People of 1887

To mark the occasion of Queen Victoria's 1887 silver jubilee Redhill photographer Mr H.P.Robinson produced two volumes of photographs of local people. The first probably contained pictures of the top strata of people, those with the greatest social standing, but its whereabouts are unknown. Fortunately the second is still available and from within its pages the likenesses of some of those who posed before Mr Robinson's camera are shown here. Information about individuals as known is given but more would be gladly received via the email facility at the bottom of this page or the home (index) page of this website. Considerable additional information (coloured as this note) kindly supplied by Mr Sean Hawkins

Alfred Smith

Secretary of the Market Hall Company. Deputy Town Clerk for 20 years (from 1885). Succeeded Clair Grece as Town Clerk in 1905 and resigned as from Lady Day 1932. Worked for Reigate Borough Council from 1868.


Mr Cole was Redhill Postmaster at a time when the post office was
situated on the other side of Station Road from St Matthew's Church.

George Garton

A Sergeant-Major in the 2nd Batt. The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, he was also the local Schools Attendance Officer for many years.

Living at 'The Armoury', Chart Way, Reigate in 1888. He later lived in Albion Road, Reigate. He died in 1902 (Sean Hawkins)

Mr G.Privetts

South Eastern Railway's
Station Master at 'Redhill
Junction', a name the station
retained until 1929 when it became simply 'Redhill'

George Perren Studied singing in Milan and engaged at London operas. He took over at a moment's notice from Sig. Guiglini at Her Majesty's Theatre with immediate success. For three years principal tenor in English Opera. Resident at Redhill prior to 1878, he became a Councillor in the mid 1870s. Living at 1 Alexandra Villas, Gloucester Road, Redhill, in 1888. (Sean Hawkins)George Rogers

Superintendant of the Borough of Reigate Police 1864-88. A history of the Borough Police Force appears in 'A History of Redhill', as does an article about Supt. Rogers

George Perren appears on this poster advertising opera sung in English at the Glasgow Gaiety Theatre in 1876.

(Poster kindly sent in by Mr John Walker of Prestonpans, Lothian)

Henry Edmund Gurney
Lived at Nutfield Priory and afterwards at 'Nutwood', Reigate. Partner in Overend, Gurney & Co., Billbrokers of Lombard Street, London. Married Jane, eldest daughter of Henry Borkbeck. She died 24th November 1888; he died 24th November 1905. (Sean Hawkins)

Manager of the East Surrey Water Company (successor to the Caterham Spring Water Company) with offices in Warwick Road, Redhill. His personal address was 'Alton Villa', Warwick Road, Redhill, so it appears he lived at the office.

John W.Gritton F.C.O.
Reigate Parish Church organist. There was a Mrs Gritton of Upper Bridge Road, Redhill, a long-time secretary to Catherine Booth of the Salvation Army, wife of General Booth, but whether he was from the same family is unknown. Living at Talfourd Cottage, Holmesdale Road, Reigate in 1888. (Sean Hawkins)
John Payne
President of Reigate Youth's Intitute.

In Kelly's Surrey Directory of 1882 he is described as 'John Payne, Classical School, Bell Street' and it is noted that he served as Secretary to the Holmesdale Fine Arts Club. Address in 1888 was 'Young Gents School, Bell Street, Reigate. (Sean Hawkins)

