Victoria House, Audley

Where Joseph Emberton grew up.
Nowadays an Indian Restaurant. 
Formerly  business premises of Embertons of Audley, Drapers and Outfitters.
Included in this 2017 pic is a new generation Emberton with his mother taken during a passing visit.

While he became a protagonist of a new internationalist type of modern architecture, Joe Emberton's background was very, traditional.

For a start he was born on a farm on the outskirts of Audley, and his mother was from a family of farmers and millers. His father was a draper.

The Embertons, who were never landowners or gentry, lived in the same village of Audley for centuries. A genealogist told me that we are all descended from one Isaac Emberton of Audley dated 1692, before records began. My father used to say the Embertons were roundheads in the Civil War, but I don’t know where that information came from. Another family in the village, the Eardleys - to which the Embertons are related - go back in records there even further. I don't know how unusual it is for ordinary english familes to be in the same village for centuries. Audley quite literally has an industrial side, with coal mines and the potteries to the south and east, so perhaps when farming wasn't working out people could do something different, and didn't have to move away. St James Audley is a rural medieval church, but has graves of miners killed in mining accidents.

Some Embertons were miners. There was an Emberton nail making works in Audley at one time, as well as an Emberton brickworks. Bricks with Emberton stamped on them show up in the area from time to time. A distinguished branch of the Embertons back in the nineteenth century became non-conformist in religion and had an important cheese factory in Crewe - I remember glimpsing its Emberton sign there from the train. 

Family and Local people
Joseph Emberton was the son of Samuel and Annie who started the clothing business. The firm was called Embertons of Audley and began about the time of Joseph’s birth. The business was carried on after Samuel by Joe’s youngest brother, Charles - my grandfather - until his passing in 1968. Joe had also brothers Percy and John, along with a sister Dorothy. The family tombstone also refers to a brother Samuel who died in infancy. John Emberton was awarded an MC in The Great War and went on to receive the Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) for work in the Colonial Service. Percy was to become a headmaster on the Wirral. Dorothy - I believe - was a teacher and would, like Charles, spend her life in Audley. She married Clement Eardley, and they lived in a house designed by Joe called Greenbank in Alsager Road.

My grandmother said she remembered seeing Joseph and his brother John riding their horses down the high street and in uniform during The Great War, and they looked very smart, and people in the village generally looked up to them, and in turn she knew that they looked up to their mother. Later on in life she said Joseph would visit occasionally in Audley with wife and two daughters from the home counties, always in a very smart car, all very smart and making her feel self-conscious for being less smart. My father recalled how his Uncle Joe would like to chat with miners in the street when he visited Audley. His sister Dorothy,reputed to be the brightest in the family, collected newspaper cuttings about his career.

I was told that Joe designed a font screen for the local church when he was 12. And I understand that he designed the tombstone for his parents, which would be circa 1937. At about that time he designed the house nearby for his sister.
(c)2018 R Emberton, All Rights Reserved
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