rather in awe of this new sister-in-law, thirty years older than
herself, who had been mistress of the household for so long. As they were preparing the drawing-room and the tea-table for expected callers on one of the wedding "At Home" days, Aunt Sarah and Edie (Butterworth's daughter RB) were helping, and, as usual, Edie was giving instructions to the maids in her rather peremptory manner.... Mother overheard Aunt Sarah say to her.' 'Edie, it is not for you or me to give orders here. Nellie is mistress here.' How many, in the same circumstances, would have said that?"

Esther goes on: "Aunt Sarah had planned to go to India for six months to (John), but his wife (Dora) died just then, so Aunt Sarah could not go, and she remained at Longwood Edge, having her own sitting-room, till Oakscar was ready — a trying situation for them both, but they both came off with flying colours and were very fond of each other all their lives. My mother had to return her wedding calls dressed in deep mourning for a sister-in-law that she had never seen!"

Sarah moved into Oakscar about the middle of 1898; the four brothers made her an allowance to run the place in accordance with the family settlement of 1878, but it was not very generous, allowing only for one servant, house expenses and clothing on a moderate scale; for painting and decorating she had to go cap in hand to her brothers, and there was nothing over for the holidays. The effect on her of her Italian tour, and of her vague longing for the arts, is demonstrated by the fact that she decorated the hall and staircase with very largo etched reproductions of Michel Angelo's paintings on the roof of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.

She was very fortunate in having from the beginning a splendid woman called Mary Taylor as her servant and companion. Mary must have been quite a youngster when she came, and she remained with Sarah till the end more than thirty years later. I remember her well; she was a big bony woman with a well-scrubbed red face and fading fair hair, and a big beak of a nose. She spoke as broad Yorkshire as you can get, and at first sight she was very formidable, but she was kind too. It was my own family's habit, when we were living at Quarry Hurst, to visit Sarah (all five of us) after Sunday morning service at Longwood Church, and we three children would sit there rather bored. Often Mary would make some excuse to come into the room, and as she left would sign to us. We went into the kitchen where she gave us goodies and we could relax. When Sarah died, Mary retired to a cottage at Shepley, some six miles from Huddersfield, where she lived alone. We visited her; because of Cambridge I went only once or twice, but I remember her tiny sitting-room and Staffordshire chimney ornaments. She lived only two or three more years, and I think it broke her faithful heart to leave Oakscar.

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On the whole Sarah was more content at Oakscar than she had ever been; it was a quiet life after the family tumults of her earlier years, and for the most part she had it to herself. She was of course busy with the chapel, the Sunday School, and social events connected therewith, hut she had ample time for reading and study. She was indeed a great reader, and seems to have read most of the famous novels of her time, though I do not think she ever mentions Dickens; perhaps she thought there was too much low life in his books. On one occasion, after listening to a feeble sermon in chapel, she remarks that she would much prefer to have been reading "The Newcombes" at home.

I remember being taken by my parents or grandparents to stay at Longwood Edge, either just before or during the First World War. It was summer, and an outing was arranged to Nont Sarah's Inn (Nont = Aunt, but nothing to do with this Aunt Sarah!) on top of the moors beyond Outlane. We were to go by two-horse waggonette, and I remember Sarah, a diminutive but vigorous figure, bustling about and bossing all of us. It was my only glimpse of her in her housewifely and managerial capacity, and I wonder now if she was hating it as much as she did her chores at Longwood Edge. I also remember being disappointed that we could not go to Nont Sarah's itself, as it was a public house, but a vast meal of ham and eggs at the Moorlands Hotel opposite assuaged both my hunger and my discontent.

In June 1923 when Sarah was eighty she had heart trouble, and her doctor told her she was not to move; she was confined to bed, but had little pain. After a brief improvement when she was able to get into the garden she had a further attack, and was more or less confined to bed or a couch, for the rest of her life.

On the marriage of his son Benedict, Ben came to live with Sarah, and was a great comfort to her. They had intellectual and literary interests in common, and must have been ideal companions, I have not been able to determine how long Ben stayed, but it was several months at least, probably more than a year. But in April 1925 he was taken so ill that it was impossible for him to remain, and he died 2 months later. This was a heavy blow to Sarah, and reinforced the desire for death which had already been with her for some time. But it was not to be a quick release, and she lingered on helpless for another five years. No one has recorded her death or funeral.

Sarah, at least in her younger days, was the most frustrated woman I have ever encountered in life or literature. Intellectually she was superior to any of her brothers and sisters, though to an extent she lacked force of character. She was very unfortunate in the date of her birth; had she been born even 30 years later it is probable that with her gifts she would have gone to university, got away from Longwood, and, if she did not marry, have made a career for herself, possibly as a schoolmistress, as she had leanings in that direction. But as it was her struggles to educate herself were frowned on, and it is remarkable what she managed to achieve.

While studying Sarah I have been continually reminded of the Bronte sisters, who also lived in an isolated part of Yorkshire in a religious milieu. They were tragic enough, but at least they consoled and inspired one another. Had Sarah had a Charlotte or an Emily to compete with it is quite possible that she might have become an author, though I think that like me she lacked the imagination needed to write a work of fiction. As it is, with the exception of her "Memorial to Arnold Broadbent", privately printed after his death in 1895, there remains only her voluminous but formless private diary. The family record is hardly her own. At one time she projected a memorial to Mary J, but to her great mortification the family showed no interest, or so she thought, and it was never written.

My cousin Esther, who is over 10 years older than I, lived in Longwood and knew Sarah well; she has also seen the private record. She thinks that the exaggerated introspection and gloom displayed in this belies her real character and was of the nature of a safety valve; it may be so, but I am strongly of the opinion that in her youth the domination of her mother and the frustration of her hopes went very deep indeed. Esther also thinks she was a saint, and I must agree that she had an outstanding sense of duty, and was at all times prepared to sacrifice herself to the service of others. At any rate, she was a remarkable woman, and if anyone has enjoyed reading this book he or she will know whom to thank for it.

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5. John Edward


John was born on 14 April 1845. Like his elder brothers he went to Huddersfield College, but in 1859-60 he was not doing particularly well, so he was sent to a Mr. Oliver's school at Boston Spa. He seems to have been a jolly fellow in his youth, even unregenerate, but he liked Mr. Oliver, and set about improving himself. He took his matriculation in June 1861, staying with William in London; the latter wrote that he thought the (medical) profession might suit John.

Though he was only sixteen, he was in his last year at school, and had no idea what he wanted to do in life. His future was a "subject of much solicitude" to the family. His father thought he was "decided for the medical profession". He left school at Christmas, and was to work at home, but his interest soon began to flag, and William removed him to London to work under his supervision. He returned to Longwood in April 1862, but was restless and uninterested in his studies. Then "we found to our dismay that he was turning his thoughts to a military career".

It is extraordinary how the thought of an Army career for their son appalled many Victorian parents. I know of other examples of this reaction. The Broadbents were almost bound to feel it because of their religious beliefs, and the inevitable comparison of their orderly pious lives with the dangers and temptations of the brutal and licentious soldiery.

William wrote hopefully to John saying he was glad to hear that the latter had given up the idea of entering the Army. He then proceeded to cajole him into working for the medical profession, holding out the inducement of Oxford and even of foreign travel. But he added sternly, "we must work, my boy, all of us, and I know you can if you make up your mind to it".

Meanwhile John stayed rather unhappily at Longwood, but in August he accompanied Butterworth, Sarah, Julia and Eliza with other friends from Holmfirth, to London to see the Exhibition. Sarah says, "John had been longing all the summer to be back in London, and the sightseeing and lively company exactly suited him. He was still professedly studying medicine, but it became more and more evident that his heart was not in it, and William had arranged a course of study for him which would be equally useful if he persisted in his wish to enter the Army. He was to remain in London and work for his examination, and as William returned with us, and went on to North Wales for a walking tour, he was left there alone, and we were all anxious about him."

He settled for the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In her prelude to 1863, Sarah writes, "John was now preparing for the entrance examination at Woolwich. His preference for the Army having proved persistent in spite of all the arguments against it, my father thought it best to let him have his choice. William found on enquiry that the scientific work in connection with the Royal Engineers would be likely to furnish him with a career suited to his tastes, and when we saw what a difference it made to him, and how heartily he set himself to work, as soon as this distinct object was set before him, my mother's objections were overcome and she became as interested in his success as any of us".

John had found his destiny, and he worked with might and main. When his mother suggested he should take more exercise, he replied, "I will try and always do what you asked (sic), but I often get so interested in my work that I forget how time flies by. I think my health will last till midsummer, though I am growing paler... It is nearly 2 am. I am generally at work from 9 in the morning to 1: then from 2 till half past 5, and from 7 or half past till 12. It is not often I work beyond 12 but I do sometimes, as I did tonight ..." The nine to midnight schedule means a 12 hour day of study; how many of us could do it today? I certainly never did, though when I was a student I was not thought idle.

In spite of this great effort he failed at his first attempt, and was greatly disappointed. He went home, and was hoping to go to the Lakes for a holiday, but there was no money in the family at that time. John writes to William: "Shortly after I got home Arthur (then aged only eight EB) tried to thrust into my hand all the ready money he had; he would hardly be satisfied until I showed him I had some." It does not appear that he had his lakeland holiday, surely well-earned.

