This house history was first compiled in 2019 and is it grew and sprawled into many different areas concerning the history of Bristol and Somerset, it was suggested that a version might go online in order to aid others with their research.
If you need any further assistance with this, please get in touch.
The Dobunni and Burwalls Camp (350BC – 1AD approx)
Our story truly starts 350 million years ago in the Carboniferous period, when the area that is now Leigh Woods was a tropical archipelago situated around the equator. It was at this time that the rocks on which the house now stands were gradually laid down, eventually forming the layers of limestone that were carved into a gorge at the end of the last Ice Age.
Fast forward a few million years and we find people settled in the area, at the Stokeleigh and Burwalls camps (also known as Burgh Walls, Bower Walls, or Bowre Walls), that date from 350BC. If the present day house had been around during the Iron Age (fully 550BC to 1AD), the window of bedroom five (2003 layout) would have looked out over the Burwalls settlement, a prominent hill fort occupied by the Dobunni people.
The house is just about positioned outside of the camp’s enclosure, by only a few metres. A mound in the grassy verge opposite the property is the remains of a rampart and one of the few above-ground indications that the fort was here.
Although both the Stokeleigh and Clifton camps are still easily visible today, the Burwalls Camp was largely destroyed to make way for the first houses built in Leigh Woods, around 1868. At one point, the camp enclosed an area of around seven acres, similar to the Stokeleigh camp which now sits in the National Trust section of Leigh Woods. An illustration in The History and Antiquities of Somersetshire (1839), indicates an outermost defensive ring consisting of a series of three earth banks with ditches in between.
Intermittent human habitation continued through to the Middle Ages but more significant research is needed to ascertain the details.
The Ashton Court era (1386 to 1865)
The plot and its surrounds were part of the Ashton Court estate for many centuries before the property was built meaning the land has a long list of well-heeled owners.
The main Ashton Court property is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book, and the site contains the remains of a Roman villa. It is not clear exactly when this area formally became part of what was once a sprawling estate that encompassed most of Leigh Woods in the north and parts of Bedminster in the south. The full extent of the grounds was given royal license for enclosure in 1386 to the de Lyons family and it is probably safe to date the formal ownership of the land from that time than any time before that.
It was only in 1545 that its best-known occupants, a merchant family by the name of Smyth, bought the estate from Sir Thomas Arundel. The Smyths were some of the wealthiest and best-connected people in the West Country and they entertained many of the great and good in their home and in the surrounding grounds.
It is possible to speculate as to what the land was used for during these periods, it was probably a mix of some light agricultural use, forestry, and hunting. More tantalisingly, during the English Civil War, the royalist Thomas Smyth is said to have buried the family silver somewhere on the grounds, only for it to be lost. Maybe it’s here?
It was during this period that perhaps the single most interesting feature of the current property came into existence. Roughly between 1670 and 1720, the (now very large) English oak (Quercus robur) in the garden is thought to have germinated. It predates the house and was pollarded in its early life, during the period in which Leigh Woods was leased to William Watkins as a rabbit warren (1830-1865) as well as before then. What it was pollarded for it is hard to know exactly. It may be that wood from the tree was used in Bristol’s ships, or used for housing or to assist with local farming. Whatever it was, the distinctive way in which it was managed during this period is very clear today.
It is difficult to age pollard oaks but a Bristol Tree Forum member assessed the tree in 2020 and indicated that it is likely to be 300-350 years old, meaning it predates the current property by over a hundred years at least. At the time of writing, it has a circumference of 604cm at 1.5 metres above the ground. It is classed as a veteran tree and is now registered with the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Inventory.
The Smyths sell up (1865-1874)
Three hundred years after the purchase of Ashton Court from the Arundels, the completion of the Clifton Suspension Bridge connecting Clifton and Leigh Woods provided the Smyths with an opportunity to sell the land nearest the bridge and develop it into a suburb. Sir Greville Smyth paid part of the funds needed to complete the bridge in 1864, on the condition that the roadway was widened from 24 to 30 feet, allowing greater traffic to enter the Leigh Woods area.
Large scale local and national opposition resulted in the Smyths drastically scaling back their plans for Leigh Woods, a 170-acre area which was to become “a little town” consisting of 435 houses, an iron bridge over Nightingale Valley, and a hotel.
The first developer that bought the land planned an even more extreme project, the construction of over 800 houses, prompting an outcry in the local press, but he failed to pay his first instalment of the purchase money to the Smyths and the land was returned to the family.
