W J Scudamore – A Family Builder of Lee

W J Scudamore seem to have been a medium-sized building firm working, initially, in and around Lee, Hither Green and later in more ‘suburban’ locations including Baring Road and later into Bexley.  My interest in them is both in terms of their lasting impact on the urban environment, but also in trying to unpick some of their own story.

William John Scudamore the son of William and Harriet Scudamore, was born around 1867 and at the age of three was living at 37 Henry Street in St George’s area of Borough in Southwark – where his father was a blind maker.   The family had moved to Bermondsey New Road by 1881 where his father was then listed as a furniture dealer.

By the 1891 census he was a builder living at 226 Old Kent Road and had married Annie Elizabeth Jackson the previous year, Annie hailed from Leeds. It isn’t clear whether he was working in his own right or for someone else at this stage.  By 1901 he was in the, then, suburbia of 144 Laleham Road, Catford, and had a daughter, also Annie, who had been born in Southwark around 1894 and a son, also William John, born around 1897 in Catford.

At this stage they were building homes on Hither Green Lane, it is not clear exactly where but he had to pay bills of £20 in 1898 and £6 11s 6d in 1899 for connection of sewers

By 1906 they were at 89/91 Manor Lane which they were using as estate office for various developments in the area; they had another son Harold who was born there.  It is on the corner of Manor Lane and Handen Road and is now a convenience store.


By 1915 they were operating out of 412-414 Lee High Road, where Sainsbury’s is now – a couple of doors down from the Imperial Picture Palace and next door to the former Police Station, During that year they bought several pieces of land and buildings in Newstead Road although, while his interest was noted as a builder this may have been completing transactions on work completed several years before – OS maps show Newstead Road being built around the mid-1890s.  Examples on the link are for 45, 47, 59 and 67 but there were several other similar transactions.


William (1867) and Annie moved to Baring Road (presumably built by the firm), and by 1928 had retired – they are recorded on a couple of passenger lists going to North Africa and listed as having  had no occupation.  How long William (1867) lived after handing over the reins isn’t known.  The business seems to have been taken over by William John (1897) – the business, at least, was based at 1 Burnt Ash Hill, next to the station – convenient for sales to commuters.

In the 1930s they were building some of the newer homes of Lee – including homes on what was then referred to as the Northbrook Estate, opposite the Northbrook Park on Baring Road (see picture below).  An advert offered the 3 bedroom homes at £725 for leasehold at £875 freehold – stressing the relative proximity of both Grove Park and Lee Stations.


William John (1897) was also extending their area of operation – particularly into Bexley, during the mid to late 1930s they developed sites at

William John (1897) married Dora and had at least one child, also William John who was born around 1923, he died training as a member of the Glider Pilot Regiment in 1942.

Nothing is known of what happened to the firm after World War 2 although they continued in business until 1966, when they were based in Holme Lacey Road – possibly where Travis Perkins are now (2015) trading from.  The firm was voluntarily wound up on 18 July 1966 and a liquidator appointed – when William John (1897) would have been around 69 and was still Chairman of the business at the time of the winding up.

The fantastic Edith’s Streets suggested that the name of and address  of W J Scudamore ‘appears on various drain inspection covers in the roads on the estate’  so obviously I went on a ferrous foray around the streets of Hither Green and Lee looking for evidence.  Alas, dear reader, I found no evidence of this in my traipsing of the tarmac – my time was not wasted though, I am now something of an expert on the work of C H Laud and Son and can correctly identify the ironwork of Mather and Smith Ltd. of Ashford at 20 paces.  Obviously, if your eagle eyes are more finely attuned to early 20th century drain metalwork and spot a “W J Scudamore”, please do let me know.



All the census, shipping, marriage and related data came via Find My Past 


16 thoughts on “W J Scudamore – A Family Builder of Lee

  1. Candy Blackham

    Amazing amount of research, and interesting. Interesting to read of the family member killed while training as a glider pilot; I am going to post on a brief visit to the D-Day beaches and cemeteries in northern France, and have read about the gliders. Thank you again for your interest and support.

    1. Paul B Post author

      Oddly, it was a post where the research all very quickly fell into place and was very straightforward, I probably only spent a couple of lunch hours on it. I must have spent longer last Sunday taking photos and running up and down streets looking for drain covers …..

      I look forward to your Normandy piece it is an important time to remember; I have one written on the local WW2 Home Front deaths which I will post in the run up to Remembrance Sunday.

      I have really enjoyed your series of Brittany posts, by the way.

