Some history on Brandon in the county of Warwickshire
Brandon is a pleasant village, and, with Bretford, forms a township in the parish of Wolston, 5 mile east from Coventry and 6 west from Rugby, with a station on the London and North Western railway and the nearest for visitors to Coombe Abbey; the line crosses over the Avon and a road leading from Brandon to Wolston by a viaduct of nine large and six smaller arches; the village may be seen to the left and the remains of Brandon Castle on the right, the Avon winding its way down the valley with the village of Wolston, Wolston Mill and Wolston Priory on its bank. Brandon was anciently a place of some note, and after the Conquest a castle was built here, probably by Geoffrey de Clinton, or his son-in-law, Norman de Verdun: in the reign of Richard I. it was an important garrison; and in that of Henry III its owner being a Royalist, it was taken and destroyed by the barons, but was rebuilt and continued to be the residence of the descendants of its Norman founders for some time; the only trace at present existing is a mound of ruins, still called "Brandon Castle." Brandon Hall is the seat of Lieut. Col. Rowland John Beech T.D., D.l., J.P. who is the owner of the whole of the land and a portion of that in Bretford. The Working Men's Club, erected by the trustees of the late James Beech esq. in 1885, contains reading and refreshments rooms and a spacious club room available for meetings, concerts and entertainments. The area of Brandon and Bretford is 1,968 acres of land and 20 of water; rateable value, £5,204; the population in 1901 was 343.
Brandon Hall was converted into a hotel just after the Second World War. The origins of the property are said to extend back to the 17th century when a simpler structure served as a shooting lodge. In the latter half of the 19th century it was the home of the Beech family. The magistrate James Beech held estates in both Warwickshire and Staffordshire. In 1843 he married Emily Charlotte Madocks, with whom he had four sons and one daughter. Following his death in October 1883, Rowland John Beech, of the 2nd Life Guards, his eldest son, succeeded to the estates. Rising to the rank of Lieut.-Colonel, he saw service in the Soudan in 1884-5 where the British were up to their usual meddling. He was with the artillery in France during World War One but died shortly afterwards in August 1919.
Captain Douglas Charles Beech was the only surviving son of Rowland and Adelaide Beech, his brother and brother-in-law being killed in action during World War One. In 1915 he married Florence Mitchell, daughter of Major Wilmot Mitchell of Ballymere, County Wicklow. Educated at Eaton and Sandhurst, he was awarded the Military Cross during the war and served in the Home Guard as Colonel during the Second World War.
Superceding the old Brandon station built in 1838, Brandon and Wolston Railway Station was opened in October 1879. This locomotive is arriving from Coventry and about to stop at the station's down platform. The train is obscuring the goods yard and shed that was located beyond the platform. The signal cabin can be seen just to the left of the image. The Coventry Evening Telegraph reported that the railway staff had the platforms to themselves on Saturday September 10th 1960 as the last passenger train stopped there on the evening and the station was closed to passenger traffic. A number of railway enthusiasts called at the station to buy souvenir "last issue" tickets, and others sent postal orders to cover the purchase. British Railways closed the station because they claimed it was uneconomical. At the time the average daily traffic was said to be 35 passengers, although 13 trains called at the station daily from Mondays to Fridays, and 19 on Saturdays. The station had already been closed on Sundays for some time. The acting stationmaster, Mr. S. Chapman, the yardmaster at Rugby Midland Station, was clearing things up for the railway operator. Staffed by a clerk and checker, goods trains continued to call at the station for some period after the closure to regular passengers.
In capturing this image the photographer was pointing the camera along the lane towards the small triangular green where, today, the A458 passes through Brandon. The Working Men's Club can be seen to the right of the photograph. Still serving the local community, the rather anachronistic nomenclature has been amended to the Brandon Club. Dated 1885, the building was opened in March of the following year when the Nuneaton Advertiser stated that the institution owed its existence to "the thoughtful generosity of the late Mr. James Beech, of Brandon Lodge, who left a considerable fund for the provision of some useful institution for the village and neighbourhood. The designs for the building were prepared by Mr. Charles Lea, of the firm of Messrs. James and Lister Lea and Son, Birmingham, and it was stated that "the way in which the work had been carried out reflected the highest credit on both builder and architect."
The building was originally intended to be sited on the knoll near the railway arches, where it would have been an object of admiration for passengers on board the trains passing through the village. An alternative site opposite the schools had to be adopted. This did mean that residents of Wolston were somewhat isolated from the institution. Charles Lea's creation adopted what was known as half-timbered Annian, the structure being of red bricks with a tiled roof and stone dressings. The reading room ran the whole depth of the building, and was lighted at each end by very fine windows, and on one side by smaller ones. The book stock was strictly under the control of the club president, Rowland Beech. Subscriptions were 2d. per week or 1s. per quarter. The club was placed under the charge of Daniel Liggins, the honorary secretary, who lived on the premises.
"William Ingle , of Hillside, Avondale Road, Brandon, was found lying unconscious in the middle of the road, near the Royal Oak,
Brandon, late Thursday night of last week, suffering from severe head injuries. He was carried into Mr. Hallam's house near by, where Nurse Woodcock and others did
all they could for him until the Coventry City Ambulance arrived and took him to the Coventry Warwickshire Hospital. The accident happened at a spot which, especially
on Thursdays [Brandon Speedway night], is very dangerous. Only few seconds before Ingle was knocked down Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey, newsagents, of Wolston, had
overtaken the unfortunate man. They had only passed him a few yards when they heard the sound of the accident, and on turning round saw Ingle lying the road and a pedal
cyclist in the act of falling off his machine. This was undoubtedly the person who had been involved in the accident. Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey at once ran to the injured
man's assistance, and while Mr. Kelsey attended to him Mrs. Kelsey waved to the oncoming traffic to stop. But for this prompt action there is little doubt that Ingle
would have been run over by the stream of traffic from the Speedway, and possibly killed. Two other pedal cyclists who were accompanying the one who had fallen off his
machine helped Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey to carry the injured man on to the side of the road, but while he was being attended to the three disappeared, leaving no clue to
their identity. It has been stated that Ingle [who is rapidly recovering] was knocked down by a motor cycle, but we are informed that this is not the case, as
when Mr. and Mrs. Kelsey heard the sound of the accident no motor cyclist was anywhere near."
"Unusual Features of a Brandon Accident"
Rugby Advertiser : September 12th 1930 Page 16