With the very real prospect of Leigh Woods being extensively developed still on the table, a group of wealthy Bristolians got together to form the Leigh Woods Land Company, which bought the area off the Smyths for £40,000. The firm then built a series of villas and parcelled up the land into sections worth £650 each. Contracts ensured that building was done sensitively and did not spoil the view from Clifton or the integrity of Nightingale Valley, which had been an oasis for locals and an inspiration for artists for centuries.
The Hatter builds “Overvale” (1874-1880)
The original plot was bought from the Leigh Woods Land Company by Alfred Thornley (1842-1907). It looks as though there was an initial agreement to buy the land in December 1865, on the condition of the Land Company and Thornley paying off the remainder of the funds due to Greville Smyth. This was finally completed in October 1874.
Thornley worked as a “clothier, outfitter and hatter” in Bristol, trading with his brother under the name of “Alfred and Edward Thornley”. The Thornleys were based at 17, Clare Street in the Old City, a patch that was subsequently demolished to build a new office for Prudential designed by Alfred Waterhouse – the architect behind the Natural History Museum.
They then moved nearby to 31, High Street. This property also no longer stands. In a period when everyone wore hats, and department stores were yet to establish themselves, it was outfitters such as the Thornleys that were the go-to for people who could afford their wares. An 1871 trade directory for Bristol shows over 30 hatters were operating in the city, most based around Bristol’s medieval core (the area fanning out from the original crossroads of Wine Street, Broad Street, Corn Street and High Street).
Thornley secured not only the land the house stands on now but shortly after he purchased two additional plots behind the house, today occupied by properties that were once servants’ dwellings and stables for the main house and the land where several other buildings now stand. Up until 1936, the land consisted of this entire L shaped plot, which bent around the next-door property.
The original construction, which is the core of the modern property, was probably completed in the late 1870s and was known as “Overvale”, literally meaning “over the valley”. It is not clear whether Thornley ever actually lived in Overvale. Clifton and its surrounds have always been the target of property speculation and it is likely that the land purchases and the build were done as an investment, rather than for the establishment of a family home
The Leigh Woods Land Company were highly prescriptive in the sort of house they wanted to see built on the Smyth’s former land, detailing the sort of stone, roof tiles and style of any house constructed there.
Overvale was built in a no-frills late Victorian classical style, the slightly ornamental string course between the two floors being the only particularly decorative item on the exterior. The striking extensions to the dining room and living room, with their shields and mock arrow slit, were made by later owners, probably the Ways in the Edwardian period, and are in the Tudor Revival style that had become popular towards the end of the 19th century.
Many local connections in Victorian Bristol
Arthur Edward Gregory Way (1850-1919) purchased the house in January 1880 for £2,611.50, around £172,000 today. Thornley retained a “farm rent” of £30 per year, which he subsequently sold on. It is safe to assume Way and his brother Claude Greville Way were the first occupants of the house. Between them, Way and his wife (who would arrive later) owned the property for 56 years.
The Way family has an illustrious history going back many centuries, with the first recorded Way having been yeoman of the guard to Henry VIII. Arthur Edward Gregory Way was the son of Arthur Edwin Way (1813-1870), the MP for Bath (1859-1865) and the steward (a form of household and business manager) at the Ashton Court Estate 1851-57. A local historian, Dr Michael Marston, says that Arthur Edwin Way was a successful steward who did much to improve the fortunes of the estate in the Mid-Victorian period. It was also Arthur senior who had overseen the original plans for developing Leigh Woods into a town in its own right back in 1864.
Arthur E G Ways’s great grandfather was MP for Bridport and great great grandfather a director at the doomed South Sea Company. The many branches of the family tree shoot off in interesting directions which are not worth going into detail here.
The branch of the Ways we are concerned with were deeply embedded with the Smyth family both in the running of the Ashton Court estate and through two marriages. Arthur Way’s grandfather, Benjamin married Mary Smyth in 1798 and Arthur’s first cousin Sir John Henry Greville Smyth (1836-1901), married his first cousin Emily Edwards (née Way), the widow of George Oldham Edwards, in 1884.
Sir John Henry Greville Smyth (better known just as Greville Smyth) inherited the Ashton Court estate in 1852 at the age of 16 and is said to have been the second richest man in Somerset, with Ashton Court drawing an annual income of £27,000.
This means when Arthur E G Way was at the property, both the “lady of the house” and the “head of household” at Ashton Court were his first cousins. Edgar Way, Arthur’s uncle, took over the running of the Ashton Court Estate from Arthur’s father and was the estate’s steward when Arthur lived at the house.
