Essex Lodge, Central Hill

Essex Lodge, Central Hill

1851 census records

Mr James Truscott 45 Gentleman of 10 acres of land

Mrs Louisa Truscott 46 Wife

Miss Emily Truscott 13 Scholar

Miss Louisa Truscott 8 Scholar

Miss Jane Truscott 7 Scholar

Miss Charlotte Truscott 1

Miss Charlotte Cottier 30 Governess

Miss Eliza Alder 26 House Servant

James Truscott (1804-1858) came from Cornwall to London in or around 1828. He had been an apprentice printer to Mr Carthew of Truro.  He was extremely talented and worked his way up through the printing business to become the owner of one of the largest printing and book binding businesses. iii He started his business in Friar Street but as it expanded and moved to Great Surrey Street and then Fleet Street. His company eventually became the sole printer and stationer for the Royal Exchange Assurance iv He became a Councillor of the City of London. In Norwood he acted as a churchwarden and was chairman of the Anerley National School board and was about to become a County Magistrate when he was taken ill.  By 1851 the family had moved from Southwark to Essex Lodge and James, who had been described in 1841 as a printer, was now recorded in the census as a gentleman, an employer and a landowner of 10 acres. The family employed a governess for their three daughters who were living at home and a servant. He died in 1858.  His widow, Louisa, and their daughters Emily, Charlotte and Louisa were still living in Essex Lodge in 1861. By 1881 Louisa (1805-1886) was living at Burton Dassett, a house near Tivoli Park on Knight’s Hill, West Norwood, the home where she died in 1886.

Sir Francis Wyatt Truscott (1824-1895), Lord Mayor of London (1879-1880)

Sir Francis Wyatt Truscott (1824-1895), James’s son, was Lord Mayor of London (1879-1880). Sir Francis’s son, George (1857-1941), was also Lord Mayor from 1908 to 1909 and was the 1st Baronet Truscott of Oakleigh.

The family firm merged with two other businesses and this firm Brown Knight & Truscott Ltd, still exists and is based in Tunbridge Wells.

1861 Census records

Mrs Louisa Truscott Annuitant 56

Emily R Truscott 23

Charlotte Truscott 21

Louisa W Truscott 18

On 22 February 1867 a son Samuel Montagu (1867-1929) was born at Essex Lodge to Commander John De Courcy Agnew (1819-1916) and his second wife, Patricia Elizabeth (1828-1870) nee Dowbiggin. Commander Agnew was the second son of the 7th Baronet Agnew of Lochnaw (1793-1849). The 7th baronet was a Scottish politician and drew the criticism of Charles Dickens because of his views on the observation of the Sabbath.

Essex Lodge Estate in June 1868 – from auction particulars issued by Mssrs. Blake, Son, &Haddock

Courtesy of Croydon Archives

The Essex Lodge 1868 sales particulars courtesy of Croydon Archives

The particulars offer a detailed description of layout.  The ground floor had a hall, glazed corridor from the entrance, lofty dining room 26 feet by 14 feet with a bay window, a handsome and lofty drawing room 32 feet by 18 feet with a sculptured chimney piece and bay window with steps to the garden.  A library 22 feet 3 inches by 10 feet 3 inches opening into a conservatory 30 feet in depth heated with hot water.   A morning room with two marble chimney pieces.  A footman’s pantry and a water closet.

The basement had a bedroom, hall, larder, pantry, servants’ hall, coal and wine cellars, scullery, force pump, a kitchen opening onto a small enclosed yard where there was a slate cistern for rainwater, 2 water closets with an iron cistern over them.  The enclosed yard had four stable stalls, a coach house, 3 rooms and loft with outbuildings for cows, poultry and garden purposes, forcing pit, a pump and well.  The grounds had a garden, orchard and meadow land studded with ornamental timber and planted with choice fruit trees and shrubs.


In 1871 Essex Lodge was occupied by Walter John Reed a schoolmaster. He ran a boarding school on the site. The school had 26 pupils. The school was advertised as the Essex Lodge Collegiate School offering a first class education, a “most liberal table“ on moderate terms, occupying six acres and having “the advantage of town and country, home and school are here combined.”

1871 census records

Mr Walter J Reed 42 Schoolmaster

Mrs Fanny Reed 44 Wife

Mr Miller H Reed 10 Scholar

Miss Edith Reed 6 Scholar

Mr Edward E Hodgers 28 Assistant

Mr James Proctor 27 Assistant

Mr Harry C W England 18 Boarder

Miss Harriet Jastico 22 Servant

Miss Eliza Parker 27 Servant

Miss Sarah Grayson 25 Servant

Miss Isabella Arls 20 Servant

Mr George Kallender 18 Pupil

Mr Henry Kallender 16 Pupil

Mr Reginald Bishop 16 Pupil

Mr Eugene Daigner 15 Pupil

Miss Anne Barlow 15 Pupil

Mr George H Branscombe 16 Pupil

Mr Charles Branscombe 15 Pupil

Mr George Batcheley 10 Pupil

Mr George Maudsie 13 Pupil

Mr Thomas Lewis 14 Pupil

Mr Frederick Roe 13 Pupil

Mr Ernest Lecker 12 Pupil

Mr Walter Lecker 10 Pupil

Mr John Garrard 14 Pupil

Mr Walter Strange 15 Pupil

Mr Arthur Fisher 11 Pupil

Mr Frederick Gascoigne 11 Pupil

Mr Frank Gascoigne 9 Pupil

Mr Montague Ridlley 15 Pupil

Mr Charles Dancoela 15 Pupil

Mr Frederick Jennings 13 Pupil

Mr Walter Jennings 11 Pupil

Mr Daniel Ely 11 Pupil

Mr Ales Ely 15 Pupil

Mr Ernest Peach 13 Pupil

Mr George MacDonald 15 Pupil

1881 census records

Mr William Alexander 54 Retired Draper

Mrs Sarah Alexander 47 Wife

Miss Louise Larry Alexander 26

Miss Florence Elizabeth Alexander 24

Miss Alice Sarah Alexander 20

Mr Sidney Robert Alexander 17 Student at Guy’s Hospital

Miss Isabel Alexander 14 Scholar

Mr Herbert Alexander 12 Scholar

Miss Susan Stokes 25 Cook

Miss Phoebe Stokes 15 Housemaid

1891 census records

Mrs Margarete Lodge 48 Living on own means

Miss Winifred Lodge 24 Living on own means

Mr Kenneth Lodge 23 Stockbroker’s Clerk

Miss Florence Lodge 20

Mr Erie Lodge 18 Shipping Company’s Clerk

Mr Carron Lodge 8

Miss Eliza Paxton 22 Servant

Miss Emma Plowright 16 Servant