Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin

A fruitful life for a Norfolk accountant

All that I know on William John Cullum.

William John Cullum was born 1868 in Norwich, according to family birthday records 9th March, to William Bishop Cullum and Harriet Cutlock. He was the eldest offspring of the couple, but almost 10 years younger than his half-sister Ann Harriet Cutlock.

The 1891 census finds him as a “ledger clerk in manufacturer’s office”, living at Leiston Terrace, Lowestoft. (There is a rather small chance that this isn’t the correct entry for him.)

In 1892 William marries Sarah Ann Margaret Neve in Norwich. Sarah is living in Bakers Road, Norwich in 1871/81/91 censuses. By 1901 the couple are at 21 Sandhurst Road, Catford (Lewisham in the census), south east London, with two children Arthur Frank (b 1896) and Frederick Hinton (b 1900). He is a “merchants’ clerk”.

At 1911 they are at 45 Fordel Road, Catford, with an additional son Stanley John, born 1904. From son Arthur’s army record, at 1916 the address is still Fordel Road. (Paragraph updated)

The next known official data for William is from the probate record for son Frederick, who sadly died in 1933. (Frederick was then living in Ealing, having married 1926.) William is named as the executor to the will and described as “fruit grower”.

Quite how William moved from being a clerk to a fruit grower is a bit of a mystery, but I’d hazard a guess that he could have been a clerk for a fruit and veg trader in London, worked his way up a little and then took an opportunity that came his way as the next step. Pure speculation, and no indication whether this was a big or profitable business. He did get some money from somewhere though – check out Burnt House below. UPDATE – see Update below!

We leap forward to the notice of William’s death in the London Gazette in November 1948. Why was there a need for this – wasn’t his will adequate or is this purely to ensure there were no outstanding debts? Perhaps it would be worth getting hold of his will – its too recent to be on the Probate records on Ancestry. Anyway, the Gazette notice confirms that he had been living at Burnt House, Newick, Sussex, and fits the family description of the elderly uncle who arrived in London to visit at breakfast time, having got a lift with the vegetable lorries going to Covent Garden.

Wife Sarah dies in 1956, I think, so he must have left her behind on his jaunts to London. (Paragraph updated)

Recent photos of the Grade II listed Burnt House were on the Newick village website but after a revamp early 2018 no longer available? The local council website copy of a Conservation Area document has also gone at July 2023.

It has just occurred to me that the current professional accountant in the family has also ended up in the food business, but as yet no sign of him moving away from the figure work!

See Cutlock/Cullum page for more on William’s siblings and children.


Wonderfully, at September 2011 contact has been made with descendants of William John Cullum, and the speculation can be put to rest. He made his money at Maconochie Brothers, “wholesale provision merchants and manufacturers of pickles, potted meat and fish, jam, marmalade and other preserved foods”. From the census records and dates for Maconochie, he must have started with them as a lowly clerk in Lowestoft, where they started out, and worked his way up and moving to the new London base when it opened. At 1911 he gives his job title as “Cashier to Presd Provn Mnfr” (Preserved Provisions Manufacturer).

See Uncle William comes into focus for more.


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