Researched and written by Christopher J. Hogger

This page describes the grocers shop / general stores which operated in Church Street, Effingham from the early 1870s until the early 1970s. It was named in various ways during its century of operation but, for convenience in this narrative, will normally be referred to as “the stores”.


In the mid-19th century Effingham appears to have had only two significant shops in the heart of the village where one could purchase food and general houshold goods.

One of these was the bakery on the west side of the road now known to us as The Street. William Henry Humphrey was occupying this property in 1851 and plied his trade as a baker there until he died in 1873. The premises continued as a bakery and then as a more general store into the second half of the 20th century, until entering into wholly domestic use and eventually acquiring the name Westmead.

The other mid-19th century shop was Yew Tree House. This imposing property, which stood in The Street on the site of today’s Yew Tree Walk, functioned variously as a grocers, drapers, general store and tea gardens for nearly a century. Its early history is not well known to us. The late Mary Alfreda Rice-Oxley typed up some notes assembled in about 1970 in conversation with the late Henry (“Harry”) Tyrrell. He had said of Yew Tree House that it “was two cottages, which were pulled down to build it 100 years ago.” In the census of 1841 the premises was occupied by a widow and grocer Ann Nash. In the 1842 Tithe Map and Apportionment Schedule, Ann is shown as the sole occupier, the owner being the Earl of Lovelace. She continued there until her death in 1850, whereupon the business passed to one of her relations, William Tilley. A few years later it was taken over in turn by James and Rebecca West and remained in their family’s control until the 1920s.

So this sets the scene at the mid-point of the 19th century in respect of Effingham’s principal food and provision shops, serving up to about 120 Effingham households. Besides the shops, of course, quite a lot of produce would have been bought directly from the local farms as well as from visiting tradesmen.

Site of the Church Street Stores

When Surrey’s Tithe Map was published in 1842 the site on which the Church Street Stores would eventually be built was merely the garden associated with one or two of the Church Cottages. It was occupied by a John ‘Wittington’ [sic – Whittington] and was in the ownership of a well-to-do farmer Robert Fish (senior) who owned very many properties in Effingham and elsewhere. Here is a small segment of the map showing the relevant area:

The site of interest is circled in red and contains the ‘parcel reference number’ 256. It is situated on the northern corner of the intersection of Church Street, running roughly north-south, with Chapel Hill descending westwards to meet The Street. To its north are the Church Cottages. The parcels (lands and buildings) numbered 255-257 formed part of the area that had long been known as Ruffinshaw and were at this time in the ownership of Robert Fish.

Robert Fish (senior) died aged 90 on April 30th 1844 and on May 8th was “borne to his last resting place by his tenantry” in St Lawrence churchyard [obit. The Gentleman’s Magazine]. In his Will, made the previous year, he left his numerous properties to his second wife Elizabeth (née Martin). In 1847 she remarried to a widowed farmer John Johnson.

Robert (senior) and Elizabeth had produced several children and, in particular, a son Robert Fish (junior) who was baptised at St Lawrence in 1831. Robert (junior) moved to London and became a medical student, gaining his MRCS in 1854.

Soon after qualifying Robert spent some time in India, where in 1857 he married in Calcutta to a London-born woman Maria Evans. They were back in London by the time of the 1861 Census, with his mother present as a visitor, living in a house in Canonbury, Islington that they had named “Effingham House”. 

After practising medicine in London for most of the 1860s Robert decided, for reasons unknown, to emigrate permanently to New Zealand, taking his mother, wife and children with him. The year 1868 saw frantic efforts by him and his mother to sell off her properties in Effingham, Bookham and elsewhere. Our knowledge of this comes from a collection of letters that passed between the family, their solicitor, various prospective purchasers and the agents James White & Sons of Dorking. This correspondence and associated sales maps and brochures are held in the Surrey History Centre [SHC Refs: K99/2/1785/1-70 and K99/2/1798/1-31], pertaining to sales on June 26th and September 9th of that year.

The June sale sought to dispose of 12 lots, including all the parcels numbered 250-257 in the Tithe Map, although by then the Methodist Church had already been built in the western corner of 257. Not all the lots were sold this first time round, and so some of them formed part of the later sale in September. Shown below is a segment of the map accompanying the June sale; it was drawn specially for this occasion by Charles A. White, surveyor of Dorking, and bears the date May 1868:

Here, the direction north runs from right to left. The blue area labelled Lot 8 contained at this time the two properties Nos. 1 and 2, Church Cottages and no others. The right-hand corner of that blue area is where the Church Street Stores would eventually be built. One can see a roughly pencilled-in outline of a house in that corner and also a similar outline in Lot 7, indicating that some bidder was thinking of future building opportunities.

Lot 9 contained four dwellings (tenements) which were in later times referred to as Nos. 3-6, Church Cottages.

Note that this map labels Church Street as “Lower Road”, despite its elevation being higher than that of the parallel main throughfare The Street.

The Surrey History Centre’s holdings include a hand-written list of the lots purchased at this June sale, together with the accepted bid prices and associated deposits. The list shows that William Balchin, a carpenter who lived nearby, bought just Lots 8 and 9. As can be seen in the sale map, he already owned the land to the north of the lots. The price of Lot 8 was £265, the deposit required being just under £40. For Lot 9 the price was £300 and the deposit £45. This outcome is described by Monica O’Connor in The History of Effingham as follows:

“On 13th October, 1868 Robert Fish of Islington sold to William Balchin of Effingham, carpenter, for £565 (1) two cottages with gardens (now called Nos. 1 & 2 Church Cottages) and (2) messuage used as 4 tenements formerly called Ruffinshaw (now called Nos. 3, 4, 5 & 6 Church Cottages). Nos. 1 & 2 Church Cottages, it would appear from the Land Tax Assessments, had been built by Robert Fish about 1820 on part of the Ruffinshaw land.”

The date she cites of “13th October” presumably refers to the date of the final conveyance. The vendor Robert Fish was still in England at the time, getting ever more desperate to conclude sales on all his mother’s properties. She was still living most of the time in Effingham, at Vine Cottage (one of the properties that had failed to achieve a sale back in June). He resorted to seeking purchasers among his friends and medical colleagues in London. He and his family, including Mrs Johnson (but not her husband) finally sailed for New Zealand in November, departing from Gravesend on “The Matoaka” on the 12th. The journey took them almost three months, sailing in the later stages through hundreds of miles of ocean brimming with colossal icebergs.

Back in Effingham, O’Connor makes this remark regarding the subsequent building of the stores:

“When William Balchin became the owner of Ruffinshaw (1868) he built a shop and house on part of the Ruffinshaw land, which remained the property of the Balchin family, though various leases were granted, until sold by Miss S. A. Balchin to Mr. E. F. Love in 1936.”

We do not know precisely when the stores were built. The corner of the site (Lot 8) was still just garden, devoid of any built structure, two years later when the Ordnance Survey mapped Effingham in 1870:

The Ordnance Survey map [County Surrey (Western Division) Sheet XXV.5] bears the legend “Surveyed in 1870 by Capt. the Hon. W. le Poer Trench, R.E.” and so we can be reasonably confident that it does show the true state of the site in 1870.

The statement made in the Effingham Heritage Trail, published by the Effingham Residents’ Association, that the stores “was built in 1863” is not consistent with the above observations.

What we can see from the 1870 map is that the house that had been tentatively pencilled-in two years previously on Lot 7 in the June 1868 sale plan had by now materialised, standing due east of the Methodist Church (“Wesleyan Chapel”). This property later became known as Fir Tree Cottage and is today called White Cottage.