So he returned to London and made enquiries about his detailed result at the last examination; this gave him hope that he would succeed next time. The family reported that a marked change had taken place in him; he was much more serious than before, and William wrote, "I trust by God's help (he will) succeed in maintaining an upright Christian walk and conversation". John does not seem ever to have had the sudden and lasting conversion so beloved of the Methodists, but there is no doubt that about this time he became a convinced Christian, and he remained so to the end of his life. In fact, after completing his second exams for Woolwich, he confided to William that if he failed he thought he might enter the ministry of the Church of England.

But he did not fail, and joined the Academy on 10 February 1864. He describes his first impressions: "Our bedroom, which has to serve us also as a sitting-room, contains 4 beds, 4 chairs, 4 cupboards, one table, a coal-scuttle, a fender and poker. This is an exact summary of every article in the room which is not the personal property of the cadets... At about 7¼ we turn out of bed. At 5 minutes to 8 a fellow shouts at each room 'Turn Out', and we have immediately to turn out on to the parade ground. Then as it begins to strike every fellow rushes to his place in the ranks; the names are called; we then march off to breakfast. After breakfast, a man, the Chaplain I think, shouts 'Stand Up'. Then he reads prayers as fast as he can, and, after a hurried benediction, bawls 'Turn Out'. At 9 we go to the Academy. At 20 minutes to 12 the bugle calls us to drill. At 1 we have dinner, lunch at 5, tea at 8, after which prayers, and we are at liberty till 10. The two hours drill is very hard, but will not last long, I suppose, and will then be reduced to 1 hour. We have to be very particular. If there is a spot on our uniforms we are sent out of the ranks and have extra drill..."

Not very different, one would think, from basic training for modern officer-cadets, but this account was a shock to Esther, his mother; according to Sarah she had thought of the Royal Engineers as being a department to itself entirely apart from the rest of the Army. She wrote to Mary J: "I felt so distressed about John. It appears to me they are treated much like common soldiers..." This comment is of some interest, as it appears to be the only bit of snobbery in the entire Broadbent records, and even this has to be looked at in terms of Victorian society as it was in 1864.

John had a very hard time at Woolwich; not only did he work, but he was a Christian. On 16 March he wrote to his mother: "I make no friends, at least among those who came here with me. There is a great deal of wickedness and they don’t like me because I will not join them and because I am resolved to work... "

But the life suited him, at least physically. By April he had grown half-an-inch in height, his upper arm was much thicker and he had put on 5½ lbs in weight.

In October a serious situation developed at the Academy, in connection with the annual Charlton Fair. John writes on 21st: "On Wednesday night two fellows were discovered to be missing during the Fair. One of the officers comes round shortly after midnight and examines every bed. I was awoke by someone pottering round my neck. These fellows had taken the precaution to put dummies in their beds, but it was no good. After tea last night numbers of the cadets went over to Charlton; there was a terrible row. We at the Academy could hear the shouts and yells. I felt an inclination myself to go, and in old days no doubt I should."

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27th. "The misdeeds of the Fourth Class have at last reached a climax. At the afternoon parade the order was read out respecting those two fellows caught out of barracks. As soon as the second fellow's name was read out there was a groan: nearly everybody took it up and the officer stopped in amazement. All was still immediately and he began again. This time the groaning was louder. The officer on duty proceeded to send us to our classroom. We went steady enough till we got just inside the door, then a terrific shouting, howling and groaning was raised. Of course the affair is simply mutiny. Sandham (Commandant of the Academy RB) in a great fright went off to the Duke (of Cambridge, the Commander in Chief RB). The brunt will fall on the Fourth. I am not personally guilty, but it would be (blank in MS — ? cowardly? RB) to try to get out of it. At lunch we all rushed into the Hall and made a great disturbance. In the midst of it Lewis walked in. I was not quite as innocent there. At the evening Academy the gas was turned off at the main."

28th. "About a quarter before 10 I was startled by the firing of one of the cannons very near our window. The officers were all on watch at the time owing to the mutinous state of the place, and the fellow who had fired it was seen and chased; he leapt into the ditch, and turned out to be the cadet who had that day been dismissed. If the officers had not been prompt I don't know what might have been the consequences; nothing is so exciting as the smell of gunpowder and the roar of cannon. Yesterday three commissioners were sent down to enquire into it. The Fourth was marched into one of the arcades and the head was summoned into a room. Then I was sent for. I found 3 gentlemen sat at a table. One of them asked me what I thought was the cause of the murmur on parade. This was followed by other questions. All my answers were written down. At last it was over and I was marched off. We were then allowed to join the others and have dinner, not having tasted since breakfast. Today we were released from confinement, but were told that the case of the Fourth was still under consideration of His Royal Highness and that we should have to abide by his decision ..."

John's behaviour at lunch in the Hall brought a severe admonition from William, but as far as the authorities were concerned the affair blew over; indeed subsequent events showed that they must have been pleased with him. But his troubles were not over.

24 February 1865: "...On Wednesday evening in absence of the proper Corporal on duty I had to take his place. The class had been very unruly all the evening, and had driven Prof: Sylvester almost to his wits' end. I tried to stop the disorder, and I saw one cadet deliberately making the noise complained of. I asked him to stop it three times. Just then Prof: Sylvester asked me who was making this noise, so I at once told him, and he ordered me to put him on arrest, which I did. It had drawn down on me the ill-will of the whole class, and I have had an unpleasant time of it. Today the cadet who had been on duty before me, Riddell, and myself were sent for to Gen: Sandham. He gave the other two a severe scolding, but complimented me for having done my duty. Hitherto I have been trying to gain some popularity and make friends with the cadets, but God has shown me how vain is the effort ..."

In the June examinations John was first in his class. He went off to Paris to stay with William's friends the Armand-Delilies. From there with a friend he did a tour of Switzerland, Germany and Belgium. He returned to Woolwich in August, to find that he had been passed over for the post of "Responsible", to which his class position should have entitled him, but was made only "Sub-division Under-Officer". Butterworth puts this injustice down to "the powerful influence of the aristocracy": John was upset because it made it almost impossible for him to win the Sword of Honour, which in fact he failed to get when he passed out the following year.

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Meanwhile his position and that of his colleague s in junior authority at the Academy was a difficult one because they had decided to try to end the bullying which went on. But they triumphed, and five ringleaders were rusticated. John retained his position as first in his class at the December examinations.

In his final examination in June 1866 he again came first, winning the Pollock Gold Pedal (a magnificent piece still in my possession, with his name on the rim RB) and three other prizes. He writes: "I shall be sorry to leave the Academy: it has been a blessed place for me. All the associations of my early Christian life are connected with it, nearly all my Christian friendships formed here and now we are all to be separated and scattered over the whole world. I shall not leave England for 2 or 3 years yet, I believe, but the others will, and for myself I would rather go anywhere than to Chatham..." Needless to say, to Chatham he was posted.

Meanwhile he had to buy his uniform and equipment, and a dress suit with all the trimmings. This was the sort of expense of which the family had no experience, and then as now such things were expensive. The family were appalled, since money was as usual in very short supply, but again as usual they found what was needed, with the inevitable admonitions to John to cut his expenses to the minimum. He joined at Chatham in September, a real live Engineer Officer, as he wrote with pride. Incidentally I have his commission signed by the Queen, addressed to John Edward Broadbent, Gent, Lieutenant with temporary rank. Subsequent commissions to substantive Lieutenant (8 October 1868) and Captain (24 January 1879) were signed by H.R.H. George, Duke of Cambridge, and Commander-in-Chief, still there after 15 years or more.

In the spring of 1867 John volunteered for India, a step which caused consternation in the family, but they accepted it. Little further is heard of John till July 1868 when he was thinking of getting engaged to be married. Butterworth's comments to him are worth quoting: "You wish to know what I and Father and Mother think of your being engaged before you go out to India. I took the first opportunity of mentioning the subject. Father says that you are at an age and ought to know what you are about. You know your prospects and must act on your own judgment; he thinks everyone should choose his own partner for life. Mother does not object to an engagement though she has a poor opinion of girls connected with military men. .She would have liked you to marry into a family that we knew something about; she supposes you have been caught. This you know is Mother's way; I don't suppose you would expect anything else. For my own opinion — I shall speak quite candidly. I did not expect you were intending to be engaged and was rather taken aback; it was a complete surprise. I have not however the least objection. I think you have sharpness enough not to be deceived, and I do not doubt the object of your love is a true-hearted girl, for this is the first consideration; if she is truly a pious genuine girl you cannot I think do wrong to be engaged..."

One thing is certain: John was not "caught", for the unnamed young lady refused him, and the whole family had to send him letters of commiseration.

But the departure to India was getting very near. John first went on holiday to North Wales and then on a round of visits, mostly to people with Indian connections who could tell him what to take in his outfit. Then he had to go to London to buy it (it cost £100), and he did not get home till late October. JB II had insisted that the whole family should come home for this great leave-taking, and by 5 November they had all arrived: I quota Sarah's touching account:

"... His orders were to embark at Portsmouth on 14 November. It was the first parting of this kind we had experienced, and the prospect of it weighed heavily on our minds... On the 5th November we found ourselves a complete family circle gathered once more in the old home, not this time for our joyous Christmas festivities but a solemn parting.

