Foxearth and District Local History Society

For its first meeting of 2014 the Society was addressed by Jim Davis, co-ordinator of the Halstead Heritage Museum. The topic of his talk was the Adams family of Halstead. Jim explained the setting up of the museum describing the large collection of photographs it housed from which much information about this family had been gleaned.

Thomas Francis Adams was born in Islington in 1822 and in 1850 he joined a London company of brewers. He married Mary Norris in 1852 and two sons followed- Edgar Tarry in 1852 and Percy in 1858. At about this time Thomas began to look for a small provincial brewery to acquire and he discovered that the Stanton Gray company in Halstead was having problems. Thomas had the experience and resources to revitalise the concern which he bought. Edgar Tarry grew up to be a man of diverse interests; he went to University, became a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, a naval architect and at one time he ran a small voluntary fire brigade consisting mostly of brewery staff. Percy was more concerned with brewing .Both sons married producing descendants who became well-known in the locality.  In 1878 Thomas died and a chapel was built on the brewery land in his memory. This was rebuilt in 1902 and was known as the Bung Chapel dedicated to Thomas and Mary; it is now a private house.

Mr Davis illustrated his talk with many slides showing the extent and development of the business (in 1881 the brewery had 20 labourers and 2 clerks) , the growing family in their prosperity (at one time their middle class status included a butler and maids) and pictures of Halstead through the ages. He was warmly thanked by Chairman Alan Fitch on behalf of disappointing attendance of just 9 members.

Next meeting: Tuesday 11th February at 7.30pm in Foxearth Village Hall when Martyn Lockwood will speak about the Moat farm Murder of 1899.


Ken Nice

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