At present our best guess at the date when the Church Street Stores was built and completed is about 1874-75, although an earlier date in the 1870s cannot yet be ruled out.

From here on we shall turn attention to who was occupying and running the stores once it had been built.

Early 1870s : perhaps William Lansdell

It seems most unlikely, but not impossible, that the stores was already built by early 1871 and occupied by William Lansdell. Baptised in West Horsley on April 11th 1847 to parents William and Elizabeth, he married Martha Jane (née) Palmer at her parish of birth, Camberwell, on May 2nd 1869. The 1871 Census finds the couple living with their infant son in “Ruffinshaw Cottages”, Effingham where he was occupied as a grocer.

It cannot be inferred from this that William Lansdell was running a grocers business in Church Street. Ten years previously, in the 1861 Census, a widow Hannah (née Wright) Bilby had also been living in Church Street; she too was occupied as a grocer, as her late husband Francis had been ten years before that. We do not know where these Effingham residents had been plying their trade as grocers: they may have been working at Yew Tree House as assistants, or may have been working on their own account elsewhere and not necessarily in Effingham.

1875 – 1882 : Frederick Child

Frederick Child was the earliest person whom we can confidently identify as having been a proprietor of the stores in Effingham’s Church Street, and the earliest date we can be sure he was there is 1875, although he may have been there earlier in the 1870s.

Frederick was born in Ewhurst in 1830 to parents Solomon Child and Mary (née) Cates; he was baptised there on May 30th 1830, the register for St Peter & St Paul giving Solomon’s occupation at that time as Parish Clerk. Solomon and Mary had married at Ewhurst on January 19th 1809. Solomon died aged “48” in 1833 and was buried at St Peter & St Paul on February 15th. His gravestone is still in excellent condition and cites his date of death as February 10th.

Burial Register entry for Solomon Child, February 15th 1833.

The 1841 Census finds Frederick and his much older sister Eliza living in Ewhurst with their widowed mother Mary who was occupied as a schoolmistress. The 1851 Census finds him in Ewhurst in the household of another (no doubt related) Child family and occupied as a grocer’s shopman.

On July 5th 1859 Frederick married at St John’s church in Lambeth to a farmer’s daughter Mary (née) Peryer. The marriage register describes him as a grocer living in Ewhurst.

The 1861 Census finds them living in Ewhurst with their 6-month-old son Ernest Frederick. The entry describes Frederick now as a master grocer employing one boy, the latter being his 12-year-old nephew Herbert Child. The 1871 Census finds Frederick and Mary living with their several children at “London House” in Dorking High Street where Frederick was occupied as a fellmonger (working with skins and hides) and glover; also in his household was his unmarried sister Eliza, unoccupied and citing her age as “50”, although she was 6 or 7 years older than that (she was baptised at Ewhurst on October 15th 1815, the register describing her father Solomon at that time as a schoolmaster).

The first indication we have of the family being in Church Street, Effingham comes from an entry in the Electoral Register for 1875:

In the Electoral Registers for 1876 and 1877 Frederick is entered identically except that his surname is given correctly as Child instead of “Childs”.

This is part of the entry for Effingham in Kelly’s Post Office Directory of Surrey, published in 1878, which shows Frederick’s sister Eliza as a shopkeeper. It may be that she was operating the shop counter and that Frederick was playing a back-office role in the business.

Directories were compiled well in advance and were not up to date by the time of their publication; Eliza may have been already holding this position in 1877.

However this may be, Eliza died on May 18th 1879 and was buried at at St Lawrence on May 24th, described in the register as aged 64.

In 1878 Frederick brought a court case against a resident Mrs Bullen claiming that she owed him £4. The court was amused to hear Mrs Bullen say that the last time Frederick had called upon her he had held and kissed her, saying he would forgo payment. The case was reported in the local newspaper:

The Surrey Advertiser and County Times: publ. June 15th 1878.
From the British Newspaper Archive :
reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

The 1881 Census finds Frederick, Mary and five children living at the “Grocers Shop” in Church Street, with Frederick’s occupation entered simply as grocer.

On June 7th 1882 Frederick was granted Letters of Administration over Eliza’s estate; the entry in the National Probate Calendar describes each of them as a grocer of Effingham. It is not known why this grant had been delayed for three years since her death. 

We do not yet know for how long the family remained in Effingham after 1882, as the Electoral Registers for Effingham for the remaining 1880s do not provide any assistance on the matter. What is known is that Frederick died aged “58” in 1888, his death being registered in the Croydon Registration District. He appears to have left no Will.

Life must have then become very hard for his widow Mary. The 1891 Census finds her living at 7, Fullerton Road in Croydon. She was occupied as a charwoman. Living with her were just her oldest child Charlotte aged “22” and her youngest child Albert aged 27 months. Her other children have been found in this Census dispersed elsewhere, one of them in service as far away as Berkshire.

The 1911 Census finds Mary living with two of her unmarried children Alice Sarah and William Edwin at 75, Grove Vale in East Dulwich. She died aged “77” in the summer of 1911 [GRO Ref: Camberwell 1d 882, 1911 (Q3)].

1883 – 1890 : Proprietor(s) unknown

1891 : perhaps Edward Rockliffe Caddel

Mr Edward Rockliffe Caddel enters the narrative at this point because of the following directory entry:

This is part of the entry for Effingham in Kelly’s Directory of Kent, Surrey and Sussex, published in 1891, which shows Edward in Effingham and trading as a grocer. His inclusion in the ‘Commercial’ section suggests that he was indeed working in Effingham on his own account, although it does not tell us his address. We cannot infer that he was running the stores in Church Street, but it is possible that he was, if only briefly. Unless stronger evidence surfaces, it must remain an open question.

Edward was born to parents Samuel Caddel and Caroline (née) Croxford who had married at St James, Paddington on December 20th 1843; at that time Samuel was occupied as a stationer. Edward was baptised at St Anne, Limehouse on August 22nd 1852 with two of his siblings, one aged 5 months. The baptism register describes Samuel as a compositor and gives Edward’s birthdate as October 31st 1849, but this seems to have been an error because all other evidence points to the year as having been 1848.

Edward married at St Luke, Camberwell on February 28th 1880 to a widow Eliza Williams whose birthplace was Elsted in Sussex but whose maiden name is unknown. The 1881 Census finds them, with no children, living at 7, Cirencester Street in Paddington and with Edward occupied as a railway car cleaner. In 1882 they produced a daughter Beatrice Louise, but this child died aged 4 in 1887; she was their only child. Electoral Registers show Edward continuing to live in Paddington up to 1888. His and Eliza’s whereabouts in 1889-90 are not known. The 1891 Census finds them apart, Edward still living in Paddington and occupied as a circular deliverer but Eliza visiting in North Frith, Kent and described as a midwife but “sick”.

Nothing more is known of them until Edward’s death in 1900 [GRO Ref: Camberwell 1d 744, 1900 (Q1)]. The 1901 Census finds Eliza living with no relations but several boarders at 106, East Surrey Grove in Camberwell and occupied as a housekeeper. In 1904 she remarried in Brentford to Charles Sellers. The 1911 Census finds her and Charles, a basket maker, living at 10, Pennethorne Road in Peckham. It appears that she died in Birkenhead in 1918 and Charles in Leicestershire in 1921.

