The Broadwoods of Lyne House

Horses and hounds outside Lyne House. © Dorking Museum

The piano manufacturer James Schudi Broadwood bought Lyne Farm, Capel, in 1799. The family firm was England’s foremost piano manufacturer. Beethoven, Haydn, Chopin and Liszt all used Broadwood pianos. Broadwood turned Lyne into a grand family home, buying up surrounding land in Capel, Newdigate and Rusper. In 1864 his son, Henry Fowler Broadwood, arrived in Lyne with his 9 children.

Bertha Broadwood in 1903 by permission of the Broadwood Trust

Henry’s eldest daughter Bertha Broadwood founded the Cottage Benefit Nursing Association in 1883. The Association trained working-class nurses in the Holt-Ockley method, (named after the nearby village).  The method sent nurses into the homes of women in Capel and Holmwood to live with them, attending to domestic duties as well as medical care.  This enabled the patients to rest. The local organisation soon went national with branches all over the country and a London training scheme.

Bertha was also a vigorous campaigner in Dorking against the vote for women.

Lucy Broadwood by permission of Surrey History Centre

Bertha’s youngest sister Lucy Broadwood was a pioneering collector and publisher of folk songs. She collaborated on several influential publications and was a founder – with Cecil Sharpe and Ralph Vaughan Williams – of the English Folk Song Society whose journal she edited. Many of the songs that she preserved were collected in the Surrey villages around Lyne. An accomplished singer, composer and accompanist she was also one of the founders of the Leith Hill Musical Festival. In recognition of her contribution to the preservation of English folk traditions, Morris men dance in Rusper church where she is buried every May 1st.

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