Unexamined Lives

The story of the 20th century as lived by residents in the Derbyshire village of Borrowash


Bloso Fields

One of the contacts through the Society’s website asked about a family living at Bloso Fields in the 1920s.  This prompted some research on this house on Victoria Avenue just north of Deans Drive. The old house is now divided into three homes.

Bloso Fields (sometimes called Bloso House) was built in the 1860s for Miss Mary Hannah Towle and would at the time have overlooked the fields running down to the Ock brook. Miss Towle of the Borrowash Mill owning family, was the daughter of John Towle and his wife Elizabeth (nee Harrison).  Mary lived at Bloso fields having moved in in the 1860’s into a new house.  Her father had died in 1860 and perhaps the house was built with her part of the £40,000 that her father had left in his will.

 In 1861 Mary Towle is described in the census as a Proprietor of Land Houses and Mills.  By 1871, Mary was 51 and living in Bloso Fields and her profession is described as “Interest of Money”.  With Mary are her servants, the Burnhams, whose family later went on to run the nursery on the other side of Victoria Avenue.

By 1881, Mary still has the same household, except that she has been joined by her widowed younger sister Adeline Alsop.  Adeline later moves to Hampstead in London where she is joined by her brother Henry after his wife dies.  When we trace Victorian families it is always sad to note the fragility of life before the advent of 20th Century medical advances.

Ten years on and Mary was 71.  Her household still consisted of the Burnham ladies.  She had a family visitor, one William B Towle (aged 33) a general practitioner.  This 1891 census is the last one to show Mary Towle and she died in August 1900 and probate records show that she left an estate of £3858.

Bloso Fields was then put on the market.  In 1901 Bloso Fields was occupied for a short time by Dr John Aspinal Hunt and his family. Dr Hunt is the son of the owner of Bartlewood Lodge.

New residents appear in the 1911 census as the Newbold family.  James William Newbold JP was Poor Law Union Clerk on the Board of Guardians.  This included the large workhouse at Shardlow.  Mrs Eliza Newbold was the sister of the last Liberal MP for Derby, Thomas Roe (1st Lord Roe of Derby) and James Newbold was also involved in politics being Mayor of Derby in 1888.

The Newbold family was in Osmaston Derby in 1901.   Newbold Avenue (off Draycott Road) built in 1929 is named after James Newbold. These council houses were built to house people from Grundy’s Yard.

Peter Ball

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