1891 – 1900 : Stephen Cooper

Stephen Cooper came to Effingham from Guildford where he evidently owned properties at Woodbridge Hill in the Stoughton Ward. The 1891 Census finds him living in Effingham with just his wife and occupied as a grocer. His address was given as simply “Village” but a comparison of household sequences in this census with those in the 1881 and 1901 Censuses establishes with virtual certainty that he was living in Church Street and very probably at the stores.

Given this, an explanation of Edward Caddel’s above 1891 directory entry would require knowing when that entry had been submitted to the compilers. Edward had been in Paddington during most of the 1880s. It is possible that he submitted the directory entry around 1889-90 and came to Effingham in that period, then perhaps could not sustain his presence there and returned to Paddington by the time of the 1891 Census, leaving the field open for the arrival of Stephen.

Stephen was born, probably in 1833, to parents William Cooper and Ann (née) Hurst who had married in Godalming on May 31st 1818. He was baptised at St Nicholas, Parish of Peper Harow on December 1st 1833, the register entry describing William as residing in Godalming and occupied as a labourer. The 1851 Census finds Stephen living with his parents in Norney, Godalming and occupied, like his father, as a labourer. He married at Godalming on July 2nd 1859 to Mary (née) Harding, the register recording his occupation as a gardener. The 1861 Census finds Stephen living with Mary in Farncombe Street, Godalming and occupied as a gardener. The 1871 Census finds him living with Mary and her niece aged 9 at Grafham, Dunsfold where he was again occupied as a gardener.

Stephen and Mary then moved into our area of interest. The 1881 Census finds them living in East Street, Great Bookham and Stephen now occupied as a grocer. Electoral Registers show Stephen still living there up to 1887, but in each case his qualifying property is cited as “freehold houses” at Woodbridge Hill. During 1888-90, however, they show him living in Stoughton and, again, citing the Woodbridge Hill houses as his qualifying property. 

As noted above, by the time of the 1891 Census Stephen was living with Mary in Church Street, Effingham and working as a grocer. Later that year he advertised for sale his Woodbridge Hill houses of which there were six, on the Worplesdon Road (today’s A322):

The Surrey Advertiser and County Times: publ. June 6th 1891.
From the British Newspaper Archive : reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

He was recorded in the Electoral Registers for 1891 and 1892 as having his abode in Stoughton, despite actually living in Effingham.

The advertisement of his business in Effingham shown on the right was published in The Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser on August 1st 1895.

The Electoral Registers correctly record him up to 1900 as living in Effingham; however, they were still citing the Woodbridge Hill houses as his qualifying property up to 1897, so he may have been unable to sell some or all of them. From 1898, however, his qualifying property is entered as being in Church Street, Effingham.

Stephen then retired. He and Mary departed from Effingham and moved back to Stoughton where the 1901 Census finds them living on the Worplesdon Road; he is described as a retired grocer.

Stephen died not long afterwards, on July 12th 1904. Probate was granted to Mary in October. The Probate Register states that he had been living at 6, Oak Cottages in Stoughton and that his effects were valued at £860.

The 1911 Census finds Mary living alone at the same address and living on independent means. The form confirms that she had produced no children and states that she had been married for “45” years, although the correct figure was 51.

Mary died on January 12th 1923. Her Probate Register entry cites the same address and gives the value of her effects as just over £1982, a quite handsome sum in that period.

There are several open questions regarding the life of Stephen, not the least of which is how, from quite humble beginnings and an occupation as a grocer, Stephen managed to acquire the freehold over at least six houses in Guildford. In particular, he had evidently purchased them before having worked for very long as a grocer. Study of both his and Mary’s family backgrounds has not so far yielded any clue to this puzzle.

Stephen and Mary are buried together at Stoke Old Cemetery and their grave is marked by this handsome gravestone:

Stephen Cooper grave monument

By kind permission of Gravestone Photographic Resource.


The inscription is correct in describing Mary as her parents’ second daughter – the first was Emma Lucy, baptised in Croydon on May 11th 1822. The inscription’s last line, describing her parents as “OF THE SILK FACTORY, CROYDON” is an interesting addendum. Emma’s baptism record describes her father William Harding as a weaver – he may have been a silk weaver. Later in life, however, he was recorded as simply a labourer in the census returns.

1901 – 1910 : Charles Edward Burchett

Charles Edward Burchett appears to have been the next proprietor of the stores following the departure of Stephen Cooper. He was born in Hounslow on May 16th 1860 to parents Charles (senior) Burchett, a bricklayer, and Charlotte (née) Butler who had married at St Peter’s Church, Walworth in Newington on August 28th 1848.

The 1861 Census finds Charles Edward at age 10 months living with his parents at Grove Road Cottages, Isleworth.

His mother Charlotte died on February 15th 1868; her Probate Register entry, granting Letters of Administration to Charles (senior) on June 23rd, valued her effects at “under £100”.

Later that year Charles (senior) remarried to a widow Ann (née Garritt) Thompson. She had first married on June 28th 1862 at St Andrew’s Church, Lambeth to William Shore Thompson (Gentleman), but he died in the following year, on November 13th 1863; his Probate Registry entry, dated January 21st 1864, describes him as a Gentleman who had been living at Westlake Cottage, Hounslow in Heston and whose effects were valued at “under £800”.

The 1871 Census finds Charles Edward living with his father and step-mother at Brunswick Cottages, Grove Road in Isleworth and attending school. The 1881 Census finds him living in the High Street, Edmonton in the household of a grocer Thomas B. Lyne and occupied as one of several assistants there. His father had meanwhile moved to “Surrey Villa” on or near Bell Road in Isleworth and was still occupied as a bricklayer.

Charles Edward married Elizabeth (née) Jefferies (born on August 6th 1862) at West Hackney Parish Church on January 28th 1886; one of the witnesses was Agnes [Isabel (née Batstone)] Thompson, the wife of Ann’s son William Edward Shore Thompson and thus Charles Edward’s step-sister-in-law.

The 1891 Census finds Charles Edward living with Elizabeth and a 4-year-old son (Charles Edward James) at 8, Marville Road in Fulham and occupied as a mineral water salesman (“traveller”).

Charles (senior) died on December 8th 1895, his Probate Register (dated January 13th 1896) describing him as a Gentleman (no longer a bricklayer) and leaving effects valued at just over £50.

The 1901 Census finds Charles Edward living with Elizabeth at the stores in Church Street, Effingham and occupied as a grocery stores manager; his mother Ann, living on independent means, was meanwhile in the household of her son William E S Thompson at 42, Richmond Park Road, Kingston on Thames, where she had her own servant.

Electoral Registers for Effingham for the years 1905-11 show Charles Edward living in Church Street. The following scan of a photograph on an original Francis Frith postcard shows the stores in the period when he was the proprietor.

The stores in Church Street.

To the left is Fir Tree Cottage (now White Cottage) on Chapel Hill; to the right are Nos. 1 & 2, Church Cottages.
The Francis Frith company dates the photograph to 1904. The postcard in ELHG’s archive was franked in 1912.

Above – close-up of the sign “EFFINGHAM STORES   C E BURCHETT.

Right – close-up of a prospective customer outside the stores.

The next two postcard photographs were taken in the same period and offer a broader perspective by showing St Lawrence Church on the right and Dormers on the left, with the stores in the centre background. Our earliest instance of the left-hand postcard (we have several) was franked in 1906 and was published by the West family grocers at nearby Yew Tree House; the right-hand-one was published by William Richards, trading at the bakery in The Street, and bears no date but was probably taken also in the first decade of the century.