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After supper we all assembled in the dining-room, and my father talked to us as if it were indeed, as he said it most probably was, the last time he should see us all together. We were all deeply affected. Then my father gave out a hymn, a most appropriate one!

How are Thy servants blest, O Lord,
How sure is their defence;
Eternal wisdom is their guide,
Their help omnipotence.
......
In foreign realms and lands remote,
Supported by Thy care,
Through burning climes they pass unhurt,
And breathe untainted air.

After we had sung this hymn with deep feeling my father prayed with us in touching allusion to the approaching separation. If my father could be said to have a favourite among all his children it was John . When as a little fellow — passionate and wayward — he had been the despair of my mother, my father had always understood him, and no one had watched his development and witnessed his success with greater gratification. And now he, as well as my mother, could not but feel the parting acutely.

12 November: "John has left us today for India; the parting has been a very sad one. I think the worst was when he came to shake Father’s hand for the last time; it was heart-rending as he said goodbye; he felt it deeply too; his voice was very husky and he could scarcely speak. Who knows what changes will occur before he sees the old home again? He lingered over his farewells as if loath to go, then rushed out of the house. We were all in tears.

"William and Butterworth went down with John to Portsmouth, but as the “Serapis” did not set sail till the following day William was compelled to return to London, and Butterworth was the only one who saw him off."

The account does not make clear when William and Butterworth presented John with a gold watch from them and their wives, inscribed Inside the case: "John. E. Broadbent, R.E. – W.H.B.: E.B. – B.B.: J.M.B. - 1868". It was an excellent choice of watch they made: it is still going perfectly after more than a century.



View John Edward Broadbent in India, 1868-1869 in a larger map


Sixty-five years after him, at the same age and nearly time of the year, I followed John on my first voyage to India. It is an exciting and happy experience which one does not forget; the only difference between our voyages was that he was on a troopship, where "we seem to have to do everything in a crowd ... there is privacy for nothing". But he saw the splendid snowline of the Sierra Nevada gleaming above the azure sea, and had a happy time on shore at Aden with friends from Woolwich. I have no doubt that as the ship approached Bombay he felt like me a little apprehension at leaving its security and having to make his way in strange new world of India, but a keen anticipation too.

He arrived at Deolali, the great transit camp of the Army in India, and saw his first Hindu temples: "I never seem to have realised before what idolatry is... It is an awful thing to be born amid such outer darkness."

His letters home aroused great interest, and they had to be read again and again to his father, who delighted in them. They express the freshness and wonder of one who had new experiences almost every day, so I give a selection here. In January 1869 he arrived at Roorkee, where, like other newly-joined officers of the Royal Engineers, he was told that he would have to wait a year before he could be attached to the civilian Public Works Department. All of them including John were greatly disappointed but had to make the best of it. Of his journey to Roorkee from Nagpur he writes:

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"Capt. Yaldryn, his wife, myself and a detachment of 70 men started on Friday the 8th. The train consisted of 31 carts drawn by bullocks. I was the subaltern of the party and had to bring up the rear, and of course got the full benefit of the dust. We went along very briskly for the first stage. I walked it and enjoyed it very much in the fresh morning air. While they were changing bullocks I got into my cart and thought I would ride a piece... All the others had gone off quietly, but (my bullocks) were not so inclined. They twisted about going first one way and then the other and finally bolted down a bank close to a bridge, and I was very nearly upset. I began to get very angry at being humbugged by a pair of old cows, so I jumped out and looked very fierce, I suppose, for about half-a-dozen men who had been looking placidly on immediately set to work to get them up the bank. They went trotting along till I overtook the others, and all went smoothly as far as Kampti.

"The next day we started at 5.45 after a comfortable night at the Dak Bungalow (rest house). We came to a curious feature: the level of the country suddenly rises 800 ft., and we had to go winding up along the sides of ravines till we got to the top. I walked all the way in the midday sun. We were not allowed to rest for Sunday but started about 6... We went famously as long as I was on foot. After a few miles I got into my cart and the pace gradually slackened till we simply crawled, so at last I got out and kicked up a great row. I told the men I should hold them responsible that their carts kept up, and the effect was wonderful; we were at our journey's end before sunset every day afterwards. By Tuesday we reached the Nerbudda which we forded. The river bed was crowded with people in bright-coloured garments. It was one of the great Hindu festivals. Jubbulpore is about five miles, so at last we got to the end of the most trying journey I ever had. I rather enjoyed it on the whole and I had some of the happiest times of my life reading my little Testament as I walked after the carts... We only stayed till next morning leaving by train for Allahabad. We stayed there till Friday night; I spent much of my time with the Turners... From Allahabad we started at 3.45 am with only our own 7 men to Meerut. We arrived at 11 pm. There was no one to meet us or tell us what we had to do, so we had to leave the men in the waiting-room all night. We .. took the one woman and her 3 children to a lodging-house, and gave orders that the men were to be supplied with bread and tea, and then went to a hotel. Next day I went on to Saharanpur – where we ought to have gone the night before, but were sent to Meerut by mistake. I came on to Roorkee next morning."

The propensity of Indian main-line trains to arrive at the most appalling hours at the place where one happened to be is well illustrated in the quotation above. This was a perennial feature of Indian travel, and was due to the size of the country. The Frontier Mail from Bombay to Peshawar had a journey of more than 1500 miles, and it inevitably passed through some quite important places in the small hours. There were many similar journeys, and from Peshawar to Madras was near on 3000 miles, though on this journey it was necessary to change trains.

"Camp Siah, February 4th: You see I am at last arrived at the end of my journeyings for the present. I must say I am heartily glad of the rest... I enjoyed my stay at Roorkee ... Leach and I left about noon (29th), each in a Dakghari (postwagon). They would only give us one horse each, so we went at the rate of 2½ miles an hour. When we got about halfway through the third stage we met a ghari, so my driver negotiated an exchange of my one horse for the two. The man in the ghari said nothing, and I said nothing you may be sure, so I got two good horses and away I went at a gallop leaving Leach far behind... About 8 pm I arrived at the Mohan Pass through the Siwaliks. Here I had to change into a palanquin, so I waited for Leach. (The Indian word for palanquin is palki or dholi, the word used by John later in this letter. These were curtained litters carried by two or four men, and they were and are used in remote areas of the hills where there are only footpaths. Highborn ladies of the Mogul period were always carried in palkis when they were on journeys, and these were splendidly ornamented and curtained; John's was no doubt of a {p41} more workaday type. RB) The Siwaliks are a lovely range, clothed with ever-greens to their summit. The moon was at the full and the sky almost cloudless. So I walked the first four miles. I then got inside and soon went to sleep in spite of the peculiar motion. I woke up with a start amid a horrible noise. I shoved my head out to see what on earth was the matter. We were going through a tunnel, so all the men were making a prodigious noise just like a lot of children. When we got to Dehra (Dun) we went to a hotel and ordered supper, thinking it was about 12. We waited a while and then as no food came we got impatient. Just then Leach happened to look at his watch and found it was after 4; we went off to bed and had our supper for breakfast.

"Our next stage was to Kalsi, about 30 miles in palanquins. The relays of men had to be laid, so we could not go on till evening. As we had nothing to do we took our guns and went off into the country, where we shot 5 partridges and a hare. We had not time to have them cooked so we resolved to take them with us. We started about 8.30. I slept till 3 when we were stopped by rain. We took shelter under some trees at first and then as the rain continued we got our dholis into a hut, lay down in them and went off to sleep till morning. It still rained, so we got one of our servants to cook two of the partridges, which he did very nicely; then he got some coarse flour, or meal, mixed it into a stiff paste, rolled it into a ball in his hands, then flattened it out very dexterously into a thin cake, which he baked over the fire. One has to throw away all squeamishness in India. When the chupatties were ready we took one each and a partridge and proceeded to demolish them with our teeth. After breakfast I sat in my dholi and read my Testament and tried to think, but I am ashamed to say I went to sleep. About noon it cleared up a little, so we went on.

"When we neared the Jumna we came to a rough path through a lovely forest. Here our dogs began to hunt about rather excitedly and suddenly all three went off at full speed. The wood rang with barks and yells: we rushed after them thinking they must have found some wild beast, but it turned out to be only a monkey which one dog had caught by the throat. The wood swarmed with them; they came dropping out of the trees as thick as acorns.

"About two miles from the river is Kalsi at the junction of two deep valleys: the steep sides of the mountains seem everywhere covered with trees, and ferns, and in the bottom is a clear stream, something like the Wharfe at Bolton (Abbey, Yorks RB). I was delighted with it; it was the first really green flourishing place I have seen since I left England. It owes its perpetual verdure to its dampness; all Europeans staying there get ague or fever. They pitched a tent for us and our servant set about skinning the hare. I went for a short stroll and came upon the Civil Engineer who would have us go to dinner with him... After dinner we sat for a while under a mango tree round a blazing wood fire. We slept in our dholis in the tent; we got up pretty early next morning, breakfasted off the hare and chupatties, and after seeing our baggage started, set off to walk to Siah, ten miles. The road is just being made. The hills rise to a height of from 3000 to 4000 ft. The road winds about in and out of ravines, in some places many hundreds of feet above the valley; it is a very grand gorge. Siah is 3200 ft above the sea, surrounded by hills. Leach and I are going to share a tent. We have a nice Mess, and good food and plenty of it is a great thing. There are nine officers and a doctor besides myself. The doctor has just brought his wife up; she is the sole lady in these regions. Chakrata is a new hill station they are forming; it is five miles from here. It is bitterly cold here; I suffer very much having no warm clothing; we dine in great coats. I have already ceased to regret... that I have to wait a year before going on the P.W.D. My first hot weather will be spent in the hills. I shall have time to learn the language and be better able to resolve on my future course. I do not think the more highly all the same of the mean trick government has played us, but they have us, and mean to get a year's work out of us on this road".

