Tenant's Cooperative Cottages or Neale Terrace

239 - 289, HOOK ROAD, EPSOM

Looking South towards Pound Lane, No: 289 (26 Neale Terrace) at this end.
Looking South towards Pound Lane, No: 289 (26 Neale Terrace) at this end.
Image Courtesy of David Middleton © 2009

The terrace of 26 dwellings now numbered as 239 to 289 Hook Road and shown above, were in the early part of the 20th century, known as "Neale Terrace". Research supporting this is as follows.

The terrace was originally known as the "Tenant's Cooperative Cottages", built approximately 1901 - 1902 by Tenant Cooperators Ltd, formed in 1887 and operational as a company until the early 1930s, the UK's first housing cooperative.

This organisation planned to buy houses all over London to let to members at 'local rents' and to be financed through nominal £1 shares from members, a loan from the Public Works Loans Board and small investors. It started off by buying six houses at Upton Park and followed this by building 24 cottages in Penge. It grew to have 210 dwellings on five sites at Upton Park, Penge, East Ham and Epsom. (1)

Extract from the 1913 Ordnance Survey map of Epsom.
Extract from the 1913 Ordnance Survey map of Epsom.

The rents would be set to cover maintenance and loan repayments with any surplus 'profit' being credited to tenants as a dividend. It was hoped that in this way the tenant could build up a share account that would eventually be equivalent to the value of their house; in this way working people could own their own homes and instead of having to sell when they wanted to move they could simply transfer their shares to another co-operative housing scheme. A number of schemes throughout the country were set up using this model. (2)

The 1901 Census of Epsom, taken on the night of 31st March 1901, records the existence of 1 to 19 Tenant's Cooperative Cottages on Hook Road. The Ordnance Survey map of the area dated 1913 shows Hook Road to consist of mainly semi-detached houses with only two significantly large terraces, both located northwest of the junction with Pound Lane and Pound Lane School.

One terrace comprises just 10 dwellings and is named and dated "Victoria Terrace 1899". The other, sadly unnamed or dated, and now numbered 239 to 289 Hook Road, comprises a total of 26 dwellings. This terrace is directly next to Victoria Terrace, both physically and on the 1901 census return. The number 26 is significant, as we shall see later. (3)

This terrace must therefore be, the terrace known at the time of the census as Tenant's Cooperative Cottages. The fact that the census records only 19 dwellings indicates perhaps, that the terrace was still under construction at its northwestern end.

Moving on a little, on the 7th May 1904, my grandfather, Charles Bailey Middleton married one Annie Isabel Lock. At the time of his marriage, he was a Journeyman House Painter and his place of residence was shown as 14 Neale Terrace, Hook Road at Epsom. Now, going back to our 1913 Ordnance Survey map, the only terrace on Hook Road with 14 or more dwellings is the one shown above. (4)

Going back to the 1901 census return again, number 14 Tenant's Cooperative Cottages is shown as being occupied by one Alfred George as head of house and his wife Edith. Living with them were four boarders (or lodgers in today's parlance). Alfred and all of his boarders were shown as House Painters. (3)

From the common practice of the day, I think it is fair to say that Alfred was probably a Master House Painter and his boarders would have been his journeymen and apprentice employees. Now, while an apprentice would be bound to his Master, a Journeyman, who would be a qualified craftsman that had completed his apprenticeship, would be free to move from one employer to another, or indeed to work for himself. It is reasonable to assume therefore, that Charles Middleton would have moved into 14 Neale Terrace to replace another journeyman who had moved on, perhaps to gain more experience, to set up his own business as a master painter, or indeed, married and been obliged to find his own marital home.