Click the images to view them at a larger size.

Right – scan of a business card printed for Mr Burchett: “Families waited on Daily”.

Charles Edward’s step-mother Ann died on September 16th 1910. She had been living at 48, Bell Road in Hounslow and her effects were valued at just over £757.

By the time of the 1911 Census Charles Edward had evidently ceased work as a grocer and had left Church Street. He was living with Elizabeth, their son and the latter’s wife Bridget (née Dell) near the southern extreme of the parish at Ranmore Lodge and was occupied in farm work. His son was then a student in Holy Orders whilst Bridget’s occupation was given as “Book Accountant, Grocery Stores”. The entry records that Charles Edward and Elizabeth had had two children one of whom was no longer alive; we do not yet know that child’s name.

In August 1911 their son Charles Edward James died aged 24 and was buried at St. Barnabas Church, Ranmore on August 24th; they had now lost both their children. The circumstances of the death are not yet known, but this brief note was published by a West Country newspaper under the heading “Stratton Notes”, referring to Bridget’s birthplace near Bude in Cornwall:

The Cornish and Devon Post: publ. September 2nd 1911.
From the British Newspaper Archive

The Electoral Registers for Gunnersbury in the years 1919-26 show Bridget living at 16, Ardleigh Mansions in Sutton Lane with Thomas Dell, presumably a relation of hers. She too died young, aged just 43 [GRO Ref: Brentford 3a 306, 1927 (Q1)].

The 1939 National Register finds Charles Edward living with Elizabeth at Snellings Cottages in West Street, Farnham and described as a retired grocer.

After the war Electoral Registers for 1945 show them living in the Trimmers Almshouses in West Street, Farnham. Elizabeth died in 1946. Charles continued living there until he died in 1947. The modern picture on the right shows the Almshouses where they lived out their last years.

Herbert William Valentine : 1911

Mr Valentine’s spell at the stores was short-lived, spanning 1911 and just possibly some of 1912.

Herbert was born in London’s parish of Bow in Tower Hamlets on January 2nd 1881 to parents Henry Valentine, a builder, and his wife Mercy Ann (née) King who had married at St. Matthew’s Church, Bethnal Green on July 17th 1871. Henry and Mercy had both been born in Shoreditch. In several sources Mercy’s forename is entered as Mary.

The 1881 Census finds Herbert at age 3 months living with his parents and three older siblings at 12, Ford Street in Bow in the household of his grandfather Daniel Valentine, also a builder. The 1891 Census finds him living with his parents and five siblings, together with Mercy’s widowed mother Charlotte, at 228, Neville Road in West Ham, Essex; Henry was described as “living on his own means (house property)”. The 1901 Census finds Herbert living with his parents at 7, Cecil Road in West Ham and occupied as a grocer’s assistant.

In 1902 he married Maude (née) Henderson in Essex. She had been born on July 28th 1882.

His father Henry appears to have died in Essex in July 1910 [GRO Ref: Braintree 4a 321, 1910 (Q3)] and to have been buried at Hatfield Peverel on July 15th.

The 1911 Census finds him living with Maude and their two young daughters at “the grocer’s shop” in Church Street, Effingham. His occupation was entered as grocer and general stores dealer. Two other persons were also present, a servant and an “assistant in grocer’s business”. His widowed mother Mercy was meanwhile in the household of her married daughter Rosalie Eliza (née Valentine) Foyster at 6, Pier Avenue in Clacton on Sea and living on private means.

This is part of the entry for Effingham in Kelly’s Directory of Surrey, published in 1911, which shows Herbert in Effingham and trading as a grocer.

Mercy died on December 16th 1927. Her Probate Registry entry states that she had been living at 1, Church Court, George Street in Richmond. Her executors were Herbert, described as a tobacconist, and Rosalie; her effects were valued at just over £236.

The 1939 National Register finds Herbert and Maude living at 14, Hadden Road in Queen’s Park, Bournemouth, describing him as a retired tobacconist.

Herbert died on August 23rd 1963. His Probate Register entry states that he had been living at 14, Hadden Road but that he had died at 7, Queen’s Park Gardens. His executors were his mother Maude and his married sister Ethel Maude (née Valentine) Lansberry. His effects were valued at almost £22,489.

It is not known where or when Maude died.

1912 – 1919 : Ralph and Rosella Yates

Ralph Yates was born in Croydon on November 22nd 1872 to parents Henry Yates, then a licenced victualler, and Matilda (née) England who had married at St James’ Church in Hatcham, Lewisham on July 2nd 1959. He was baptised at Croydon on December 1st 1872.

The 1881 Census finds him living with his parents at 62, South End in Croydon; Henry was occupied as a corn dealer employing 1 man. The 1891 Census finds him living with his parents at Bramley Hill in Croydon and occupied as an assistant to Henry who was still working as a corn merchant. The 1901 Census finds the family living at 12, Bramley Hill and Ralph now a corn merchant in his own right; his father had now retired.

Ralph married on October 23rd 1903 at St Paul’s Church in Penge, Lewisham to Rosella Beatrice (née) Smith, the daughter of Walker Smith and Rebecca. Walker, born in Nottingham, was an established grocer who in 1881 had been employing 11 men in Penge.

Ralph’s father Henry died on December 8th 1909. His Probate Register entry states that he been living at Stafford House in Bramley Hill and that his effects were valued (after being resworn) at almost £10,979, a very handsome sum indeed for that time.

The 1911 Census finds Ralph living with Rosella and their three children at “Iolanthe” in Gordon Road, Carshalton where he was occupied as a commercial traveller (wines and spirits).

They appear to have moved soon afterwards to Effingham, as the youngest child Barbara was admitted to St. Lawrence School on April 15th 1912. It is probable that on arrival in the village they immediately took over the running of the Church Street stores.

The Electoral Register for 1914 (but not for 1913) shows Ralph living at the “grocer’s shop” in Church Street.

In the Great War he served as a Private with the 23rd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers under service number 2768. His war pension records, including his Service Record, have largely survived. He attested for a Short Service in London on January 22nd 1915, giving his address as Effingham and his occupation as a provision merchant. He was posted to France in mid-November 1915 and attached to the Royal Engineers. On December 6th 1916, still in France, he submitted a formal request to be returned to England and placed on the Reserve owing to his suffering severely from rheumatism. In his submission he wrote “I am engaged in the corn trade and have businesses in the country of General Stores description all of which are suffering for want of labour and lack of management”. He returned England on January 5th 1917 and was transferred to the Home Establishment at the Hounslow Depot. He was discharged as “permanently unfit” on May 18th 1917.

Rosella must have been running the stores during Ralph’s absence.

This is part of the entry for Effingham in Kelly’s Directory of Surrey, published in 1918, which shows Rosella as a grocer.

The Electoral Registers for 1918 and (Spring) 1919 show Ralph and Rosella in Church Street. On July 19th 1919 Ralph served as one of the stewards for the village’s Peace Day procession, being named on the celebration’s programme. The Electoral registers from (Autumn) 1919 up to 1924 show Ralph and Rosella living in the cottage called “The Pit” in Dirtham Lane, near Effingham’s western border. After that the Registers for 1925-30 show them back in the centre of the village, now at Yew Tree House in The Street where Rosella was running a boarding establishment in part of the building.

Rosella died on December 20th 1930 at King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill. Her Probate Register entry confirms that she had been living at Yew Tree House; her effects were valued at just over £4,226.

