Saturday, 25 March 2017

William & Julia Relph of the Rising Sun a promise fulfilled

This is William Relph who ran the Rising Sun on the High Street from sometime in the 1880s till his death in 1909.

Now you can never be certain but it is more than likely that when a photographer turned up in the High Street in the summer of 1890 it will have been the landlord of the Rising Sun who came to the door to see what all the fuss was about.

And so this is William Relph and I have to own up to a mix of quiet satisfaction and fascination that I have tracked him down.

It was a promise I made in earlier stories and have now completed that promise.*

He was born in Greenwich in 1847 and came from a family that ran public houses.

What marks him out as a little special is that William saw his time out in both the old Rising Sun and the new one which still stands on the High Street.

The old pub according to our historian R.R.C Gregory was about 200 years old when it was demolished and replaced by the present pub in 1904.

Nor is that the only thing that intrigues me about William.

I had almost given up hope of finding him and then as you do I came across his widow Julia who was still in charge in 1911, and it was Julia who caught my imagination.

She was born in Cadiz, Spain and of course that raises all sorts of intriguing speculation.

But before I could go off on a flight of fancy I discovered her maiden name was West and like William her father was a publican.

That said her parents were in Spain between the birth of her brother in 1852 and when she was born two years later which may explain why they are missing from the census returns for the middle decades of the 19th century.

So there is more to find out but finding William and Julia of the Rising Sun is enough for now.

Pictures; from The story of Royal Eltham, R.R.C. Gregory, 1909 and published on The story of Royal Eltham, by Roy Ayers,  and Chrissie Rose February 2014

*Eltham’s Rising Sun,

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