February 9 to Ben: "The sort of life we lead here reminds me of the way you and I used to rove about, going up the hills, pottering about in the brooks, catching tommy-loaches etc. I do much the same sort of thing here, and it reminds me specially of you whom I long to have with me. We are a {p42} most ruffianly-looking lot up here; no one ever shaves, no one wears a collar and each goes about in the coarsest possible clothes. I have not got any native-made ones yet because I have no money. I have had no pay yet and shall have to wait another fortnight. (This cruel indifference to the needs of new arrivals continued right to the end of the Raj; I remember a particularly disgraceful case of a bevy of young nurses who arrived at Abbottabad during World War II and were paid nothing for more than 3 months; what did they expect the girls to do? RB). My hindustani books arrived on Saturday, so I have begun to study the language in good earnest. Early on Sunday morning the camp was two inches deep in snow: fancy that in India! In the hills it remains still, and there is some lovely high Alp scenery around us. I wish so that some of you were here with me; one gets only half the pleasure out of it by one’s self ..."

To his mother, March 3 from Suhampur: "You will see that I am on the march again. I am on my way to Timli Pass in command of No. 3 Company Sappers and Miners. I get £5 a month more, but I do not think my savings will pay the expenses of moving, and having to get a regular culinary outfit. My health is exceedingly good. I thank God for that.

"Timli Pass 8th; We had to stay at Suhampur all day on account of the rain having made the tents so heavy we could not move. Next morning I was up at 3.30 and off by 4.30. It was rather a rough march. We had to cross a river which was up to our knees and then we soon reached the forest. I went off to shoot but got nothing, so I had some mutton (they said it was, I think it must have been some goat which had died of old age). Until today I have fared very badly – no milk, bread or butter. The night after we arrived we had an awful storm. I was awakened by the roll of the thunder and the roar of the water. I thought my tent would go: the water came in and I had to get on and drag my bed out of the way of the drops. I often think how horrified you would be if you could feel the clothes I have to put on sometimes. They feel quite wet, but it seems to do me no harm. I like the tent life with all its discomforts better than any settled life: it is a sort of perpetual picnic. Our camp is at present about halfway through the Siwaliks. It is a lovely place reminding me of Betwys-y-Coed. Of course wild animals abound. The natives told me that there had been a tiger the night before on the very spot where my tent is pitched."

To his father on his birthday (March 11): "... I am getting settled in my new residence. I have had a grass house built; they are cooler and turn aside the rain better than tents; it has been pouring with rain, rendering our only road, the torrent-bed, impassible, I had rather an adventure yesterday. A large tiger had slept in the tunnel we are making the night before, so I had a place prepared up a tree to shoot him if he came again. I took a sergeant with me, lending him a rifle. We soon reached the place, a narrow, crooked ravine. When we came to the last turn we could just make out that he was there already: we hold a council of war which resulted in a resolution to retreat; so we turned back and retreated as fast as prudence would permit. I should have liked to have seen him fairly, but it would have been folly to have irritated him."

To Butterworth from Timli Pass, April 20: "...The climate is not quite so pleasant now; the hot winds have set in. I went for a walk on Sunday up a very deep narrow valley. I was most singularly nervous and started at everything... Then in passing a small ravine full of jungle there was a sudden fall of stones in it and I distinctly heard some animal move. I stood for a minute or two watching, and then leisurely turned round and walked back for I could stand no more of these starts. I saw both the track of a leopard and a tiger, but I felt that nothing could harm me till God permitted, and I commended myself to Him. Today I took two men with me and we found the legs and a few scattered bones of a calf with a tiger's footprints all around.

"I should so like to be among you for a bit. I am often with you in spirit, and the little window of my hut, opposite which I always sit, forms the frame of many a home picture. My birthday was rather dull and lonely — not a soul to wish me many happy returns — not a letter or anything."

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To Leila, 23 April: "... I should care little for the heat if it were only a little cool at nights and if the mosquitoes would only leave me alone. I had to get up last night and bathe my hands and arms; they were so hot and blistered that I could not sleep although I was very tired, for I was out from dawn to dusk. I was specially anxious to shoot one or two tigers. I started with two natives and a sergeant at daybreak. We soon found a tiger's tracks and steadily followed them up. It led us to a very narrow ravine. As last we smelt him; we got all ready and then cautiously squinted round the corner, but nothing was to be seen. We hastened on, but again we were cold."

To his mother from Kalsi, June 3: "You see that at last I am out of Timli Pass. I am very much more comfortable here. The heat certainly is wonderful, but then I have a good thick roof over me, and a punkah all day. The water is good too, and I have a swim in the Jumna nearly every day. I wish you could see Kalsi, it is so lovely. The thick woods with groves of mango trees covered with dark green shining leaves which contrast beautifully with the light green shoots of the acacia trees. Then there are the clear streams whose very sound is reviving to one amidst the heat and dust. We shall probably go to Chukrata in about 3 weeks, if the road has not previously gone on a visit to the plains along with the first burst of the rains. The people seem to be very wretched up there. There is not sufficient accommodation, water is scarce, and it is very dusty and windy. The men hate the idea of going there. I believe they would rather stay here and be decimated by fever. I am intending to go up next week to see the place and try if I can make any arrangements for our comfort".

To Butterworth from Koorwa, July 2: "We left Kalsi only last Friday and reached this on Saturday after a most luckless march. We reached Siah about 7 am, where we halted for the day, but the baggage did not begin to arrive till afternoon; the result was that the sepoys got nothing to eat till 10 at night; and some of them I know had nothing till next morning. We could not march early, so had to put it off till evening. I got nearly all the baggage off, however, by noon and then started myself for Koorwa to make what arrangements I could for the arrival of the Company. I found Lower Koorwa occupied, so had to go on to Upper Koorwa, a mile further. The Upper Koorwa lines I found utterly uninhabitable from the stench, they having been used as a cattle-pen for sick and infected cattle. The Officers' hut was moderately clean and so was the Sergeants'; these I had cleaned out, so the Europeans were pretty well lodged for the night, as were the women and guard. But the Company had to bivouack, because the tents didn’t arrive till dark. It was a clear fine night, so they asked to be allowed to sleep on the ground. I gave them leave and everybody went to sleep. I was awoke by the roll of thunder, and found it just beginning to rain and no tents up, so there was nothing for it but to pack all the men in the huts till morning. On the way up from Siah four mules went over the side of the road, to the great detriment of themselves and the baggage, especially the latter. The mule carrying my two trunks was one of these. The whole went tumbling merrily down the hill, which was only just not a precipice, until finally the bands burst and the trunks went bounding down by themselves: one was not much damaged, but the other 'bust' and scattered its contents far and wide like a shell. As ill-luck would have it it contained my album, letters, writing paper, and all the Company's papers. It is rather a heavy loss for me, and when the bother resulting from lost papers will cease no one can tell."

To Julia from Koorwa, August 24: "There seems a chance of my going soon, as the Government wants a Secretary for the Calcutta Torpedo Committee who can swim and row and sail, and has a good constitution and some knowledge of the subject. In return for the above-mentioned acquirements I should get a little over £600 a year. I should not be any better off in reality because Calcutta is such an expensive city. It would not be pleasant to exchange this splendid climate and glorious scenery for a home on the mosquito-covered wave of the Hooghly. I should be very sorry too to part from Morton. I stayed with him last Friday evening till Monday. On Saturday we started for Deoban, {p44} a mountain over 9000 ft high, but the day was so unpromising that we turned aside to a place called Mahona where two of our officers are stationed. We stayed and had tea, and then walked back just in time for the Prayer-meeting at the little chapel. I have never seen anything so fine as the views. The ferns seem to grow everywhere: the ground is carpeted with them, and with wild flowers: long streamers of delicate moss too hang from the trees. We did so enjoy our walk, and thanked God for His love to us; it is such a wonderfully beautiful world...."

To William from Koorwa, September 18: "The order for me to proceed to Calcutta has come, and I am off as soon as I can be relieved of these two companies. I had no idea I was so fond of my company until I found I had to leave it. The sepoys often say I am 'Man Bap' mother and father to them. It will be rather a change from my hermit sort of life in camp to court life in the city, just too when the city will be at its gayest. Col. Mansel seems very sorry to lose me. I intend to go pretty leisurely down, seeing as much as I can on the way..."

