The Past and Present of Croydon's London Road

185 London Road: Vistec House (part 2)

20 September 2019

As mentioned in the first part of this mini-series, the office block at 185 London Road — Vistec House — was built in the 1960s following the demolition of a semi-detached pair of houses then numbered as 185 and 187 London Road.[1] In that article, I covered the history of number 185 from when it was first constructed to the departure of its last residential occupiers in the 1940s. Here I do the same for number 187; although, as will be seen, it fell out of residential use at least half a decade before its neighbour.

185–187 London Road (then numbered as 105–107) as shown on a plan included in sales particulars dated 21 May 1894 (ref BA 278 at the Museum of Croydon).

1840s: The earliest occupants

The semi-detached pair of houses comprising 185–187 London Road was built in the 1840s on land that had previously been part of the Broad Green House estate, as described in my previous article. It’s unclear who the first occupant was, but it may have been August, Augusta, or Augustus de Wilde — although that person may in fact have lived next door at number 185. Other likely early occupiers were Lieutenant Cook and Louis le Paige, but I’ve not been able to find out anything about them other than their names.[2]

1840s–1860s: Walter Robert Johnson, John Whiffin, and William Manoah Chambers

Twenty-something merchant Walter Robert Johnson and his wife Mary Jane arrived as newlyweds in the spring of 1849, and their son Alfred Walter was born in the autumn of the following year. Also in 1850, Walter became a member of Lloyd’s of London. He was a Lloyd’s “Name”, meaning that he could use his own personal wealth to insure risks brought to the Lloyd’s market. The family remained here only a short time, however, and were gone by mid-1854.[3]

Next to arrive was John Whiffin, in place by May 1854 and remaining for around a decade. John was away from home on the night of the 1861 census, leaving only his servants Mary Turner and Susan Judge at his London Road house, and so I’ve been unable to find out anything more about him.[4]

John’s replacements stayed for a much briefer period. William Manoah Chambers and his wife Mary moved here from Windmill Road in mid-1864, but moved again shortly afterwards to a house further up the road on a plot now occupied by Croydon University Hospital. William died there on 23 May 1865.[5]

William and Mary Chambers’ previous home at 14 Windmill Road (then numbered as 2 Norfolk Villas), June 2019.[6] The original features seem to have been preserved to a rather greater extent than in the other half of this semi-detached pair, to the right. Photo: author’s own.

1860s–1870s: Anne Nichols and Gertrude Hainworth

A Mrs Sherriff was in residence by November 1865, but gone again by late 1869, replaced by widow Anne Nichols and her companion Gertrude Hainworth. Anne remained here until around 1874, before moving to Bradford-on-Avon where she died on 15 December 1875.[7]

The details of the relationship between Anne and Gertrude are unclear. The 1871 census lists Gertrude’s relationship to Anne as “Servant”, with a job title of “Companion”, but Gertrude seems not to have made a career out of being a paid companion, nor does she seem to have been in financial need. In the absence of personal documents, it is of course impossible to prove whether Anne and Gertrude were actually in a romantic relationship — but they certainly might have been.[8]

1870s: Vade Thomas Kesterton

The final occupant during the 1870s was Vade Thomas Kesterton, a solicitor who worked as managing clerk for Drummonds, Robinson, and Till of North End.[9]

One has to wonder how well Vade was able to execute his duties, given that he appears to have been rather gullible in his personal life. In July 1877, he was defendant in a case brought by a moneylender who claimed Vade owed him £109 (£12,482 in 2018 prices). This moneylender, Mr Martin, had paid out on two bills Vade had signed to cover gambling losses, and now sought to recover his money.

Although the jury found that Mr Martin was at fault, since he either knew or should have known that the bills “had been obtained from Mr. Kesterton in satisfaction of a gambling transaction, which was illegal, and not recoverable by law”, Vade did not go unchastised. Reports of the case describe him as losing hundreds of pounds on repeated occasions to John Tucker, Aaron Holledge, and several other people, mainly at billiards but also at cards. Summing up, the judge stated that:[10]

“The defendant appeared to have been as blind and as foolish a dupe as two sharpers could get hold of and victimise, and the way in which he allowed them to go on, time after time, winning money from him, which he lost with great complacency, must have caused these two worthies when left to themselves, to grin at each other with feelings of lively satisfaction.”

