The Broadmead family came to Milverton in the early 18 Century from Silverton in Devon where they were serge makers. Moving from serge making they took over the tannery off Fore Street which had been run by Thomas Gervis. The tannery stretched from the now Victoria Rooms, which was built on the site of the offices, right up to the top of the now Creedwell Orchard Estate .
In 1886 Thomas Palfrey Broadmead Barrister JP and one time High Sheriff of Somerset, donated an area of the tannery called Gervis’s to enable the Village to build their own village hall. The money to build it was raised by subscriptions and a total of almost £1000 was raised by the village.
So, the Victoria Rooms is one of the few halls to be purpose built as a village hall although the locals used to call it the ‘town hall’.
The portrait that hangs in the Victoria Rooms is James Broadmead born in 1806 (Uncle to Thomas P), who ran a much larger tannery in Langport where he lived with his brother Nicholas, a solicitor and money lender. It was Thomas, his brother, who ran the Milverton tannery living at Bartletts which in the 1767 land tax lists, is named ‘Late Bartletts’, meaning the Mr Bartlett who had lived in the house was now dead .
Thomas Died in 1852 and the tannery must have closed down and this is why Thomas Palfrey Broadmead was able to donate the site for the Victoria Rooms. Interestingly, in the 1860’s, a soup kitchen had operated out of one of the tannery buildings.
It was Reverend Philip Broadmead who first lived at Olands House which was built around 1820, but owned by Philip’s father Thomas Palfry Broadmead . He was living at Enmore Castle purchased by his uncle Nicholas in the 1840’s. Philip Broadmead’s wife, Edith started the nursing fund and having purchased the House in Sand Street opposite the Old School, used it as a cottage hospital.
Oland’s Grounds were used for flowers shows and fetes and the family supported the village in very many ways. Eventually, Olands Came to Harold, the only son of Rev. Philip who was living at Enmore, so Olands was put up for sale in 1948. It was purchased by Somerset County Council for £6 500 which used it as a children’s home before selling it in 1993.
SCC kept the front section to build the new county primary school. Harold’s sister, Edith Robinette, died in 1961 and so ended the over 200 years Broadmead connection with Milverton.
Thanks to Maggie Dinning for the research.