Among the newly revealed headstones in St Mark’s churchyard is one dedicated to Joseph Smith – late of Brixton Hill.
I’m thinking of having something similar put on my headstone when the time comes, as I grew up in Brixton. Not exactly Brixton Hill, but a bit closer to the market end of Brixton. We moved out of London in 1966 to Haverhill, a London overspill town in Suffolk.
In 1952 Swindon had also been designated a London overspill town. A hundred years earlier the town was in the grip of railway mania. Perhaps this was why Joseph Smith decided to bring his family here.
Joseph was born on August 31, 1805 in Lambeth, the son of George and Isabella Smith, and spent most of his adult life there. On Christmas Day, 1830 he married Lilly Moncrief Rutherford at St Giles, Camberwell.
The couple had five children and at the time of the 1851 census they were living at Brixton Hill where Joseph describes himself as a master grocer. Ten years later and the family had removed to No 1 High Street (later renamed Emlyn Square) where Joseph ran a grocer and druggist shop.
He died on March 2, 1866 and left effects valued at under £600. The England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 records:- The Will of Joseph Smith formerly of Brixton Hill Lambeth in the County of Surrey Grocer but late of New Swindon in the County of Wilts Postmaster deceased who died 11 January 1866 at Swindon in the County of Wilts aforesaid was proved at the Principal Registry.
|Lambeth Town Hall with Brixton Hill on the left and Acre Lane on the right|
|The street where I grew up in Brixton. We lived in three rooms on the first floor, no bathroom and shared a toilet with the other occupants of the house.|
|Brixton Hill back in the day|