Vade did not remain long on London Road after this — in fact, it seems likely that he made good on his claim to Mr Martin that if his money troubles continued he “should have to go abroad”. On 27 December 1878, the steamship Garonne departed from London for Australia, and on its arrival in Sydney in February of the following year a Mr V Kesterton was recorded among the passengers.[11]

Garonne c.1900. Photograph by F C Gould, from the Ship Collection at the State Library of South Australia (ref B 7902). Used under Public Domain Mark 1.0.

If this was indeed our Vade, he appears to have got into as much trouble overseas as he did in Croydon. Sue, a family historian who uses Ancestry under the name of gsdsd1, has gathered several records relating to a solicitor in Australia with the name of Vade Thomas Kesterton, showing that he remarried in Australia despite having a still-living wife in England, was twice struck off the rolls as a solicitor there, and died on 26 July 1909 in Parkside Asylum, Adelaide, of cardiac disease and “senile decay”.[12]

1880s: Charles Woodley Whitaker

Civil engineer Charles Woodley Whitaker and his wife Celia were next to arrive. Charles was born in Exeter in 1837, second son of the Devonshire county surveyor. He trained with his father, and was employed by the Metropolitan Board of Works under Joseph Bazalgette. Branching out to work on his own account, he designed and oversaw projects including two bridges over the River Wye, the drainage and sewage systems of several towns, and the sea wall and promenade at Clacton-on-Sea.[13]

Charles and Celia were living at 187 London Road by April 1881, along with their four children, but remained only a short while. By the end of 1883 the family had moved to a newly-built house on Elmwood Road, a side road off London Road a short distance to the north. They gave their new home the name of Woodleigh, presumably to reflect Charles’ rather unusual middle name. Charles unfortunately had very little time to enjoy it, as he died there on 31 July 1884 after “a short but very painful illness”, aged only 47.[14]

Charles Woodley Whitaker’s death announcement on page 107 of the 8 August 1884 The Engineer. Note that “ult.” means “of last month”.

1880s: Richard Kettle Barnes

Number 187 was not immediately reoccupied after the departure of the Whitakers, but by the start of 1885 it was home to Richard Kettle Barnes. Despite sharing a surname with his neighbour Thomas Henry Barnes at number 185, there appears not to have been any family connection between them.

Richard was aged around 70 at the time — a quarter of a century older than Thomas — and although earlier in life he had worked as a surgeon like Thomas, he appears to have left this profession quite some time before arriving on London Road. Indeed, his last appearance in the Medical Directory was in the 1847 edition, published just a couple of months before he applied for a final insolvency order at the London Court of Bankruptcy. He remained only a short while, and was gone again by 1888.[15]

Richard Kettle Barnes’ entry in the 1847 Medical Directory, courtesy of the Wellcome Collection.

1880s–1900s: Edward White and Edward Whitbourn

The final two households to use 187 London Road solely as a private residence were headed by men with very similar names. Edward White was in place by 1889 but gone again by 1892, replaced by Edward Whitbourn and his wife Laura. One might wonder whether this was in fact the same man, with the difference in surname being explained by a later-corrected error in his listing in Ward’s directories. However, it does appear to be simply a coincidence, as the 1891 census shows Edward and Laura living in Dorking.

