John Homfrey came to Upton (Broadwaters) Middle Mill in 1753. Although probably there at the time of Doomsday the first record of Upton Middle Mill is in 1253. Various millers ran the mill from then until Thomas Smart of Halesowen converted the fulling mill into a cornmill in 1746 and at some time took on a partner, perhaps unwisely as the Worcester Journal for 9th May 1751 reports:
“On Monday last was committed to our City Gaol, one Thomas Phillips for cruelly beating and endeavouring to strangle, with a cord Thomas Smart; which in all likelihood he would have affected if a neighbour had not prevented him – The said Smart and Phillips were Partners in a Mill near the Broadwaters and often used to quarrel; and, in order to dissolve the Partnership and prevent quarrelling for the future, Phillips took the above means; but for which he is likely to smart severely”.
Already successful John Homfrey was from the established mill owning family of Stourton Castle. In 1753 John converted the cornmill into an iron forge and at about the same time built Broadwaters house. He had become wealthy when he married Mary Addenbrooke, her family being ‘gentry of considerable antiquity’ and the house reflected this. In 1792 their son was authorised to assume the surname and arms of Addenbrooke.
John got into trouble for “raising the mill pound to the great inconvenience of people” and was fined by the Court Baron of Wolverley but he introduced the refinement of Henry Cort’s ‘Rolling and Puddling’ process which was first developed at Broadwaters.
Pigot’s Directory for 1822 lists a David Humphries (Homfrey?) at the Middle Forge but by 1830 it had gone out of production and was probably destroyed as in 1842 Henry Homfrey rented the Mill Pool and then by 1847 A corn mill had been built on the site. A notice dated 13th June 1850 appeared in the Mid Cities Herald ……
“To be Let … That recently erected and substantially built Water Corn Mill with dressing and smut machines, wheat and flour elevators, apparatus for five pairs of stones, situated at Broadwaters.” Apply to Mr Jennings on the premises.
In 1848 Edwin Blundell rented the flour mill at Broadwaters Pool from Henry Homfrey but by about 1890 it was given up as a flour mill and lay idle for some time. The building was then used as a laundry until 1937 when it was demolished by the Council with now only the shelter and wheel bays remaining.
Homfrey Road is named for the family who lived on at the house until 1927. In the grounds of the house, was a large pool, where are now the Scout Hut, Church and car park and alongside the pool was a cart track which led to the ‘Big House’. The pool was eventually filled in and houses were built along the track which, when the Kidderminster Boundaries were extended, was adopted and became Broadwaters Drive.
This extract from a map dated 1820 of the Estate of the late John Homfrey shows the buildings in red. The house is shown in its own grounds with stables and coach-house and the mill building is directly over the pool. The whole area now forms Broadwaters Park.