The Browning Family and Billings Family Connections.Charlie and Laura Browning (nee Tutt) were married in Greenwich, London. They moved to Charney in 1919 for Charlie, who had been a Hussar in the Boer War and was also in WWl, to become the village blacksmith. Laura ran a sweet shop and also, later, the Post Office, from 14 Charney (Brook Cottage). We believe that Charlie’s brother and his wife also moved to Charney, to a house in New Road, soon after Charlie and Laura moved there. They had a daughter, Violet, who later married her cousin, Charlie Jnr.Laura Browning had a sister, Maud Tutt. Maud’s married name was Weston. One of Maud’s daughters, Louisa Weston, married Jim Billings. Louisa and Jim had two daughters, Barbara Billings and Patricia Billings. Barbara then married Dennis Snell and had a son and a daughter. The daughter’s name was Caroline Snell, who later married Dave Peace and became Cas Peace.Maud Weston, Laura’s sister, would sometimes come to visit once Charlie and Laura moved to 14 Charney (now Brook Cottage). Charlie left the Smithy next to The Chequers, but did carry on his blacksmith trade for a while in a forge next to 14 Charney. Before the war, Maud Weston and three of her daughters, Louisa, Winnie (Gale), and Jennie (Hill), would sometimes spend holidays at 14 Charney, the daughters also bringing their respective young men/husbands. Where they all slept, we have no idea! Maybe the pub?During WWll, Laura’s niece, Louisa Billings, was evacuated to Charney with her two young daughters, Barbara and Pat, and stayed with their Aunt Laura and Uncle Charlie at 14 Charney.
Laura Browning, her daughter Ivy Browning, Bernard Gale, Winnie Gale (Laura’s niece) Jennie Hill (Laura’s niece), Louisa Billings (Laura’s niece) and her husband Jim Billings outside 14 Charney (Brook Cottage).
Charlie Browning (Laura and Charlie’s son) and his wife Violet. On the left is possibly Violet’s mother, who was also Charlie’s aunt. Therefore, Charlie Browning Jnr married his cousin. No Date.
L-R: Derek Browning (with gun), Patricia Billings, Jim Billings, Brian Browning, and a friend. Behind, in the porch, are L-R: Laura Browning and Maud Weston (Laura’s sister). Note the ‘BOVRIL’ sign in the shop window.
‘The Old Berks Hunt?’ which met once per year [Maud Ody p45]
Foreground L-R: Barbara Billings aged 6, Patricia Billings aged one, their mother Louisa Billings (Laura Browning’s niece). In background, Laura Browning.
L-R: Louisa Billings (Laura Browning’s niece) and her mother Maud Weston (Laura Browning’s sister). Byways in background (note man weeding!). Bridle Way in the distance.
Foreground L-R: The Browning’s dog (possibly Bruce), Louisa Billings (Laura Browning’s niece) and her 2 daughters, Barbara Billings aged 5 and Patricia Billings not yet one year old.
Jim Billings (husband of Louisa, Laura Browning’s niece) with cow in fields opposite 14 Charney (Brook Cottage).
Note the well, and Byways in background.
Re: photo (left). Note the horse-drawn bus on the right, possibly awaiting repair by blacksmith Charlie Browning. We would love to know more about this vehicle if anyone recognizes or remembers it please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thought to be a passenger vehicle rather than a farm vehicle. It clearly had some signage on its side but annoyingly, the photograph doesn’t show what the sign said! Maud Ody describes, in her book (pp49-50), a stationary horse-drawn omnibus at Primrose Villa but that had an upper deck.