Edward was in his early 60s when he and Laura arrived on London Road, and seemingly quite well off, being listed in the census as “Living on [his] own means”. The Whitbourns continued to live here until Edward’s death on 19 February 1907. Laura left London Road soon after, and by 1911 was living at Warblington in Hampshire.[16]

1900s: The United Violin College

By November 1907, a new chapter in the life of number 187 had begun with the arrival of the United Violin College, offering a “patent method” of violin teaching which could “entirely overcome” any “technical difficulties”. Despite advertising “High Class Tuition by fully qualified Professors”, the main purpose of the business in fact seems to have been the sale of violins “for a small deposit and weekly instalments”. Its head office was at Clapham, with branches in East Dulwich, Hammersmith, Highgate, Kilburn, Leeds, Malden, Manor Park, Tooting, Southampton, Swindon, Walthamstow, and Wimbledon.[17]

Advertisement for a new branch of the United Violin College at 107 London Road (later renumbered to 187), from page 4 of the 9 November 1907 Croydon Chronicle. Image © The British Library Board. All Rights Reserved. Reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive.

March 1908 saw the appointment of German immigrant Alfred Muehlmann as the manager of the United Violin College, at an annual salary of £150 (£17,726 in 2018 prices) plus commission. Alfred was shortly afterwards offered the chance to purchase the business for £800 (£92,567 in 2018 prices), and agreed to do so on terms of 20 monthly instalments of £40 each (£4,628 in 2018 prices).

This seems quite a heavy repayment schedule, and indeed by March 1911 Alfred’s finances were in a poor enough state for him to be pulled up in front of the London Bankruptcy Court with a deficiency of £1,124 16s (£130,000 in 2018 prices) between assets and liabilities. Alfred attributed his failure to “loss in carrying on the business”, a lack of capital, and the burden of repaying the purchase price he had agreed to.[18]

1910s–1920s: William Nicholas Kirkland, Arthur Gill, and Joseph Groutage, tailors

Regardless of Alfred Muehlmann’s money woes, by 1911 the United Violin College had been replaced at 187 London Road by 50-something William Nicholas Kirkland, a “ladies’ and gent’s tailor” who continued to trade here until the mid-1920s. William lived on the premises with his wife Beatrice Sarah, nine of their twelve children, his son-in-law Ormonde Hough (husband of his daughter Beatrice Eva), and his granddaughter Beatrice Emily.

At the time of the 1911 census, three of William’s daughters were also employed in the clothing trade: 18-year-old Daisy and 17-year-old Victoria as drapers’ assistants, and 16-year-old Lily as a milliner, though William himself seems to have been the only one working “At Home”. Ormonde also worked outside the house, as a carpenter and joiner employed by the County Borough of Croydon.[19]

Around 1924 William was replaced by another tailor, Arthur Gill. Arthur likely worked in collaboration with yet another tailor, Joseph Groutage; indeed, the business seems to have switched to trading under Joseph’s name by 1927. However, both Arthur and Joseph were gone by 1929.[20]

1920s–1930s: Isaac and Sarah Jane Croft

The final people to use 187 London Road primarily as a private residence were Isaac and Sarah Jane Croft, who lived here with their adult son Stanley Douglas Foster Croft. When the family arrived here around 1928, Isaac and Sarah were in their late 50s while Stanley was in his mid-30s. They may have taken in lodgers, as electoral registers record several additional people at the premises with different surnames, possibly including married couples.[21]

In any case, the Crofts and all their co-inhabitants were gone by 1934, replaced by Marvin Hart and his shopfitting and joinery firm. The rest of the story, including the demolition of numbers 185–187 and their replacement with Vistec House, will be told in my next article.

Thanks to: Jason Burch at the Guildhall Library; Peter Welch at Lloyd’s; Sue (gsdsd1 on Ancestry); the State Library of South Australia; the Planning Technical Support Team at Croydon Council; the staff, volunteers, and patrons at the Museum of Croydon; and my beta-reader Fred. Monetary conversions performed using the Bank of England inflation calculator (prices < £100 given to the nearest penny, prices from £100 to < £100,000 to the nearest pound, prices from £100,000 to < £1 million to the nearest £1,000, prices from £1 million to < £100 million to the nearest £100,000, prices ≥ £100 million to the nearest million).