Smyth was a notable Victorian naturalist famed for his large collection of taxidermy and other natural history specimens, most of which were kept in a private purpose-built museum at Ashton Court. It was one of the best collections in the country and was eventually given to Bristol Museum and Galleries.
This means that whilst Arthur Way would have visited this collection at Ashton Court, you can see many of the same specimens on the second floor of Bristol City Museum.
George Oldham Edwards (Emily Way’s first husband) was a director at the Leigh Woods Land Company and his name is on the first deeds of the house on behalf of the firm. Edwards was a local banker who lived at Redland Court (latterly now Redland High School for Girls and soon to be flats) and had been Sheriff of Bristol in 1857.
Emily Smyth had (according to local historians such as Anton Bantock MBE), been having an affair with Greville before the death of her husband, and bore an illegitimate child. Esme Smyth, the final owner of the estate before it was sold to the council, was therefore christened Esme Edwards.
There is no particular need to detail the lives of the Smyths and Ways at Ashton Court here as this is already well covered in Bantock’s volume on Ashton Court and elsewhere.
The other name on the first indenture is that of William Henry Powell Gore-Langton DL JP, a banker and a Conservative MP for Somerset Western at the time the deeds were signed. It is worth reflecting that Arthur Way Senior (who had overseen the more expansive plans for Leigh Woods) was MP for Bath at the same time, which goes some way to show how business and politics were allowed to operate concurrently in Victorian England, although it should also be noted that both MPs shared their seats with someone else, providing time for pursuing their business interests.
Arthur Way Junior followed his father and cousin in attending Eton College. He graduated from Christ College, Oxford in 1871 and became a student of the Inner Temple in 1872. Arthur Edwin Way died on 19 September 1870 at his house (Ashton Lodge), then part of the estate and near the estate offices which are still labelled as such on the corner of Lodge Drive in Long Ashton.
The 1871 census has Arthur E G Way living with his mother (Harriet Elizabeth Way) and brother in Clifton Down. Harriet Elizabeth Way died, aged 61, on 7 September 1879 at Rownham House, also part of the Ashton Court Estate. She left an estate valued at £30,000, providing enough funds for Arthur Way to purchase property in 1880 for £2,611.50 at the age of 30.
Way married his first cousin on the other side of the family, Ada Louisa Cave, on 29 May 1888 at St. John The Evangelist, Clifton. The Caves were a very wealthy Bristol family, with interests in banking, glass manufacturing and shipping. Ada’s grandfather was one of the beneficiaries of the compensation scheme set up when slavery was abolished in the 1830s, netting the family £1,644.
Ada’s parents owned and lived at Brentry House, now a hospital, designed by Humphrey Repton and today known as Repton Hall. Repton is also responsible for much of the remodelling of Ashton Court.
The Victorian Zenith – (1880 to 1919)
One of the distinguishing features of the Way’s time at the property was the size of the household staff, larger than a house of this size could have needed at the time. It then consisted not only of the house itself, but of the three plots behind the house, affording space for a significant household staff in their own dwelling house and room for stables.
In the 1881 census, the 30-year-old Way was the head of a household which included his brother, Claude Greville Way, Annie Leppiatt (servant), Alice M. Brown (servant), Frank Salter (footman), Henry Vizard (groom), James Bishop (groom). A groom in this context refers to someone who looks after horses, having two on payroll suggests there would have been a fair number of horses as today one groom would be expected to maintain around 3-4 horses.
A system of sprung servants’ bells was in operation at the house, even though electric bells had started to be installed in large houses from the 1860s onwards. Part of the pully system for these bells is still visible in the attic. An electric push button on the floor in the dining room was in action up until the mid 2000s, allowing diners to ring bells without having to even move from their seats.
The fantastic Know Your Place initiative, run by Bristol City Council, allows you to view historical maps against the background of modern day maps and satellite images. From this we are able to see the full extent of the Way property at its Victorian zenith. Based on the Council’s Town Plan map (1879-1888), we can see that the three plots purchased by Thornley were still three distinct areas.
The “house plot” including a fountain in the front garden and a lawn at the back along with a series of outbuildings. We can probably use these are the same greenhouses and log stores that were demolished in the early 2000s. South of this plot was the working part of the estate. It contained a house (possibly two) for the staff, a series of kennels and what looks like areas for working the land, possibly growing vegetables.
