Sutton residents get access to more than four million ancestors

The register of girls from the Royal Female Orphanage in Beddington from 1890 to 1913 is now available online.

More than 4.6m Sutton names dating back to 1538 are being made available online for the first time thanks to a joint initiative by Sutton Archive service and Ancestry, the world’s largest family history online resource.

Ancestry, at, has digitised Sutton’s parish registers, which include baptisms, marriages and burials from 1538, rate books including poor rates, lighting rates, highway rates and sanitary rates between 1783 and 1914, and electoral registers from 1931 to 1970. Records of hundreds of girls from the Royal Female Orphanage in Beddington, now Carew Manor School, from 1890 to 1913 are also being made available for the first time.

There is fascinating information about people who have lived in the borough including:

  • Elizabeth Throckmorton (1565-c.1647), who married Sir Walter Ralegh (correct spelling), was born and baptised in Beddington and whose family lived at Carew Manor.
  • Singer and entertainer Des O’Connor lived at 221 Stafford Road, Wallington between 1963 and 1965.
  • Formula One world champion James Hunt lived in Cheam and is recorded in the electoral registers in 1969 and 1970.

Sutton residents can now go online at all Sutton libraries and trace their family tree for free from today (Wednesday 6 April). If they visit the Ancestry website from home they will have to pay to access it.

Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“We are delighted to help all Sutton residents looking to learn more about their family histories by making Ancestry access free to all those using the computers or wi-fi at any of our borough libraries. This fantastic resource will make tracing the branches of your family tree easier than before.”

Sutton resident and historical novelist Alison Weir, the top-selling female historian whose books cover the Tudor period – the same era the parish registers date from – is delighted with the new initiative. She said:

“Nearly everyone wants to know something about their ancestry, but trying to obtain genealogical information can often be a time-consuming and frustrating challenge. In Sutton, though, we are very lucky to have this wonderful new online resource that will make tracing the past a joy, and which is easily accessible to all. As a historian and, more importantly, a local resident, I feel privileged to be endorsing this stunning initiative on the part of the London Borough of Sutton and Ancestry.”

The database of some 4,619,369 names will allow residents to learn about household names who were born, grew up or lived at one time in the borough.

Other people on the database include:

  • Thomas Wall, of Wall’s ice cream and sausages fame, lived in Sutton for a number of years. He is in the rate books living in Worcester Road, Sutton in 1902.
  • Writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp (real name Denis Pratt) was born in Carshalton and his family later moved to Sutton and Cheam. His father, Spencer Charles Pratt, is in the rate books.
  • Legendary rock guitarist Jeff Beck, who grew up in Wallington and attended Sutton Manor School, now Sutton Grammar.
  • The late singer, actor and television presenter Harry Secombe lived on Cheam Road in Sutton.
  • The world-famous percussionist James Blades, who died in 1999, lived at 191 Sandy Lane, Cheam and is in the electoral register. One of his pupils was percussionist Evelyn Glennie.


The following parish register collections are available online:

  • Sutton, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 Records: 26,907
  • Sutton, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915 Records: 42,381
  • Sutton, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1940 Records: 49,687
  • Sutton, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985 Primary Records: 28,258
  • Sutton, England, Church of England Deaths and Burials, 1813-1985
  • Sutton, England, Electoral Registers, 1931-1970 Records: 320,807
  • Sutton, England, Tax Collection Rate Books, 1783-1914
  • Beddington, Surrey, England, Royal Female Orphanage List of Children, 1890-1913 Records: 595
  • Ancestry LLC is the world’s largest online resource for family history with more than 2 million paying subscribers across all family history sites.

Still time for Sutton residents to have their say on future of library services


Sutton Council is reminding residents they can still take part in the public consultation on the future of the borough’s library service.

Around 2,200 people already have voiced their opinions in the 12-week consultation, which runs until Wednesday 16 December 2015. A public meeting at Sutton Central Library on Saturday 14 November saw residents discuss issues with councillors and find out more about the proposals.

Sutton Council is being forced to look at changes to the library service due to unprecedented government cuts to its annual budget. As a result, it has to save £74m from its annual budget between 2011 and 2019. The council’s annual revenue budget is currently £148.4m (2015/16).

So far the council has saved £43m from its annual budget, with a further £31m to go.

As part of the cost-cutting measures, the council has identified £1m of savings from the annual libraries, heritage and art budget, which currently stands at £4.4m. It launched the campaign through its Sutton’s Future campaign to ensure that residents can have their say in the future of the service.