John's posting to Calcutta was to have important consequences for him. Soon after he arrived he became unwell, for the first time in India, but he was kindly looked after, and soon recovered. The cold weather, such as it is there, was coming on, and he liked it. He also became social; young bachelors were always acceptable in India. He says: "All the people in connection with my work expect me to call on their wives, who, after inspecting me well, if they are pleased invite me to dinner. I expect to live a very gay life... 14 December: "It will be a year on Saturday since I first set foot in India; it has passed very rapidly. I shall soon be home again at this rate. Calcutta is very full of Maharajahs, Rajahs, etc, all come to take part in the festivities when the Duke of Edinburgh arrives. I am beginning to like Calcutta very much. The Normans took me with them to a Penny Reading yesterday; a very pretty niece also went with us, with whom I promptly fell in love, and with equal promptness fell out again." This surely is pure happiness bubbling out.

The next recorded letter, from which the family should perhaps have taken a hint, is dated 22 February 1870; "We had about 90 children at the Sunday School last Sunday. I have a very nice class of half-castes. One of our teachers is a Zanana missionary; she is such a nice woman. All these people who have given themselves up to the work here seem so in earnest and so happy withal that one can't help liking them at once. I wish Cousin Lizzie (I don't know who she is, but she had written two charming letters to John at Christmas from Longwood Edge, and was perhaps angling for an invitation to India, which she now got, but she never made it RB) would come out. I am sure she would be very happy, and would be as beloved and respected as Miss Nicholson, and more I can't say."

In the next letter (? March) he writes that Col. Walker "Says that young married officers are a perfect nuisance, so don't expect me to get married just yet (He was married on 24 May RB). Last Sunday evening after church I went to tea to Mr. Stuart's, a missionary. They were such a pleasant little party, 3 missionaries, 1 missionary's wife, and Miss Nicholson who is a great friend of mine; she is such a happy energetic woman; she has been here six years."

9 April: He writes that he is going to go and "chum" with Mr. Stuart at the old Church Mission House. "Last Friday there was a great Tea at the Sailors Home: my great friend Miss Nicholson had one table and I was her aide-de-camp. After tea there was a great meeting and some very good speeches and singing. At least I am told they were very good, for I did not hear them. Miss Nicholson was not well, so she did not go in. I got some chairs and we sat in the open corridor outside. After about half-an-hour however she grew too tired to stay and I saw her safe home. I am afraid she is getting worn out and will have to go back to England soon." Surely by now the family should have suspected something, even though he had said he was not going to get married. But one must remember that letters took a month to arrive.

{p45}
On 19 April he announced their engagement, and on the 27th he wrote that the wedding was fixed for 24 May. I have already referred to the consternation all this caused to the family, who happened at that moment to be in great grief at the death of Butterworth's little son Willie. John's parents ceased to write to him, to his sorrow, and the silence from Longwood was only broken by Julia's letter to Dora on 29 July, which I have already quoted. Father then relented, and Dora wrote to him on 27 August: "It was a greater pleasure than I can describe to get your kind letter by last mail, although it was, as you say, "a scolding one". I do think we deserved scolding for marrying in such a hurry, but you will forgive us, I think, dear Father, and we'll never do it again!!..."

Their first baby was born in October 1871, but died immediately after birth. Esther arrived two years later late in 1873, then Eddie at Simla in May 1875, Harry in England in 1877, and Theo (My father RB) in May 1881.

Meanwhile John had joined the Military Works Department in 1874, and this entailed a lot of travelling. There is no detailed record of his movements, but he was in Allahabad when Eddie was born at Simla, and was still there a year later. He stayed in the same job till he came on leave at the end of 1876.

Throughout this year both John and his father were keenly anticipating their reunion, which in 1868 neither had expected would be granted to them on earth. JB II was taken seriously ill in the summer, and his life was despaired of, but he recovered, though he was never again able to walk. John finally arrived alone at Longwood Edge at the end of January 1877; strangely there is no record of the meeting with his parents, which must surely have been a very emotional and happy one. He stayed only a few days, but brought the family for a fortnight in February. He was back again at Easter, and the family used his qualifications to improve the old house, where gas was being installed. He was also busy at the Mills, where on account of the building operations of previous years there was need of a new chimney. This he designed, a unique sort of mill chimney, square at the base with the same shape running up to a parapet just over halfway up, above which it was octagonal.

John was retained in England for a while after his leave. In June 1877 he was given the job of superintending the purchase, testing and packing of torpedo stores for the Government of India, at Portsmouth. In August and September 1878 he was at War Office in London, but in January 1879 he sailed for India, leaving Dora and the children at home for the time. From his arrival till 1882 he was on the staff of the Inspector-General of Military Works, Simla; this posting made it possible for him to send for his family, and by March they were on their way. John was given special leave to meet them at Allahabad and bring them up to Simla; his chief General Hutchinson would appear to have been a very kind and thoughtful man.

From 1882 to 1892 John served in the Military Department, Government of India as Assistant and later Deputy Secretary. This would have involved half-yearly moves between Calcutta and Simla. He was again on leave in England in 1886-7. From 1892 to 1894 he was Deputy Director-General of Military Works, and in the latter year he assumed the duties of Chief Engineer, Bombay Military Works.

On the Creation of four military Commands in India in 1895, he was appointed Chief Engineer, Punjab Command, and remained so till his retirement at full Colonel in 1902. While he was holding this post the North West Frontier Province was created; in it all public works, except canals, were made the responsibility of Royal Engineers officers, and this greatly increased the scope of his duties.

In 1897 there was a general blaze-up on the Frontier, and John was appointed CRE Malakand Field Force and later on Chief Engineer, Tirah Expeditionary Force, with the rank of Brigadier-General. It was for these services that he was awarded the C.B.

{p46}
In the middle of all these frontier troubles Dora died at Murree; the cause of her death has not been recorded. She was buried there, and John put up massive marble tombstone with deeply incised lettering, which clearly showed his wish that she should be remembered there for all time. I saw the grave when I was posted to Murree in 1935.

Murree was John's summer home in India for several years; he lived in a house called Woodlands which was still there in my time. He was remembered as having been the builder of the Murree water-works in the Gali Hills several miles away; these also were still functioning in my time.

A single letter survives from July 1898 to my father Theo. All the boys had been educated at Sedbergh; the two older ones had left, and Theo was about to take his examinations for the Academy at Woolwich. After discussing his prospects, John goes on: "I wonder where you will be when Harry gets back. He sails in the 'Arabia' on 30 July from Bombay... It is rather sad, this breaking-up of our party here. Eddie left for his regiment yesterday, and Harry will be going in little more than a week. Then a fortnight or three weeks after that I suppose Edie (Butterworth's daughter, the missionary RB) will be going off to Kashmir, and soon after she gets back she and Esther and Cecil (Esther's husband, the Rev. C. Barton RB) will be going from Murree, never to return, I suppose. Esther and Cecil and Baby (their eldest child Ted Barton RB) will D.V. - be home early in November. You will be proud of your nephew I expect. He is a very jolly boy — about the rowdiest youngster I have ever seen at his age......

"We have got the rains with a vengeance now. It is not often that it rains as it has done the last week. But each day there have been some hours fine and we have been able to get a walk. The views through the openings in the clouds have been most beautiful. It has turned so cold that we are glad to have a fire in the drawing-room. It is such a delicious change from the great heat of a few days ago. Harry and Cecil were intending to go out to the Galis again on a photographing expedition, but they have had to give it up, as there is so much rain and mist. It is rather a pity, but it will enable Harry to get more views of Murree. He got two very good ones of us at afternoon tea yesterday...", and he goes on to talk of the antics of the two dogs which Eddie had left in his charge.

This is a charming picture of the family party at a sort of short-lived Longwood Edge in the Himalayas.

In 1900 John married Alex, the Hon: Alexandra Caroline Frances Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, daughter of the seventeenth Lord Saye and Sele, one of the oldest families in Britain; they were much impoverished at that time, though they managed to retain their ancestral home, Broughton Castle near Banbury. They were a large family, mostly of girls, of whom three turned to religion. One became a Church of England nun at Wantage, another married a very low-church clergyman, and Alex was a missionary. Though some years younger than John, she was of a certain age at her wedding, and had no children of her own. Since she survived John's death in 1931, he had the unusual distinction of celebrating two silver weddings.

In 1902 they retired and settled at Reading; the Dowager Lady Saye and Sele, Alex's mother, lived there in a modest house, and this fact may have influenced their choice. John rented a house called Fynesbury about a mile from the town centre in a quiet road. I was partly brought up there as a little boy, when my parents were in India, and even when they returned and went to Longwood, I used to visit Fynesbury at least once in every school holiday and university vacation. It was an enormous Victorian house of three storeys, remarkable for its tall brick chimneys. There were four main bedrooms and a dressing-room on the first floor, and three attic bedrooms for the domestics on the second. All three of these were occupied during my young days, but as maids grew more expensive and harder to get the number gradually dwindled to one, an awe-inspiring, cross-grained but faithful person called Louisa. There was a large rear garden running most of the way down to the main railway line between Reading and Exeter. John and I took great pleasure in the trains. He also taught me chess and backgammon.

{p47}
It did not take John long to find himself plenty of employment. He became a Magistrate for Berkshire, Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Berkshire Hospital, President of the Berkshire branch of the Church Missionary Society, and a member of the Committee of the parent body. Alex also was very busy in church work, and in looking after the numerous relatives from both sides of the family who came on visits. John was very popular with the Fiennes family, who called him Uncle Jack.

So he continued his busy and happy life till 1925, when he was eighty. Then alas he had the first of three strokes, which progressively deprived him of speech and hearing, so that one could only communicate with him by writing on scraps of paper. In the end he became so isolated from the world that his mind became unhinged. It was a pitiful end to a splendid life.