The third plot, to the west of the estate, seems to have been left as woodland, with a series of paths working through it. An OS map from the period seems to bear out the same details almost exactly.
A later map (OS 1894-1903) shows a new building in the woodland area and several in the working area. A large building has now appeared in the middle of the lawn, this is assumed to be a greenhouse, which stood until at least 1949.
Exactly how Way’s life was funded at this time is not obvious but it is clear that he had considerable family wealth and various investments, probably closely tied up in the Smyth’s businesses. The census data seems to bear this out – with entries simply saying “private means” or “income from dividends”, a position mirrored by at least three other Leigh Woods residents at that time.
One of the only pictures we have of Arthur E G Way from this time shows his on a shoot with Greville Smyth and – amongst other people – the celebrated imperial war hero, General Sir Redvers Buller VC. He appears in many of the Ashton Court photographs from the period, most of which are offline and can be found in the council’s archives.
Curiously, newspaper records from the time show that Way tried to register at least two patents, one for “an improved lamp” and another for “improved motor car”. Even more bizarrely, a book entitled “No. 747 Being the Autobiography of a Gipsy” was written in Bristol by one Arthur Edward Gregory Way in 1890.
According to the Journal of the Gypsy Lore Society (of which Way was a member), Arthur Way was deeply interested in English gypsy and Romani culture, and took to spending time with gypsies, and was close friends with many groups.
The book, which was written under a pseudonym, is a fictional account of a West Country gypsy, and draws on real life events which happened in and around Bristol and Somerset. The Gypsy Lore Society published an extensive review of the book in the 1950s and asserts that the work is under-appreciated and represents one of the best literary interpretations of gypsy culture at that time. It remains in print today, in the British Library’s Historical Editions collection, and is still printed under the fictious name of F W Carew.
The society also tells us that Way used a room in the house for “pugilistic activities” – i.e. boxing and hosting meetings with “the fraternity”. This was almost certainly the billiards room and we are told that Way himself would engage in the boxing here. The two roof hatches are attached to a pully system which would have allowed them to be opened just enough to allow smoke from cigars and cigarettes to leave the room.
The use of the room as a sort of “den” (and latterly a garage) perhaps explains why, up until 2005, the billiards room was not connected to the rest of the house. Way’s use of the room probably also explains the strange positioning of the windows. There would have been five originally, all are small and above head height. The Gypsy Lore Society’s interpretation was that Way may have tried to his his interests in gypsydom from some of his family and friends. Oddly, he also did not reveal that he was the author of his own work to the society and appeared to have shun later approaches from members interested in his work.
One of the stories in his book is about a man becoming estranged from his family as a result of his interest in gypsy culture and the society has speculated that this may be semi-autobiographical. Nevertheless, Arthur (or Greg Way, as he is referred to in some of the estate archives) can be seen in pictures attending his cousin’s hunts at Teddington (Somerset), including one image where he is standing beside the imperial war hero General Sir Redvers Buller VC GCB GCMG. Way was probably a Victorian gentleman eccentric in the typical sense, capable of taking part in shooting parties one day, and then boxing with gypsies in his purpose-built boxing ring the next.
Claude Greville Way lived at the house for many years and would follow in the footsteps of the military side of the family, serving in the South Staffordshire Regiment, he was at one time posted to Gibraltar. There is a local rumour that the stone archway that now stands on the grounds next-door was used as a rest for a gun used by a former occupant of this house with military connections. This may or may not be true but if it is, that person is likely to be Claude.
The 1891 census shows that Salter (previously the footman) had now become the butler, probably the first, at the age of 31. George Harvey and George Harding were grooms, Sylia Fry was the kitchenmaid and Anne Willis the housemaid. Arthur’s wife was also on the 1891 census.
Of all the property’s former tenants, it is the Ways that have left their mark most clearly. The “W” inset on a shield attached to the main staircase refers to their surname. The arm holding a baton on the opposite bannister is derived from the family crest and literally means “the way”. In medieval times, a man holding a baton would have shown “the way” for marching armies.
Highly decorative newel posts were a popular addition to late Victorian homes. Thewinged lions which hold the shields on the staircase are the heraldic symbol of Saint Mark, but it is unlikely that this connection is intentional, winged lions also being symbols of majesty and strength.
The full crest also shows six fishes, and you can see these on hybrid Way/Smyth shields in the Ashton Court mansion and adorning Church Gate. Sadly the arm holding a baton did not make it into these hybrid coat of arms and it is worth noting that these shields are really embellishments made by the family, rather than a formal coat of arms registered with the College of Arms in London. The family motto that accompanies it is “fit via vi” or “the way is strength”, another play on “way”.
