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The Census for Cuddington from 1841 to 1891

2000/5 pp4–5


The Census for Cuddington from 1841 to 1891


The Cuddington census covers the 50 years from 1841 to 1891 and illustrates graphically the change that took place in the area in that period. In those 50 years the number of households living in Cuddington rose from 27 to 78. The number of heads of households in agricultural employment remained fairly steady at an average of 15 per census, but the number of heads who were financially independent, or were professionally employed, rose from 2 in 1841 to 30 in 1891.


This increase was principally due to the coming of the railway and the construction of Worcester Park station in 1859. This sparked off the construction of substantial detached houses along what is now The Avenue and nearby roads. It is not easy to pinpoint the exact position of some of these properties as very few road names are given in the censuses. However, the 1866 OS map shows about a dozen new homes along The Avenue, and these increased in number during the following 15 years. These homes were built specifically to enable well-to-do families to organise the maintenance of their houses with only a few servants and to be able to accommodate them within the confines of the home. The increase in this sort of accommodation was more pronounced at the northern Worcester Park end of Cuddington before 1891.


There was one outstanding family throughout the 50 years, and that was the Farmers at what is now known as Nonsuch Mansion. In 1841 William Francis Farmer, then 29, lived there with his wife, Matilda, 3 children, 11 living-in servants and a number of outdoor staff in separate accommodation. Ten years later they had seven children at home and employed 17 indoor servants. William died in 1860, aged 48. At the 1861 Census the house was occupied by a John Sim, wood broker, and his family, but the estate passed that year to Captain William Robert Farmer who was there until the 1891 Census, with his wife Charlotte, his single daughter Alice, and a complement of indoor servants that fluctuated from 13 to 16 in number. We know from other records that William died in 1910 and his daughter, Alice, who had married a Col. Colborne, died in 1936. A year later the Mansion and Park were bought jointly by London County Council, Surrey County Council, Sutton & Cheam Corporation and Epsom & Ewell Corporation and were opened to the public.


Little had changed by the 1861 Census, but in 1871 the picture was quite different. There were now 57 households living in Cuddington, an increase of 35 from 1861. There were now about 15 affluent families living in the Worcester Park end of the parish, including solicitors, architects, a dentist, various merchants, and a Lieutenant Colonel Charles Abdy of the Indian Army (no known relation of our Secretary). There were also two private schools – one the ‘Ladies’ School’ under sisters Jane and Eliza Turk, which had 31 boarding pupils, whose ages ranged from 6 to 17 years, and the other the ‘Gentlemen’s School’ under James Clutterbuck. He had 5 boarding pupils aged 12–15.


By 1881 there were 76 households in Cuddington and the number of well-to-do families with servants had almost doubled. A number of the owners were proud to give the names of their properties. The ‘Ladies’ School’ was now called Lansdowne College and was still under the aegis of Jane Turk. James Clutterbuck was no longer mentioned, but there was another school called St. John’s College with 6 boarders under the control of Marie Robson.


At the other end of the social spectrum there were 3 families who had to sleep in barns – John Brown, his wife and 5 children, Henry Oliver and his wife and George Pink, his wife and lodger. It is probably that these were itinerant agricultural labourers who were employed on a temporary basis.


Finally, in 1891, the pattern is maintained with 78 households. The only school now listed is called the Centre School at Worcester Park under its principal Elizabeth Walsh. She had 38 girl pupils aged between 15 and 20 years. One householder of interest at the Worcester Park end was Auriol Barker, 41, solicitor, who gave his name to the sixteen-acre Auriol Park.


In Banstead Road a large house named Shalimar had been erected and was occupied by Edward Hart, an accountant, his family and 5 indoor servants. Associated with this mansion was a lodge for the head gardener and two garden cottages for the under gardener and coachman. There is no mention of anyone living in barns in this census.


As with Ewell, the Cuddington area changed in those 50 years from a mainly agricultural community to one with many middle-class professional people with servants – one step on the road to the residential area we have today.


Barbara Abdy




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