How Marstons Began in 1895
In 1885 when William James Marston was 20, he met Elizabeth Ansell from Fulham. In 1888, they married and set up their first home at 29 Hugon Road.
May 1, 2022
In 1885 when William James Marston was 20, he met Elizabeth Ansell from Fulham. In 1888, they married and set up their first home on Hugon Road.
Their first home together was in three rented rooms on the ground floor of 29 Hugon Road. By 1895, they had had three children together, two of whom survived: Elizabeth, known as Lily, was born in 1889, a year after they married; George arrived in 1891, but sadly died a year later; and another daughter, Alice, was born in 1893. William was most likely working as a general handyman-builder-roofer-plumber by this time, picking up work where he could, including from his father and Roffey’s of Putney.
That changed in 1895. William’s mother died, and his father closed his metal working business in Battersea. Perhaps this was the spur he needed; Fulham’s expansion had created a demand for local builders, and so, at 30 years of age, William James Marston set up in Fulham on his own account and began to trade out of 54 Hugon Road. This was when Marstons, the company, was born.
By the turn of the century, the Ansell and Marston family homes occupied a tight knit group of houses on Hugon Road, starting with Elizabeth’s parents at number 50; the Ansell Perseverance Laundry at number 52; William, Elizabeth and their family at number 54; and next door to them, at number 56, Elizabeth’s younger sister Alice and her family. William’s family grew: John Wilfrid was born in 1900, followed by Florrie three years later. They outgrew Hugon Road, and moved to a larger house at 271 Wandsworth Bridge Road, which had a separate office and builder’s shop below.
The Hugon Road houses are shown on the map of Sands End 1893. Their back gardens looked across Southfields Nursery (now South Park) right up to the extensive gardens at the rear of Peterborough House, a large mansion demolished in 1902. This area is now occupied by the Peterborough Estate .The end of Hugon Road to the West led to orchards and fields right up to the two large mansions, Broom House and Hurlingham House
The company, whose letterhead read ‘William J Marston, Zinc & Iron Plate Roofer’, was doing steady business. The ledgers show that Marstons carried out work on residential and other buildings around the Borough including the Peterborough Estate Houses off the New Kings Road, Bluebell Polish Co, Fulham Guardians (for the workhouse or infirmary), the Welsh Presbyterian Chapel, Trinidad Asphalt, and local laundries and grocers.
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