Thereafter Ralph and his children lived at “Bramley”, Pine Walk in Woodmansterne, Banstead until at least 1939. The 1939 National Register finds Ralph living at 53, Pine Walk in Woodmansterne, Banstead and described as a retired corn dealer.

He died in 1944 [GRO Ref: Worthing 2b 374, 1944 (Q3)].

1920 – 1923 : Proprietor(s) unknown

A number of families lived in Church Street during 1920-23, some of them present only within this period, but we have not been able so far to associate any of them with the stores there. Potential candidates such as the Cooke, West, Rich and Botting families have been provisionally eliminated after extensive investigations. In the early 1920s economic conditions in Britain were very depressed and it may be that for a short period the Church Street stores was not functioning as such.

1924 – 1925 : Henry Beaney

Henry Beaney was the proprietor for this brief period. Our first sighting of him arises in the admissions register of St Lawrence School when his son “John” (Henry John James) was enrolled there in September 1924:

He appears next in an advertisement that he placed in The Surrey Mirror and County Post, published on April 3rd 1925, seeking a junior assistant to help him run the stores and referring to the premises as “Yates’ Stores”:

Henry was born at Salehurst in Sussex on March 17th 1884 to James Beaney and Ellen (née) Hawkins who had married in 1878. The 1891 Census finds him living with his parents and five siblings in “Star Hill” cottages, Salehurst, with James occupied as an agricultural labourer.
A modern view of these attractive listed Grade II cottages is shown below. They once constituted the Star Inn, as recounted by the droll travel writer Charles G Harper in his book The Hastings Road, published in 1906:


“The cyclist passes in a flash a large white house on the left hand, half-way down [Madamscourt Hill, today’s A21], and is too engrossed upon the problem of whether he will succeed in reaching the bottom safely to notice it. The house, now a villa, was in the old days of the road a very fine inn, called the “Star”, and from it the hill is still known to many of the country-folk as “Star Hill”. The exceeding steepness of the hill gave the “Star” the excellent custom it enjoyed until the way was diverted, and thus abolished the jolly days of the old road.

The coaches wagged so slowly to the summit that the passengers commonly walked quicker to the hill-top, and were already enjoying the very choice fare provided when the weary team pulled up at the door.
The horses had, of course, to be rested, and as no one in those hospitable days could think of not offering the coachman and guard some liquid token of their esteem, it was often a considerable time before the journey was resumed.”

The 1901 Census finds Henry living at Etchingham in Sussex in the household of a grocer and draper William Cox; he was occupied as a “common & general porter”, probably working for Mr Cox.

In 1910 he married Lucy Jane (née) Moppett, who was born in Brighton on February 2nd 1886. The 1911 Census finds them living at 92, Queen’s Road in Tunbridge Wells and Henry occupied as a grocer’s assistant.

Their only child Henry John James Beaney was born there on December 30th 1911, being the boy “John” noted above in the school admissions register.

The Electoral Registers for 1925 (Autumn) show Henry and Lucy living at “The Stores, Church Street”. They do not appear in the registers for 1926.

The 1939 National Register finds Henry and Lucy living at 1, High Street in Gosport, Hampshire where Henry was employed as a grocer and provision merchant.

Lucy died in Tunbridge Wells in 1967 [GRO Ref: Tonbridge 5f 750, 1967 (Q3)] and Henry died in Surrey in 1972 [GRO Ref: Surrey S E 5g 1008, 1972 (Q2)]; the Probate Register contains no entries for them.

Edward John Smith : 1926 – 1927

Like Henry Beaney above, Mr Smith’s presence in Effingham is first attested by the enrolment of a child at St Lawrence School: the Admissions Register shows his daughter Ena Mary entering the school on April 12th 1926, naming her father as “John” whose abode was “The Stores”.

Edward was born in Kensington on February 12th 1881 [GRO Ref: Kensington 1a 172, 1881 (Q2)] to parents Henry Smith and Sophie (née) Winkelmann; Sophie was a Swiss subject and generally appears as “Emma” in the sources. Moreover, Henry’s birthname may have been Josiah, the name under which he married her.

The photograph on the right, appearing in several Ancestry public trees, is purported to show Sophie.

The 1881 Census finds Edward at age 1 month living with his parents at 24, Bute Street in Kensington where his father was occupied as a butler. The 1891 Census finds the family living at 20, Buchan Road in Peckham and Henry occupied as a hall porter; by now they had seven children, Edward being the second oldest. The 1901 Census finds them living at 77, Pellatt Road in Camberwell, Henry now being a Royal Exchange attendant; Edward was meanwhile occupied as a warehouseman for the boot trade whilst his older brother Charles was a grocer and shopkeeper. The 1911 Census finds Henry and Emma with four of their children still at this address, Henry described as a Royal Exchange constable; one of the four children, Francis, was a grocer’s manager. Edward was now living elsewhere with another brother Thomas, at 76, Springbank Road in Hither Green, Lewisham, both being occupied as grocers.

In 1912 Edward married in Lewisham to Mary Elizabeth (née) Savage.

In 1915 they produced their only child Ena Mary, born on January 22nd and baptised at St James Hatcham in New Cross on April 28th; the Baptism Register gives their address as 95, Evelina Road in Nunhead and Edward’s occupation as grocer.

As remarked above, Edward was in Effingham by early 1926 and possibly by late 1925. He does not appear in the Electoral Register for Effingham in 1926 but he does in 1927 and not again thereafter.

The 1939 National Register finds Edward living with Mary and Ena at 122, High Street in Ramsgate. Edward’s occupation is given as “Grocery and Off-licence Business Proprietor” and Ena’s as “Grocery & Provision Saleswoman at International P Chain Stores”.

Nothing more is known of Edward and Mary. Ena married in 1940 in Cuckfield, Sussex to William Henry Shaw Shewell. After the war they moved to Wales where Ena died in 1994, at Bangor.

Bessie Winifred Reath (née Bennett) Burrows : 1928 – 1931

Bessie was born in Stoke Newington, Hackney on March 5th 1884 to parents William Reath Bennett and Letitia (née) Strudwick who had married in 1879. The 1891 Census finds her living with her mother and siblings at 3, Nassau Road in Tottenham. Her father William was probably away at sea; he was a certificated sea captain making long voyages to many parts of the world on various vessels. The 1901 Census finds her living with her mother and siblings at 152, Kyverdale Road in Stoke Newington and occupied as a clerk, her father again absent from the household.

In 1906 Bessie married Walter George Burrows. He had been born in Combs, Suffolk on August 18th 1880 to parents Samuel and Sarah.

During 1908-09 Bessie’s father Capt. Bennett made a remarkable journey to South America, outlined at the end of this section.

The 1911 Census find Bessie and Walter living with their children and other relations at 13, Coniston Road in Muswell Hill where Walter was occupied as a fruiterer tradesman with Bessie assisting in the  business.

The Electoral Register for Effingham in 1928 finds Bessie living at the stores in Church Street together with her nephew Ronald Edward Samuel Burrows, born in 1902 and the son of Walter’s brother Samuel. Walter was not with her. Bessie was still using her married name “Burrows”, but Walter had remarried in 1928 to a woman named Alice M Burton [GRO Ref: Edmonton 3a 1538,1928 (Q2)].

The Holmesdale Directory to Dorking and Leatherhead published in 1928 lists Bessie as a grocer in Church Street.