Options for consultation include the closure of Beddington Library and the discontinuation of the Mobile Library service, considering a community library model that increases the number of volunteers and volunteer roles, and sharing services with a neighbouring borough.

An enhanced housebound library service to cater for vulnerable residents is already being provided in partnership with Sutton’s Old People’s Welfare Committee, who provide Meals on Wheels services for the council.

Carshalton Central Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“We have had a tremendous response to our consultation so far and there is still time to have your say. While we have to reshape our library service because of Government cuts to our budget, we want to maintain the quality and customer standards that people expect.”

The library consultation is through the council’s Sutton’s Future campaign, which was launched last year to involve residents in helping to make savings due to unprecedented government cuts. It includes an online survey, available here, and an independent telephone survey of 1,000 residents.

In January 2015 Sutton Council adopted a Library Strategy for the borough’s library service, setting out the strategic and operational direction for the service to 2019. It has four key aims:

  • Literacy: growing the readers of the future.
  • Meeting the needs of an aging population.
  • Narrowing the digital divide.
  • Creating a viable, sustainable and quality service within available budgets.

Lest we forget: Sutton residents invited to identify long-lost relatives from World World I in astonishing collection of vintage photographs

Private Harold Dickman Mims of the 4th Battalion, Dorset Regiment lived at Bosworth, Egmont Road, Sutton and was killed in action on 27 September 1918, at the age of 22. Harold is buried in Sains-Les-Marquion British Cemetery and is commemorated on the Sutton War Memorial.

Sutton residents are being invited to go online and see if they can spot any of their relatives from World War I in an amazing collection of Edwardian and pre-war photographic glass-plate negatives.

Run by Sutton Council’s Archives Service, the Sutton Archives project, can be seen here and hereIt is an astonishing collection of more than 10,000 glass-plate negatives by local photographer David Knights-Whittome, who owned shops in Sutton and Epsom from around 1904 until 1918, that was rescued from the basement of a high-street shop, having been untouched for 100 years, that is now stored at Sutton Library.

The collection contains hundreds – or perhaps thousands – of WW1 soldiers in uniform, a lost generation of men and boys who either lived in the area or were stationed locally before their postings. Work to date has already uncovered images of a number of men whose names are listed on local war memorials.

The Sutton Archives project has had some really positive reactions to its research. On seeing the image of Private George Leonard Ingram of the 25th Battalion (Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers, his family contacted the Archives project and said:

“Thank you for posting this. George is my maternal grandfather. My mother, Nora (known as May) sadly died three years ago, aged 96. She would have been so pleased to have seen your blog.”

Carshalton Central ward Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee at Sutton Council, said:

“The Sutton Archives is an extraordinary historical record of local and national importance. Finding these plate-glass negatives must have been like discovering Egyptian King Tutankhamen’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings as the riches of history are etched upon them.

“We hope that Sutton residents will visit the archives project online and see if they recognise a great, great, great grandfather or grandmother, uncles and aunts, and relatives who lost their lives in the Great War but whose images have been captured for posterity by David Knights-Whittome a century ago.”

In March 2014 Sutton Archives was awarded £95,900 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to enable the cleaning, digitisation, research and cataloguing of the vast collection of glass-plate negatives.

Work began last December and around 3,500 plates have been cleaned, rehoused, digitised and catalogued. More than 200 of the individuals depicted have been researched. The work is largely done by a team of dedicated volunteers who have put more than 1,200 hours of their own time into rescuing and rediscovering this material. Without their help, it would be impossible to make the material available.

As well as documenting thousands of local residents, the glass-plate photographs depict local and regional schools, colleges and theatre groups, social events such as weddings and house parties, grand country houses and other institutions from across the UK and the Continent.

David Knights-Whittome also held a Royal Warrant and photographed the Royal family, including Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII, in formal portraits and at house parties. He also photographed royalty in Portugal and Copenhagen.

Anyone interested in volunteering for the project should contact Project Officer Abby Matthews at or phone 020 8770 4746

DKW_32441A_Danks_LDr. W. S. Danks


Dr. W. S. Danks lived in York Lodge, York Road, Sutton. He enlisted at the beginning of the war and was taken as a German prisoner of war while attending wounded soldiers on the battleground and survived the war after drawing lots among fellow prisoners for release.

