Zachariah Wood and ‘Woodville Villa’, London Road

A gentleman’s house in Newark, built in 1879
by Zachariah and Sarah Wood.
 
Zachariah Wood was born at Flintham in 1823. His wife Sarah, (nee Johnson) was born five years earlier at Orston.
 
In 1851, Zachariah Wood was 28. He and Sarah were bakers and confectioners at 4, St Marks Lane in Newark. They lived with her brother in law, and her elderly father in law and a lodger. In 1861 there was a baker; 19 year old Joseph Stevens, another baker; George Hopkinson, an apprentice baker and Emma Dixon; a 14 year-old house servant.
 
'Woodville Villa' (later 'Fernside') built by Zachariah Wood in 1879

‘Woodville Villa’ (later ‘Fernside’) built by Zachariah Wood in 1879

The Woods had no children. Zachariah became a town councillor and a ‘guardian of the poor’ at Claypole. The Electoral roll in 1868, lists him as one of four, ‘overseers of the poor of the parish of Newark’. In 1872, the Newark Advertiser reported that “Z. Wood was a town councillor for Newark East Ward.” There is a road named ‘Wood Street’ in Newark.

 
The Beaumond Street area of Newark, became very popular in the 1870s. The new vicar of Christ Church on Lombard Street, Henry A. Jukes and his wife Emma, had recently moved into the new vicarage, next to “Rose Villa,” which was built for Henry Hall, a Newark draper, for his retirement.

'Rose Villa', later 'The Shrubberies', and now Beaumond House Community Hospice on London Road.

‘Rose Villa’, later ‘The Shrubberies’, and now Beaumond House Community Hospice on London Road.

Later, it became the home of William Becher Tidd Pratt, who changed the name to the “The Shrubberies.”  “Rose Villa” is now “Beaumond House Community Hospice.” Next door, Joseph Branston, a wealthy maltster and local politician, had built “South View. There was still an uninterrupted view to Hawton Village, and beyond. When, in 1879 Zachariah and Sarah built “Woodville Villa” (No.36 London Road) next to “South View”, Joseph Branston’s widow was living there. Eventually, Emily Blagg, (the property developer who built the Palace Theatre), demolished “South View” to enable the development of Lime Grove. She built “The Lodge” at the end of Lime Grove, for herself.

 
 
 
The Lodge, built by Emily Blagg c.1920, at the entrance to Lime Grove (right)

The Lodge, built by Emily Blagg c.1920, at the entrance to Lime Grove (right)

In April 1874 when he was 51, Zachariah Wood bought a building plot on Beaumond Street, from John Cottam Bainbridge who was a Newark draper; a local politician and a land speculator. He paid £1,620-12 shillings for 7084 square yards. Plans for a proposed new villa on Beaumond Street for Mr. Z Wood, were approved in May 1879 and the house which he named “Woodville Villa” was built during that year.

 
The Woods moved to their new house that Autumn. Sadly, Zachariah died in the following April, aged 57. Five years later in June 1885, Sarah was evidently, short of money, and she mortgaged the house. She borrowed £390 from James Hole, a Newark brewer. Sarah died in January 1887. The loan was repaid, and the property passed to James Johnson , a publican at Orston, and to Thomas Brown, a ‘retired butcher of Newark on Trent.’
 
The records of the London Road Cemetery at Newark Town Hall, attribute the death of Zacharia, age 57, to “softening of the brain”, (dementia) and “paralysis.” He was interred at plot no. 6933 38D West and Sarah was interred at plot no. 8934 38D West. She died of “apoplexy”, (a stroke). Their magnificent, adjacent stone monuments are located on the right-hand side of  the main driveway.
 
When the “Woodville Villa” was built, there were cast-iron double gates at the road-side drive entrance, and cast-iron railings on top of the front boundary wall.  The Railings were removed at the beginning of the 1939-45 war, leaving fragments embedded in the coping stones.  At the end of the carriage drive, is a two-story carriage house with living accommodation upstairs. In the house, steps, beneath the opulent, triple-bends of the bannisters of the staircase leading to the bed-rooms, go down to the coal cellar and the (locked) wine cellar.
 
In the early 1880s, before the house had piped tap-water and a connection to the sewerage system, domestic sanitary arrangements were basic There is evidence in the cellar, of a lead pipe connecting to an underground, brick-built rain-water tank under the back yard, and on to the hand-pump in the kitchen.
 
Plans of the property, “Woodville Villa” were available for public inspection. Architect’s drawings show the locations behind the house, of a well, a privy and a cess pit. Immediately following Sarah’s death in 1887, Arthur J. Stokes, a grain and coal merchant, became the new owner and began extending the property. He built an unattractive extension, including an upstairs bathroom on the town side of the house. At the other end, he built a large, boiler-heated greenhouse with a cast-iron, coal-fired boiler and radiator pipes, This was probably intended for cultivation of ferns, which were popular at that time. There is a stone plaque above the front entrance, proudly proclaiming “FERNSIDE”.
 
 
The researcher and author of this article, Mr. Alan Rolfe BDS (Sheffield) is a retired dentist.  In 1959, he purchased the elegant house, no. 36, London Road, Newark to found a new dental practice.  At the time of writing – November 2015 – dentists are still practising at this address.