John William Woods

An Epsom Baker

I am writing this short piece about Mr Woods for the sole reason that, in researching families in Epsom and Ewell surnamed Wood, I was shown this picture of a wonderful flour bag.

Crumpled Flour Sack
Alternative view of the  Flour Sack
Crumpled Flour Bag
Images courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

J Woods, baker, was John William Woods, born in Portsmouth in about 1835. He married Fanny Elizabeth Williams in 1863 on the Isle of Wight and in the 1871 census he was a master baker in Northwood, Hampshire, which was a hamlet near Cowes, Isle of Wight. He then went to Cowes itself and subsequently to Ventnor. At some point between 1891 and 1901 he took the family to Epsom and ran a bakery and confectionery business at 10 East Street.

John and Fanny had eight children, all born in Portsmouth or on the Isle of Wight, between about 1864 and 1881. Two of the sons, William Henry (born about 1865 Portsmouth) and John George (born about 1869 Cowes) were also bakers and the other son, George Calder (born about 1872 Cowes), was a solicitor, initially in Ventnor and then in Leatherhead.

An advertisement from Andrews' 1895 directory.
An advertisement from Andrews' 1895 directory.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

East Street, Epsom, with J Woods & Son, bakers, in the background on the right.
East Street, Epsom, with J Woods & Son, bakers, in the background on the right.
Image courtesy of Bourne Hall Museum

John William Woods died in September 1910 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery on the 23rd of that month. He had already retired from the business, which had been taken over by his eldest son, William Henry, a bachelor. In 1911 William was running the bakery with help of a young lady called Florence Mower. John's widow, Fanny, was living at Uplands, College Road with her daughter Florence Emily (now married to Lionel James Colcutt, a bank clerk). Fanny was probably not well at this stage, as the Colcutts had a live-in nurse/attendant. Fanny died in September 1913 and was buried in Epsom Cemetery.

William Henry died on 28 August 1928 in the Westminster Hospital, London and was also buried in Epsom Cemetery. His last address was The Rhallt, Burgh Heath Road, Epsom, which may have been a nursing home. He left effects of £38,040 (about £1.8 million today).

John George Woods was a baker and confectioner in Basingstoke and Reigate but was in Epsom for a time between 1901 and 1911 and possibly was in the East Street business with his brother. He returned to Epsom from Reigate later on, possibly as early as 1912. He died on 2 July 1939 and his last address was Saxby, College Road, Epsom. He was buried in Epsom Cemetery, as was his wife, Ada Eva, who died in Reigate in 1912.

John William and Fanny Elizabeth Woods grave in Epsom Cemetery
John William and Fanny Elizabeth Woods grave in Epsom Cemetery
Image courtesy of Linda Jackson © 2011

Linda Jackson © October 2011


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