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In the heart of historic Worcester

History of The Fownes Hotel

Over 150 years ago the doors to the Fownes Hotel were first opened to the workers of the Fownes Glove Company. The Fownes’ were an old Norman family who were descendants of Sir William Fownes, a Norman Knight, who came to England with William the Conqueror in 1066. They settled in Saxby where the family name survived for many centuries. In the early sixteenth century a branch of the family settled in Onslow in the West Midlands. John Fownes, a barrister, who was born in 1682 had a son also called John. He had three sons, the youngest being George Fownes and he lived his life in Hanbury, Staffordshire. John Fownes, the founder of the glove business, was the second son of George Fownes.

John Fownes was married in 1782 to Lucy Jane Dymock at the church of St. Lawrence in the City of London. He had a large family of eight sons and three daughters. Henry, Thomas and Edward all came into the business and the children of Mary, one of his daughters also joined later.

The Worcester Factory opened in 1877 but John Fownes also set up an office in Ryders Court, Leicester Square, London. In 1808 the factory was moved to Battersea and Thomas and Edward became partners in the business which changed its name to John Fownes & Sons. John Fownes died on the 20th September 1827 and was buried in the church of St. Lawrence Jewry in London. After his death, the firm became Fownes Bros. And it was under this name that it opened in Cheapside in 1848.

Thomas and Henry Fownes died shortly afterwards and as the only survivor was Edward, he formed a partnership with Mr. S. J. Urwick, the son of Mary Fownes, and Mr. J.W. Spall, an associate in the fabric trade. They carried on the business as Fownes Bros. & Co.

Edward Fownes married and his daughter Lucy Jane, married Gardener Ridger in 1869. On their marriage William became a partner.

The factory moved a number of times in the late 19th Century but most of these were to different locations in the City of London, all close to the church of St. Lawrence Jewry.

In 1884 building work started on the Worcester site and it took three years to complete. Shortly after the establishment of the new factory, the sons of Mr. S.J. Urwick and A.J. Spall joined the firm. The family connection has been maintained right up to the present day where the great grandson’s of Edward Fownes, Mr. A.J. Spall and William Gardener Ridgden are partners.