  2. Pingback: A Dairy, a Pastor and a Lee Street Name | Running Past

  3. solveig bodley (nee Scudamore)

    Hallo I live in New Zealand and am the Granddaugher of W.J. Scudamore Jnr. My youngest daughter spotted the information of my Grandfather and immediately connected me. My cousin Jim died on the home front when his parachute let him down or should I say didnt let him down.
    It was really interesting to read the information about my grandfather.Thank you. I remember him very well when he was in retirement in Kemsing (Sevenoaks) In a lovely house with lovely grounds, remembering summer and Christmas Holidays with affection although war-time we were away from the bombing in the South Counties.

    1. Paul B Post author

      Thanks for visiting, I am glad you found it interesting; I hope that I have done your family history justice. If there is anything else that you or other family members know about the building firm, and are able to share, please do let me know, I would be delighted to update the post.

    2. Salli Scudamore

      Hi Solveig! It was Bill that so tragically died, Jim is my my father. There was about 10years age difference between them. Be lovely to get in contact with you (e mail address deleted by Paul B but contact details swapped with consent)

  4. Salli Scudamore

    This is a very interesting article, thank you for your research. I am the grand daughter of WJ Scudamore and Dora, although sadly I never met her as she died just before I was born. I have wonderful memories of the house he built and where they lived in Lee, especially at Christmas as we stayed there most years. It was such a beautiful house, I would love to visit it again!

    1. Paul B Post author

      Thank you, I am glad it was of interest – I hope that I have done the family justice – if there is anything you can add to the story of the latter years of the bundling firm I would be fascinated to hear from you.

  5. Barry Lee

    I am also a descendant of WJ Scudamore and Harriet . My great grandfather was George Scudamore ( their 2nd son). He was also a builder in Lee/ Hither Green during the 1920s in partnership with my other great grandfather to form Lee and Scudamore builders. My family name is Lee ( coincidently!) . Amazingly & unknowingly I bought a house during the 1990’s in Manor Lane Terrace only to find the name of both of my great grandparents on the deeds! As far as I know one branch of the Scudamore building firm continued until the 1970s run by great uncle George Scudamore from Orpington.

    1. Paul B Post author

      That is fascinating, really fascinating. It is a post that I always wanted to go back as I felt there was a bit more in it. If nothing else, I want to find out which streets they built. Had assumed it was roads like Manor Lane Terrace – at Kellerton end, Chalcroft and Parkcroft (off Newstead) but could never find any proof (on line at least). What number Manor Lane Terrace did you live at?

  6. Barry Lee

    I lived at 31 Manor Lane Terrace. And now looking at the family information I see that William John Scudamore (Senior) also live in Manor Lane Terrace. Towards the end of his life he and his wife lived in a large house in Manor Lane Terrace, with gardens and tennis court. The property, with other houses around, has been demolished. I know they held the freehold to properties in Dallinger Road and Manor Lane which they had built.

  7. Jon Scudamore

    You say fascinating Paul, and I agree. As my sister mentioned, Christmas time staying at 2, Dallinger Road as youngsters in the mid to late 1960s was very memorable. The house seemed large and grandly old fashioned with a grandfather clock and I am sure I heard sleigh-bells whilst I lay in bed. The last time I was in the house was in 1986 on the day of Grandpa’s funeral. I have lived in Milton Keynes for 30 years now and I didn’t think much about it again ‘till 2013 when my job in IT took me down to Dartford. As the train pulled into Lee station I realised I was looking straight down Holme Lacey Road into the front window of 2, Dallinger. The next time I spoke to Dad I mentioned this and he explained to me that this was not a matter of chance. When his men were placing the stakes in the ground during the building, Grandpa instructed the orientation to be changed so that he could look out of that window straight down Holme Lacey road to the station. The information you have gathered has been of great interest to Dad. The building company would probably have remained active after the war had Dad’s brother Billy not been killed in a training accident with the Glider Regiment. Dad, who is now 84, spent his career with the Civil Service and has been thinking about his father’s company lately so your research has been very well timed in that respect, thank you. One other point to mention is that in Barry Lee’s post, he has spoken of another building company which must have been running at the same time. Dad told me that he remembers his father having a friend called George Scudamore. I will take a look at the family tree that is readily available on line to see if I can see the connection, but on first thought I wonder if both companies originate from W.J. Scudamore born 1845 who set up a building company, his sons all becoming directors.

    1. Paul B Post author

      Thank you! I am in the process of doing an update to the post at the moment – which will probably include a photo of 2 Dallinger Road which I took a couple of days ago. The comments from the last few days have been really helpful about trying to work out the streets that the form built. I will let you and the other family members know when I have updated the post which will include some of your comments. Thank you again for your comments- they are fascinating.


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