In that same year she advertised for a “capable smart man” to help her bring in business. It is not known whether her nephew Ronald was also assisting her at this time or was in some other occupation.

The Surrey Advertiser and County Times: publ. September 28th 1928.
From the British Newspaper Archive : reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

Bessie and her nephew Ronald Edward Samuel were also listed as occupying the stores in the Electoral Registers for Effingham for the subsequent years 1929-31 but not thereafter. By 1937 she was living in Station Parade, Totteridge Lane in Whetstone, Barnet as shown by this extract from a newspaper article telling how she had been the victim of minor embezzlement by one of her employees:

In this article she is accorded the title “Mrs”. If she was still married to Walter at this time then his marriage to Alice in 1928 must have been bigamous. Another possibility is that Bessie had divorced Walter but preferred to continue presenting herself as Mrs. Burrows.

The Hendon & Finchley Times: publ. June 4th 1937.
From the British Newspaper Archive

The 1939 National Register finds Walter and Alice living at 5, St James’s Mansions in Muswell Hill where he was described as a master greengrocer and fruiterer. Bessie was meanwhile living not far away, at 18, Totteridge Lane in Whetstone. The National Register recorded her as a shopkeeper and classified her as “married” even though the marital status column offered a “divorced” option. With her were her nephew Ronald Edward Samuel occupied as a fruiterer and market gardener, her son Leslie Walter (born in 1907 and fathered by Walter) occupied as a deputy transport manager and an unmarried shop assistant “Rene” (Irene) (née) Beadon aged 20.

In 1940 Ronald Edward Samuel married Irene Beadon, in Suffolk [GRO Ref: Ipswich 4a 4048, 1940 (Q1)].

Walter died in Essex on April 2nd 1964. His Probate Register entry states that he had been living at 69, White Hart Lane in Hockley. His effects were valued at £9,562 and probate of his estate was granted to The Public Trustee. Bessie also died in 1964 but much further afield, in Devon [GRO Ref: Plymouth 7a 696, 1964 (Q4)]. No probate entry has been found for her. Her nephew Ronald Edward Samuel died on April 3rd 1973, having been living at 25, Bury Street in Stowmarket, Suffolk. Her son Leslie Walter also died in Devon, in 1981 [GRO Ref: Plymouth 21 1879, 1981 (Q3)].



William was born at West Looe, Cornwall to parents Thomas and Rebecca on May 21st 1853 and was baptised two years later, on August 16th 1855, at the Wesleyan Ebenezer Chapel in St. Andrew parish, Plymouth.

On October 16th 1874 he was awarded his Certificate of Competency as a First Mate in the merchant service.

In early 1879 he married in Hackney to Letitia (née) Strudwick. On March 29th 1879, already a ship’s Captain in the merchant service, he was cited by the Board of Trade in Lloyd’s List as having been issued with a Masters’ Certificate, having sat the requisite examination in Plymouth.

His acclaimed command of the SS England on its journey from Rotterdam in 1908 to South America, being the first to navigate successfully the Amazon and Madeira rivers as far as Port Velho, was reported in many newspapers after the ship returned, via Hamburg, to London in the Spring of 1909.

Reproduced by kind permission of the
Swansea & Port Talbot Docks Retired Section website

One example of a press report about this voyage can be read here.

Capt. Bennett repeated the journey during 1909-10. This second journey was later the subject of a book The Sea and the Jungle published in 1912 by the ship’s purser H M Tomlinson. The book has been regarded by many as a masterpiece of travel writing. To preserve the privacy of those who had taken part, Tomlinson’s text did not name the Captain or the crew members and it disguised the ship’s name as The Capella, as he admitted in a letter he wrote in February 1940 to Capt. Bennett’s youngest daughter. Further details are given on the Swansea & Port Talbot Docks Retired Section website.

Ernest Frederick Love : 1932 – 1937

Ernest was born at Bishopstoke, Hampshire on September 17th 1878 to parents William Love and Hester Helen (née) Hogarth who had married at St Thomas, Winchester on November 16th 1865. He was baptised at Bishopstoke on November 24th 1878.

The 1881 census finds him living with his parents and six siblings in Bishopstoke where his father William was occupied as a blacksmith.

On June 15th 1883 William died aged only 44. He had reportedly been employed for seven years by the London and South-Western Railway Company and for some months had been working for them in a goods-yard at Marsh Lane, Southampton where there was a blacksmith’s workshop. He had attempted to cross the tracks in the presence of moving goods wagons but was injured by them, having both his legs crushed. He died soon after being admitted to the Royal South Hampshire Infirmary.

Below is a transcription of a report of his funeral, published by The Hampshire Advertiser County Newspaper on June 23rd 1883, together with a link to a report of the ensuing inquest held on the day after the accident.


FUNERAL OF AN ODDFELLOW. On Tuesday the remains of the late William Love, who was accidentally killed on the railway at Southampton, were conveyed to their last resting place, in the Bishopstoke Churchyard. The coffin was carried from the house of the deceased to the church, and thence to the grave, by his fellow workmen, the pall bearers being Messrs. Bennett, Stone, Titheridge and Appleton, four Past Grands of the Noah’s Ark Lodge of Oddfellows, of which deceased was a member. His remains were followed to the grave by his widow, children, and relatives, and about ninety members of the Oddfellows, fellow workmen and trademen of Eastleigh and Bishopstoke. The Rev. R. E. Harrisson, rector, officiated. Mr. E. Sims presided at the harmonium and played a voluntary as the cortege entered the church, and the hymn “Thy will be done” was impressively sung by the choir and a large congregation. He then played the “Dead March”. The service at the grave being concluded, N. G. Baggs read the general address of the Order, after which the members filed past the grave and, taking a sprig of thyme, which had formed a button hole, threw the same into the grave, this being one of the emblems of the Order at the funeral of a brother. The deceased leaves a widow and eight children, the youngest being only six weeks old, to mourn his untimely end. Mr. J. Crosley, of Bishopstoke, efficiently carried out the duties of undertaker.

The inquest was presided over by the Borough Coroner and explored in detail the movement of the wagons and the railway employees, including William, in the moments when the accident occurred.

The jury’s conclusion, with which the Coroner agreed, was that there had been no culpability on anyone’s part, except perhaps for William himself. However, viewed from our present-day perspective, the report discloses work safety practices, standards and mindsets that we would think inexcusable.

Use the button to view the inquest report which was published by The Hampshire Advertiser County Newspaper on June 20th 1883. 

The 1891 Census finds Hester living with five of her children – but not including Ernest – in Bishopstoke and occupied as a laundress. The children included three sons all occupied as railway porters. Meanwhile, Ernest was living 166 miles away from his family, being an inmate of the Railway Servants Orphanage in Ashbourne Road, Derby.

This orphanage was established in 1874 on the initiative of the Railway Servants’ Society and opened at the beginning of 1875 with just eleven children in the charge of a matron. Initially located in two houses of limited capacity it moved in 1877 to a larger property at 55, Ashbourne Road in Derby. This was in turn extended in the 1880s and took on the appearance seen on the postcard displayed here.

It is not known why Ernest, alone among Hester’s children, was sent here. Perhaps she was offered the opportunity of sending only one child and chose Ernest in the belief that he would benefit from the education and trade skills that he would acquire there.

It must have been a hard experience for a boy of 12, having just lost his highly regarded father, to have been sent to this institution far away from all his family.