DKW_34975A_Narbeth_LFlight Lieutenant Charles Anstey Narbeth



Flight Lieutenant Charles Anstey Narbeth RNAS lived at Ferndale, Grove Road, Sutton. He was photographed on 9 February 1917.

DeucharPrivate Victor Douglas Alexander Deuchar


Private Victor Douglas Alexander Deuchar
 of the East Surrey Regiment lived at 9 Weihurst Gardens, Carshalton.

Lieutenant Kenneth R. D. Fawcett Lieutenant Kenneth R. D. Fawcett


Lieutenant Kenneth R. D. Fawcett of the Royal Navy lived at Camden House, Benhill Wood Road, Sutton. He was mentioned in despatches “for valuable service during operations in Petrograd Bay” in 1919 aboard HMS Voyager.

Private George Leonard IngramPrivate George Leonard Ingram


Private George Leonard Ingram of 25th Battalion (Tyneside Irish), Northumberland Fusiliers (formerly of the Royal West Kent Regiment) lived at 4 Bell Cottages, Ewell Road, Cheam. He was killed at the Battle of Arras in 1917 and is commemorated on the Cheam War Memorial.

G. Merheim EsqG. Merheim Esq


G. Merheim Esq
 lived in Carshalton Park Road, Carshalton. He served with the Royal Fusiliers and later the Royal Engineers.

Nurse Rose Letitia BerkleyNurse Rose Letitia Berkley


Nurse Rose Letitia Berkley
 lived at “Harcourt”, Christchurch Park, Sutton and was a VAD Nurse for the Red Cross.

Nurse Corisande HartNurse Corisande Hart

Tracing your Ancestors in Sutton Libraries

Hamish's Great Great Great Grandfather

Hamish’s Great Great Great Grandfather photographed in the early 1860s!

Budding genealogists may not yet know this but “Ancestry” and “Find my Past” are free to use in the Local Studies and Archives Centre and in all Sutton Libraries.

Archives and Local Studies

Here is a wealth of information you can use to research anything from local history, archived documents & your family tree.

Archived Court Rolls

To help you with you research, the following areas include links to other articles or external websites.

These links include:

  • Local Studies
  • Family History
  • Parish Register Holdings
  • Archives

Local Studies & Archives Centre
2nd Floor, Central Library
St Nicholas Way Sutton, Surrey SM1 1EA
tel: (020) 8770 4747, fax: (020) 8770 4777

Tue, Fri 10am-5pm; Wed 10am-8pm;

Closed Mon & Thur;
Alternative Saturdays 9.30am-5pm;
Alternative Sundays 1-4.30pm

We will be open the following weekends in 2014 :
9/10 Aug, 23/24 Aug, 6/7 Sep, 20/21 Sep,

4/5 Oct, 18/19 Oct, 1/2 Nov, 15/16 Nov, 29/30 Nov, 13/14 Dec

An Introduction to the Archives & Local Studies Collections

The Local Studies Collection: encompasses a variety of different resources — printed books, photographs, maps, newspapers, pamphlets and slides. These resources relate particularly to the past, present and future life of this Borough and more generally to Surrey and Greater London (especially south of the Thames). We have especially strong collections of material relating to Croydon Airport and the River Wandle.

The Borough’s Archives: These are kept separately from the Local Studies Collection and comprise primary source material relating almost exclusively to this Borough. The main exceptions to this rule are records of the Wallington (previously Croydon) Magistrates Court and a large collection of copies of Surrey parish registers. Again, material is held in a variety of different formats – paper, parchment, magnetic tape and video. Because archives are, by their very nature, unique, readers are asked to observe a number of guidelines designed to protect this material.

Where are the collections kept? The Local Studies Centre is situated on the 2nd Floor of the Central Library. You may need to produce proof of identification (e.g. library ticket, driving licence, CARN ticket etc) before using some material.  Whilst we try to have as much material as possible readily available for consultation at least 24 hours notice is required before we can produce archives and hard copy of reports to council and council minutes prior to 1965.

Finding a particular item: Only a small percentage of the Local Studies Collection, and none of the Borough’s Archives, appear on the Libraries’ computerised catalogue. Instead, separate catalogues exist for books and larger pamphlets and for the Archives. These can be found in binders in the Local Studies Centre. Place, person and subject indexes to the Archive catalogues are also available there.

A large proportion of our archive catalogues can be accessed via A2A – National Archives external website.