Footnotes and references

  1. Although Vistec House was built on the site of the old 185–187 London Road, it was for some reason given the address of 185 London Road rather than 185–187 London Road. When Gary Court was built alongside some decades later, the shop units at its base were given numbers from 187 upwards, and so the present 187 London Road is further north than the pre-1960s 187 London Road.
  2. See part 1 of this mini-series for evidence on Mx de Wilde. Louis le Paige appears in the Poor Rate books for January and August 1846, although crossed out in the latter, indicating perhaps either a move between the time the data were compiled and the rates were actually collected, or a correction of information that was copied from the earlier book. The July 1847 Highways Rate book again has Louis le Paige crossed out, with a name that might be “Cook” written in its place. The April 1848 Poor Rate book lists Lieut[enant] Cook, while the October 1848 Poor Rate book has Lieut Cook crossed out, and a note added reading “Empty at time of collection”.
  3. W R Johnson is listed in the Poor Rate books for May 1849, April 1850, and November 1850, while the May 1854 book instead lists J Whiffin (I haven’t yet been able to check the ones between 1850 and 1854; see also the footnotes in part 1 of this mini-series regarding the lack of addresses in these books). Gray’s 1853 and 1855 list Walter Johnson, gentleman. The 1851 census, which was conducted on the night of 30 March, shows Walter R Johnson, age 28, born in Tamerton Foliot, Devon, Member of Lloyds Underwriters & Merchant; his wife Mary J Johnson, age 21, born in London; his son Alfred W Johnson, age 6 months, born in Croydon; and three servants. The record of Alfred’s baptism on 23 October 1850 gives Walter’s full middle name as Robert, Mary’s as Jane, and Alfred’s as Walter. According to the parish registry record of Walter and Jane’s marriage, they were married on 17 April 1849, and Walter lived in St Pancras at the time while Jane lived in Highgate, which along with the May 1849 Poor Rate entry suggests they moved to London Road in April or May 1849. I don’t know where the family went after leaving London Road, as I’ve been unable to find any of them in the 1861 or 1871 censuses.

    Jason Burch of the Guildhall Library tells me (via email, 20 May 2019) that a publication held at the library, “A List of the Members of Lloyd's and Subscribers to the Underwriting and Merchants' Rooms: A List of the Agents, with a copy of their appointment and instructions. December 31st 1851” (Guildhall Library ref A7.7 No 16), includes the name Walter Robert Johnson in its “List of Members of Lloyds”, with symbols indicating that he was a member “entitled to Underwrite” and “entitled to a Substitute”. According to Peter Welch of Lloyd’s (via email, 11 June 2019), Walter was first made a member of Lloyd’s in 1850, and remained a member until at least 1856. Peter also explained that a member entitled to underwrite was a Lloyd’s Name with “the financial capacity to underwrite risks brought to the Lloyd's Market”, and being entitled to a substitute likely meant “that they were able to get someone else to underwrite risks on their behalf rather than being in the room to sign off every transaction themselves”.