Strangely, the surname does make an appearance in the family’s pet cemetery, situated at the front of the main Ashton Court house, where more than one dog was given Way as a surname. Igor Kennaway told Bristol Museum (OH573): “There’s a dog here, that’s actually got the surname of the family, Sonia Esme Way. Now I find that really creepy, I’m sure that’s one of Dolly Way’s dogs, because she looked upon her dogs as her children.”
The Ways are also responsible for the mock Tudor extension to the dining room (with its Corinthian columns and large fireplace which bares Arthur’s initials) as well as the extension to the living room and addition of a castellated bay window. It is highly likely that the shields on the exterior of the property also once held his coat of arms, a normal practice for Victorian families and something we can see at other houses nearby.
The Ways probably also extended the property (with the cheaper uncut stone work) to include what is now the kitchen, and installed the 1653 fireplace in the hallway, which may or may not be a genuine 17th century fireplace moved from another property. Further research is required to ascertain this.
These features give us a clue as to how the rest of the house might have looked at the turn of the last century. It was probably, like Ashton Court at the time, far fustier that it is today with a darker interior and much more ornamentation. Tyntesfield is probably the best nearby indicator of the styles of the time.
Arthur Way also left a visible mark on Leigh Woods itself. In 1890, Way offered up £1000 for the construction of what is now St Mary’s Church, on the condition that construction began without delay. That represented one fifth of the funds needed to build the church, around £82,000 in modern money. The Leigh Woods Society notes: “He must have been helpful in getting the necessary permissions from his cousin, who was patron of the living in Long Ashton from which the new parish was to be cut.”
He would also have had easy access to the church at the time, via the end of his garden.
On the opposite side of Bristol, another branch of the Way family were undertaking their own building project – the construction of Berwick Lodge, now a luxury hotel. General and Mrs Sampson Way built the property for their daughter Rowena Way as a wedding present.
Without direct contact from the family it is not easy to ascertain what happened to the Way marriage. It is obvious that the Ways did not have children. Ada is listed as having being “hip joint lame” in the 1901 census, and is absent from the 1911 census, where she appears to be living in Oxfordshire with three servants.
Arthur remained at the house, where the household staff had grown to eight people, including a hospital nurse (Helen Frances Campion) and a lady housekeeper (Jessie Margery Featheringham). The 1901 census also shows that a number of famous Bristol names were in the area, notably the Averys (of Averys wine), the Foxes (of sweets) and the Wills (Wills tobacco) who later bought Nightingale Valley and gave it to the National Trust.
The Way’s immediate next door neighbours included the acclaimed naturalised, Rev Thomas Hincks FRS (responsible for describing 360 invertebrates amongst other accomplishments) and the architect Samuel Coleman, who designed part of what is now Clifton High School, a lecture hall for the University of Bristol and several churches.
Parting Ways (1919-1936)
Arthur Way died on 22 February 1919, leaving his estate to Ada. His wife then appears to have moved back to the house, where she stayed until her own death in 1936. There was a brief period during this time when Ada and her staff could have taken a train from the bottom of Nightingale Valley. A GWR station opened there for just under four years, 1928 to 1932 but was closed due to lack of traffic.
Ada’s funeral was held (appropriately) at St Mary’s in Leigh Woods and was covered in the Western Daily Press in some detail.
The beneficiaries in Ada’s will (William Henry Greville Edwards, Henry Thornton Locock, William Langham Carter) sold the property to Roy and Eugenie Boucher, who retained the plot with the lake and constructed Lake House. Barbara and Stuart Evans purchased the plot that included the main house. Curiously, it appears that William Henry was a relation of George Oldham Edwards, of the Leigh Woods Land Company and lived at Butcombe Court.
The Ways continued to feature in Ashton Court life right up until the death of Esme Smyth in 1946. The city council took over the estate in 1959. The Sampson Way side of the family was also prominent in Bristol life – one Major General Sampson Way became chairman of the Clifton Club 1939-40.
Sir Adrian Boult CH and the War Years (1936-1946)
Barbara and her husband Stuart (a solicitor on Broad Street), lived at the house until 1946 with a break during some of the war years (1939-41).
A central heating plan from 1937 shows that some of the upstairs rooms were still being used as maid’s bedrooms and bathroom and a separate flight of stairs connected these rooms with the living areas below. What is now the kitchen and previously the “morning room” was used as a nursery.