On July 1st 1898 Ernest enlisted at Southampton for long service (12 years with the Colours) in the 2nd Life Guards Corps of the Household Cavalry. His attestation form describes him as a labourer aged 19 years and 8 months. He was assessed at Winchester as medically fit and of height almost six feet. Not long afterwards he was despatched to South Africa, presumably for action in the second Boer War, arriving there on December 4th 1899. On January 10th 1900 he was injured during the heavy fighting at Slingersfontein. He returned to England on November 30th 1900. He was appointed Lance-Corporal in August 1902 and promoted to Corporal in May 1905. On July 9th 1908 he was promoted to Corporal of Horse and a week later re-engaged at Windsor for such period as would enable him to complete 21 years with the Colours.

On January 5th 1909 Ernest married Ada Philomena (née) Trout at the Christ Church in Albany Street, St Pancras. The Marriage Register describes him as simply a soldier residing in the Combermere Barracks at Windsor.

Ada had been born at Gurnard on the Isle of Wight in 1884 to parents John Trout and Julia Ann (née) Lynn who had married in India. John, born in Montreal, Canada, had also had an army career and on returning to civilian life became eventually an Inspector of Park Keepers. Ada was baptised at Cowes on August 31st 1884. The baptism entry spells her middle name as “Philomena” whereas subsequent sources render it as “Philomania”.

The 1911 Census finds Ernest and Ada, together with their daughter Muriel Evelyn and Ada’s married sister Maud, living at 27, St. Albans Road in Kensington, correctly citing Ernest’s rank.

In November 1913 Ernest was promoted to Squadron Corporal Major. On the outbreak of the Great War he was sent to France with the British Expeditionary Force, arriving on October 6th 1914 and remaining in France until returning to England in late April 1917. He continued his service until August 10th 1919, thus completing his 21 years of service. He was awarded the Silver Medal for Long Service and Good Conduct.


Ernest Frederick Love: image reproduced from this Ancestry tree
Click image to enlarge

The Electoral Register for Windsor in Spring 1920 finds Ernest and Ada living at 4, Beaumont Road. By now they had produced two children, Muriel Evelyn born in 1910 and Ernest Frederick Jack in 1914.

In 1924 the family emigrated on the SS Montreal to Canada, departing on July 11th. Their “Declaration of Passenger to Canada” form stated that they were destined for Texada Island in British Columbia; Ernest’s current occupation was given as hotel manager and his intended occupation, once in Canada, as farming. Their “object in going to Canada” was entered as “future opening for son and daughter”. This enterprise must have come to grief, as the whole family returned in the following October on the SS Ausonia, the ship’s manifest describing both Ernest and Ada as hotel managers; their intended address on returning was 21, Queen Elizabeth Walk in north London.

The Electoral Register for Yattendon, Berkshire in 1930 finds Ernest and Ada living at the “Royal Oak” hotel and public house, which they may have been managing.

The Electoral Registers for Effingham for the years 1932-37 find them living with their children at the stores in Church Street. As noted earlier on this page, O’Connor states that in 1936 Ernest had purchased the property from “Miss S A Balchin”. The latter was Effingham-born Sarah Ann Balchin, then aged about 85 and living at “Ardleigh” in Recreation Road, Guildford, who was the unmarried daughter of the same William Balchin who had purchased the site from the Fish family back in 1868.

Ernest and Ada had evidently left Effingham by 1938.

This advertisement, containing the words “(Late — E. F. LOVE)”, was published by the local parish magazine in August 1938 and shows that the premises had already been taken over by Forrest Stores Ltd, a retail chain which had opened stores in many parts of the south-east and especially in Surrey.

Effingham Parish Magazine Vol. V, No. 8: publ. August 1938.

The 1939 National Register finds them with both their children living in Wantage, Berkshire at a property named as “Stores” where they were all operating a grocery and bakery business.

Ada died on January 13th 1956. Her Probate Registry entry states that she had been living at “Homeleigh” in Oxford Street in Ramsbury, Wiltshire; her effects were valued at just over at £2,097. She was buried in Holy Cross Churchyard, Ramsbury. Ernest, of the same address, died on December 11th 1962 at the Savernake Hospital in Marlborough, Wiltshire; his effects were valued at nearly £5,162.

Herbert George Woodward : 1938 – 1939

Herbert was born in Kilburn, London on February 8th 1897 to parents George Herbert Woodward and Elizabeth Louise (née) Browning who had married in the Romford district of Essex in 1896.

The 1901 Census finds him living with his parents at 22, Mill Hill Grove in Acton where his father George was occupied as a grocer’s assistant. The 1911 Census finds him living with his parents and two siblings living at 2, Station Parade in West Acton where George was now occupied as a grocers (or grocer’s) manager.

In 1931 Herbert married in the Southampton district to Hilda Margaret Browning. She had been born at Sandbanks, Dorset on July 12th 1895 to parents James and Elizabeth Browning and was baptised five years later on June 10th 1900, together with her infant sister Bessie Mabel, at Longfleet in Dorset.

Herbert and Hilda appear to have produced just one child, Joy M Woodward, born in that same district [GRO Ref: Southampton 2c 44, 1933 (Q1)]; nothing more is known of her. 

The Electoral Registers for Effingham in 1938 and 1939 find Herbert and Hilda living at the stores in Church Street, presumably running the business on behalf of Forrest Stores Ltd.

This advertisement in April 1939 for an assistant at the stores again confirms that Forrest Stores Ltd. had taken over from Mr Love.

The Surrey Advertiser and County Times: publ. April 15th 1939.
From the British Newspaper Archive : reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

It is not yet known when Herbert and Hilda left Effingham, as electoral registration was suspended during 1940-44. The Electoral Registers for 1945-49 find them living at 58, Terrace Road in Walton-on-Thames. Herbert died on January 13th 1953; his Probate Register entry states that he had been living at that address and that his effects were valued at just over £3,473. Hilda died on September 25th 1972; her Probate Register entry states that she had been living at 20, Solent Drive in Hythe, Southampton and that her effects were valued at £10,307.

1940 – 1944 : Proprietor(s) unknown

So far only three mentions of the stores during this wartime period have been found and they provide no clue as to who was occupying the property.

This advertisement in February 1940 shows that the search for an assistant at the stores was continuing.

The Surrey Advertiser and County Times: publ. February 24th 1940.
From the British Newspaper Archive : reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

This advertisement, slightly different from the 1938 version, appeared in the parish magazine in 1940.

Effingham Parish Magazine Vol. VII, No. 2: publ. February 1940.

The business was still in need of an assistant in 1944.

The Surrey Advertiser and County Times: publ. March 11th 1944.
From the British Newspaper Archive : reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

1945 – 1953 : Sidney Onslow

Sidney may have come to Effingham before 1945 – at present we cannot tell. An Ancestry tree asserts that he was born in late 1891 “in The Three Mariners, Ropemakers Field, Limehouse, London, England”. If that be the case then his birth reference is [GRO Ref: Stepney 1c 431, 1891 (Q4)] and his father was a licenced victualler (publican) named George Onslow. The inn no longer exists.

Just before Sidney was born, George was arrested on a charge of theft and brought to trial at the Old Bailey in April 1892. The summarized trial transcript is set out on the Old Bailey Proceedings Online website and can be viewed using the button:

Trial of George Onslow, 1892.
(Version 8.0, 21 February 2020), April 1892, trial of GEORGE ONSLOW (37) (t18920404-434)

One of the witnesses, Mrs Emily Burling, stated that George’s family had been lodging with her for six weeks in August and September of 1891 and that “he now keeps the Three Mariners – he has a wife and ten children; nine of them lived at my house”. The tenth child must have been Sidney. George was convicted and sentenced to six months’ imprisonment with hard labour.