  4. John Whiffin is listed in Poor Rate books from May 1854 to December 1863 inclusive (as “J Whiffin” in May 1854), and is scribbled out and replaced by possibly-J Chambers in the June 1864 book. He also appears in electoral registers up to and including the one covering 30 November 1864 to 1 December 1865, which along with the abovementioned edit to the June 1865 Poor Rate book suggests he moved out in mid-1864. Finally, he appears in Gray & Warren’s 1855, 1859, and 1861–62 street directories, albeit with the spelling of “Whiffen” in the first two of these.
  5. Simpson’s 1864 directory lists W M Chambers at 55 London Road (later renumbered to 107 and then to 187). The June 1864, December 1864, and July 1865 Poor Rate books list possibly-J Chambers, most likely William’s son John. William’s full first and middle name, his date and place of death, and the fact he had a son called John are taken from his entry in the National Probate Calendar, which states that he was “formerly of 55 London-road Croydon but late of 49 Thornton Heath”. As noted above, 55 London Road was eventually renumbered to 187, while 49 Thornton Heath was renumbered first to 320 London Road and then to 578. Jesse Ward’s Croydon In The Past states on page 186 that William died on 23 May 1866, but this is clearly a mistake. Mary’s name is taken from the 1861 census (when the couple were living on Windmill Road) and confirmed in Croydon In The Past.
  6. The 1861 census lists William and Mary at 2 Norfolk Villas, Windmill Road. Entries in Ward’s directories suggest that 2 Norfolk Villas became 7 Windmill Road between 1878 and 1800, and 7 Windmill Road became 14 Windmill Road between 1889 and 1890.
  7. Mrs Sherriff is listed in Poor Rate books from November 1865 to May 1868, and in Warren’s 1856–66 directory. The Michaelmas 1869 Water Rate book instead lists Mrs Nichols. Warren’s 1869 directory lists Anne Nichols, and Ward’s 1874 directory lists Ann [sic] Nichols. The 1871 census lists 74-year-old Anne Nichols, born in Stepney, a widow of independent means, along with 43-year-old Devon-born Gertrude Hainworth and 26-year-old general servant Ann King. Gertrude’s relationship to Anne is given as “Servant” and her job as “Companion”. Anne’s entry in the National Probate Calendar describes her as “formerly of 55 London-road Croydon in the County of Surrey but late of Bradford-on-Avon in the County of Wilts Widow who died 15 December 1875 at Bradford-on-Avon”.
  8. The 1861 and 1881 censuses show Gertrude Hainworth, unmarried, aged 33 and 52 respectively, at 11 Union Street, Crediton, Devon, in a household headed by her widowed mother Mary Hainworth. Mary is listed as a “Gentlewoman” in 1861 and “Annuitant (Income from Funds)” in 1881. The 1851 census describes Gertrude’s father Charles as a “Surgeon, Apothecary in General Practice”. According to Gertrude’s entry in the National Probate Calendar, she died on 6 April 1902. Anne’s entry states that she left effects “under £1,500”, whereas Gertrude’s entry specifies effects of £1797 10s. According to the Bank of England inflation calculator, £1,500 in 1875 was worth £1,408 in 1902 (clearly there was some period of deflation), so Gertrude’s estate was worth more than Anne’s had been.