The central archway access to the rear of the terrace and its gardens.
The central archway access to the rear of the terrace and its gardens.
No: 265 to the left of the arch and having a room over it would be 14 Neale Terrace.
Its front door is set into the left hand wall of the arch.
Image Courtesy of David Middleton © 2009

The number 26 as mentioned above, is significant, as recorded among the dead of the first World War on the Chatham Naval Memorial, is an early Submariner, Able Seaman Charles Ernest Larby, who died in service aboard submarine HMS D3 on 12th March 1918 as a result of his submarine being bombed by a French airship which mistook it for a German vessel. AB Charles Larby, was recorded as being the son of Charles and Fanny Larby of 26, Neale Terrace, Hook Road Epsom. This indicates that Neale Terrace must have ultimately comprised at least 26 dwellings. (5)

This is borne out by the 1903 electoral register of Hook Road, Epsom, which shows James Ansell and John Newlands Anderson as registered to vote at 26 Tenant's cooperative Cottages. (6)

The 1905 electoral register again shows 1 - 10 Victoria Terrace, but recorded next to it, rather than Tenant's Cooperative Cottages, are now numbers 1, 2, 4, 9, 10, 15, 18, 19, 20 and 25, NEALE TERRACE showing eligible voters residing. I presume the missing dwelling numbers housed tenants who were ineligible to vote. (7)

So, if the terrace above started life as "Tenant's Cooperative Cottages", why or how did it become known as "Neale Terrace?"

Well, looking into the history of the Cooperative movement of the day, we find a gentleman by the name of, Edward Vansittart NEALE. Who was he?

NEALE, Edward Vansittart, 1810-1892

NEALE, Edward Vansittart, 1810-1892 - Christian Socialist, co-operative idealist, and General Secretary of the Co-operative Union.

Born at Bath, son of the Rev. B. Neale, family home Bisham Abbey. Educated Oriel College, 1827, graduated BA, 1831, MA, 1836, called to the Bar, 1837.

He was drawn into the Christian Socialist circle, a member of the Council of Promoters of Societies for Promoting Working Men's Associations, 1850.

He served the Co-operative Movement longer and more continuously than any others of the circle, had a more comprehensive view and a better understanding of its potentialities. His legal ability served the Movement ably; from the drafting of the Industrial & Provident Act of 1852 until 1876 all the amendments to the Act were prepared wholly or in part by him. He drafted the rules for registration of such national co-operative organisations as the Co-Operative Wholesale Society, compiled the model rules for co-operative societies published by the Co-operative Union, and his advice was continually sought on legal questions by co-operative organisations.

One of the promoters of the Congress of 1869 and became secretary of the Central Board in 1872 (officially known as the Co-operative Union, 1875) at a nominal salary.

He did great work in propaganda, in promoting societies and organisations and in guiding and advising new societies. He was one of the protagonists, in the great debates of the 1870s and 1880s, on consumer, versus producer control of production. He was on the side of producer control. As he was one of the first to realise the need for national organisation in the 1850s and 1860s and was active in promoting it, so he was also one of the first to appreciate the possibilities of international Co-operation and sought to promote that also, being one of the principal founders of the International Co-operative Alliance.

He had a long record as a promoter of co-operative organisations and of service on their managing boards, from the ventures of the early 1850s such as the Co-operative League and the Central Co-operative Agency to the Co-operative Insurance Company, 1867, the Co-operative Newspaper Society, 1871, the Co-operative Productive Federation, 1882, the Agricultural and Horticultural Association, 1867.

Besides his contributions in legal, advisory, promotional and administrative activities, he was one of the principal co-operative thinkers. Congress reports from 1870 onwards, and 19 pamphlets on co-operative subjects, show his ability to discover and frame principles, to reveal the fundamental problems of co-operative development and to formulate schemes to solve them by the application of principles. With Hughes he wrote A Manual for Co-operators which is a classic on co-operative ethics and economics.

Throughout his association with the Co-operative Movement he proved himself not only a sincere idealist, but one who took practical action in attempts to achieve them, who not only framed principles but applied them. He paid a big price in so doing, losing £40,000 in the efforts to establish working men's associations for production in the 1850s, and spending the last 20 years of his life as General Secretary of the Co-operative Union engaged in the hard uphill work of firmly establishing the organisation, in guiding and influencing the hundreds of societies which were still in their infancy, in struggling for social ideals, often against grubby and short sighted materialism.

