The main landing at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's
4th April 2024

The early days of Broadway Lodge in our 50th year

We are delving back to 1974. In this year we were in the midst of a global recession, New Years Day was celebrated as a public holiday for the first time, 26 year-old author Stephen King published horror novel “Carrie”, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with song “Waterloo” and McDonalds’s restaurants began to open in the UK. In addition, many well-known people today were born into the world including Robbie Williams, Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss and Leonardo DiCaprio. It was also in this year that Broadway Lodge was established.

This means we have been delivering abstinence-based treatment for addiction for 50 years this year. That’s half a century! When it was established, not only was Broadway Lodge a new treatment centre for addiction in the UK, it was the first residential abstinence-based centre that incorporated the Minnesota Model philosophy into the treatment programme to be set up in the whole of Europe!


In the early days

Back when we were founded in 1974, we were known as Totterdown Hall, adopting the same name from the previous use of the building.

Prior to being an addiction treatment centre, from 1937 it was run by Roman Catholic nuns and used as sheltered accommodation for women with learning disabilities (the full name being ‘St.Mary’s Convent, Totterdown Hall’), and even earlier, from 1923 – 1937, it was an all-girl’s school, known as ‘Totterdown Hall School for Girls’. The chapel was added during Broadway’s time as a convent so that Catholic’s had a place of worship to go to and a separate entrance was added there in order to cause minimal disruption to the other working areas. This is why the group rooms today are called ‘Chapel 1’ and ‘Chapel 2’. Prior to 1923, the house was a large family home since it was first built in the 1700’s, when it was known as ‘Totterdown Farm’.

Historical aerial photo of Broadway Lodge

The name change to ‘Broadway Lodge’ happened in November 1976. From notes recently found, it appears the management and trustees preferred the name “Broadway House” but this was unavailable and they had to settle for something different.

Mr Travers Cousins, who himself was in recovery from alcoholism, was the ‘brainchild’ of Broadway Lodge, arranging the purchase of the property. Travers had found sobriety himself and was a co-founder and executive director at the Bristol Council on Alcoholism. Setting up the treatment centre was a large undertaking and he needed assistance to get the building ready for patients to have a successful treatment experience. A man called Dr Dan Anderson was key to the project and flew over from America for three weeks to help get Broadway Lodge ready for welcoming patients. He was experienced with the Minnesota Model and running other centres so brought his invaluable knowledge and skills to Broadway Lodge.

Below you can see some of the rooms at Broadway Lodge in the early years.

Dining room at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This room is now the ‘Hub’

Bedroom at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This room remains a shared bedroom (the furniture has been replaced though!)

Shared bedroom at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This room is now Room 1, a bedroom on the ground floor

Landing at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This landing from the main staircase is very similar today

Lounge at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This room is now the client kitchen area

Bedroom at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This former shared room has been separated into single bedrooms today

Client dining room at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This room continues to be the client dining space – it looks a lot different today!

Staff room at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

This is Chapel 1 group room today

Landing at Broadway Lodge in the 1970's

If you look closely, you can see that we still have the large wooden storage cupboards used by housekeeping today!




Patient Number 10, William Pryor

William Pryor with Markkus

The first patients arrived near the end of 1974 and in February 1975 there were eight patients with us. Patient number 10 was a 35 year-old gentleman called William Pryor, the great-great grandson of arguably the most famous biologist, Charles Darwin. William returned to Broadway Lodge in August 2022, 47 years later and with the same number of years clean and sober time under his belt. During his return visit William kindly shared his inspirational story in his very own podcast episode. He detailed his school age years, time leading up to and during his active addiction and how life changed in recovery after his time at Broadway Lodge. You can watch William’s Miracle Mansion Podcast episode by clicking here.


Over 16,000 People

Today, we have welcomed over 16,000 people to stay with us from two weeks to six months, who joined their peers and staff to embark on a unique, emotional, challenging and enlightening experience. While the Broadway Lodge building, staff members and treatment programme have changed throughout the years, the 12 steps remains at the core of our treatment programme as does our overarching aim to not only help people achieve abstinence for the rest of their lives but to transform lives. As part of our development and growth we have added compassion as a key component of our change alongside trauma informed care. We continue to provide multi-disciplinary, professional care and counselling combined with an array of therapeutic sessions that has allowed clients to discover their authentic selves, begin to heal, positively move forward with their lives, connect with, feel and express emotions again and to continue their growth path without the use of mind-altering substances or compulsive behaviours. Many have cultivated inner peace, self-love, happiness and fulfilment.

We are honoured to have been able to work with so many inspirational people over the last 50 years and look forward to supporting many more people to begin their recovery journeys.


Have you ever stayed at Broadway Lodge?

Please do join us for our special 50th anniversary ‘red carpet’ reunion on Saturday 14th September! This years’ reunion will be held at beautiful event venue, The Winter Gardens in Weston-super-Mare, and there will be an open afternoon on Saturday 14th September for former clients and loved ones to return to Broadway Lodge to see the ‘Miracle Mansion’ again. You can read more details about the reunion and purchase tickets by clicking the button below.

Buy Reunion Tickets