He died on 7 January 1931, and was buried at Beech Hill, near Reading, where the Vicar and his family were close friends. Alex survived him in increasing infirmity till 1938, and was buried with him.

His daughter Esther had four children, Ted, Dora, Ronald and Douglas, of whom only Ronald is still living. Her husband Cecil Barton died quite young, and for some years she was a house-mistress at Cheltenham Ladies College.

Edward (Eddie) entered the Army in the King's Own Scottish Borderers. He had a distinguished career, ending as a Major-General with a knighthood; he was a very popular Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey for several years. He married Florence (Floey) MacNab; they had no children.

Harry entered the Church of England. He and his wife Eva Davidson had five sons, John, David, Theo, Ken and Colin. All but John are still living. Theo went into the Mills, and is still Managing Director.

John’s youngest son Theo was my father. After going to Woolwich like his father he went into the Royal Artillery, but married my mother Katharine Peter very early in his career (again like his father). He transferred to the Indian Army. I was the first surviving child, and had two sisters Anne and Dora, the latter of whom died in 1973. My father retired after the First World War and entered the Mills, later becoming Managing Director. We lived at Quarry Hurst till a few years before my father's death in 1961.


6. Eliza (Leila)


Leila was born on 12 January 1848, her mother's birthday. Though I think it is likely that she was called Leila as a pet-name from her childhood (there is no record of this), this became her name for all family purposes when William married Eliza Harpin. As usual there is no record of her early education, but soon after William found a house in London in 1860 he brought her there for further schooling, and she lived in Seymour Street under the supervision of Mary J. When the latter became ill and returned to Longwood, Leila stayed on with William, but in August 1861 her mother decided she must return home, because "she would be a charge to" William, and was "getting too much of her own way." Nothing further is said about her education, except that along with Ben and Arthur she was taught at home by Sarah. No doubt the deficiencies in her schooling led to her giving voice in 1873 to the only example of Women's Lib in the entire record: "I think it is very stupid to bring girls up to do nothing particular; there are plenty of things I could do if anybody would take the trouble to show me."

As a girl, Leila had a somewhat weak chest, and she was very susceptible to coughs and colds. The family, remembering what had happened to Mary J., were continually worried about possible tuberculosis. William was repeatedly called on to examine her, and he always said, rightly, that there was nothing seriously wrong. But this went on for years, and must have been very annoying to Leila.

She grew up to be a very pretty girl, and most attractive to men. There is no record of a Methodist "conversion", though she attended to her religious duties regularly enough. No doubt she had to, but she was the least religious of the three sisters.

The first boy-friend of who we have a record was James Sykes. He was not liked by the family, but according to Leila, who described herself as thoughtless and careless, they loved each other. But he was poor, with relatives who needed him and his earnings, and he did not speak. She was hurt and angry, and put him out of her mind.

Then came a candidate for the Wesleyan ministry called Mr. Piller; he was a superficially attractive person, obviously with the gift of the gab, and he was at first well liked by the family. Leila persuaded herself that she was in love with him, and they became engaged. Almost immediately, however, she began to have grave doubts, and became extremely miserable, sometimes unable to sleep. In those days it was very difficult to break off an engagement except by mutual consent or some overpowering reason; mere doubts about the outcome of the marriage were not enough. Mr. Piller had no intention of letting Leila go, and said so; my estimate of him is that he was a social climber who probably over-estimated the Broadbent wealth.

Gradually the family began to have doubts about him; he held un-orthodox views about spiritualism, and not all his statements about himself were true. The climax came when he went to his examination for ordination and failed. The family had inside information about this and were forewarned. When Piller appeared he made at first no mention of the examination, and when asked about it made statements which were grossly misleading. That was enough; the family already knew about Leila's miserable doubts, and now these were confirmed; Piller was very firmly told that the marriage would not take place. Leila was greatly relieved; she says, "she wished no other than her own dear family."

But after a few weeks she met James Sykes again "for one brief minute and again he asked her in a letter if there was any hope". Leila showed the letter to Sarah, who was appalled, as she fully shared the family's view of James; for one thing, he smoked!

Sarah kept her own counsel for the time being, but Leila met James again, and it became apparent that she wished to marry him. There was a great rumpus, but Leila stuck to her guns, though as miserable as before. William described her as "wilful and impetuous", and altogether she was in very bad odour. Something however had to be done, and Leila was quite immovable, except to the extent that she would agree to there being no engagement for six months, only provided that she could see James sometimes during this period. The family rather unwillingly agreed to this, and Sarah was deputed to see James at Gledholt (a mile from Huddersfield) and tell him.

The meeting never took place: two days before it she was told that James had fallen seriously ill, and within a week he was dead from congestion of the brain. This was a shattering blow, made worse for the family by the discovery that in fact James was an admirable young man with very good qualities. For once, I think, they must have felt very small, but this was now no help to Leila. I am informed that though she was twice married later in life, she wore James's ring to her dying day.

All this occurred in 1876, There is not much news of Leila in the record, except her presence at various family occasions, till she married Dr. John Walker on 12 August 1881. This was the only family wedding reception at Longwood Edge in the entire period of this history (though they did marry off one or two maids), and the preparations nearly drove poor Sarah mad; she hated parting with Leila in any case. She does not even describe the wedding. John Walker was the elder brother of another doctor who was the family physician at Longwood in the early years of this century.

After their honeymoon Leila and John went to live at Golcar (pronounced GOKER) about two miles southwest of Longwood. There were the usual frenzied preparations by Sarah, Louie and Julia for the return of the bride and bridegroom, including a piano which arrived at the very last moment, but all went off well.

{p49}
Leila had a son Jack late in 1883; when he grew up he went into the Mills, but died of tuberculosis in September 1914. He had married Jessie Faulder the same year. Her second son Cecil (birthdate unknown) became a doctor and practised at Malton in the North Riding. He had a wife, another Jessie (McRay) and five children, and I met them once in 1947. Leila's husband John died in unknown circumstances at sea about 1905.

Though she was then fifty-seven, there must have been some of the old magic left in her, because after a suitable interval she married a Mr. Fisher, of whom I know nothing, and went to live with him at Harrogate.

Sarah visited her there on various occasions before she herself became an invalid; in 1921 she described Leila as "very feeble", and the last visit took place in 1922, when Sarah went in my parents' "motor". Leila died about 1925.

I can give my impression of her character only from her earlier life. "Wilful and impetuous" she was, but she was also full of common sense and had great strength of character. Nobody could force her to do what she thought was wrong, as was shown in the tragic affair of James Sykes, when she fought for her future like a tigress. In some ways she was the most attractive of the three sisters, and not only in appearance. I wish I knew more about her; because she married out of the family the reports about her largely come to an end.


7. Benjamin


Ben was born on 7 May 1850. As a boy he was known as Benjie, but later graduated to being called Ben. (Sarah went to the trouble of removing the "-jie" from the thickest volume of her private record which runs from 1873 to 1877, and at the same time substituted Leila for Eliza.)

He started his education at Huddersfield College like the other boys, but in 1861 he fell in the playground and hurt his knee. Sarah says: "He did not complain at the time and went to College as usual the day following, but at night the pain became very severe, and went on getting worse till he was quite delirious, and for a week he continued to have most excruciating pain". This was the beginning of the leg trouble which was to plague him for the next fifteen years, and have a seriously adverse effect on his education.

When he was fourteen William wrote that he thought his talents, though considerable, were not of the right sort for business, and that he might well become a minister of religion. This was an intelligent forecast, because Ben did hope later to be a minister, and though he went into the business he cannot be said to have distinguished himself in it. His distinction lay in other fields. Again (William to Sarah in October 1865): "I approve very highly of your suggestion that Ben should matriculate. I have always thought and often said that he would never make a good business man, but when I spoke to him he seemed perfectly passive. He had no leaning to any profession, expressed no preference, acquiesced simply in the arrangement that he was to be with Father and Butterworth, certainly without any enthusiasm but apparently without any dislike... As to his capacity I believe it to be greater than John's or my own; as to what would best bring out his talents I am not decided. He would do well in medicine, but I see no special qualifications for it; his shyness would make against him in practice. The Church seems to me to be the profession for which he is best adapted — quick in his sympathies — tender in conscience —. I think he would be an instrument of great good in the hands of God, but he must wait for the call..." Sarah replied that Ben said he should choose at once to be a clergyman if it were not that he believed it to be his duty to help Father. She added that Ben was already a great help, and that she did not see any way but for him to continue in business at present.

In September 1866 he was in London pursuing his studies for matriculation; he intended to follow this up by trying for a scholarship at one of the universities. But he was accident-prone; on Christmas Day 1867 when playing football up against the steep hill outside Longwood Edge he dived straight into a stone wall.

{p50}
(This game was traditional in the family; my cousins and I used to play it often in our youth, and especially to work off a Christmas dinner). Though he was not seriously damaged, the family was thrown into consternation. But at least his leg was well enough at this time for him to play football. He duly passed his Matriculation at the end of December.

