I have been cross referencing wills, photos, property surveys, censuses, sale adverts and more in order to identify Victorian occupiers for many a property in West Street. In some cases occupancy further back in time can be ascertained too. It is an ongoing project of mine. I'll be uploading more as and when I have time. There are other posts already on the blog in this line. Search "West Street".
This building was the home of Surgeon William Hickman from at least 1832 to his death in 1850 aged 93. William was originally from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire but was in Marlow by 1782 when he married Ann Wethered. It is possible he was already in these premises back then but I cannot yet be certain.
In 1791 William is listed as a surgeon apothecary and "man midwife". In most later references he is styled simply "surgeon".
Either he or his son of the same name was appointed Assistant Surgeon of the Royal Military College further down West Street in 1810. This is now the house Remnantz. At least four of William and Ann's sons became surgeons! This may not
William's wife Ann died in 1809 so that was a very long time as a widower for him.
In his will written 1848, he asked to be buried beside Ann and other members of his family in Marlow churchyard. He made an "earnest request" to be buried in the same [quiet] manner as his son Francis who had died in his parent's house in 1831. Both Francis and one of William's other sons died when only in their 30s, their mother was only 50 at her own death.
William's will left a silver quart tankard to his son George and to Owen Wethered a pint silver drinking vessel that had belonged to an Ann Wethered.
This Owen also received a History Of England in 2 volumes. William certainly liked a good read. When his household effects were sold off at auction in 1851 the sales listing mentions 500 volumes including "valuable works on medicine, surgery, physiology, chemistry and miscellaneous literature". He also had mahogany furniture, "fine old china", mahogany four post beds, engravings and paintings. It was a plush life for him in West Street! But he deserved it as he was definitely still actively working as a surgeon in 1845 at the age of 88. He may well actually have worked until his death. No wonder an obituary called him "universally respected". The same obituary in the Medical Directory of Scotland called him a pupil of " the immortal Hunter". I must confess to ignorance as to who that was. The obituary is interesting as it suggest the possibility of classic Scottish training for William.
I am not sure who was in these exact premises immediately after William died. From 1877 ( at latest ) until his bankruptcy and disappearance in 1888 Richard Coster, grocer and land agent was based here however.
Richard ran away from his financial troubles, being seen once in Chester in a distressed state then apparently no more. His concerned near neighbour in West Street James Roberts the draper was one of those who tried unsuccessfully to find him again.
From at least 1891 to at least early 1910s Albert Fleet the grocer operated here.
Researched and written by Charlotte Day. Photographed 2020.
1833 Parochial Assessment Great Marlow. Original handwritten copy held by my family and transcribed by me.
1791 Universal British Directory.
Will of William Hickman. Copy obtained from the National Archives and transcribed by me.
London Gazette Part One, 1810. Digitized by Google. Accessed March 2021.
The Medical Directory of Scotland, 1852 by John Churchill. As above.
1841, 81 and 91 censuses transcribed from microfilm by Jane Pullinger.
Great Marlow church registers.
Bucks Herald 18th January 1851 and 28th April 1888. Copies held in the British Library Archives and accessed by me via the BNA March 2021.
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