Family tales!

An Interesting history from Graham Brothwood

I asked my father what his grandfather was called but he could not remember. They lived in quite a big house, I think, in north Shropshire called "Redponds" (presumably the water was a red colour because of iron ore deposits in the ground). My paternal grandmother - Emma - also came from the same area. Dad thinks her father was involved in paying out wages / a foreman, etc., at the mines (apparently she remembered him at a big green baize table handing out the silver shillings to the men on a Friday!).

As a possible matter of interest I was involved a few years ago in a project dealing with the Waste collection and disposal for Shropshire County Council. As a property lawyer my task was to investigate the Council's title to the landfill sites, some of which were on old coal/iron ore mines. The original owners of the land were the Lilleshall Iron and Coal Company (or something like this). A big, landed family owned all the land and the mines and, from what my grandfather told me, pretty much the people in the surrounding villages (in the late 1800s they were pretty feudal in outlook). They were an unpleasant lot (apparently) and conditions in the mine were bad - a number of people died each year. My grandfather was interested when I mentioned what I was doing and got a reference book out of , I guess, the Shropshire County library. It was an interesting read. From your statistics quite a few Brothwood's were involved in the coal or iron industry.

Before he died I asked my grandfather of his early memories from childhood (like many of his generation he blocked out the First World War). He said his father had owned a number of houses (in Shropshire) and he used to go round with him to collect the rent. The tenants were very poor and in the end (from what I could gather) he sold the houses (or gifted them) to the occupiers so that by the time he died the family did not own any.

I can go back to about 1898 with my grandfather - Wilfred ("Bill") Cyril Vernon Brothwood - who died in December 1994, aged 96 (buried/garden of remembrance in Great Barford church, Bedfordshire). He was born in Shropshire - near Telford/Ironbridge, I believe. Shropshire seems to be where most of the Brothwoods came from. I would need to check this, but he had a least one brother and maybe two sisters. He married my grandmother - Emma - sometime after WWI. He fought in the trenches as a machine-gunner in a Shropshire regiment at the end of the first war when he was 18. He was a liason officer in the Second World War (tracing misplaced people in Europe and getting them back to their own countries). They moved to Broughton, outside Preston (Lancs) in the late 1920s when my uncle - John - and my father - Michael - were born (about 1930 and Dad in September 1932). Bill was a doctor in Lancashire before moving to be the Area Health Officer for Bedford County in the 1950s until the late 1960s. There are, I believe, a number of Brothwood's in Australia (left the UK of their own accord as far as I am aware - not shipped out!). I have seen photos of a large family outthere.

Grahamm Brothwood. Malmesbury, Wiltshire.