Person    | Male  Born 25/10/1870  Died 13/6/1950

Edgar Wilson

Categories: Craft / Design

Maker of model houses. Born c.1870. At the time he made the villages he was about 75 years old and living at 70 Hamilton Road, Norwood.

The Friends of Vauxhall Park are very informative: "The Model Village was given to {Brockwell Park} by Edgar Wilson in 1947. He was a retired engineer who lived in West Norwood. ... One was given to Finsbury Park and sadly there is no record of what happened to it nor remnants to look at. He made the Brockwell Village in 1943 as the houses are all signed on the inside with the date. In the 1950s Lambeth Council decided that Brockwell Park had rather a lot of village houses and so they would ‘remove’ about half and establish another model village in Vauxhall Park. This village is still in existence and was renovated by local resident Nobby Clark in 2002.

"The final village that Edgar made is part of an extraordinary story that was even recorded in an article in the South London Press in 1948. He was so touched by the food parcels that were sent from Melbourne in Australia to London that he wrote to show his personal gratitude by offering them a model Tudor English village (as a reminder of its part in the war effort) for their city. They accepted and so the last village Edgar made was crated up and shipped by a navy vessel to Melbourne – who – it must be said – have put us Brits to shame with the way they have looked after it and treasured it all these years in Fitzroy Gardens.

"The village in Brockwell Park was installed around a tiny patch of grass known as the village green in a facsimile of a high street in Tudor times. Over the years ... it fell into disrepair until the present time when there are just two shells of houses left standing." The 2011 article goes on to describe a restoration project which we hope completed and we look forward to seeing the Brockwell Village.

The Finsbury Village was apparently still extant in 1971: this Facebook page has a photo and people remembering it.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a piece about the Melbourne village.

Our image shows the loving attention to detail that Wilson applied to his model houses.

Our colleague, Andrew Behan, states that Wilson was born in October 1870 in Norwood, Lambeth, London, the fifth of the eight children of Henry John Wilson (1834-1932) and Sarah Wilson née Lane (1837-1924). 

In the 1871 census he is shown as aged 6 months, living at the Grocer's Shop, Hamilton Road, Norwood, with his parents, four siblings: Annie M. Wilson (b.1860); Elizabeth Wilson (b.1862); Henry J. Wilson (b.1865) and Edwin Wilson (b.1867), together with a cousin Henry Wilson (b.1845) and his wife Emma Wilson (b.1845). His father was described as a grocer.

Having attended the Westow Hill Board School, Norwood, for three and half years, on 9 September 1878 both he and his brother Edwin Wilson were admitted into the Salters Hill School, Gipsy Road, Norwood (now called Kingswood Primary School). The school admissions register confirms his date of birth as 25 October 1870 and that the family were residing at 5 St George's Terrace, Norwood. He remained at this school until he left on 4 February 1884.

He was shown as a scholar in the 1881 census that confirmed he was still living at 5 St George's Terrace, Norwood, with his parents and seven siblings: Annie M. Wilson; Elizabeth Wilson; Henry J. Wilson; Edwin Wilson; Alice A. Wilson (b.1873); Millicent A. Wilson (b.1876) and Gertrude C. Wilson (b.1879). His father was now described as a general labourer.

When the 1891 census was undertaken he was described as a general labourer living at 22 Clive Road, Norwood, with his parents and five of his siblings. His father continued to shown as a general labourer, whilst the siblings were described as: Elizabeth Wilson - fancy goods saleswoman; Henry J. Wilson - sale man attendant; Edwin Wilson - shoe maker; Millicent A. Wilson and Gertrude C. Wilson were both listed as scholars.

On 3 October 1896 he married Amelia Jane Leighton (1868-1957) at Emanuel Church, 96 Clive Road, London, SE21. In the marriage register he is described as a bachelor and a Crystal Palace attendant residing at 20 Clive Road, Norwood, whilst his wife is show as a spinster living at 22 Clive Road, Norwood, the daughter of Frederick Leighton, a coachman.

When their son, Edgar Frederick Wilson (1897-1967) was baptised on 29 August 1897 at Emanuel Church, the baptismal record showed the family were living at 70 Hamilton Road, Norwood.

The 1901 census confirms that he was still a Crystal Palace attendant and living in four rooms within 70 Hamilton Road, Norwood, with his wife and their two children: Edgar Frederick Wilson and Dorothy May Wilson (1901-1961), together with female boarder.

When he completed his 1911 census return form he described himself as a menagerie-man at Crystal Palace, living in four rooms at 70 Hamilton Road, Norwood, with his wife and their two children.

He was described as an electrician on the marriage register of his daughter when she married Frank Edward William Woodfine (1902-1973) on 14 July 1928 at Emanuel Church, Norwood.

Confusingly, his date of birth was recorded as 26 October 1870 on the 1939 England and Wales Register but it confirms that was a retired wireman living at 70 Hamilton Road, Norwood, with his wife. Their son was shown as living at 74 Hamilton Road, Norwood.

Probate records confirm that he still resided at 70 Hamilton Road, Norwood, but that he died, aged 79 years, on 13 June 1950 at The General Hospital, Croydon, Surrey (now Greater London). Probate was granted on 18 August 1950 to his son-in-law who was a bank manager. His effects totalled £2,018-18s-3d. 

As we have found two conflicting records giving his date of birth, i.e. 25th or the 26th October 1870, we have opted to give him the extra day of life and used 25 October 1870.

This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Edgar Wilson

Commemorated ati

Edgar Wilson's model houses

These model houses were made for Vauxhall Park in 1949 by Edgar Wilson of Nor...

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Chelsea College of Art & Design

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