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Variety is the spice of life
by Robin Gill
It all started when I gave
a talk to a meeting of
firstly as the prison
the New Malden Rotary
clerk, rising to Deputy
Club. During the question
Governor before being
HISTORY
and answer session
appointed Governor
afterwards, I was asked
in 1873. Fortunately
“Who was Graham
the prison was not as
Spicer?” I must admit I was
squalid as it had been;
unsure of any facts other than the foundation
public executions had
of the institute that bears his name, but I said I
ceased in 1868, and all death sentences were
would find out. So here, for that gentleman, and
carried out within a separate building inside
for any others who are interested, is the full, but
the prison walls. The family left Newgate
all too brief life of one of New Malden’s kindest
when Graham was only a year old in 1882,
benefactors.
and moved to Upper Norwood. Unfortunately
Sidney died two years later on 25th August
Place of birth
1884 aged 52.
First of all his full name at birth was Graham
Prockter Smith. He was born in 1881 in London.
Life with the Spicers
To be more precise he was born in Newgate
Graham and his mother Jane went to live with
Prison. His father Sidney Robert Smith was the
his uncle William Gage Spicer in a large house
Governor of the gaol at the time, and I have no
called Oakwood in Chislehust Kent. William
doubt that the birth took place well away from
was a grandson of John Edward Spicer the
any squalor or degradation prevalent elsewhere
founder of the Spicer paper empire. It looks as
in the institution at that time.
though initially he (Graham) wanted to follow
Sidney had worked at Newgate since 1865,
his father into law, as there is a entry in the
Times newspaper reporting Graham Prockter
Smith-Spicer passing his preliminary exams for
the Law Society in May 1897.
HAVE YOU EVER
He must have had a change of heart, as at the
time of the 1901 census Graham is described
WONDERED WHO
as a paper maker living with his brother Albert
Naylor Smith in Carlton Hill London.
YOUR ANCESTORS
Arrives in Malden
WERE?
It is soon after this that he changes his name
from Smith to Spicer, joins Spicer Brothers (Ltd)

Where they were born? and moves to Malden. He soon showed his

Gift
Their occupation? religious zeal by collecting money on behalf of

Vouchers
How they lived? the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1905,

available
How they died? and it is interesting to note that some of the

Where they are buried? Bibles still held at the Institute in Dukes Avenue
came from that same organisation. He also
did sterling work for the London City Mission,
and was a long standing member of their
committee.
The Bible class
The Bible class which was the foundation of
the institute began as the Young Men’s Bible
Let me help you find the answers
Class for those 16 years or under. The class
FREE Initial Consultation
was founded by Mr James Hurst (Chestnut
Call Robin 020 8942 5691 (evenings only).
Grove) in 1900 at Christchurch School in Elm
The Village Voice’s Resident Historian Road. In 1905 the group transferred to a more
12
central location in a suitable room above the
13
35 35
34 34
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