For what must often have seemed a hopeless and thankless task, he lived the greater part of each week in Manchester lodgings, away from his family, when he might have spent those years in easy, gracious living at Bisham Abbey.

"His devotion to the Co-operative Movement and the priceless services which he rendered are known only to those who were honoured by his personal friendship; but his generosity and patience his simplicity of heart, of faith amid failure his bravery and selflessness have inspired others with enthusiasm and self sacrifice." (Extract from a resolution of the Central Board of the Co-operative Union.)

A memorial to him was erected in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, and a scholarship for the sons of co-operators tenable at Oriel College was endowed in his memory. He was one of the finest characters ever associated with the Co-operative Movement. (8)

The tenth anniversary of this fine man's death in 1892, would take us to 1902 and the approximate date of completion of the terrace then known as Tenant's Cooperative Cottages. Would it not be probable, that to honour such a man, who undoubtedly would have played a part in the Tenant Cooperators Ltd, at very least as a principal advisor, that the cooperative should chose to name their terrace at Epsom, after its completion, in his honour? I think it so. As for numbering of the cottages, I would expect and it would seem that the builders chose to follow the common practice of numbering from left to right, with No: 1 at the Pound Lane end of the terrace and No: 26 to be found at the opposite end, as indicated by the censuses and electoral registers.

Moving on again however, by the time of the 1907 electoral role, all of the properties were simply numbered consecutively as Hook Road on the register. (9)

So, it appears that from at least 1904 (the year my Grandfather married and recorded 14 Neale Terrace as his address), the terrace that is now 239 - 289 Hook Road was known as Neale Terrace, until it "officially" became numbered as 239 - 289 Hook Road in 1907.

Despite this, the name Neale Terrace appears to have been in common use beyond 1907, as evidenced by the War Memorial entry for March 1918 in honour of Able Seaman Charles Larby of 26 Neale Terrace. The terrace may even have had a nameplate affixed, which has sadly been lost or even rendered over, as time passed. (5)

The continued use of Neale Terrace as a name for the dwellings would not be at all uncommon. As an example, my own home today is a cottage in two terraces of three dwellings and despite their being numbered officially by the Council as 150 - 160 Grange Road back in 1977, some thirty years later they are still referred to by some locals by their original name of "Manor Cottages." Even 20 years later, in 1998 when I submitted a planning application, Guildford Borough Council's own street plans still referred to them as Manor Cottages (and probably still do)!

All in all, with the information garnered from the census records, the electoral registers, the 1913 OS map, my Grandfather's marriage certificate, the War Memorial to AB Charles Larby, the link between the Cooperative Society and EV Neale esq. Plus of course, the size (26 dwellings) of the terrace itself and it's positioning next to the readily identifiable Victoria Terrace, I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, that today's terrace known as 239 - 289 Hook Road is indeed Neale Terrace.

David Middleton
Guildford, Surrey
February 2009

Lucas Road, Penge

For a more detailed account on the history of the early co-operative housing schemes I strongly recommend reading the very interesting and informative booklet Lucas Road, Penge written by Martin Spence which is available by sending an A5 sized S.A.E. to Martin Spence (Lucas Road Booklet), 33 Lucas Road, Penge, London SE20 7EE.

Peter Reed, Webmaster

(1) www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/LONDON.htm
(2) www.utopia-britannica.org.uk/pages/Leicester%20Garden%20suburb.htm
(3) 1901 Census
(4) General Register Office: Register of Births, Deaths & Marriages at Epsom 1904
(5) www.epsomandewellhistoryexplorer.org.uk/WarMemorialsSurnamesL.html#LarbyCE
(6) 1903 Epsom Electoral Register
(7) 1905 Epsom Electoral Register
(8) www.cooponline.coop/about_facts_whowas.html#neale
(9) 1907 Epsom Electoral Register

War Memorials
War Memorials
56 Castle Rd
56 Castle Rd
Bourne Hall
Bourne Hall
Clock Tower
Clock Tower
Garbrand Hall
Garbrand Hall
Gunpowder Mill
Gunpowder Mills
Watch House
Watch House