|The Trower family of Redhill|
The first part of this page (items 1-11 below) are preliminary notes were written in June 2011 by Steve Bacon who is undertaking research into the Sussex and Surrey Trower families. It was Steve who contacted me regarding the family and the remainder of the page is made up of information provided by him plus information already to hand plus other research and photos. - AJM Summer 2011
1) The Trower family of Redhill had its origins in Sussex. John Trower (1747-1817) is believed to have lived at Barkfold Manor in Kirdford near Wisborough Green in Sussex He married Hannah Bourne (1753-1815) and they had one son James Trower (1777-1848) who was brought up at Barkfold.
2) James married Mary Main (1778-1853) and was a Sussex farmer. By 1841 he was farming Bowfold Farm near Billingshurst where he gave employment as an agricultural labourer to one Daniel Gumbrell who, according to his obituary published in 1912 went to work at Bowfold when he was only 8 years old. Daniel Gumbrell continued to work for the Trowers for the rest of his life, over 80 years, firstly with James son Richard and then with Richards sons Henry and Arthur at Wiggie House in Redhill.
3) James and Mary Trower had eight children: Elizabeth, James, Mary Ann, Ann, John, Richard, Thomas and Henry all of whom were born in Sussex.
4) Elizabeth Trower was born in 1802 and eventually married a Baptist minister, John Omer Squier and moved out of the area.
5) James Trower was born in 1804, married Elizabeth Elliott in 1844 and died in 1857. They lived in Marylebone in London and had four children.
6) Mary Ann Trower was born in 1806 and married William Underwood in 1830. They lived at Merstham in Surrey where their eight children were born.
7) Ann Trower was born in 1806 and married John Symonds in 1836. John was a farmer in Reigate Foreign (became Redhill) where they had 8 children. She died in 1858.
8) John Trower was born in 1810 and married Jane Ford in 1840. In 1841 they were living at Wiggey (sic) where John and his brother Richard were farmers. They had six children, all bar one born in Reigate, but sadly three of their daughters died in infancy. Later he farmed near Guildford. He died in Reigate in 1887. Two of their daughters were Ellen Elizabeth (1852-1929) and Emily (1864-1912) who for 26 years ran a successful school in Woodlands Road, Redhill. Their other surviving daughter Jane was born in 1844 and died in 1883 she lived in Station Road, Redhill with her sisters as housekeeper.
9) Richard Trower note 1b was born in 1811 and married Ann Luck in 1846. By 1841 he was already living with his brother John at Wiggy Farm where he lived for the rest of his life, dying there in 1880. Richard and Ann had 8 children all born at Wiggy: Mary Ann (1848-1913), Henry (1849-1924), James Main (1851-19270, Fanny Elizabeth (1852-1921), Arthur (1853-1937), Kate (1856-1938), Richard (1858-1937) and Edward (1860-1915). Henry and Arthur lived at Wiggy all their lives and were in business together as successful corn merchants in Redhill. It was Arthur who made Wiggy famous by creating and amazing garden and writing about it in his book Our Homestead and its Old World Garden published in 1910. James Main also lived at Wiggy for a while as did Richard. Richard married Hannah Tredgett and they had five children. They later moved to Holmethorpe, another farm nearby, and later to Battlebridge Farm in Merstham.
10) Thomas Trower was born in 1815 and married Mary Ann Streater in 1844. They had four children. He farmed at Bowfold, the family farm near Billingshurst. He died in 1862.
11) Henry Trower was born in 1817 and married Clara Golds in 1847. He farmed in Sussex until he died in 1872. They had eight children one of whom was Frank Harry Trower (1857-1925) who married Mary Elizabeth Woolnough (1863-1930). Frank Harry and Mary Elizabeth were Steve Bacon's great grandparents.
|1b - There is no known photo of Richard Trower but in his book his son Arthur says, 'He used to relate with glee how complete strangers, whom he happened to meet casually in London, would, without the least hesitation, asked him how his crops were looking, or if he had started hay making yet', from which we may deduce that he looked like a typical ruddy faced country farmer.|
|CENSUS RECORDS 1841-1901continue the story with John, Jane and Richard Trower mentioned in (9) above.|
|Reigate farm Note 1a||1841||John||30||Farmer||Not in Surrey|
|1841||Richard||25||Farmer||Not in Surrey|
|Note 1a - The registration district was Reigate and 'farm' was all that was shown on the census form.|
|1851||Unable to locate any family members|
|Reigate farm Note 1||1861||Richard||Head||49||Farmer Note 2||Kirdford Sussex Note 4|
|1861||Mary Ann||Daughter||13||Reigate SurreyNote3|
|1861||Edward||Son||11 mth||Reigate Surrey|
|Note 1 - The registration district was Reigate and 'farm' was all that was shown on the census form.|
Note 2 - Farmer with 200 acres.
Note 3 - Reigate was the registration district. They would have been born in what was then only just becoming known as Red Hill.
Note 4 - Place of birth given as Kirdford in 1861 but Petworth in 1871
.... This map shows the built up area of Redhill in 1861 with Red Hill railway station lower centre and the London to Brighton railway line running just east of north towards London. Gatton and the parish of Nutfield form northern and eastern boundaries. The name of Wiggie does not appear, the whole being in the Foreign of Reigate and the petty borough of Linkfield.
(The map used here is part of the Plan of the Parish of Reigate, Surrey 1860-61 by William Eve. Information comes from the terrier associated with the map)
|... 1871 Census|
|Wiggie Farm||1871||Richard||Head||59||Farmer||Petworth Sx Note 4|
|London Rd Redhill Note 5||1871||Henry||Corn dealer||Redhill Note3|
|1871||Arthur||Corn dealer assnt||Redhill|
|(Mary Ann) Note 6|
|(James) Note 7|
|Note 5 - H&A Trower's corn dealership shop where the three were on the census day (Perhaps they lived over the shop)|
Note 6 - In 1871 Mary Ann, aged 23, was not shown on the Reigate census as she was then an apprentice to a stationer at Dartford.
Note 7 - In 1871 James, aged 19, was not shown on the Reigate census as he was then a grocers shopboy at a grocer and cheesemongers at 51 High Street Wandsworth.
The buildings at Wiggy at the time of the 1871 census with the orchards and gardens. Presumably the building shown in pink close to the map centre was the main house. The other pink shaded building was probably a labourer's cottage referred to in Arthur Trower's book 'Our Homestead', and which was derelict at the time of writing in 1910.
|A splendid aerial photo of Foxboro-Yoxall's premises that were built on the Wiggie estate. The photo was taken about a hundred years after the date of the above map and a much altered Wiggie House can be seen at the very bottom centre of the picture. Foxboro used it as a training centre and built a new wing onto it. Later a brand new facility was built behind the house. The two railway lines can be seen on either side of the estate. The allotments in the bottom left corner are partly where the daffodil gardens once were and stand between the railway and the public footpath through Wiggie.|
(Photo courtesy Derek Flanagan)
|... Other Information||1880||Richard Trower (snr) died at Redhill aged 68 (ref: Jul-Sep Reigate 2a 92)|
|... 1881 census|
|Wiggy Farm||1881||Ann||Head||63||Widow Note 10|
|1881||James M||Son||29||Redhill Surrey|
|1881||Alice Sexton Note 9||Gr/dau||3||Croydon Surrey|
|London Rd Redhill Note 5||1881||Henry||Corn dealer Note 8||Redhill Surrey|
|1881||Arthur||Corn dealer Note 8||Redhill Surrey|
|Note 8 - Henry and Arthur now shown as partners|
|Note 9 - Alice Sexton was the daughter of Mary A. Trower who married Edward Murrey Sexton|
|Henry and Arthur's shop was in London Road, Redhill. It can be seen here next to the pub on the right with 'H & A Trower lettering on the wall.||H&A Trower's London Road shop|
|This lovely old photo of London Road dates from around 1902 and shows us a view north, so this time Trower's shop can be seen on the left.||As well as the shop there was a warehouse in St John's Terrace Road at Earlswood which was in the news in 1910 when it was gutted by fire.This newspaper photo shows firemen tackling the blaze|
|....Other information||1885||R. Trower (presumably Richard) Corn and seed merchant listed in the 1885 street directory at Station Road (south side) next to the post office, Earlswood.|
|.. 1891 Census|
|Holmethorpe Note 11||1891||Ann||Head||70||Widow Note 10||Merrow Surrey|
|1891||Arthur||Son||36||Corn merchant||Redhill Surrey|
|London Rd Redhill||1891||Henry||head||41||Corn Merchant||Redhill Surrey|
|Note 10 - No other occupation given..|
|Note 11 - See note below on Holmthorpe|
|1899||1899 Redhill Street directory lists Richard Trower as 'brickmaker, Siding Works, Redhill Siding, Holmthorpe. Henry and Arthur Trower are listed as corn merchants, seedsmen, millers, manure and forage contractors, London Road, depot and wharf adjoining L&B station, and at Earlswood railway station.|
|1891-1901||As Ann does not appear on the 1901 census, and as Henry is shown as head, she is assumed to have died.|
|... 1901 Census|
|Wiggy Farm House||1901||Henry||Head||51||Corn merchant||Redhill Surrey|
|1901||Fanny||Sister||48||Livng on own means||Redhill Surrey|
|1901||Arthur||Brother||47||Corn merchant||Redhill Surrey|
|NOTES ON THE TROWERS|
|Football and Redhill Sports Ground|
Redhill FC was formed in 1894. Henry Trower liked his sport and as a result Redhill FC played at Wiggie for a number of years. One notable game on this ground was against the West London club of Queens Park Rangers in the 1895/6 season, which Redhill won 2-0 in the rain in front of a not unusual crowd of 200. Players were Batten, half back (scored); C.P.Murray, back; Rowlinson, another defender; Peskett in goal; Purkis, left half; W.P.Brown, right half; Power, outside right; Donaldson, outside left; Gilford, midfield, (scored); plus Stafford and Evans, forwards.
|Arthur Trower lived at Wiggie and entertained many friends there. He also entertained many people there that he had never previously met, including East End children and children from the Foundling School in Redhill, who came to the grounds to see their beauty, especially in spring when there was a wonderful show of daffodils each year. So proud of his gardens was he that he wrote 'Our Homestead', which is about the grounds and some of those people who visited.|
Arthur Trower was a Director of Redhill Market Hall and in 1911 inaugurated the Shilling Fund for the preservation of Colley Hill, and was one of the organisers of the 1913 pageant to raise money for that cause. 25,000 shillings were collected. A member of Volunteer Training Corps during WW1 he was also a founder Governor of the Victoria Almshouses.
His friends included Rev W.J.Perry, headmaster of St Anne's, Mr H.F.D.Porter, Mr J.A.Watson (once a schoolmaster in the Borough), and Michael Wood.
The Lighting and Watching Committe was a body whose name had been carried on from the 19th century when its powers were to ensure that monies due for facilities provided by the borough council were duly collected. The following undated report shows that Mr Arthur Trower was one of those who was engaged in such duties in the early part of the 20th century. On Friday the annual meeting of the ratepayers was held at the Town Hall. The chair was occupied by Mr R.Tugwell, and there were present Messrs Austen, Elgar, A.Trower. Apted, Nichols, Bonny, Joyce, Biddington, Buckland, &c. Mr Bailey was re-elected and Mr C. Elgar and John Edmonds were also appointed inspectors. £220 was the amount authorised to be called? for, for the current year, and the accounts were passed. The overseers were requested to at once take proceedings against all who had not paid.
Arthur Trower (Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)
Arthur Trower died aged 82 in September 1937 only three weeks after his 79 year-old brother, Richard.
In the 1899 Kelly's Street Directory Arthur Trower is shown at Battlebridge House, Battle Bridge, as well as at Wiggie.
|Arthur Trower and Redhill Bowls Club|
| The Redhill Bowling Club opened at Gloucester Road in 1912. Its predecessor, it is said, was behind the Warwick Hotel before that. The 1912 Redhill Club was set up as a venue for county matches on ground adjacent to Gloucester Road obtained on lease from Mr Charles Edward Gatland. |
Mr Gatland was a Redhill clothier and it was in 1912 that he sold his High Street shop to Foster Brothers. He acquired a house in Clarendon Road, later the site of the telephone exchange behind the Post Office. He also owned the adjacent land up to Gloucester Road, and fronting on London Road, later occupied by the Methodist Hall. He was keen on bowls and became the landlord of the green on that land that was the home of the Redhill Bowling Club. It was on this site that its members had the advantage of being able to enjoy some of its functions in what was described as 'Mr Gatland's pretty garden'.
The picture shows Mayor Lemon (standing in the long coat) present at the opening of the Redhill Bowling Club in Gloucester Road, Redhill, in 1912 The lady bowler is probably Lady Leconsfield who was present at the opening.
| The club moved to Wiggie in May of 1931 and Club President Mr Stanton said that the reason it had left Gloucester Road was that some members were dissatisfied with the green, and as the lease had fallen anyway, it was time for a move. One and a half acres of ground comprising the southern part of a field known as the Garden Field at Wiggie was conveyed by a deed of gift to Messrs W.Bound, G.Mackriell and F.Chalmers on the 23rd October 1929. These gentlemen represented the old Redhill Bowling Club, which was to be reformed at the new site.|
The donor of the land that the Redhill Bowls Club moved to at Wiggie was Arthur Trower who had been a committee member of the old club in 1912 . It is said that there was originally a plaque to this effect in the clubhouse but it was destroyed when the clubhouse burnt down in 1981.
The first directors of the club were Mr E.Stanton (President), W.Bound (Vice-president), F.Chalmers (also Vice-Captain), G.Mackriell (also Captain), and W.Grice. The Hon. Secretary was Mr C.Welsh and the Hon. Treasurer was Mr Arthur Emsley. The new Wiggie Bowling Club was opened by the Mayor, Alderman Temple Newell, in early May, 1931.
This photo of bowlers is an Illustration.from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', written by Arthur Trower in 1910, so pre-dates the Redhill Bowling Club days when it was situated at Gloucester Road, Redhill. From a local historian's point of view it would be wonderful to know who each of these gentlemen were. Is one Arthur Trower himself? The man second from right in the back row looks like Mr Sanders, the saddler, of Station Road Redhill.
|This photo entitled 'A Group of Merry Bowlers - Old Wiggie Ramblers v. Redhill Bowling Club - Played at Wiggie August 21st 1929, clearly shows that not only was there a Wiggie Club but that there was a bowling green at Wiggie at the same time as the Redhill Bowling Club was in existence and before the new club at Wiggie was formed.|
Rear l-r: Alderman H.H.Pierce (president of R.B.C.) - W.M.Grice (skip) W.R. - R.Elmsley (skip) R.B.C. - A.Donaldson W.R. - G.Linter W.R. - J.H.Marsh W.R. - W.Wells R.B.C. - E.J.Funnell R.B.C.
(Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)
|Details of the new club, which was to be called Redhill Bowling Club (Wiggie) Ltd., were released in April 1930. Its aims were to take over all parts of the assets and liabilities of the former club and to promote the game of bowls and other specified games. Also to lay out and maintain the ground as bowling greens, miniature golf course, croquet lawns, tennis courts and gardens and to construct and maintain a roadway leading thereto. The tennis courts and croquet lawns did not appear on the layout plan published at the time. The cluhouse was built where the tea lawn is shown on the map.|
This 1930 map of the new Redhill Bowls Club at Wiggie was not quite as finally laid out. The nine hole putting greens were provided but later became a less than full sized green for the use of lady members but eventually fell into disuse. When the club lost the use of car parking facilities on the old St Anne's site it found a new use as a car park. (Map courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)
|This unfortunately very poor quality picture shows Mayor Temple Newell opening the Redhill Bowling Clubs new facilities at Wiggie in 1931|
|Speeches during the opening ceremony. Speaking is presumably the club president Mr E.Stanton. On his right is Mayor Temple Newell wearing the mayoral chain and on his left is Lord Colman . (Photo courtesy Redbhill Bowling Club)|
|Members outside the old clubhouse before the 1981 fire.|
(Photo courtesy Redhill Bowling Club)
|The new clubhouse pictured in September 2011|
|Richard Trower was a brick maker at Holmethorpe It is not known if the area wa originally part of the Wiggie farm or when it was first used for the production of bricks. During WW1 production had to cease when sixty-two of the seventy-five men working there had gone into the armed services. The works were left deserted with no smoke rising from the kilns or clamps and no sounds of machinery or voices. The birds took advantage of the situation by nesting in the unused brick carts.|
Right - One of the carts with a nest between the bottom two spokes of the wheel. The insert top right corner shows a close-up of the nest with five eggs in it.
Richard aged 25 is shown in the 1881 census as being at Wiggie. In the 1888 Street directory he is listed as living at 1, Glen Rook, Holmethorpe (at this time Holmethorpe was generally the turning off Frenches Road under the railway arch before it became known as Trower's Way). The brick works there is also listed with the name Trower R. against it.
|An exhibition stand for Richard Trower's |
|Many of the bricks made at the Sidings Brickworks (perhaps all) had 'R.TROWER REDHILL' embossed in the frog. Such bricks were used at the Redhill General Hospital |
(see www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk/faraway.htm for one that finished up in Michigan, USA
|Holmethorpe today is an industrial estate between the London-Brighton railway lines that cross the old Wiggie estate. The original line built c1840 runs parallel with Frenches Road and the more easterly line, built to relieve congestion at Redhill c1900, at one time divided the brick and sand works in two but now divides the industrial estate from Watercolour, a housing development built in the early 2000s. (see www.redhill-reigate-history.co.uk/rhstn.htm for the history of Redhill Station and the railway lines). Brick making sites once existed on the west side of Frenches Road from Holmethorpe and it is presumed that the potential for brick making on the Holmethorpe site was recognised by the Trowers in the 19th century on land farmed by them, or at least forming part of their estate, and exploited by Richard Trower. Extensive sand workings were found there and worked until the late 1900s. The whole of the land once formed part of Richard Trower's Farm.|
The later history of Holmethorpe does not form a part of the Trower history but a few images of the site are included below.
|This map of Holmethorpe shows the site in the days of the Trower family before the industrial estate was built between the railway lines. The entrance to the site is from Frenches Road midway down on the left (west) side of the map. The spur from the main line that gives its name to the Siding Brickworks enters the site slightly south of that. The road and the line pass the brickworks just before passing under the second line (known as the fast line) into the sand quarries. The agreement for the siding to be provided was signed in 1867. Kilns are shown midway between the two lines and on the other side of the fast line. Perhaps some of these are the ones seen in the photos of the football teams below.|
|In this 1993 photo looking north the now long disused siding into the brickworks can be seen branching off to the right. Frenches Road is on the far left and the road entrance to Holmethorpe is close to where the trees start to hide the houses.||Inside Holmethorpe the redundant sidings pictured in July 1993 head towards the fast line (with train passing) in the distance. The original brickworks as shown on the map above was once where the building on the left now stand..|
|The sign that perpetuates the Trower name stands beside the bridge carrying road traffic from Frenches Road under the slow London-Brighton line into the Holmethorpe estate.|
|Once through the bridge Trowers Way heads for the bridge under the fast line in the distance. Where the sign and car park on the right now are is where the siding rails used to run as seen in 1993 photo above, and where one of the sets of kilns shown on the map stood.||The redundant crossing gates have never been taken away.|
|Behind the gates the rails of the old siding are still in place|
|The bridge under the fast line in August 2011. Through it can be seen the new housing estate built where the sand works used to be and where the brickworks were later positioned.||The same bridge only a few years ago when the part of the estate seen left was not yet built. There is no pavement and the siding rails still pass under it|
|The photos above all show Holmethorpe after the Trower family era. The two photos below show football teams well from well within their time.|
|Holmethorpe, which was how the brickmaking area adjacent to Wiggie became known, had its own football team, pictured here in the 1900-1901 season (postcard from Alan Moore collection)||Holmethorpe also had a second team, although the date of this photo is unknown. The buildings in the background could be brick kilns although whether or not this photo was taken at Holmethorpe is also unknown. (postcard from Alan Moore collection)|
| The Royal Asylum of St Anne's was founded in the Parish of St. Anne's and St Agnes in Aldersgate, London, in 1702. Its work, that of maintaining and educating the children of those who had once seen better times - or in the Societys own words, once moved in a superior station of life - began with twelve boys in the City. Nearly ninety years later a girls' school was added, with twelve girls received, clothed and educated. By 1820 there were 30 boys and 32 girls. A limit had to be put on the numbers for want of accommodation until a new school was built at Streatham to accommodate 100 boys and 50 girls. This was occupied by 1830 but by the middle of the second half of the 19th century it had become overcrowded, with 200 boys and 137 girls on role, and a site for a larger building had to be found.|
The photo (right) shows a tree being planted close to the eastern boundary of the Wiggie estate. St Anne's can be seen in the background. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
Three Redhill men were on the board of governors at Streatham. They were Robert Field of Oxford Road, Redhill, who would be Mayor of the Borough of Reigate 1881-4, Walter B. Waterlow of High Trees, on the borders of Redhill and Reigate, who had been Mayor 1870-72, and Francis Wright Costar, of Woodlands, off London Road, Redhill. They obtained land north of Red Hill Junction railway station from Mr Webb of Redstone Manor and Messrs Trower at a cost of £3,500, and a tender was accepted in the sum of £335,743 for a school for about 400 children to be built complete with chapel on that land.. Mr Field performed a ceremonial turning of the first sod on the site in 1881. The Prince and Princess of Wales laid the foundation stone of the chapel in July 1884.
The 1896 map above shows the proximity of St Anne's to Wiggie. It also shows that the alterations to the house had been made by this time.
A photo of the Redhill Memorial Sports Ground showing how St Anne's, built on ground once a part of Wiggie Farm, was such a feature of the town.
|Miss E.E.Trower died in August 1928 aged 77. For twenty-six years she and her sister ran a successful school in Woodlands Road. A cousin of Arthur Trower she was born the daughter of John and Jane Trower at Wiggie in 1852. Her parents came from the Sussex Trower family and until the death of her grandfather the family home had been at the Manor of Barkfold near Petworth.|
Miss Trower is reported to have made herself proficient at Pitman's Shorthand when it was in its infancy and had been a member of Sir Isaac Pitman's advisory Committee.
|On the subject of Shop Hours|
|Shop hours had been reduced in 1878 and shops now closed at 5pm on Wednesdays and 7pm every other day. Shopkeepers had never been happy with these shortened hours and were considering a return to 7pm every night. This did not mean that the shop assistants got away at 7pm as there was still work to be done, but the shopkeepers claimed that assistants were away by 8pm. A letter in the local paper, signed simply A Grocer's Assistant, claimed, 'In closing at 5 it is scramble and muddle all day, and when the shop is closed would beg to suggest that we close at 7pm all year round and at 6pm on Wednesday in summer months. You said that if we close at 7 we get away at 8; this is not the case, unless something very special happens we can always get off by a quarter past eight at the latest.' |
This would seem to be a put up job, appearing in advance of a tradesmen's meeting on the subject, with the letter either being written under duress or not written by anyone who was ever a grocer's assistant. Evidence of this was other letters that appeared in the local press from assistants detailing hours between 5.30am, when they had to rise to get to work, and 11pm when they sometimes finished. These might have been the extremes but considering that they worked Saturdays and some Sundays, assistants lives were not ones where leisure figured high on their agendas, much as they might liked it to have done.
The positive aspect of this was pointed out by the shopkeepers in saying that an assistant's half day off, when he got one, allowed so much time for recreation that it was highly appreciated - it's not difficult to see why.
At the eventual 1882 meeting of the Redhill tradesmen dealing with the matter of closing times were: W.Berrett; J.T. Sanders; H.Rowland; S.Gare; M.Wood; A.Wood; H.Trower; A.Trower; T.K.Pearce; T.A.Pick; F.Cliff; G.Shaw (grocer); Mr Fowler; Mr Potter; W.Pook; A.B.Boorne (bookshop); F.Strong; Mr Ellis; Mr Wood; G.Drury; Mr Lanaway; J.Benham; F.Hardy and Mr Horne. The outcome was that shops would continue to close at 5pm Wednesdays in summer months and 7pm the rest of the week. A separate meeting to decide shop times during winter would be held. A year later, in 1883, the working week for shop assistants remained at 68 hours, with four bank holidays off plus 7-10 days holiday.
|Paragraphs from an article entitled 'Half-Holiday Rambles' which described the local area|
| 'Now we come to the mineral water depot, on the left of the Frenches Schools. Once old farm buildings and still looking much as they appeared 200 years ago, when this spot really was a farm. The projection of the buildings into the public road shows that they existed here long before frontage lines or building acts were troubled about.|
'In the old sandpit in which Frenches School now stands there was found a few years ago, almost beneath the identical spot where the foundation stone of the school is laid, the remains of a mammoth. One of the teeth has found a fitting home at Wiggie, where it forms one of the most treasured local memorials of the past in the collection Mr Trower has gathered about him*. From here the old bridle track to Wiggie still retains, after it has passed the railway arch, much of its rusticity.'
* Which Mr Trower had the collection is not revealed, perhaps it was something that had grown over the years and had been contributed to by various familymembers. A listof its contents appears in the house contents sale catalogue (see below) but a reference to finds included in the mueum can be found in in note 1 on page 19 of Wilfrid Hooper's book 'Reigate. Its Story Through the Ages' as follows: - Described in 45 SAC 140-1. A tooth of the mammoth (elephas primgenius) and bones of ox (bos primigenius) were found at Wiggie sandpit - now disused - in 1897.
....Another reference to it is contained in this letter to the Independent Weekly newspaper from Stella Barnes of Banstead.
|The barn in Frenches Road. The small barn in front of the larger one projected onto the pavement. Presumably they once belonged to the farm owned by the Trowers. (photo courtesy Mrs Lucas)|
|.... 'Arthur and Henry Trower were my great uncles and as a child I stayed there with my mother. We lived in an austere farmhouse in Oxfordshire and Wiggie seemed remarkably grand. There was an ernormous bath with a polished surround and taps with hot and cold water, comforts we did not enjoy at home. |
.... 'The billiard room was a source of great excitement. Cupboards filled with mechanical toys that still worked and an enormous stuffed tiger. I am sure that many people will remember the museum room filled with local relics of interest to both archaeologists and nuturalists.
....''Not least we loved the garden. My brother, sister and I spent many hours exploring the old farm ruins, then covered with rock plants and ivy, and walking through the acres of daffodils.
.... 'I have two watercolour paintings of the garden by E. Bass-Smith who, I believe, was a renowned local artist. The gardens were opened to the public and I recall a charity box on the gate where visitors showed their appreciation. The contents were given to the local hospital.'
|Steve Bacon writes - 'My mother also recalls Uncle Arthur's mechanical toys. She remembers being taken by him into the Billiard Room where they were kept and him winding them up and letting them roam over the floor to her great delight. We wonder where they are now. Mum was born in 1918 so I guess this much have been in the mid- late-1920s. Uncle Arthur died in 1937, but in his latter years sadly suffered from dementia.'|
|The 1938 Sale of House Contents (Copy of catalogue kindly supplied by Steve Bacon)|
|Arthur Trower died aged 82 in September 1937 only three weeks after his 79 year-old brother, Richard, and the contents of the house were to be sold by their executors. The freehold of the estate together with other properties with a rent roll of £1,252 were to be sold in the coming spring unless disposed of privately beforehand. Included were the Redhill Club, Millers Yard and shops at Earlswood plus houses, villas and cottages in Redhill and district. |
..... The Redhill Club was a balconied building that had been a Conservative club that stood at the end of a short track from the bottom of Redstone Hill. It became an annex to the Redhill Technical College and School that had been built next to it. Millers Yard was possibly their warehouse at Earlswood. Why the Redhill shop was not mentioned is unknown, perhaps it had been held on leasehold only, or maybe sold earlier.
............... Wiggie House (photo courtesy Derek Flanagan)
... First thoughts are that this was an ignominious end for what had been a fairly grand home, and to be able to read the list of items is like intruding into a private household. Clearly this was a large Victorian house that was no doubt a comfortable home to its occupants. Probably it was far too large for them but it was the family home. The paintings of the house and estate showed that they were proud of it. We cannot help but wonder where those paintings are now.
... Other thoughts concern the museum. Apart from the stuffed birds where were the items collected over the years referred to elsewhere on this page? And what about the 'enormouse bath with a polished surround and taps with hot and cold water' mentioned in Stella Barnes' letter. A bathroom is not mentioned, nor is a boiler, but perhaps these were fixtures not easily sold so were not mentioned.
.... One final item not mentioned is a telescope. Arthur Trower was interested in astronomy and used a telescope to further that interest. Perhaps it was part of his legacy to someone.
Several paintings of Wiggie are mentioned in the sale. Perhaps this illustration from the book 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910, is one of them. It is entitled 'An old familiar scene' and must have been painted when the farm was still operational in the late 1800s. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
|Two more illustrations from 'Our Homestead' that were probably paintings mentioned in the sale inventory.|
Daniel Gumbrell worked for the Trower family through three of its generations. It is recorded in Artur Mee's 'Enchanted Land' that he tended the extensive daffodil fields there and that one day his children and grandchildren, totalling 130*, all came to see him. The date of his death is not known but from the details in obituary would have been c1917.
* His obituary below records the number as 120, still a remarkable number.
|Daniel at work in the fields and against a tree he was proud of. As a young man he had been mending a fence and a willow post he had stuck in the ground had rooted and grown into the tree seen in the picture, giving a good indication of his length of service. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)|
|Some of Daniel's relatives as mentioned in his obituary above. (see information and photo below)|
(Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
|There is an interesting observation to be made about the photo above. This is that the woman at the front far right of the group is the grand daughter of Daniel Gunbrell. Her father, Daniel's son, is standing behind her. The woman's married name was Bignall and the baby she is holding was her firstborn, Herbert Bignall. As he grew up he took up athletics and reached such a high standard that he was invited to run in the marathon at the 1928 Olympics, and agaim at the first ever Commonwealth Games in Canada in 1930. In 1948 the Olympics were held in London and he carried the Olympic torch from Nutfield to Redhill.|
Herbert Bignall carrying the torch through Redhill
|'Our Homestead and it Old World Garden',by Arthur Trower 1910|
|....Arthur Trower created the gardens at Wiggie on an ancient farm which had a trackway, possibly quite old, across it, running, it is said by some, from 'the Sussex coast to some crossing of the Thames'. The spelling of the name, as shown on a 1610 map in the British museum, was Wiggy, later becoming Wiggey and then Wiggie. Arthur wrote about the gardens, the house and many friends who visited in his book 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden'. The publisher of the book was dissolved in 1995 and the ownership of copyright on the book, if it still exists, is unknown. It is not the intention of this author to breach any copyright regulations so if anyone knows of any reason why material from the book should not be reproduced, or who should be contacted on the matter, then please contact author. |
...The preface is dated 1910 and in it Arthur explains that the book is going to be less about himself and more about the title matter, which is a shame in a way as we would like to know more about the family.
....One thing we do learn fairly early on is that he and his four brothers and three sisters had good parents - 'no children were ever blest with kinder or better' are his words and he looks back on his early years on the farm with great affection. It was his mother who was the gardener and his father who was the practical farmer with little time for flowers. Arthur says that it was from her that he inherited his love of things horticultural.
....Another very pertinent fact that comes to light is that on the death of both his parents the farm had to be sold. Why this was we are not told but it is revealed that in addition to land of his own Arthur's father rented land from Lord Monson. By this time all the children had left the family home. Arthur and his elder brother Henry had prospered in their business and were able to buy the house and 'some fifty acres of land'. We know from the 1861 census that there were originally 200 acres but do not know the division of owned and rented land.
|Above are the two photos of the house from the book. The one on the left is entitled 'Our Old Homestead' and is clearly before alterations were made. The one on the right is entitled 'Home'. Such is the difference they give the appearance of two completely different properties. Arthur writes, 'Most of the old house remains intact, and it is by no means without its qaint nooks and corners, the great charm of all old relics of bygone days'. The 1913 map on the left shows the house after the alterations and it seems that the additions were made at its rear (on the side away from the public footpath) in the 1890s and it is the rear that is seen in the right hand photo. The alerations/additions more than doubled the house's size.|
(Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)
|The photo on the left is of part of the orchard with the house in the background. Arthur writes about the sorrow with which he viewed old and gnarled trees past their prime with more youthful and vigorous trees bearing leaf and fruit around them. Right is a photo of apple picking in progress. (Illus. from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)|
|A chapter deals with the servants (including farm labourers) at Wiggie, some of whom worked for the family for more than fifty years and lived into their eighties. These were people who had been born in the 1820/30s and knew a whole different world from anything that exists today, a time when to be servile was something that was accepted without question. It is noted in the chapter that 'the servant question is not what it appears to be today', intimating that by 1910 things were changing.|
........................................................... 'Old Tom', one of the farm labourers in question
...It is difficult for us to fully understand how things were. If the servant accepted the situation unquestioningly then so did the master, probably with considerable satisfaction. The labourers in some cases would work a year, sometimes several, without any holidays. Daniel Gumbrell, as mentioned above, took but half a day off to get married. The family wages book reveals that in 1860 he was paid 12.6d per week and in 1910 was paid exactly the same; apparently being neither offered nor asking for more. One Michael Weller was a natural leader and regarded as such by master and other labourers and although he took on greater responsibilities as a result did so without extra pay. The tone of the chapter is that the master and his family regarded their servants and labourers with affection and were regarded in the same way by them. If this is how it really was we cannot know.
|The Garden and its visitors..... All illustrations are from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910|
| ....It is clear that the garden became quite famous for visitors came from all over the world according to Arthur. Perhaps they came for other reasons but while here a visit to the garden at Wiggie was on their agenda. It seems that visitors, whether known or unknown, were encouraged. Certainly the children from St Anne's came each year to see the daffodils. And not all announced their presence, for there was a public path by the front of the house and it was a simple mater to walk into the garden. Arthur relates how many times he was mistaken not for the owner but for the hired help. Mistaking him for the gardener, which he was by right but not by employ, he was even offered gratuities on occasion.|
Arthur and a robin that would feed from his hand.
....Generally Arthur would say something to the effect that as he was one of the proprietors he could not accept, upon which people would apologise profusely for their error, but he confesses that on one instance he did accept a tip. This was when a rather pompous lady he had never seen before asked him lots of questions about the garden, which he tried his best to answer, and then proceeded to tell him lots of stories about her own garden. Following this she gave him a whole text book of instructions on how best to tend his garden plus a threepenny tip. To hide his ire he touched his cap and accepted with meekness and humility and further calmed himself by spending the money on cigarettes and enjoying a smoke.
.............................................Arthur and an unnamed person deep in conversation.
.....There were a few visitors who fell into two sightly different categories, both minorities. There were those who rather than giving a gratuity were looking to extract a subscription for a charity. Recognising these became an art as they would usually start off with praise either for the garden or the gardener before coming to the point. When donations were given they were usually small - 'more sympathetic than metallic' Arthur writes.
|Daffodils in the orchard||Roses in the old orchard||Once the farmyard|
|Mixed Border||Summer||A favourite corner|
|The daffodil meadow from an early 1900s.newspaper article||A painting of part of the old world garden|
|In the garden at Wiggie are Aileen Butler, Phyllis Duffield and Miss Lucas - 4th person unknown - pupils and teacher(s) from St Anne's. This photo gives some idea of the magnificence of the daffodil field at Wiggie in the 1920s/30s. (Photo courtesy Joanna Parkinson)|
|Visitors...... (Illustrations.from 'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden', Arthur Trower 1910)|
|Left - This old gentleman visited Wiggie until he was 93 years of age. he was a man who seeing his friends pass away one by one felt himself becoming a relic af a bygone age. There are a number of photos in the book of visitors to Wiggie and as much as we would dearly love to know their names we are unfortunately not told them, which is a singular loss to history.|
Right - There is one visitor who we can identify, however. In the book he is referred to as 'My friend the Doctor'. He is The Rev. Dr Perry, St Anne's Boys' School Head 1896-1919. More can be read about him in the 'St Anne's' web page, also on this website.
|Ladies from the local almshouse||Lady in the garden|
|Lifelong friends of Arthur Trower.||The caption says 'Girl athletes in the Home Meadow'. Perhaps they were from St Anne's|
There is a great deal of information about the Trower family on this page but by comparison with their lives and influence on the local area it is but little. If you have further information or would like to comment upn anything on this page please contact author.
|Steve Bacon, a Trower descendent who supplied information and pictures.|
|'Our Homestead and its Old World Garden' by Arthur Trower; published by Sampson, Low, Marston & Co.Ltd. 1910|
Addituional research and other material Alan Moore
|Wiggie House 1939 - 1947|
|Above the sale of Wiggie House was discussed and it was said that after the whole 56 acre Wiggie estate went on the market. Reigate Corporation had resolved to buy it for £20,000 so a planned auction was cancelled. At the last minute the Corporation pulled out but the trustees of the late owner, Arthur Trower, received an alternative private offer for the estate plus premises in the town. |
... Until now it has not been known by this author who the alternative private offer was made by. It is still not known specifically by whom the offer was made but Wiggie House became a 'kibbutz' style home to Jewish aliens who were released from detention in various parts of the British Isles.
... This information comes from Dan Jacoby whose mother, Ilse, and father, Georg, met while staying at Wiggie House. His mother left him an account of her life, part of which is reproduced below. In those notes we learn a considerable amount about life at Wiggie.
|Memories of Ilse Jacoby, nee Bloch, as written to her son, Dan Jacoby.|
|Before going to Wiggie|
. . . . . . . . In Feb 1941, after 10 months of internment it was my turn to go to a second tribunal in Douglas, the capital of the Isle of Man. It was done by coach loads. They stamped my registration book. I was to be released to return to St. Albans where there was a 'Hashomer Hatzair' (Young Guard) hostel. I had obtained their address through Bloomsbury House and contacted them, as soon as the second tribunals started. My youth movement and Hashomer Hatzair had amalgamated and they had agreed to accept me. On 18th February, 1941, I arrived already when it was dark at St. Albans bus station and had to make my own way (no reception committee!) while the sirens sounded loudly an 'All Clear' with only a torch to find my way to 55 London Road.
At Wiggie House everything was run as on a kibbutz. There was total communal organisation. We worked for the Surrey War Agricultural Committee (SWAC). This was set up as soon as the war started to supply mobile labour, as all the regular farm workers were in the army. At the same time the land army girls were founded with whom we worked together on occasions. Every Friday we found two sets of clothes on our bed - one for work, one for leisure. One big room was the 'Machsan' (storeroom) where all the clothes were put onto shelves. We did not often get our own clothes we brought from home but there was a big variety.
Ilse's husband, Georg Jacoby, at the wheel of a Surrey War Agricultural lorry. One of the jobs he had to do was to drive German prisoners about, and he found it hard not to reveal that he too was German, by laughing at their jokes!
.. We stayed in Redhill till 1947. In the meantime 20 certificates for emigration to the then still Palestine arrived and there began a big selection. They went to the most active and committed members. We knew we stood no chance. That was the first batch that left. Thereafter most of them left by illegal Alijah emigration. For this you were examined by an Alijah doctor. I had some serious kidney trouble at the time. As it was expected that some boats would be intercepted and the immigrants placed into internment camps, people were expected to be fit. That was the reason we were left behind in England, as I did not pass the examination. And true enough most of our group spent months and years in such a camp till they finally reached Palestine. A new group from 'Habonim', another youth group, moved into Wiggie House . We moved into an adjacent cottage above the workshop, which consisted of a bedroom, living room and a toilet near the entrance. We made it very cosy there, though it was very primitive. We had a coal range to cook on and bake but later acquired an electric boiling ring. Our tin bath was put in front of the fire and filled with hot water from a big urn, which heated on the coal range. But believe me they were our happiest days. Life was so simple, one had no big demands and never looked over one's shoulder to see what others had. Nobody had much anyway.
|Note 1 - Anni was Ilse's sister, left behind in Breslau (now Wroclaw in Poland). She was a couple of years younger than Ilse who had organised permits via organisations in London for her to be able to escape to London . Unfortunately, just before Anni was due to leave, she was treated for a 'cold', but it turned out to be meningitis and she died. Ilse did not know what had happened to her sister until after the war and never got over it. Ilse's son, Dan, has been to the Old Jewish cemetery in Wroclaw and found Anni's gravestone. She was buried with her grandparents.|
|This is the end of Ilse's notes that lay out her personal life during the years 1941-1948 and that of Wiggie House during an important part of its history. It would appear that the person or organisation that bought Wiggie House was a Jewish benefactor of some kind. Grateful thanks to Dan Jacoby for allowing these notes to appear here. If you have any knowledge or information about this period that might throw more light on the matter please contact author.|