The present day ‘Longdon Court’ on the north side of the top of Longdon Hill is based on a property built in the 1890s and called ‘Woodlands’ for a period of its existence. In 1901, it was occupied by the Broadie family, headed by Frank Gordon Broadie (sometimes spelled ‘Brodie’), an Eastbourne-born fruit grower. At that time, the house was called ‘Longdon House’. By 1911, he had moved on and the house was occupied by Stanley Whitaker Moss-Blundell, who was also growing fruit and came from Ferriby in Yorkshire. He named the house ‘Carrig’. The 1911 census return shows that the house had nine main rooms. More details of the property were given in the Land Valuation Survey assessment, done in January 1915. The land area of the property was about 11½ acres.
Moss-Blundell sold the property on 24th March 1914 to George Cadbury of Bournville, Birmingham, for £3,500, but it was already being occupied by Alfred Woodall by that time. He had come from Stafford and was a brother-in-law of George Cadbury.
In 1939, the Register of that year listed Dr Harry Heath as living in ‘Woodlands’, so he had renamed the property yet again. He had moved to the Evesham area in 1926, from Birmingham and Kelly’s Directory of 1928 listed him as living at ‘Corig, Benge hill, Evesham’ which should have been ‘Carrig, Longdon Hill’. Dr Heath left his practice in Evesham in 1948.
The Newman family at Woodlands
After the Second World War, the property belonged to Arthur James Newman and the photographs below were supplied by his grand-daughter, Laura Morris. Arthur was a shopkeeper and draper, of 34 Bridge Street, Evesham, in 1939. He and his wife, Eleanor Ruth, or ‘Nell’, (nee Feast), had four children before the War, who all attended Prince Henry’s Grammar School.
Arthur Newman was born in Cheltenham on the last day of the 19th Century - 31st December 1900. He was the son of railway engine driver, Frederick Newman and his wife, Alice. Arthur was one of five children. An older brother, Frederick James, was killed in France very close to the end of the Great War. He died of wounds on 29th September 1918. Arthur married Eleanor Feast, in the Alcester area in 1928, and in the Second World War, he joined the R.A.F. and saw service in India.
The following photographs show various aspects of Woodlands.
‘The Woodlands’ was sold not long before Arthur Newman died, when he and Eleanor moved to Birmingham to live next door to their elder daughter, Patricia. Both Arthur and Eleanor died in the Birmingham area, in 1982 and 1990 respectively.
Later development of ‘Woodlands’
‘Woodlands’ was put up for sale in about 1982 by Estate Agents, A.M. Wadley of High Street, Evesham. It was described as a ‘superior gentleman’s residence’. The particulars mentioned that it was a six-bedroomed house, with an entrance hall, sitting room, lounge and breakfast room. It was said to have been built about 100 years previously for the Cadbury family, but this was not entirely correct. The house had ‘extensive views of Broadway Tower, the Cotswolds, Bredon Hill and the Malverns and across the Vale of Evesham itself’. Offers in the region of £60,000 were asked.
After the Newmans left, the house was used as a residential home for the elderly for about twenty years, under the name ‘Woodlands Care Home’ or similar.
‘Woodlands’ was later extended, in about 2003, into a terrace of seven houses and two additional houses were built in the grounds. The complex is now called ‘Longdon Court’. The original house was split in two and these are Nos 7 and 8. The original asking prices for these nine properties totalled around £2,000,000.
Thanks are due to Laura Morris, Albert Newman’s grand-daughter, for the photographs and much of the information for this article. The aerial view of ‘Woodlands’ was lent by Pam Payne.
Tom Locke– March 2020