Redbank to Penraevon
This house has had many names from Penraevon to Redbank to Penraevon to Bushbury House until finally back to Penraevon. Carved into the doorway is the name Penraevon built 1882. So who changed its name? and when? and why?
The house was designed by Chorley and Connon, as part of the Newton Park Estate and named Redbank. All the properties were named but we are not sure if this was decided by the residents or by the Architects, (however we do know that it had a large red clay roof rather than traditional blue slate). The builder/developer John Franks named the property Penraevon, however the first owner Arthur Currer Briggs changed its name to Redbank. Then when he sold it in 1897 as Redbank it’s name was changed back to Penraevon by the new owners. We know this from the Ordnance Survey 1893 and Ordnance Survey map 1908. (Old Maps is an invaluable tool for research.) Further research led us to discover the house was still going under it’s Redbank name as late as September 1895.
The 1893 map showing Redbank in the centre with a coach house but no stables
The 1908 map showing Redbank had now become Penraevon and has a coach house, stables and a glasshouse (also further developments on St Mary’s Road and Oak Road)
Penraevon is a strange name. The name sounds celtic and would fit with the fin de siecle taste for the medieval. One theory is that it is a corruption on the word Pen-y-ffynon. The district of Meanwood and the wooded country around was a supposed Celtic settlement called Pen-y-ffynon which was locally known as Penny Found and then later Penny fun. There is still a pub called Penny Fun in Leeds. (We have written another post where we explore the name in more detail ).
“Moortown retail park has a public house, the Penny Fun, whose name relates to the history of the area as follows. The word ‘pen’ comes from the Celtic for ‘hill’. What is now Tunnel How Hill is visible from the Centre to the south-west. It was previously Pen-how-fyn, and a hamlet around what is now the Centre was Paenfynaen (where fynaen means settlement). Tunnel How Hill was referred to as Penny Fun in the 19th century and several houses in the vicinity used the name. There is a Penny Field nearby in Meanwood Park.”History of Moortown
There were a series of streets in Leeds called Penraevon about 2 miles away in Sheepscar. They were built in the 1900’s and have since been knocked down and replaced with the Penreavon Industrial Estate. These were also built and we presumed named by the Builder/developer John Franks. There was also The Penraevon Home for Boys which was opened by the Waifs and Strays Society on April 1st, 1903, in a house on the High Street, Boston Spa. The home closed in 1919 when its lease on the house expired. Boston Spa is less than 10 miles away. And there is a Penraevon nr Whitstable. It seems strange that there are so few other Penraevon’s in the rest of the UK though there is a Gold Mine in Rhodesia called Penraevon mine. Could all these properties be related?
Penraevon Street, now demolished
The house then had it’s name changed to Bushbury House in 1958 and remained as that until we bought the house. The name Bushbury House comes from the Electric Construction Company that bought the house as their Office. They were originally based in Bushbury in Wolverhampton where they were a major employer at the turn of the century.
The house continued as an office under various owners as Bushbury House until we bought it. In fact there is still some confusion on modern postal databases as to it’s actual name -Virgin Media still insist it’s called Bushbury House! But for the majority of its time as a family home it was called Penraevon, it’s carved above the door, and somehow feels right and fitting to the building.