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My Wednesbury great grandfather Philip bowled out W G Grace

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

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I HOPE that your readers may help me in my research into our family's history.

We know quite a lot about the history of my late mother's family. Her paternal grandfather was Samuel S. Bayley (1862 – 26.5.1935), an alderman of Rowley Regis Council and postmaster of Springfield Post Office in Rowley Regis. We don't, however, know much about my late father's family, the Millwards of Wednesbury, whose first born son has held the Christian name of Philip for at least four generations.

The final resting place of my great grandfather, Philip Alfred Millward (1859 – 7.4.1940) is in Tettenhall Churchyard. Four family members are buried there: Philip's daughter, Nora May (22.5.1890 – 30.7.1936), his wife Martha nee Burton (1862 – 1.4.1939) the second, his other daughter, Ada Florence (1892 – 21.11.1939) the third and, of course, himself. They lived at Winston House in Compton.

Philip played cricket for Staffordshire and, according to my late father, Philip Anthony (1.9.1914-6.12.1997), had the distinction of having bowled out W G Grace! He owned a maltings in Wednesbury called Lea Brook. The family lived at Lea Brook – later, in 1908, moving to May Villa in Wood Green (between Wednesbury and Walsall), then briefly to Little Aston Park near Sutton Coldfield in 1919 and finally to Winston House. Philip ran the Lea Brook Maltings in partnership with his brother Walter; another brother, George, was manager of the nearby Patent Shaft Company (there was another sibling Clara – we have no information about descendants of either Walter, George or Clara).

Philip went on to build a maltings at Albrighton in about 1900, a larger one than the Wednesbury one, and, in about 1908, purchased a brewery in Rushall. The Rushall brewery, which was briefly managed by Philip's son, Philip Alfred Junior, had to be sold or closed down shortly after World War I in connection with an Income Tax demand on £25,000 apparently linked to war time "Tax Return irregularities!"

In 1926 Philip Alfred senior retired from the business and left it to his children, Frank (who died during or shortly after World War II), my grandfather, Philip Alfred Junior and Geoffrey Thomas (1906-1985 approx), in return for a pension of £4,000 per annum. Frank had only one child, Phyllis, who married Clifford Hughes of Hughes & Holmes, owners of the Wolverhampton ironmongers shop. All that we know is that Phyllis and Clifford adopted two children. On their father's retirement, the three brothers inherited the maltings in Wednesbury (run by Philip Alfred Junior) and the Albrighton Brewery (run by Frank and Geoffrey), run under the name of 'Millward Brothers'.

Unfortunately the brothers didn't get on.

The business was, thus, sold to Frederick Smith's in Aston in 1939 at the instigation of Frank, an asthma sufferer.

I gathered all the above information from my father shortly before his death in 1997.

What would interest me is to learn more of the family's association with Wednesbury, specifically with the Lea Brook Maltings. If any readers can help please contact me.

Richard Millward,

17 The Pastures, Blakeney, Holt, Norfolk.

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