Alderman and Mayor of Epsom and Ewell

Charles Joseph Shaw
Charles Joseph Shaw
Image courtesy of Jeremy Harte, Curator, Bourne Hall Museum (Opens in a new window)

Charles Joseph Shaw was born in 1870 (GRO ref: Dec 1870 Epsom 2a 15), the eldest child and only son of the late Rev Joseph and Susan Jane Shaw (nee Jameson), who had married in 1869. (GRO ref: Dec 1869 Edmonton 3a 269). His father was the minister of Ewell Congregational Church and also fathered four daughters:
  • Charlotte Benwell Shaw GRO ref: Dec 1872 Epsom 2a 13
  • Minnie Maudesley Shaw GRO ref: June 1874 Epsom 2a 17
  • Isabella Jameson Shaw GRO ref: Mar 1876 Epsom 2a 17
  • Ethel Marian Shaw GRO ref: Dec 1877 Epsom 2a 19

In 1871 the family was living in Epsom Rd, Ewell. By 1881 they had moved to Church Street, Ewell but in 1891 they were back in Epsom Road, at Laurel Villas. In 1901 the family was still living together in Park Hill Road Ewell, where Charles was to spend most of his life. Rev Shaw died in 1922 at Heathfield, Park Hill Road from heart failure.

Charles was educated at the Congregational School for the Sons of Ministers in Lewisham that became known as Caterham School. In 1888 went to Fitzwilliam Hall and later to Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He took a degree in 1890 and became a private tutor.

During WW1 he was attached to the HQ of the Coalition Liberals and in that period became acquainted with the first Mayor of Epsom and Ewell, Alderman JS Underhill who was them working with the Coalition Conservatives. They continued in close association until the downfall of the coalition when Bonar Law succeeded Lloyd George as Prime Minister. After two years of tutorial work in London, Charles Shaw and his sister became joint principals of Park Hill School, initially in Seleng House, Epsom Road, Ewell from 1930 to about 1939 when the school moved to the corrugated iron building in Park Hill Road. He renewed his interest in local affairs and joined the scheme for the acquisition of Ewell Cricket Ground for public use. The ground is now known as the Gibraltar Recreation ground. When Alderman Underhill became the first mayor of the borough of Epsom and Ewell, he appointed Shaw as his deputy. Underhill died in March 1938 before the end of his term of office, and Shaw stepped into the gap. He was elected mayor in 1940.

He took a keen interest in the provision of baths for the borough, and despite much opposition because of the cost, he saw the scheme through to a successful conclusion. He became the first chairman of the Baths Committee and at the time of its death was its vice-chairman.

For many years he was honorary secretary for the Epsom and District Literary Society and devoted a great deal of his time to this. At the time of his death he was vice chairman of the Borough's Food Control Committee, a governor of the Rosebery School for Girls and a manager of the Epsom Roman Catholic Schools. He was also one of the Borough Council's representatives on the board of the Epsom and Walton Downs Committee.

He had been in indifferent health for quite a time prior to his death at Wilmar Lodge Nursing Home on Monday 28 October 1945. His funeral was held on Thursday 1 Nov 1945 at the Congregational Church, Ewell followed by a cremation at Streatham. The item in the Times requested donations to the RAF Benevolent Fund rather than flowers, and gave him the epitaph "His mood was quick to change as his creed was constant."

Researched by Liz Manterfield 2007.

Census returns
GRO Indexes
Epsom Advertiser
The Times