Tag Archives: William Todd

The History of Abbey Road Studios – Part 6

William Todd, Esq. (the younger)

The 4th owner of 3 Abbey Road was William Todd and his wife Caroline (nee Grange). They were the parents to twelve children. At the time of their arrival at their new home on Abbey Road in 1889, William, a retired architect, and Caroline were 65 and 60 years old (respectively) and at least six of their children were still living at home. In 1890, one of their daughters, Constance Honor Todd, married Charles Percy Wilcox, leaving grown siblings Stephen (29) – a wine merchant, Emily (28), Reginald (22) – an electrical engineer, and Harry (19), all living at home. According to the 1891 census, also living in the house were a 49 year old niece and 4 year old granddaughter, along with five servants…13 in all!

1891 Census – 3 Abbey Road

William Todd was the son of William Todd. They didn’t use the term ‘Jr.’ in England in those days. Instead, they were referred to as William Todd the younger, and William Todd the elder. Both of them were architects/builders in St. John’s Wood and it’s believed that the elder Todd was a cousin of Robert Todd, the builder who was besties with Walpole Eyre and the brother in law to Martha Charman, the woman that originally built 3 Abbey Road. Despite Robert Todd’s mention of a nephew named William Todd in his will, there is no evidence that he was the same William Todd (elder or younger) who purchased 3 Abbey Road in 1889. Robert only mentions in his will that in 1836 a building that he owns is being rented to his cousin William Todd. At that time, there were at least three other men named William Todd living in the Middlesex/Marylebone/St. John’s Wood area. Both William Todd the elder and the young were builders and acquired many houses of their own in the St. John’s Wood area, so it’s doubtful that they would have needed to rent a house from their “uncle” Robert Todd.

Unlike Robert Todd and his great relationship with Walpole Eyre, it’s said that William Todd the elder did not get along with the heir to the Eyre estate. A lot of the records and letters concerning anything going in relationship to the estate, especially real estate transactions, have been preserved at the Westminster archives, including some very harsh letters that were exchanged between Walpole Eyre and William Todd the elder. By 1865, William Todd the elder started transferring his leasehold properties to his son.

The Standard – April 27, 1899

William Todd the younger passed away at 3 Abbey Road on February 19, 1899 from pneumonia that he developed after a bout with the flu. At the time, his estate was worth £23,817. In today’s market (2019) that translates to approximately £3,035,103 or $3,699,183. He named his wife Caroline Todd and his son Stephen Turner Todd, who was 38, single and still living at home, as co-executers of his will. Also still living at home was Caroline and William’s unmarried daughter Emily Lucy Todd, age 35. Stephen and Emily remained in the house for a couple more years after their mother’s death on December 17, 1911.

According to Brian Southall’s book, Abbey Road, Stephen Todd turned over 3 Abbey Road to his cousin Olive Westbrook Todd (daughter of Harold Cameron Todd) to manage as a rental property. This probably never happened since in 1916 when Olive was just 15 years old (4 years after Caroline Todd’s death), her parents moved the family to Quebec, Canada. Olive eventually became a buyer for the T. Easton department store chain in Canada and did return to England several times on business before eventually becoming a fashion designer herself and opening her own store in London in the 1920s.

On March 14, 1912, the contents of 3 Abbey Road was auctioned off at 12 pm.

The Times of London – March 2, 1912


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