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Whitehall and The Killicks

The Killick family lived in Whitehall for over two centuries.

John Killick leased Whitehall in 1742. He had married Elizabeth Jenkins the previous year and was presumably establishing a family home. Four sons followed: James, in 1743; John in 1744; Thomas in 1746 and William in 1753. He was described as a gardener in his will. This could have several meanings. He may have been a market gardener or nurseryman or he may have worked on the gardens of one or more of the large houses in the neighbourhood.

James may have inherited Whitehall when his father died in 1764, although his mother lived until 1793. He married Penelope Chillingworth in 1768. James was also a gardener although he may have changed his business as his will says that he was a farmer. Whatever his business was he seems to have been reasonably prosperous. When the house was restored in the 1970s several pieces of fairly expensive wallpaper dating from the 1740s were found. These must have been bought by James. The marble fireplace in the tea room may also date from this time. He also had sufficient money to buy the freehold of the house in 1783.

Penelope died in 1803 and James in 1807 and Whitehall passed to their son, William Killick, who had been born in 1773. He married Lucy Noaks in 1805.

William and his wife were probably responsible for altering the windows and installing the internal shutters at the front of the house on the ground floor. The job was carefully and sympathetically done, retaining the Tudor iron window frames and latches. They may also have installed the 'gothic' back door. Lucy and William had seven children including James Killick who went on the have a distinguished career at sea and to found the shipbroking firm, Killick Martin & Co.

When the census was taken in 1841 William and Lucy were living in Whitehall, with two of their daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. William was described as a 'farmer'. There were also two women, both named Charlotte Butler, living in a separate household within Whitehall. One was 70, the other 35, so they may have been mother and daughter. The subdivision of the house suggests that the farm profits were fairly modest.

William and Lucy were still in the house when the 1851 census was carried out. He was then described as a 'milkman' - probably a small dairyman who kept some cows and sold the milk in the local area. Three unmarried daughters were living at home, Lucy (42), Charlotte (38) and Harriett (26). The latter two were working as governesses who brought up other people's children. A grandson, Thomas Noakes (10) was also living at Whitehall as well as a visitor, Catherine Davis, and a young servant, Sarah Rogers aged 16.

When the census was taken in 1861 Lucy had died (in 1856) and William had retired from farming. One daughter, Lucy, was living in the house, together with a granddaughter, Penelope Noakes, who was a 'daily governess' There were two lodgers, Alexander M Reid, a merchant, and Jessie Reid, aged 39 and 43, both married and both born in Scotland. The only other occupant was Ann Hayman, a servant, aged 21.

William Killick died in 1863. The 1871 census shows three of his daughters Lucy, Charlotte and Harriett living in the house. The latter was 46 and still working as a governess while the other two were aged 62 and 58 respectively and living on annuities (pensions). There was one servant, Emma E Barker.

By 1881 only two sisters remained, Charlotte and Harriett, the latter still working as a governess. There was one servant and three lodgers, all masters at Cheam School: Walter W Dayman and Montague F Grignon taught while John K Tancock was a mathematical master.

The lodges had gone by 1891 but the two sisters continued to live in Whitehall for the rest of the century along with their servant Ann Baker.

Being a governess was one of the few 'respectable' occupations open to middle class women in the 19th century. It was not usually well paid and the census entries give an impression of genteel poverty with the sisters' earnings and annuities supplemented by rent from lodgers.

In 1914, the last of the sisters died and the house passed to two great nieces, Harriet Maud and Susan Mary Muller. Of these Harriet survived longest. She died in 1959 as a result a road accident while crossing Malden Road after church.

Whitehall passed to her niece Doris Mills who sold it to the Borough of Sutton and Cheam in 1963.