Mr G.Ralling

The information here on
Mr George Ralling, was very kindly supplied by his great nephew Mr K C Ralling of Wales. It comes in the form of a letter and a newspaper article, presumable the Cape Argus newspaper, in which the last three years of his life are described. The following information is taken from those two documents.
George Ralling, one of 14 children, was born in Essex in 1854. He married Emily Drew in 1884 and had eight children. In 1887, when the picture above was taken, he was editor of the Surrey Mirror but opportunity elsewhere must have beckoned because between 1899 and 1902 he was avidly read by every Cape Town resident as he covered the South African War for the Cape Argus Newspaper. He was at first News Editor then Assistant Editor of the publication. A massive ledger of his correspondence in the Cape Argus library shows that he mixed with many people in high political circles in the capital.
This is illustrated by a letter he wrote to a Colonel at Military Headquarters in Cape Town regarding some new regulations, expressing the hope that, although he would still be seeking information from the official censor, the door of Government House would not in future be closed to him. The Colonel replied' 'The door of Government House is NEVER closed to you'.
One of the letters commends him on his efforts, with others, in fighting a fire in buildings close to the Cape Argus offices and preventing the flames from reaching it. Another is from Leo Amery, editor of the massive six-volume history of the war, expressing his condolences to his wife following his death.
This closely followed what is described as the triumph of George Ralling's career, his coverage of the funeral of Cecil Rhodes. For this he had to trek 4000km to the rocky outpost in the Matopos. His reports were concise and colourful but he contracted a fever and returned to cape Town a desperately ill man. He died suddenly in December, 1902.
Myles Fenton
Later Sir Myles Fenton, he was a Lt. Col. in the Engineers and Railway Volunteer Staff Corps and General Manager of South Eastern Railways. He was also a railway magnate and occupant of Redstone Hall, who in September 1910 reached the age of 80.
Sir Myles was born at Kendal, Westmorland, educated at Kendal School and in 1845 joined the staff of the Kendall and Windemere railway. After a year he joined the East Lancashire Railway Company at Bury. In 1849 he moved to the Eastern Counties Railway Co. (which became the Great Eastern). For the next six years he moved between several companies, gaining valuable railway and canal traffic experience and rising up the management ladder. He became Secretary of the East Lancashire Railway when aged only 25. When this company amalgamated with the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway he became Assistant Manger of the new system. In 1862 he moved to London to become General Manager on the new Metropolitan Railway, organising its completion and opening. He remained head of the ever successful London and Underground company for seventeen years when he resigned this post to became General Manager of the more important South-Eastern Railway in 1879 .
In 1889 he was the first railway manager to receive a Knighthood, conferred by Queen Victoria on the recommendation of the offices of Lord Salsbury's Ministry. He retired in 1896, aged 65, becoming a consulting director of the company and holding a number of other railway directorships. Sir Myles lived at Nutfield for sixteen years before coming to Redhill
, living in Redstone Hill where Fenton Close and Fenton Road are named after him. In 1883 he married Charlotte Oakes. In 1910 he was Lieutenant Colonel of the Engineers and Railway Volunteer Corps, deputy chairman of the East Surrey Water Co. and a Justice of the Peace for Surrey. .

His address at Nutfield was Ridge Green House, Nutfield (Sean Hawkins)


Reigate Postmaster, Address was High Street, Reigate.

The Rev. Tyndall

With Lady Henry Somerset he opened the South Park Congregational Church in 1893

Samuel Barrow
Owner of the tannery in Tannery Lane (now Oakdene Road) Redhill. With others he was instrumental in stopping the digging out of the common for road materials by Lord Somers, about which considerable information is given in 'A History of Redhill' .
Living in 1888 at Lorne House, Linkfield Street, Redhill. (Sean Hawkins)
Samuel Relf A Reigate business man and builder of the brewery on Reffels Bridge in 1845 that was run by Henry Reffel.
Further information from Sean Hawkins - He was interviewed by the Bribery Commission following the 1865 election to return Reigate's MP. When asked "What are you in business?", he replied, "Something between a tradesman and a gentleman; neither one nor not quite the other". He was the landlord of the White Hart in Bell Street until 1861. He was emphatic about not being involved in either canvassing or bribery. In 1888 he lived at 'Dudans', Wray Park Road, Reigate.

Stationmaster at Reigate

William Pook
Coal and coke merchant of 30 Station Road, Redhill. Lived in Warwick Road and was prominent in the Gospel Temperance Mission, the meetings of which were held at his Station Road premises. He is aged 54 or 55 here. Living at 4, Chesterton Villas, Warwick Road, Redhill in 1888. and treasurer of the British Workman Coffee Tavern at this time (Sean Hawkins)
More about William Pook (Information supplied by Terry Pook of Southampton)
My great grandfather, Charles, was William Pook's brother and they were two of five sons born at Buriton, Hampshire to Thomas and Ann Pook.  These were from true farm labouring stock but Charles became a railway signalman, Mark died at age 30, John went to the docks at Portsea and Thomas became a village grocer at Otterbourne, Hampshire. William, born in 1832, was first married to Mary Gammon and they had three children at Tunbridge Wells where they ran a drapers shop. After his wife died and his children all left home he remarried Catherine Batchellor and moved to Redhill about 1880 where they opened another drapers shop and also started the coal merchants business.
With Catherine he had another four children, all girls, the last two being twins, Margaret and Lilian. When the last of the twins died still living in the family home at Warwick Road, Redhill during the 1950's my aunt Margaret received a small legacy, as being one of the few descendants she was aware of.  Prior to the availability of the 1901 census I was unaware of what had happened to William so your information about him has solved this mystery and provided a photograph of him for my family history. Most of William's own family, one son and six daughters, went into the drapery business elsewhere but I do not know anything more about them yet.  Terry Pook
George Crutchfield

