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1833 to 1908

Joshua was born in September 1833, the ninth child of William and Mary Mitchenall. At the time of his birth he had 7 brothers and sisters, William, the first born, having died in 1826 at the age of 4. He lived with them in Edenbridge, almost certainly south of the River Eden, 

When he was 23, Joshua married Elizabeth Tidy at St George the Martyr in Southwark on the 30th March 1856, and the couple had eight children had eight children. 

Whilst the factual circumstances of his life are reasonably well documented by surveys, little additional information illuminates his life. Unlike his brothers and sisters, he moved to Westerham after his marriage and seems to have been happily settled there. His later life seemed more connected to his wife's family than his own. Six of his eight children outlived him, and he is one of the three sons of William who have surviving descendants with the family name.

The map pages of Westerham show where he lived. I have found no record of ongoing contact with his own brothers and sisters, who by then had either dispersed to London or were remaining in Edenbridge.


Before he left home, the 1841 and 1851 census record him with his parents, and by 17 he is described in the family business as a shoemaker. This is the only record of his shoemaking, the common family trade.

Ten years later, living in Westerham, he is described as a police constable. He is with his wife and children Ellen aged 3 and Clara (added on the census as an afterthought) aged one. Brother in Law George Tidy also lives in the household - an indication, perhaps, that ties with his wifes family were strong. Ellen and Clara are recorded born at Chilham. Modern Chilham is near Canterbury, and I have no other evidence to suppose Joshua and Elizabeth went there. I believe this Chilham may have been elsewhere. Mary Ann, their first child, was baptised at Charlwood, Elizabeths home. There is no further mention of Mary Ann after her baptism is recorded at Charlwood in 1856.

Charlwood is recorded as where Elizabeth and her brother George came from. The baptism record has Joshua as a bricklayer with an address of Clopton, Surrey (possibly the rectors bad handwriting for Charlwood). Charlwood is in South East Surrey, near modern day Gatwick Airport. There are a number of Brickworks in the area. 

I find it more likely that following his marriage Joshua moved near to his in-laws and his first child was born there at. They then seemed to move to Chilham, in the Canterbury area, briefly. They then moved to Westerham after Joshua found employment as a Police Constable. Later surveys have him back to bricklaying.

Mary Ann, the eldest, does not seem to have made it to Westerham, and it is hard to think she would have been seperated from the family at the age of 5. A record of a death in Chilham ties in with the families brief period there, although the record does not record parents. Clara and Ellen were born in Chilham.

By 1871, Joshua is recorded at Rystead Lane in Westerham, working again as a Bricklayer. Eldest daughter Ellen, by then 13, is not recorded at home. Clara (11), Frederick (9), William (7), Arthur (5) and Fanny (2) are all at home. Three lodgers share the home, two brick layers and a shoemaker. All the children at home are recorded as born in Westerham except Clara. Ellen is with her Grand Parents in Charlwood, where she remained for some time. Sister Emily, born in May 1866, died in 1867.

By 1881 Rystead Lane has become Croydon Road, and Joshua and Elizabeth remain there. Fred, Arthur and Fanny remained at home.

In 1891, Joshua is living by himself at 7, Croydon Road. He remains a bricklayer, and daughter Fanny is married to Alfred Nicholas and lives at number 4. Elizabeth had died in 1886, 

The 1901 Census records Joshua at the age of 65 still working as a bricklayer. He has a 61 year old widow, Ruth Playstead, from Yorkshire, living with him at 3 Rysted Lane, and a boarder, Emily Berry, a 24 year old laundary worker.

He died in 1908, on January 24th, and was buried before the end of the month. Rystead Lane is more lately know as Croydon Road.

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