  9. Vade Thomas Kesterton is listed in Ward’s 1876, Wilkins’ 1867–7 (as T V [sic] Kesterton), Worth’s 1878 (as V T Kesterton), and Atwood’s 1878 directories; Ward’s and Atwood’s specify his profession as solicitor. He also appears in the 1876, 1877, and 1878 electoral registers for the Eastern division of Surrey. An article on page 2 of the 4 August 1877 Croydon Advertiser (“Revelations of Croydon society — a rare confession”) states that he was “said to be managing clerk to Messrs. Drummonds, Robinson, & Till”. Ward’s 1878 directory lists John Drummond, Carew Sanders Robinson, and George John Till, solicitors, at 76 North End.
  10. Information and quotations regarding the July 1877 trial are taken from a report on page 5 of the 28 July 1877 Croydon Chronicle (“A bill-discounter’s claim”). The trial took place at the Croydon Assizes, “Before Lord Justice Cockburn, and a special jury”. John Tucker is described as being “of the Three Tuns Yard, Croydon”, and Aaron Holledge as being landlord of the West Kent Club. According to pub historian Ewan Munro, the Three Tuns was on Surrey Street; however, Ward’s 1876 and 1878 directories make no mention of a Three Tuns Yard, either in the alphabetical listing of streets or in the Surrey Street section. It’s unclear what or where the West Kent Club was, but it might have been the premises in Forest Hill that were advertised on page 4 of the 27 December 1879 Norwood News as having “two splended [sic] Billiard Tables”.
  11. Quotation regarding money troubles is taken from “A bill-discounter’s claim”, as above. Date of departure of Garonne is taken from an advertisement on page 2 of the 30 November 1878 Birmingham Daily Post The date of its arrival in Sydney and the fact that Mr V Kesterton was on the passenger list are taken from New South Wales, Australia, Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists, 1826-1922 (document provided by Sue, a family historian who uses Ancestry under the name of gsdsd1).
  12. All of Sue’s research is collected on the Vade Thomas Kesterton page of the Quick/Hamilton/Piper family tree on Ancestry. Frustratingly, neither Sue nor I have managed to definitively confirm that Vade Thomas Kesterton of Croydon was the same Vade Thomas Kesterton who Sue’s records refer to, but the unusual name leaves little room for doubt.
  13. Information about Charles’ family-of-birth and career is taken from his obituary in the Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineers (Vol 79 No 1885, pp. 369–370). His two bridges over the Wye have since been replaced by newer structures, but descriptions can be found in Bridges on the River Wye by Alan Crow (Lapridge, 1995). The first, at Hoarwithy, was built in 1876 “to the design of C. W. Whitaker, consulting engineer to the bridge owners, and constructed by Westwood & Company of Poplar, London”. It “had continuous truss girders with a deck of corrugated iron plates resting on top of the ironwork”, was a toll bridge until 1935, and was replaced in 1990 (Bridge 53, page 112). A photo of it is on page 113. The second, at Foy, was “erected by subscription in 1876 to replace both a ford and a ferry”, but was “washed away by a flood in 1919”. It was “a suspension bridge and probably similar to the present one which has been described as a reconstruction” (Bridge 56, page 118).
  14. Ward’s directories list C W Whitaker at 55 London Road (later renumbered to 187) in 1882, and Charles W Whitaker at Woodleigh, “North Park. (Elmwood Road.)” in 1884. The 1882 and 1884 listings for North Park/Elmwood Road make it clear that Woodleigh was built between these two editions. The 1881 census lists 43-year-old Exeter-born Charles W Whitaker, civil engineer; his wife Celia; and their children Mark (8), Hugh (7), Martha (6), and Leila (4) at 55 London Road, and the Upper Tooting parish record of Leila’s baptism on 21 June 1876 gives Charles’ full middle name of Woodley. A death announcement on the front page of the 4 August 1884 Morning Post states that Charles Woodley Whitaker, “C. E.”, died at Woodleigh, West Croydon, on 31 July at the age of 47. “C. E.” is a plausible abbreviation for “Civil Engineer”, and an age of 47 in July 1884 fits well with an age of 43 in April 1881, which in combination with his unusual middle name makes it clear this must be the same person. The quotation regarding his illness is taken from his Institute of Civil Engineers obituary (see earlier footnote). Celia Whitaker remained at Woodleigh for a short while after her husband’s death (Ward’s 1885 lists Mrs C E Whitaker, while the 1886 edition instead lists William Carey Davies), but moved to Tunbridge Wells by the time of the 1891 census.
  15. Ward’s directories list “Unoccupied” in 1884, Richard K Barnes in 1885, Richard Kettle Barnes in 1886 and 1887, and “Unoccupied” again in 1888. Given the unusual middle name, this is almost certainly the Richard Kettle Barnes, widower, surgeon, aged 56, who according to Battersea parish records married 37-year-old spinster Susanna Smith at Battersea Parish Church on 8 August 1872. The same address is given for both bride and groom: 22 Oberstein Road. The 1881 census lists a Richard and Susanna Barnes of approximately the right ages at that address, though Richard is described as a clerk at the India Office, rather than a surgeon. I haven’t been able to find either of them in later censuses, so I don’t know if Susanna was still alive when Richard moved to London Road. According to the Civil Registration Death Index, Richard died in Wandsworth in late 1895, at the age of 80.

    As noted above, Richard does not appear in editions of the Medical Directory post-1847, so his self-description as a “Surgeon” in his marriage record seems to have been stretching the truth slightly. Information on his insolvency petition is taken from a report on page 3 of the 13 February 1847 Northampton Mercury.