Castle Grounds, Reigate

Alfred Walter Williams Landscape painter. Exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1843 and 1890. His father was a painter as were 5 brothers. Subjects of a 1975 collective biography 'The Williams Family of Painters' by J.Reynolds. Lived at 'Ferncliffe', Cronks Hill Road, Meadvale. (Sean Hawkins)
More about Alfred Walter Williams (1824-1905) Information supplied by Mr Michael Knowles OBE
Born 18th July 1824, Southwark, London; died 16th December 1905 at 31 Francis Road, West Croydon. Alfred was one of identical twins: the other - Charles died shortly after birth. Alfred was the youngest of six brothers, all successful landscape artists and the son of Edward Williams who was also a well-known and respected painter. The Williams family is also related to James Ward RA: he was Edward Williams’s uncle and they were also related to John Jackson RA and another well-known and infamous painter called George Morland.
Alfred was living in the family home at 100 Cromer Street, London, when his work was first accepted for the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1843. He became a regular exhibitor at the Royal Academy, the last occasion being in 1890. He exhibited work at many other important exhibitions including the Society of British Artists, which, in 1887, became the Royal Society of British Artists. Earlier, as the family became more successful the father, Edward Williams, could afford to move them in 1846 from Cromer Street to 32 Castlenau, Barnes, Surrey, which although only a semi-detached house was substantial in size and a very good address. It did, however, have a coach house, which I believe was used as the family studio. This house is still standing today although now numbered 92 Castlenau. As the family became more successful they were often referred to as the Williams School of Artists and occasionally as the Barnes School. Alfred was close to S R Percy, the second youngest of the brothers, and lived with him and his new bride for a short while. This was in 1857 when Percy married and lived at a house called Florence Villa, which was in Wimbledon, Surrey.
Alfred moved to West Street, Reigate, Surrey around 1860. The 1861 census shows him boarding with Mr and Mrs Fitzsimon where he was in digs for quite some time and we see him at Ferncliff, Mead Vale, Redhill, Surrey in about 1870. In Alan Godfrey’s reprinted Ordnance Survey map of 1895 we see that A W Williams had moved to 40 Croydon Road, Reigate. Alfred’s brother, Arthur, lived nearby in the village of Limpsfield and his closest brother, Sidney, moved to Reigate for three years from 1872-1875, possibly at an address known as Bickley Lodge.
The work of Alfred Walter Williams was in the tradition of the Williams School which is very much an integral part of the English School of landscape painting. They were an important family group and did much to popularise the typical English landscape of the rural idyll. The success of the family in varying degrees was from around the late 1830s to, perhaps, the earlier part of the 1870s. Then, the demand for traditional English painting was in decline. In some cases this was aggravated by economic depressions of which there were many during the lifetime of the senior members of the Williams family. This family should not be underestimated in the development of English painting as they were without doubt, commercially, the most successful of any of the Victorian family groups of painters.
Alfred was a founder member of the important Holmesdale Fine Arts Club, which flourished in Reigate from around 1865. He had many friends in the area including Charles Davidson RWS (1820-1902) who was also a member of the local art appreciation society. Charles lived close by to Alfred, as did a number of other prominent artists of the period including Samuel Palmer and the Linnell family. Charles’s son was Charles Topham Davidson who was also an artist with success at the Royal Academy and at other well-known exhibitions.

This painting by A.W.Williams is entitled 'Near Tenby' and is dated 1872. (Photo courtesy Malcolm Namey)

Edward Horne J.P.