From this and other evidence it appears certain that George was born on December 20th 1854 [GRO Ref: St Geo E 1c 441, 1855 (Q1)] to parents George (senior) and Caroline Onslow who were then living at 4, Cannon Street in St. George East where George (senior) was occupied as a hairdresser.

In 1886 George married to Emily (née) Snooks (or Snook) who was (so she declared) born in Devizes, Wiltshire. The 1891 Census finds them living with six children at 1, White Horse Lane in Mile End Old Town and George occupied as a cordial maker (mineral water). This Census took place just before George took over The Three Mariners and committed the theft described above. Sidney was not born until later that year.

In 1895 George was in trouble with the law again, this time being tried at the Thames Police Court for committing a violent assault upon Emily. There had been a long history of his brutal treatment of her. He was sentenced, again, to six months’ hard labour. It was ordered that there would be a judicial separation, that Emily would have custody of the children and that George would pay her an allowance of 7 shillings per week, as reported in the following article:

Trial of George Onslow, 1895.
The London Evening Standard: publ. June 20th 1895.
From the British Newspaper Archive

Sidney was discharged from the Stepney Union Ratcliffe Workhouse on July 31st 1895; the date of his admission there is not yet known. Being the youngest child he had probably been taken there to provide temporary relief for Emily in the wake of her assault and resulting injuries.

Despite the court ruling, George and Emily evidently continued in their marriage and produced further children. The 1901 Census finds them living with four children at 61A, Pritchards Row in St. Leonard’s, Shoreditch, with George now occupied as a clerk.

Emily appears to have died later in 1901 [GRO Ref: Bethnal Green 1c 164, 1901 (Q4)] and George in 1905 [GRO Ref: Holborn 1b 329, 1905 (Q2)].

Sidney has not been found in either the 1901 Census or the 1911 Census. He married on December 27th 1920 at St Giles, Camberwell to Cissy Elizabeth Caroline (née) Odell. The Marriage Register entry describes his father George as (having been) a licenced victualler and his own occupation as a warehouseman. Cissy had been born at Hammersmith on October 5th 1890 to parents Francis John Odell and Elizabeth (née) Pearson who had married at St Neot, Huntingdonshire in 1884.

Sidney and Cissy produced three children in the period 1922-31.

Neither of them has been found in the 1939 National Register.

The London Post Office Directory for 1941 finds Cissy (but not Sidney) listed as a grocer and living at 35, Robsart Street in Brixton.

The Electoral Registers for Effingham in the years 1945–53 find Sidney and Cissy living at the Forrest Stores in Church Street. The following photograph is almost certainly post-war and shows the words “Forrest Stores” above the door. It is likely, then, that the persons seen here are Sidney and Cissy.

They evidently left Effingham in about 1953; the  Electoral Registers for Fetcham from 1954 onwards find them living in Fetcham.

Sidney died on January 3rd 1973. His Probate Register entry states that he had been living at 111, Cobham Road in Fetcham and that his effects were valued at £1,611.

Cissy died, probably also in Fetcham, in 1975 [GRO Ref: Surrey Mid E 17 179, 1975 (Q1)].

James Benjamin Stanton : 1954 – 1972

James was born in Chiswick on October 16th 1903 to parents John Morris Stanton and Laura Elizabeth (née) Blizzard who had married at St Philip’s Church, Stepney on April 7th 1890. Laura, who was born in Chiswick in 1871, preferred to use “Louisa” as her second forename and appears as such in several sources.

The 1911 Census finds James living with his parents and six siblings at 21, Elthorne Park Road in Hanwell.

The Electoral Register for Turnham Green, Chiswick in 1927 finds James living with his parents at 40, Holly Road.

In 1933 he married Dorothy Alice (née) Harvey who had been born on October 23rd 1905.

The Electoral Registers for Sutton, Surrey in the years 1934-39 find James and Dorothy living at 68, Marlow Drive. The 1939 National register finds them at this same address and gives James’s occupation as sheet metal worker.

It is not yet known where they were living during 1940-53.

They evidently arrived in Effingham in about 1954. Electoral Registers for Effingham show them living there, at the Church Street stores, from 1954 unto the early 1970s.

In 1959 the Chancellor of the Exchequer was concerned with prices and asking manufacturers and retailers to cut them. An article about this in The Daily Mirror prompted “hundreds of letters” to be sent to the newspaper, a selection of which it published on June 13th 1959; among these was this short remark by Mr Stanton.

The Daily Mirror: publ. June 13th 1959.
From the British Newspaper Archive : reproduced by kind permission of Reach Plc / Mirrorpix

The following photograph by Francis Frith appears on an original postcard in the ELHG archives which is neither stamped nor franked and bears no message. However, Frith assigns the date “c.1965” to it and if that is correct then it shows the stores in Mr Stanton’s time.

James and Dorothy Stanton among an audience attending a “Have-a-Go” programme presented by the entertainer Wilfred Pickles, broadcast by the BBC and staged in Effingham in 1957.

The next image definitely shows the stores at the time he was there, as one can make out the name STANTON’S above the door on the corner of the building. This image is a fragment of a larger photograph which was taken from the top of the tower of St Lawrence Church looking towards the Church Cottages.

Here is a much better view of the premises during its occupation by Mr Stanton:

This rather smaller photograph appears in the Barnes Wallis 80th Birthday Album and was also taken in Mr Stanton’s time.

In The History of Effingham O’Connor states that James sold the shop and house in 1972 and that the shop was closed on 31st March 1973. However, a resident has reported that there was subsequently a brief spell when an electrical shop operated there but went into liquidation.

James died on February 11th 1979. His Probate Register entry states that he had been living at 69, Oakcroft Gardens in Littlehampton and that his effects were valued at £1,391. Dorothy died in Buckinghamshire in 1994.

The following photograph was taken in the early 1990s, again from the church tower.

Residents’ Memories

Some residents have written down, or related to us, their memories of the Church Street stores, of which the following are examples.

The late Mary Rice-Oxley:

“Stantons was originally Balchins who delivered by horse and cart. George Biles was the delivery boy who appeared on village postcards.”

We have no evidence that Mr Balchin ever operated the premises; he had simply had it built and then let it out. Her reference to postcards almost certainly relates to those like the one below, from her own collection. However, this photograph was taken no later than 1918; George Biles was not born until 1916 and so cannot possibly be the boy seen here. 

Click image to enlarge.

The late George Ranger, as recorded in 1991 by Mary Rice-Oxley:

“Before Burchetts were at the shop (Stanton’s later) were Yates, called Sniffer, they had a boy and a girl. George Biles worked for the Burchetts.”


This is clearly muddled because the Yates took over two years after the Burchetts had departed in 1910; and George Billes cannot have worked for the Burchetts as he was born six years after they left.

A current resident:

[Recalling Joseph Stewart Adams, the school’s head teacher, nicknamed “Gaffer”]

“… he was something in the army in India and he got malaria … but the boys in school hours he used to give them a basket they carried between them up to Stanton’s shop opposite St Lawrence church … well that was an off-licence and grocery store and they used to take the basket and go and get Gaffer’s booze in school hours. Can you imagine? It was quite a common sight. They used to carry a big basket of stout or whatever he had down to school during hours.”


This is certainly something that would be unlikely to happen in the present day!