Owners & Residents

Architect Edmund Wallace Elmslie was born at Maidenhead, Berkshire about 1818, the son of James Elmslie (1779-1865) and Caroline Anne Foster (1793-1861). The family’s wealth derived from Edmund’s grandfather John Elmslie who held investments in sugar cane plantations in Jamaica. Elmslie seems to have moved to Malvern in the early 1850s and was elected a town commissioner in 1855.
Elmslie married Theodora Harriett Price in 1862 at Guarlford and they had two children born at Falston – a daughter, Theodora Caroline in 1863 and a son Aubrey Wallace in 1865 (who died age 7 weeks). They later had three further daughters – Florence Ernestine, Ida Mary and Hilda Louise.

Elmslie signed a debtor’s deed in late 1866, having dissolved his architectural partnership earlier that year. This was when George Haddon (of Hereford) left the partnership but Elmslie & Frederick Franey continued to be partners, operating in London. It is not clear whether Elmslie was badly in debt or merely terminating the partnership with Haddon.

By 1871 the family had moved to Hythe Villa, Cintra Park, Norwood in what is now SE London. Kelly’s 1884 Directory of Worcestershire recorded Elmslie, an architect, back in Malvern at Hilminster in St Anne’s Road. He later moved to Enderley in Avenue Road (now number 10) where he died on 1st July 1889.

He was a Freemason, a member of the Royds Lodge at Malvern.

Dr Archibald Weir MD (1828 – 1894) originally came from Glasgow and was an army surgeon throughout the Crimean war. He came to Malvern about 1856 (after his first wife, Louisa Hawkes, died after only one year of marriage age 24) and practised in Malvern Link before moving to St. Mungho’s in 1867 with his second wife, Fanny Elizabeth nee Munday (m. 1863). They had their third child, Francis Randolph Stuart Weir, here in 1868. Fanny died of diptheria, age 28, in 1870. The two elder sons, born at Link Lodge, Malvern Link, were John Campbell Weir (1863) and Archibald Munday Weir (1865). The latter was a doctor in Malvern Link 1890-1909 and with his father attended Edward Elgar when he was ill in 1892.

After Fanny’s death her mother, Mary Ann Munday, lived at St Mungho’s for 4 years to look after her 3 young grandsons, tactfully moving out when Dr Weir remarried.

Weir married Anna Maria Bright (1841-1904) in 1874 and they had three sons – Hugh Heywood Weir in 1875, George Alexander Weir in 1877 and Henry Bright Weir in 1880. (George became General Sir George Weir, KCB, CMG, DSO and Deputy Lieutenant of Worcestershire).

The 1891 Census records the Weirs (5) plus 4 servants.

Weir was badly injured in West Malvern in 1893, when his coachman lost control of his horse and carriage while traversing a steep incline. He suffered a fractured skull and other injuries and was unable to work. He subsequently died at St Mungho’s about 12 months later from a heart condition. (May 17, 1894 aged 65). His wife, Anna survived him for another decade, and was still living at St Mungho’s for the 1901 Census, when her youngest son was with her, plus 3 servants.

George Guy owned the house but appears never to have lived in it, as Censuses before and after the purchase (1901, 1911) show him at Rosebank. He died in 1912 age 75. His second wife was named Hannah and his occupation is described as ‘MD of an iron & steel manufactory’. Rosebank was bought by Dyson Perrins who later left it to the people of Malvern, whose council let it fall into disrepair and then demolished it.

Dr Brockatt was the second doctor to reside at the house – he was the Medical Officer at Malvern College for many years. The 1902 Malvern telephone directory shows him in Victoria Road – his number was Malvern 31.

The 1911 Census lists Brockatt, age 49, plus 3 servants at the house.

Related to Elizabeth Harman (who became Lady Longford) she became joint head with Madame Laura Robinet in 1908. The 1911 Census records her as Head of School at Lawnside, age 37. A woman somewhat ahead of her time, she had a broad outlook, her great passion being drama. Slender and attractive, she received two marriage proposals in 1917, and had she gone through with the one she initially accepted the history of both the school and the house would have been rather different. She expanded the school by buying The Grove and also about 6 acres of playing fields.

After retiring in 1925, mainly because of ill-health, she was only 51) she moved to Hyeres, France. She died in 1951, aged 79.

Born in 1897, she came from a wealthy family – her father bought the school for her in 1925 to provide ‘an outlet for her tremendous energy and talents’. Her grandfather founded the firm Barrows & Co at Banbury. She was educated at Lawnside, being Head Girl in 1913-14. Under her the school became recognised by the Board of Education and in 1927 there were 69 boarders and 28 day pupils.

Ms Barrows presided over the school for a remarkable 35 years during which there were many changes, not least an expansion of its property – she bought The Lea, The Lodge, The Gables and Enderley. She was the last headmistress to own the school. She died in 1974 aged 77.

In 1960 the structure of the school changed, with the buildings being transferred to a charitable trust, The Lawnside School Association. A conveyance records that it paid Winifred Burrows £18,350 for the collection of buildings and attached playing fields, listing
Lawnside, Albert Road South, (part of the school 1884-1994)
Lawnside Grove, (1921-1994)
Lawnside Lea (formerly ‘Leeston’), Tibberton Road, (1938-94)
Lawnside End (formerly ‘Enderley’), 10 Avenue Road, (1953-94)

This conveyance does not mention
Lawnside Lodge, 1 Avenue Road, (1942-94), at one time the Priory Park Hotel
Lawnside Gables (formerly ‘St Martins), 6 Avenue Road, (1945-92)
which were also part of the school so maybe a second conveyance did so.

Almost immediately the school started borrowing against its assets in order to fund essential modernisation, but having to service debt may have contributed to its eventual demise.

The headmistresses in this time were HELEN MILLICHAMP 1960-71, DUSELINE STEWART 1971-1990 and JANET HARVEY 1991-94.

Philip was an architect and property developer who ran a consultancy service called ‘Price Property Services Ltd’ from The Grove. Well known for the concerts and parties he put on at The Grove, he met his future wife, cellist Julia Palmer, at a Halloween party in 1999. She also came to Nigel Kennedy’s Millennium Party there and ‘never left’. They married at the house, and had two children, Aletea and Harry. He died suddenly and unexpectedly Feb 2011 age 58. His widow stayed in the house until 2013.

Lawnside – The History of a Malvern School
Ann Backhouse – research
English Heritage notes on listing
Mike Burns – great-great-grandson of Dr Weir (Archibald-Archibald-Neil-Celia-Mike)