Address in 1888 was 'Park House', South Park, Reigate. (Sean Hawkins)

Henry Bird

Address in 1888 was 'Volterra', Hatchlands Road, Redhill. (Sean Hawkins)


Address in 1888 was 'Blackstones' Redhill Common. Address in 1913 was 'Laglands, Gatton Road, Reigate. (Sean Hawkins)

James Searle
Lt Col in the 2nd Volunteer Battalion The Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment. Son of James Searle who was Mayor of Reigate.
Further information from Sean Hawkins - In 1887 he was a Lt. Col. of the 2nd Volunterr Battalion, the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment. He died 4th April 1894 aged 53. Wife's name Eleanor
John Shaw J.P.

Address in 1888 was 'Buckhurst', Linkfield Lane, Redhill. Secretary to the S.E.Railway Company. Born 10th March 1839, died 28th June 1887. Incidentally he lived at 'Buckhurst', Linkfield Lane, later the home of William Conolly. (Sean Hawkins)

Joseph Dakin Lived at Beaufort House, Upper Bridge Road, Redhill. In 1883 a Mr J.Dakin of Upper Bridge Road had two landscape paintings accepted by the Royal Academy but they were not hung due to lack of space.
Additional information from Sean Hawkins - This artist did have pictures exhibited at the Royal Academy and many other important galleries. He was a landscape artist and two pictures I have found listed are entitled 'Old Sandpit' and 'On Reigate Heath'. A Miss Sylvia Dakin, also a landscape artist in London in 1893: possibly a daughter.

Click here to see more information on another page on this site about Joseph Dakin

Mr M.N.Mellersh

Address in the 1888 Allingham directory was given as 'The Recluse', Church Street, Reigate, but in the addenda noted as having moved to 'Lauriston', London Road, Reigate. (Sean Hawkins)

Mr Radford Hope

Living in 1888 at Rosthern', Upper Bridge Road, Redhill. (Sean Hawkins)


Hon. conductor Redhill Harmony Society.

In 1888 lived at 'Colline Villa', Chapel Road, Redhill. (Sean Hawkins)

Robert Barnes A.RW.S

Landscape and genre painte. Exhibited at the Royal Academy and Old Watercolour Society between 1873 and 1893. Lived at 'Elmside', Elms Road, Redhill. Lived earlier at Berkhamstead. (Sean Hawkins)

Robert C.Baxter

Lived at 'Hethersett', Gatton Road, Reigate. (Sean Hawkins)

The following additional information was kindly sent from New Zealand by Uenuku Fairhall.

Robert Cordy BAXTER was born 12 Jul 1825 in Marylebone, London and baptised at Saint Andrew, Holborn 19 Sep 1825. He was the son of John Cordy BAXTER and Rachel WALKER. He married my great grandfather's first cousin, Sarah FOLKARD in St. Mary's Church, Paddington, Middlesex 5 Jul 1848. She was daughter of Daniel Manthorp FOLKARD and Sarah RIDLEY. They had two daughters, Emma BAXTER and Adelaide BAXTER. Emma married George SIMPSON, a chemist, in Reigate in 1879. She appears in a photograph in your mayors section. (see Thomas Gregory, Mayor 1908-1910).
Sarah died about 1851, and not long after Robert C. BAXTER married her younger sister Catherine FOLKARD. They had six children of their own. The first two were born in London, where the father practiced as an architect. They were in Brighton in 1861 (where both Sarah and Catherine had been born), but by 1871 were settled in Reigate on Gatton Road. Robert C. BAXTER died in Reigate in the latter half of 1894.

I hope this has been helpful.

Most helpful, thank you, Uenuku - AJM

W.J.Van-Someren M.D
In a booklet on the history of Shrewsbury Chapel by Christopher Bull, it is stated that Dr William Judson van Someren parted with a portion of his back garden in order to erect the hall, the first building to belong to the Redhill Plymouth Brethen, apparently having aqquired the land from the Rev. Henry Brass. The tranfer of the land was made in 1888 he may have moved at the same time - see following) Address in 1888 was 'Montpelier', Linkfield Lane, Redhill. (Sean Hawkins)

If you have any information or comments regarding the above please Email Author

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11th June 2011