The Beeches, Magdalen Estate, 1874

We had an email through with an extract from the diary of a great great grandmother from 1869.

The Beeches Magdalen EstateThe gentleman who sent it through was asking for more information on what property was mentioned in the extract which in 1869 was one of the first houses in the area. There was also the image shown to the right of the property at the time.

The extract reads –

”We, by this time, were wishing for a larger house, and especially for more garden than we had at the Elms, and decided to move. We looked over some houses in the neighbourhood but all were either too small or too expensive.

My husband therefore decided to build a house suited to the requirements of our large family, and he selected a site on Wandsworth Common, part of a nursery ground belonging to Magdalene College, Oxford.

This was, at the time, a very nice open part, with only one or two houses, and on March 25th the first brick was laid.”

Apparently ”The beeches” was the name of the house and the name of the great, great grandfather was Joseph William Wilson.

Help needed

The closest guess that we can make is that this is one of the largest properties on Magdalen Road (somewhere around number 48) which has one of the largest gardens in the area. This would make sense if it was one of the first properties in the area.

If anyone has any further information that may assist in the search please email We are following up directly with Magdalen College, Oxford and their historical records department to try and get some more information as they documented all the property transactions as this was there land.


Bert Naughton

Bert Naughton

A local resident of Wandsworth with an interested in the local community and a mission to explain to all and sundry the correct pronunciation of Magdalen (as in the college).

2 Responses to The Beeches, Magdalen Estate, 1874

  1. […] 2013 looking to get more information on a house called “The Beeches” on Trinity Road. You can read the initial article here. Her full email is given […]

  2. Robert Laughton says:

    Further nformation from the archivist at Magdalen College Oxford

    My starting point was a copy of a lease for 99 years, dated 20 July, 1869, between the College and Joseph W. Wilson of 19 Craven Street, Strand, Middlesex, Civil Engineer. The land leased is described thus:

    “All that piece of parcel of ground situate and being in Wandsworth Common in the Parish of Wandsworth in the County of Surrey having a frontage next the High Road leading from Upper Tooting to Wandsworth of 72 feet or thereabouts and extending backwards therefrom 175 feet or thereabouts and bounded on the South East by other land belonging to the said President and Scholars and intended for a roadway on the South West by the said High Road and on the North East and North West by other land belonging to the said President and Schoalrs and now in the occupation of Robert Neal.”

    I then looked at our maps of Wandsworth, and found one map dated 1890, which indicated one house as “leased to Wilson, Esq.”, which must be your ancestor. The map was colour coded to indicate when the lease was drawn up, and this house was coloured blue, the colour used to show properties leased before 1882. So I think that this must be the house in question.

    This house is on the corner of Trinity Road and Routh Road – with Trinity Road running to the south-west (the “High Road” of the lease) and Routh Road to the south-east (the road which the lease said that the College would soon build).

    I then consulted our earliest and latest registers of tenants for 1900 and 1945. Fortunately, your ancestor’s house was easy enough to spot because it appears to have been the only property on the Wandsworth estate leased in 1869. These showed that – irritatingly – the house changed its number at least once. In 1900 the house was 182 Trinity Road, and the tenant was a Mrs. M. L. Vant, and in 1945 the house was no. 244 Trinity Road, and the tenant a Mr. D. D. Godley.

    I’ve just tried looking at this area with Google maps, and the houses seem to have changed number yet again, and it seems as if the area once covered by your ancestor’s house is now 214 Routh Road. However, my best efforts to look at the house using Google satellite came to nothing, so I can’t tell if the house which your ancestor built is still there or not.

    However, I do think that I have found the actual spot where your ancestor’s house stood. I gather that you have been in touch with local historians in Wandsworth itself, and I suggest that you pass on this information to them, and see if it can match up with what they know.

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