Skip to main content

Philip Edward BRAILSFORD (1869-1950)

Biographical Details

Philip Edward Brailsford (1869-1950) worked as gardener for the Sladden family.

Philip was born at Barlborough, Derbyshire, on 9th December 1869, the third of seven children of Henry and Mary Brailsford, but the only son.  His father, Henry, was an Estate Agent and for some years worked for Lord Curzon of Scarsdale.  By 1891 the family had moved to Quarndon, Derbyshire; the family lived at Park Nook and employed two servants.

Philip’s father had high expectations for his son.  In 1891 Philip was described as an architect’s pupil.  According to Philip’s granddaughter, the story goes that Philip was articled to be a Land Agent, but he did a bunk and ended up at Evesham Station.  He found his way to Elmley Castle where he met Alice, a servant girl.  They fell in love and had a son, Malcolm Henry (1899-1986), who was registered with the surname of Taylor, but later took the name of Brailsford.  Philip was living in Elmley Castle in 1901, lodging with Edwin and Eliza Gregg and working as a poultry man.  One-year-old Malcolm was staying with his grandparents, Charles and Matilda Taylor, in Elmley Castle, but Alice’s whereabouts are unknown.

Philip and Alice married in the Pershore district later in 1901.  They were living in Evesham when a second son, Thomas Edward (1904-1969), was born.  By November 1904 they had moved to Badsey when Malcolm enrolled at Badsey Council School.  Philip and Alice went on to have six more children born in Badsey:  Janet Mary (1909-1909), George Monsell (1910-2006), Henry Forrest (1913-1986), Philip James (1915-1918), Margaret Kate (1918-1990) and Rhoda Eleanor (1920-1999).  According to the 1911 census, Alice had given birth to four children who had died, but only Janet appears to have been registered.

The Brailsfords lived firstly at what is now No 25 Brewers Lane, Badsey.  In about 1913 they moved a few houses along to Tower View (now a detached house but then a semi-detached house with them living in the left-hand half).

Philip is mentioned in a number of the Sladden letters. On the outbreak of war, Julius Sladden, who was in Kent at the time, reveals in a letter to Eugénie, that he had written to Brailsford to say that he hoped the young men of Badsey would enlist (Philip was too old and his sons not old enough, but one assumes that Julius felt he had influence amongst the men of the village).  In November 1914, Mela Brown Constable was very touched by the thought that Brailsford had saved the last two roses for her, which May and Ethel Sladden took as a gift when they went to visit.  A letter of 20th January 1915 reveals that Philip went with two of the Belgian refugees to a play in Evesham – Eugénie speculated as to how they would get on together, as there would have been a language barrier.

Whilst Philip appears to have been a trusted and respected employee, there are references to a drink problem, as indicated in a letter written by Ethel Sladden on 30th September 1915.  A letter from Mela Brown Constable on 6th July 1916 revealed that he had at last given up drinking and was a changed man.

In a letter of 2nd August 1915, Mela refers to Brailsford having another son, his fifth son; she told him he must make some of them soldiers or sailors when they grew up.  This was Philip James Brailsford, born in July 1915, who was sadly to die three years later of belladonna poisoning (belladonna was grown for medicinal purposes in a field close to their house in the First World War).  Young Philip’s brother, Jim (George Monsell), had vivid memories of seeing his brother laid out after his death in cotton wool, his face bright purple, the same colour as the berry.

Philip and Alice remained at Tower View for the rest of their lives.  Philip died on 28th October 1950, aged 81, pre-deceasing his wife by just over ten years.  Philip and Alice had been tenants at Tower View, but their son, Jim, took the opportunity to buy it in 1960, remaining there until moving into a home in about 2001 whereupon the house was sold.

Letters mentioning this person: