100 Halls Around Manchester Part 75: Broome House, Levenshulme

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Broome House makes an appearance on the 1848 Ordnance survey. It isn’t on the 1819 Johnson map. That is the only image we have.

Broome House Lancashire CXI, 1848 © Ordnance Survey
Zooming in © Ordnance Survey

As you can see from the zoomed image it was a substantial property with large gardens. A description from 1858 described it as in easy reach of Levenshulme Railway Station and the Stockport Omibuses (no doubt ancestors of the 192). It had four entertaining rooms, nine bedrooms plus kitchens and offices. There were excellent stables, coach houses and greenhouses, with a conservatory attached. At the rear there was a paddock. The garden occupied two acres and had fruit trees. The garden was tended by a gardener who lived in an attached cottage.

The earliest mention of the property is in 1827 when John Walker and his wife Sarah are living there. John Walker was a Manchester drysalter with business interests both in Manchester and Stockport. The couple had three children.

John Goldie Walker (1802-1865) was born on 26 November 1802 and baptised at Lloyd Street Chapel the following January. He lived at Broome House until 1838 and his father had evidently amassed a fortune as he owned a great deal of property around the Levenshulme area. He was also a partner in Knott Walker and Knott, Ale and Porter Brewers and Spirit Merchants of Howard Street in Stockport until 1836, when he started divesting himself of his Manchester business interests in order to travel, and that year he departed on a continental tour for six months.

Returning in October 1836 he attended Madame Maliban de Beriot‘s funeral. He had quite a high profile in the Manchester Art scene, being elected to the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society on 19 October 1827, and on departing from Broome House in 1838 he put up for sale a large collection of first edition books and paintings, which had been collected with much taste and judgement and a very liberal outlay by himself.

Liverpool Standard 17 April 1838
May Day In Elizabethan Times, one of the Prints from JGW’s collection © British Museum

He appears to have been based in London during the 1840s, but may have had property in Staffordshire and Aberystwyth as he was steward of the Newcastle Races, a patron of the Newcastle and Potteries theatre and president of the Aberystwyth hunt. He was a keen sportsman attending several race meetings in Liverpool and Herefordshire during the 1840s.

Between 1851 and 1861 he rented Ashley Place in Westminster, and on 7 January 1851 he married the magnificently named Jane Cumming Tregellas Thomas Benson (1819-1884). Jane was the daughter of Bristol tobacconist Matthias Benson, and the sister of Richard Matthias Benson (1818-1882) who in 1873 teamed up with William Hedges (1836-1913) at 13 Old Bond Street, London to form Benson and Hedges, initally selling Cuban Cigars. Richard passed away from a surfeit of his own product, smoking around 15 cigars a day, managing to consume around 20,000 by his death in 1882.

John and Jane moved to Thanet in Kent, where they lived on Upper Marine Terrace. John became 1st Lieutenant in the Cinque Ports Volunteers here and continued his sporting interests by becoming president of the Margate Cricket club. He died on 2 August 1865 at Haverstock Hill in London. Jane meanwhile was not one to let the grass grow under her feet and she remarried to John Henry Rowland of Sidmouth, she died in 1884 in Hampstead.

John does not appear to have any children¹ His sister, Anne Walker married Thomas Cave Brown Cave (1801-1854) the son of Sir William Cave Brown Cave, 9th Baronet of Stamford. The couple lived in Kingsbury, Warwickshire. John’s other sister, Sarah Bower Walker (1814-1878) did not marry, but lived on the income from her father’s properties. She was visiting Broome House in 1851 and she died on Christmas Day 1878.

After the Walkers, the property was let out to several people. In 1851 Hariett Monk is living . there. Born Hariett Ryle in 1813, she married Barrister and QC John Monk (b 1804) in 1834. However, the couple did not stay at the house for long, as John’s work took him to London where he became Treasurer of Middle Temple in Grey’s Inn. By 1871 they too had felt the lure of Kent, and were living on the Royal Crescent there, John was still working in London, having chambers in Harley Street.

Next to move in briefly, was Henry Daniel Degetau and his wife, Ernestina Wilhemina Sternersen. Henry was born in 1818 in the Virgin Islands, the son of Otto Georg Christian Degetau and Mary Elizabeth Wood. He was in Broome House in 1853 but left around 1859 as a result of a court case.

Henry was in partnership with Henry Dalton and they had a contract to supply J&W Taylor of Leicester with reels of cotton for their Taylor’s Persian Thread. However, they regularly supplied reels of thread significantly shorter than the advertised thread length. The case was however not proved as it was found to be a common industry practice, and even encouraged by Taylors.

Henry moved away from Manchester after this, and probably died in Paris where the firm of Henry Degetau & Co operated.

Legal difficulties notwithstanding, the couple had five children whilst at Broome House. The first, a girl was born on 18 January 1853 but died soon afterwards, and lies in a grave at Birch Chapel in Rusholme, recorded as Infant Degetau.

Henry Adolphe Degetau Sternesen (1854-1894) emigrated to Mexico City where he married Margarita Baric Badillo (1860-1925) Edith Ernesta Degetau Sternesen (b 1856) and Axel Augustus Degetau Sternesen (b 1857) were like all Degetau children baptised at Heaton Chapel and Annie Albertina Degetau Sternesen (b 1859) married Mile Prendergast Jukes (1826-1915), the son of George Morse Jukes, Chaplain to the British Consul at Le Havre and later an iron dealer and London Agent for the Union Insurance Company of Canton.

Of the next three residents, we know even less. In 1861 Robert Hughes (b 1799), a calico merchant is living at the house, together with his son Robert (1815-1870) a commercial clerk, Robert’s wife Elizabeth and their daughter Edith. The lessees in 1866 were Joe W Worthington and his wife Nessy Stowell Johnson and from 1867 to its demolition around 1883 John Wilcock (1825-1891), alternatively a cotton spinner and a rope and twine manufacturer, and his wife Ellen Barge (1846-1877), together with their children, Joseph (b 1856) and Maud (b 1859).

The house was demolished in part some time around 1883. At first in 1882 the house and grounds were put up for sale or let either together or piecemeal, then on the 16 March 1883 this small advertisement appeared in the Manchester Evening News, announcing that the house’s fate had been sealed. Some remnants of the house or a house are visible on the 1916 OS map.

Sorry I don’t have any pictures of Broome House. Do you?

¹ JGW may have had two previous marriages, Maria Murray and Jane Brereton, and the second may have produced offspring, a John Goldie Walker of Manchester, who also lived in London and Kent around the time the other JGW was there, but there is not enough evidence to prove they may be related.

© Allan Russell 2021.

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