This period saw the arrival of best-known occupant of the house to date. Sir Adrian Boult CH (1889-1983) was one of the most influential people in British classical music during the last century. Amongst his many achievements, he is known for having been the founder of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the first person to conduct a live performance of Holst’s The Planets and conducting the music at the 1937 and 1952 coronations.
It was the BBC orchestra which brought him to the house, as the group was moved to Bristol during the first part of WWII to ensure “continuity of service”. He never owned the house but lived in it for a short while (1939-41) as Stuart Evans served in the Army during the war and the family moved temporarily to Weybridge, and later to Bath.
“My wife and I were lucky to find a furnished house, and the owners were kind enough to turn out immediately,” Boult wrote in his 1973 autobiography, My Own Trumpet.
Boult would have crossed the Clifton Suspension Bridge on most working days as his offices were on Pembroke Road in Clifton. According to his principal biographer, Michael Kennedy, Boult have away his own protective hats used for air raids to the staff at the bridge, to the alarm and puzzlement of his own staff. Boult also served as a lieutenant in the Home Guard during his stay at the house, resigning his post when the orchestra was later moved. We know that the pianist Dame Myra Hess stayed a night in the longest of the three bedrooms overlooking the front garden.
Sir Adrian, the orchestra and Bristol suffered a great deal during the first year of the war. He was conducting at Colston Hall when he found out his own flat in London had been destroyed during a raid, erasing his own personal recordings and causing him to remark: “I shall have to conduct from memory in the future”.
Most tragically, a BBC orchestra bass player and his wife died during a raid in Bristol. On another occasion, the windows of their Pembroke Road office were blown out in the same raid which destroyed much of All Saints Church. The orchestra’s entire set of instruments were saved when their driver loaded them into a van and parked them in the middle of the Downs.
We can only assume that Sir Adrian and his wife Ann would have used the cellar as an air raid shelter during the night-time attacks on Bristol. One object the house has retained is a letter to Lady Boult, found behind the fireplace in the former breakfast room (now study), during a major renovation in the early 2000s. It appears to be a letter from her son, asking her view on remaining in the Officer Training Corp. This is almost certainly a letter from Jonathan Wilson, who later died in active service in 1944. The Boults did not have children of their own, Jonathan was from Lady Boult’s first marriage.
The extent of the Bristol Blitz resulted in the orchestra being moved to Bedford in early 1941, where it would remain for the rest of the war. Boult’s biographer, Michael Kennedy, says he protested this move but was overruled. It is worth noting that Boult had left the city by the time the Clifton Rocks Railway had adopted its role as a bomb-proof relay station and emergency studio. As such, Boult notes “it was decided we should record our concerts in the afternoon and then disperse to our homes, leaving the brave engineers to play it.”
“We were very sad to leave Bristol,” Boult wrote in his autobiography, “We had all made many good friends; it was in every way a delightful city, and we had splendid audiences there. It was deplorable that the fine Colston Hall should have been burnt down one night from unknown causes when it had escaped the raids.”
A few public buildings now bear his name, including a concert hall in Birmingham and a council block in London. His flat in West Hampstead has a blue plaque and he has a memorial stone at Westminster Abbey, but the house has no marker of his time here that we are aware of, apart from perhaps the rust stains on the hallway floortiles, (the result of a leak which happened while the Boults lived in the house).
The Lucas period (1946-1953)
The Lucas family acquired the property from the Evans’s in August 1946. Hastings (later Herbert) Pollard Lucas had taken on responsibility for the family firm, T P Lucas, a major supplier of cooking ingredients which is still in business as Lucas Ingredients in Bristol today. The company website tell us:
“The company was founded by Thomas Edward Lucas in Bristol in 1926 and was the first to manufacture yeastless rusk – a purpose designed cereal binder for butchers who had previously used returned stale bread for their sausages.
From there, the company achieved other “firsts” such as offering “own recipe” and standard blended seasonings to the trade in the 1930s, going on to introduce the first fully blended cure mix, making curing more practical for everyone. Lucas was also the first to introduce coloured seasonings, coloured crumb for hams and the first to manufacture textured soy proteins.”
H P Lucas is said to have been particularly pleased that the house came with a cellar and remained at there until 1953 when the family moved to Wraxall Court. Curiously, H P Lucas’s daughter, Elizabeth S Lucas, appears to have left her blue trunk in the attic, it remains in the house to this day.