Tales from the Archives
You never know what stories you are going to find while researching into the history of quarrying as this tale found by volunteer Charles Clark shows.
A letter, found in the Bromyard & District Local History Society archives, dated 1873 from G. Barkley & S. Trickett to one William Finney Esq., contains detailed descriptions, brimming with optimisim, of the stone on Bromyard Downs Estates : “the quality of stone is abundant, practically inexhaustible […] you will therefore have no difficulty in finding a market for the whole of the stone that you can produce”. They go on to detail, at length, cities with a market for the stone, including Birmingham, Oxford and London.
The true prospects of this venture may have been exaggerated though, and in 1874 when the Worcester, Bromyard & Leominster Railway – to which Finney had been a guarantor – went bankrupt, he became bankrupt too. He was obviously a shrewd businessman though, because by 1877 he was present at the banquet for the opening of the railway to Bromyard. In 1878 he was operating a sandstone quarry – though on a much smaller scale than that rapturously predicted by Berkley & Trinkett – and, the following year, opened a brick and tileworks.
More details on the activities of Mr. Finney can be found in Charles’ fascinating article “A coal merchant, a quarry, a railway, tileworks and two actresses”, published in the Bromyard & District Local History Society Journal, 2013. See www.bromyardhistorysociety.org.uk for more details.