THE FORDHAM FAMILY 

Sydney Fordham was a butcher in Rye Lane, Peckham. He lived in Bell House with his wife and two children.

 

Sydney Fordham was born in Islington in 1885 in a house which now stands within the shadow of the Arsenal Stadium. He came from a long line of bookbinders but began work as a Smithfield meat market clerk. In the part of Islington where he grew up there were many butchers and porters from Smithfield so perhaps he got his start in the trade via a friend or relative, as was the way at Smithfield in those days. In 1909 he married Ella Gertrude Parsons in Brighton. Ella was the daughter of George Parsons who kept the Black Horse Inn in Brighton and with her sister Gladys she worked as a confectioner’s assistant before she got married. Sydney and Ella set up house together in Elmwood Road before moving to Bell House in 1924.

At Bell House they rented the Lodge to the families of two of their servants: the Wells in the top flat and the Riches in the lower flat for 15 shillings a week each, as well as letting a bungalow in the garden to the son of the gardener at Dulwich Picture Gallery. The other bungalow was still being let by Lady Lucas. There was also some issue with the fence between Bell House and Trewyn (Pickwick Cottage): the open hurdle fence not being considered satisfactory for a boundary between what were by then two separate houses. The Estate agreed to erect a proper fence, 150ft long, at a cost of £40 with both houses having a liability for its upkeep.

The Fordhams had two children, Leslie Sydney Victor and Eileen Ella. Sydney had a butcher shop at 228 Rye Lane where Leslie later joined him. The Fordhams left Bell House and moved to Beckenham where Ella died in 1945, Leslie in 1957 and Sydney in 1960. The Fordhams may have been friends with the Tidys as Thomas Tidy was an executor to a Fordham will.