In August 1869, while on holiday at Llanfairfechan, he writes to John: "I worked very hard the last few weeks, except one or two days when Arty (Arthur) was in London, and I managed to get the Divinity Prize (as a Longwood Broadbent, how could he fail? RB), and a private prize from Professor Lonsdale. In the classical examination I was 6th. On the whole I count that these last examinations are encouraging. I had felt very dismal and downhearted after my failure in trying for the scholarship at Cambridge..." He passed the London Matric. First Class, but not with Honours. He failed however, not unexpectedly, to obtain a scholarship at Magdalen College, Oxford in October 1869. At last in 1870 he succeeded in gaining admission to Queen’s College, Oxford, and passed "Smalls" at Easter.

His studies at Oxford were greatly impeded by the continual but intermittent trouble with his leg, and at one point he missed two terms in succession. During part of this time he stayed at Dawlish in Devon with Sarah and her friend Louie Keighley, and no doubt it was during this stay that he fell in love with Louie.

He returned to Oxford for the summer term of 1873, and at the end of term Sarah and Leila went up for Commemoration, accompanied by Louie. The visit was a resounding success. Sarah writes; "Next morning we set out to see as many colleges as we could; then to luncheon in Ben's rooms where he had invited two of his friends to meet us; they made themselves very agreeable, and devoted themselves to us the rest of the day — indeed the whole week. The Wadham concert was the most enjoyable; the singing was exquisite and the grounds were beautifully illuminated; it was a lovely evening, the air soft and balmy. We shall always remember our visit to Oxford as one of the happiest times we ever had..." Ben wrote to John that this term was the pleasantest he had ever had; no crutches. Arthur had also visited him separately from the girls; he thought that when John returned from India, he would probably find Ben a curate on £40 a year.

Apart from minor attacks of inflammation, Ben had no serious trouble during 1874, taking his final exams at the end of the year. He got a good Second in History, nearly a First, but was very disappointed. He thought he had let the family down, as no Broadbent should finish his education without First Class Honours and Medals. But in view of his painful disability and missed terms I think his achievement was remarkable. He left Oxford, and in January 1875 he even went skating on the reservoirs. But the question was what he should do.

At first he planned to go to Paris, but Arthur's health gave way under the strain of having to run the Mills almost single-handed, and when the letter's principal assistant gave notice to leave, Ben decided that he must stay in Longwood to help his brother. Arthur greatly appreciated this, but Ben's leg continued to give trouble from time to time and on one occasion he was laid up for three weeks. Eventually the crisis came in November 1876, and William decided that an operation was necessary. It was performed on 16 December in London with William holding Ben's hand throughout; it lasted only half-an-hour and was a complete success. The surgeons came on the abscess at once in the very centre of the bone, and his recovery was rapid. He was completely cured, and had, I believe, no further trouble throughout his life. It seems a pity that the operation was not done years before, but one must remember that at that period an operation was so dangerous that it was the last resort. By the summer Ben was back in business at Longwood.

In April 1879 Ben at last became engaged to Louie Keighley. He had loved her steadfastly for several years, but for a long time she refused him. Perhaps she felt unable to accept until she was sure her husband would not be an invalid all his life. I do not know her age, but I suspect that {p51} she was older than Ben; this seems likely, as she was a close friend of Sarah (eight years older than he) and predeceased her husband. They were married in April 1880, and went to live at Gatesgarth, which was to be their home throughout their married life.

Louie had great difficulty with childbirth. Her first baby, a daughter, was stillborn, and her son Benedict was a 7-months child who weighed only 2½ pounds at birth. He was kept alive in an incubator, perhaps one of the first children to have his life thus saved. There were no more children.

Ben never achieved his ambition to be a clergyman, which was a pity. He worked in the Mills all his life, but never really enjoyed it because, as the family was well aware, he had no real aptitude for business. My cousin Esther remarks: "When he had to come and help at the Mill he took his revenge by making the system of accounts into a sort of crossword puzzle, much to the indignation of the auditors."

His escape from the Mills was to public and social work in Huddersfield and beyond. He became a Councillor of the County Borough in 1886, and Mayor in 1904. His work is best summed up in "The Times" obituary of 26 June 1925.

"...In him all children have lost a friend. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that there are thousands of young men or women alive today who must, had he not lived, have perished in their earlier infancy. For Broadbent discovered the secret of infant mortality. Not only so, but he actually demonstrated to the world the truth of his discovery. When he was elected Mayor..., he gave promissory notes for £1 to the parents of all children born in his native place Longwood. These were redeemable on the first birthday of each child. Of some 112 children who shared in the scheme, only 4 died during the year. This was equivalent to cutting down the infant death-rate of the area by more than one-half. It was a demonstration of the supreme importance of parental care in the saving of life. (Recently some 35 survivors of the "Sovereign Babies" as they called themselves, held a reunion in Longwood. Others sent letters from overseas. I understand that it was quite a party! RB)

"That remarkable achievement was the beginning of an enterprise into which Broadbent threw the whole of his great powers and in which he found the inspiration of his life. Years of stern warfare against ignorance and apathy followed, years in which earlier impressions were confirmed and new facts gathered. Last year, in the course of a series of articles in "The Times", Broadbent pointed out that infant life in England is much safer in some towns than in others, and he instanced as 'The Ten Best Towns' Oxford with an infant death rate of 64.5 per 1000 births; Bath 65.4.... The average in the 10 lowest towns in the list was, he stated, 120.7 to 139.8. The Distinguishing mark of the ' good' towns was the interest shown in parenthood.

"'Public opinion in every one of these towns' (Broadbent wrote) 'is in favour of doing all that is possible for the welfare of mothers and babies. It is a trained and educated public opinion that believes in the worth and dignity of motherhood'.

"This view is now held by all workers in the field of child welfare — so much so indeed that education, general and technical, has come to be regarded as the 'sure shield' of infant life. In a final article in these columns published last January, Broadbent outlined the scheme of work which he believed to be necessary if progress was to be maintained. This work is now, to some extent at any rate, in hand. Indeed, it can be said of this truly fine life that it was prolonged until the hour of harvest, so eagerly awaited and so zealously laboured for, had come.

"...Broadbent published various articles and papers on infant mortality and public health administration. The honours which came to him were the Freedom of the Borough of Huddersfield, the Fellowship of King's College, London, the CBE in 1918, and the honorary membership of the American Child Welfare Association..."

Basil Broadbent has a pleasant story about his grandfather's CBE. At the Mills, millhand: "Whar's Mr. Benjamin today?" Foreman: "He's gone to London to get his award from the King." Millhand: "Will 'e get a knart'ood?" Foreman: "Nay he'll get the CBE." Millhand: "Well, if yon fella don't give MR. Benjamin a knart'ood what be things coming to?" Ben himself said that his CBE meant Caring for the Babies of England.

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As a result of his articles in 'The Times' Ben became nationally known in his own field. Towards the end of his life Elliott and Fry, the well known London photographers, asked if he would sit for them; they offered his free copies of the resulting portraits. Surprised, he asked them why they made this approach; they replied frankly: "For obituary purposes." Ben was much amused, sat for the photographs, and told my father the story.

Ben's public work led to trouble with Arthur in the 1920s. The latter felt that Ben showed little interest in the Mills and was always away, with the result that the whole burden of the business fell on himself. One must admit that the above obituary strongly suggests that there was some basis for Arthur's complaint. Sarah says several times in her private record of this period how much the tension between the two brothers upset her, and it appears that for a time at least even social relations were almost broken off.

Louie died about 1915. All I can remember of her is a vague feeling of a gentle and sweet personality. Esther says of her: "Aunt Louie was a dear, but rather an expensive person, and (Ben) tried to give her all that she asked for, often disastrously."

As I have already recorded, when his son Benedict married, Ben came to live at Oakscar with Sarah, and they were very happy together, reading and going over old times. This Indian summer for both was sadly ended when Ben was taken seriously ill in April 1925; he had to leave Oakscar, as it was not possible to have two invalids there, and he died on June 25. He was buried with Louie in the Italianate mausoleum which I have already mentioned; it was his only piece of ostentation, and was a reproduction of a tomb he had admired on one of his trips to Italy. Though no doubt admirable in its original setting, it looks a little odd among the simple gravestones on the stark northern hillside of Longwood.

I remember Ben quite well. He was a gentle, shy and rather bumbling man, very ready to smile and be kind to us youngsters. He kept pigs at Gatesgarth, and always took us to scratch their backs. He had in old age a profusion of pure white whiskers all over his face, but without a beard, and like most of the male Broadbents he was bald on top.

One can conclude that he made the best of a difficult life, in which circumstances thrust him into a job for which he was basically unsuited. It is not surprising that over the years he failed to get on with Arthur, who was not an easy man, and to whom the business was his life's work. Ben was another of the frustrated members of the family, but was luckier than Sarah in that, because he was a man, he was able to find in his social work an outlet for the talents which he undoubtedly possessed.


8. Arthur


Arthur, the youngest of the night surviving children of JB II and Esther, was born in 1855. After having been one of Sarah's little class at home, he was educated entirely at Hudderfield College. Apart from frequent holidays and visits, he spent the whole of his life in Longwood until he retired about 1929.