  16. Ward’s directories list Edward White in 1889, 1890, and 1891; Edward Whitbourn from 1892 to 1901 inclusive; Edward Whitbourne [sic] in 1902, 1903, and 1904; E Whitbourne [sic] in 1905, 1906, and 1907; and “Unoccupied” in 1908. Unlike the change from White to Whitbourn, the change from Whitbourn to Whitbourne does seem to be a mistake. Edward’s entry in the National Probate Calendar spells his surname without a trailing “e”, and Laura’s entry in the 1911 census, which is in her own handwriting, also has no “e”. Edward’s date and place of death are taken from the abovementioned National Probate Calendar entry, which also states that he left effects of £959 0s 5d (£113,000 in 2018 prices). Laura’s residence as of 1911 is taken from the 1911 census.
  17. The first three quotations are from an advert on page 6 of the 16 January 1909 Surrey Comet, and the fourth is from an article on page 5 of the 24 March 1911 Kilburn Times (“A violin merchant’s failure”). Details of head office and branches are also from “A violin merchant’s failure”; note that I don’t know which of these branches were in existence when the London Road one opened, nor whether the head office was already in Clapham at that point. The Croydon Chronicle advert reproduced here makes it clear the College was on London Road by November 1907. Ward’s directories list the property as “Unoccupied” in 1908 (presumably because the College arrived after the London Road data were gathered); A Muehlman [sic], United Violin College, in 1909; and James Scotland in 1910.
  18. Information in this and the preceding paragraph, as well as the quotation regarding Alfred’s loss, is taken from “A violin merchant’s failure”, as above. I don’t know exactly when Alfred bought the business; I worked out the present-day equivalent of the price he paid using 1910 as the base year.
  19. Ward’s directories list Wm. [William] Kirkland, Ladies’ and Gent’s [sic] Tailor, from 1911 to 1924 inclusive. William’s middle name and details of his family are taken from the 1911 census, which includes the information that William and Beatrice had been married for 32 years and had 14 “Children Born Alive” of whom 12 were “still Living”. The eight children listed in their London Road household had ages ranging from 11 to 28. The Houghs are listed as a separate household, occupying three of the nine rooms of 107 London Road (later renumbered to 187). The relationship between the Houghs and the Kirklands is taken from an announcement on the front page of the 5 June 1909 Croydon Guardian, which describes the marriage of Ormonde John Hough to “Beatrice Eva, fifth daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Kirkland”, at Croydon Parish Church (now Croydon Minster).
  20. Ward’s directories list Arthur Gill, Ladies & Gents Tailor, and J Groutage in 1925 and 1926; J Groutage, Ladies & Gents Tailor, in 1927 and 1928; and Isaac Croft in 1929. The 1926 electoral register lists Joseph Groutage, Elizabeth Groutage, and Arthur Gill, with Joseph and Arthur eligible to vote due to residing at the premises and Elizabeth eligible on account of her husband’s occupying the premises. I did wonder if Arthur might have been Elizabeth’s father, and hence Joseph’s father-in-law, but I can find no evidence suggesting this.
  21. Ward’s directories list Isaac Croft in 1929 and 1932 (for some reason, perhaps a printing error, number 187 is omitted in 1930). Electoral registers list Isaac Croft, Sarah Jane Croft, and Reginald Croft from 1929 to 1933 inclusive, with the addition from 1930 onwards of some or all of Florence Harris, Herbert Francis Harris, Bridget Nolan, Matilda Shaw, William Shaw, George Summers, and Jessie Summers. Electoral registers by this point recorded women as eligible to vote on their own account rather than via their husbands, and so I have no evidence that the Harrises, Shaws, or Summerses were married to each other; this is just speculation. The relationship between Isaac, Sarah, and Stanley, and their ages, comes from the 1911 census, which shows them living in Stockwell with Isaac working as a provision merchant’s clerk and Stanley still in school.
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« 185 London Road: Vistec House (part 1)
Vistec House at 185 London Road was built in the 1960s on the site of what was once a semi-detached pair of houses. In this article I describe the construction of these houses and the occupants of the southernmost one up until the point when its last residential users departed.
185 London Road: Vistec House (part 3) »
Built in the 1960s as offices for the Viscose Development Company, Vistec House fell vacant after the first decade of the 21st century. It’s now being converted into flats, with a new extension behind for a 90-room “Super HMO”.