He went into the Mills on leaving school in 1871, as assistant to Butterworth, and proved very useful. The catastrophe of Butterworth's death in 1873 was a particularly cruel blow to him, as he had to assume almost entire responsibility for the business at the age of eighteen. I have already explained that nobody else was available. He lost his youth, and was unable to have any of the fun and enjoyment which is every young person's birthright. I think he was permanently soured by this experience. It was more than any young man should have been called upon to bear, but he set about it as best he could, and considering everything he did very well. But his health suffered severely, and the family had visions that his continual overwork and worry would send him the way of Butterworth. Thus it was that Ben on leaving Oxford had to come into the business, and the uneasy coalition started which was to last for nearly fifty years.

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In the beginning the two brothers lived at Longwood Edge, with Sarah keeping house for them and the old parents, while they lived. Leila was Sarah's assistant. Later when the parents died and Leila and Ben married Arthur and Sarah were left alone.

In 1886 Sarah noticed that Arthur was very gloomy and despondent; he finally revealed that he was thinking of cutting completely adrift and going abroad, taking Sarah with him. He said that he was in perfect harmony with Ben, but could not get along with Arnold (Butterworth's son, of whom all the family had the highest opinions). He thought it best that without any quarrels the business should be handed over to Ben and Arnold. Sarah without much difficulty dissuaded him from this extraordinary and most uncharacteristic idea. I mention it as another example of how difficult Arthur found it to get along with colleagues.

In 1896 Arthur became engaged to Nellie Mallinson, and they were married in the following year. Nellie was a fair-haired gentle creature, much younger than her husband, who was forty-two when they married, and completely under his domination. Her daughter Esther describes her as a saint, but very frail. She goes on that after she herself had left school she deliberately did not go to college because she felt that her mother needed her help, and she did in fact remain at home till both her parents were dead.

Esther was born in 1898, and is now the last surviving grandchild of JB II and Esther the elder. It is she who has helped me so greatly with this history. She has been for many years a Methodist local preacher, and lives in Cumbria.

My father retired from the Indian Army after the First World War, and came to Quarry Hurst in 1920. He went into the Mills, of which he became Managing Director on Arthur's retirement. He had great difficulty in getting along with Arthur, and I quote from Esther; "My father became very unreasonable in later years, and much of it came on your father, I am afraid."

As the 1920s wore on, Arthur began to suffer from heart trouble, but he would not give in. He insisted on travelling all round the north of England, driven by his faithful chauffeur John Morton, who told my father on one occasion, "one of these days I'll be bringing home a corpse". In my father’s view these journeys did the business very little good, but they could not be prevented. In passing, I should add that when Arthur and his family left Longwood, John Morton became our chauffeur, gardener and handyman at Quarry Hurst, and much beloved he was by all of us, with his round apple face and cheerful Yorkshire humour.

Eventually Arthur could carry on no more, and he removed with Nellie and Esther to Eamont Bridge near Penrith, at the foot of Ullswater. They had a pretty bungalow separated only by the road from the little River Eamont which runs out of the lake. I once spent a lovely holiday there with my parents when Arthur and his family were away. Arthur died in 1932, and Nellie survived him by only a few years.

I must confess that to me Arthur is the least sympathetic of all the brothers and sisters. He had all of his brothers' demonic passion for work, but he was the least intelligent, and was stubborn and obstinate to a degree. He was a creature of habit to an extraordinary extent; on business and on Sundays he dressed always in a black frock coat with black overcoat and a squarish black bowler hat with a high crown, which I believe is called a billycock. Such an outfit was very old fashioned even in the 1920s. He usually had roast beef and apple pie for his midday dinner, and my father, who often accompanied him, told me that on his journeys if the hotel did not have these dishes on the menu he told the staff to go and prepare them for him; I can hardly believe that even in those days of good service he always got them. But perhaps this story is a little exaggerated.

In 1928 he and Nellie had their Christmas dinner with Sarah at Oakscar: she records that it was the first time in seventy-three years that he had not had it at Longwood Edge.

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In appearance Arthur was short and rather stout, clean shaven (my father said he took 45 minutes to shave himself), and with the very high colour often associated with people liable to heart trouble.


Epilogue


The departure of Arthur from Longwood Edge, which was sold, was the end of an era in Longwood, though my father lived at Quarry Hurst till the fifties, and my cousin Theo left Oakscar only comparatively recently. Longwood Edge was always the hub of the family, and even I can remember a sense of at deprivation when we could no longer go there or play in the surrounding fields.

Longwood Edge, the Chapel and the Mills were the background of nearly all my family from about 1800 to 1930, and for a few the connection with Longwood persisted much longer. Methodism and close family ties had a great effect on the whole of the two generations whose story I have described, largely from their own writings, but it is possible to draw a distinction between those whose lives were almost wholly spent in Longwood and those who broke away. In the first class were the parents John and Esther, and of the children Butterworth, Mary J, Sarah and Arthur; in the second were William, my grandfather John Edward, and Leila. Ben is an intermediate figure, because although he lived in Longwood and Lindley all his life he went to Oxford, and when he came back he had important outside interests.

The Longwood members of the family, however much they travelled about, remained Methodist and provincial, comparatively big fish in a very small pond. The atmosphere was strictly Methodist, pious and somewhat suffocating. The effect, as might be expected, varied as between different members of the family who stayed in Longwood, and I have been impressed by the great difference in the characters of all the brothers and sisters. John and Esther, the parents, created this atmosphere, the former by his conversion and the latter by her upbringing; it was they who arranged for the building of the Chapel. Esther in particular wrote continual letters to any of her children who happened to be away, all pietistic in tone and full of Biblical quotations.

Butterworth gloried in the Longwood atmosphere. Half practical man of business and half saint, he grows in stature the more one studies him. I feel that if his destiny had not been in Longwood, and if he had lived longer, there was no position which he might not have achieved, but he was happy where he was. Sarah, who also had great talents but could not break out, chiefly because of her sex but also because she was somewhat lacking in force of character, was the chief sufferer from frustration. Mary J died too young to realise her potential, but I think she was too gentle and domesticated ever to have broken away, except through marriage, Ben was also frustrated because when he finished his university career he had no option but to come into the Mills. One must feel sorry for Arthur because on account of Butterworth’s death he was cast at the age of eighteen into a job which was far too much for any man of his age.

Now for those who left Longwood. I think it is significant that both William and John gave up Methodism and joined the Church of England — I do not know what Leila did, nor can I say anything of her in this context. William was a man of extraordinary ability and application (though I think no greater in these respects than Butterworth), and he deservedly reached the top of his chosen profession; he extended human knowledge and became the friend of royalty. John, though he did not make so great a mark, was by any standards a distinguished man and a credit to the family. So was Ben; all three of them were worthy citizens of the great world.

The picture of the whole family is of a forcing-house for ability and hard work; one is constantly reminded of Galsworthy's Forsytes, the difference being that the Forsytes as a family migrated to London, whereas of the Broadbents only William did so; John went overseas, which none of the Forsytes did. But after allowing for this, the picture is the same – a steady rise in the social scale, very close family connections, triumphs and disasters, and a microcosm of Victorian and later England.

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The attentive reader may have noticed that I record very few faults in my subjects; William as eldest brother was sometimes dictatorial, Ben rather impractical, and Arthur stubborn and a difficult partner in business, but as a general rule the virtues far outnumber the faults. This is because I have compiled this chronicle from the records, largely Sarah's, and she was not one to impute blame to anybody except herself. But even when this has been allowed for, the family as a whole were an admirable group of people; well-meaning and well-doing, kind and good. They deserve to be remembered, and I personally feel very proud to be one of their descendants.


THE END



Inclusion


[The following poem is included in the back of my father’s copy of Robert’s book. He doesn't remember where it came from!]

Bonny Snowlea

When Longud fowk is not so weal,
And cannot walk so far,
Yo’ll often see em on’t Snowlea,
An’ raaned bi’t th’owd wocar.

Its sich a bonny spot you know,
Thra’t Shell to’t fore loins end,
An farther on ta Bowers farm,
Yo get theer as yo mend.

To look across to’t Pettyroydes,
And raand bi’t Scape Goat Hill,
It seems ta do you pounds o’ good
When yo’ve been varry ill.

The’s th’owd Hirst Mill, haa grand it looks,
Dame nature’s done her best.
To cover all its scars wi green,
Owd time has done the rest.

There’s th’cattle grazing on’t Leys fields,
And th’childer daan by’th brook
Are catching fishes in a jar,
Wo’ll Father has a smook.

How quiet and still it allus seems,
So peaceful and so calm,
Why th’little childer love to go,
They know they’re safe from harm.

How spick and span th’owd mistal looks,
At’s built wi’th stoanes thra’t Shell,
And’s underdrawn wi’th th’owd pew backs,
An there’s chapel doars as well!

An then there’s Broadbent’s rec. you know,
Aw weel remember th’day
We all marched on through th’scarlet delph
Wi medals bright and gay.

This Snowlea loine ta yo and me,
It’s better nor onny prom,
For we can tak ower evening stroll,
And sleep content at whom.

So let me sing a song of praise
To Longud’ beauty spot,
Don’t anchor after foreign parts,
Just think of what you’ve got.

Harry Jessop.


external image Bonny%20Snowlea%20by%20Harry%20Jessop.jpg

Attached to the bottom of this sweet poem are the reproductions of a medal; presumably both sides of the same one? The lettering is not all clear: around the left face reads "SIR W. H. BROADBENT ?????" while the right reads "IN COMMEMORATION OF THE OPENING OF BROADBENT ????? LONGWOOD"]