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Publication Review
Elliott Downs Till 1835-1917: Friend and Benefactor of Eynsford (2006)
W.G.Duncombe
£3.00   A4 with card covers, 27 pages, 24 b&w illustrations, 3 colour prints

Born on the 30th October 1835 Elliott Downs Till was the eldest child of Joseph Till and Elizabeth Ann Downs. Where he was born is a little confusing as on three different censuses he gives Battersea, Wandsworth Road and Nine Elms as his place of birth, all in the same area south of the River Thames in London.

Little is known of his childhood: he had a brother named Joseph born in 1837 and a sister born in 1840. Sadly his mother died following the birth of Elizabeth Ann. He attended the City of London school from the spring of 1847 until the summer of 1849. At this time the family were living in Richmond. Joseph had joined Elliott at the school for the last year and both boys left at the same time aged 12 and 13.

In 1851 Elliott started work as a junior clerk for a firm of fruit importers and later for a firm of Welsh ironmongers, both companies in the City of London. In 1866 he started his own business of iron merchants in Lombard Street. His brother was also associated with this enterprise.

In 1881 the family - Elliott and his widowed father and unmarried brother and sister - were living in Sudbury. Later in 1881 aged 46 he married a Sophia Mary New, ten years his junior. On the 13th November 1882 Sophia died in childbirth - the child did not survive.

The exact date of Elliott's arrival in Eynsford is not known but in 1882 his father had taken a lease on The Priory, a property in Priory Lane where he lived until his death four years later. Both Elizabeth Ann and Elliott were living here in 1901 and it was here that they both died. Together with their father and brother Joseph they are buried in St. Martin's churchyard.

Having retired from his life in London when Elliott came to Eynsford he became involved in many local activities, all recorded in detail, and as the author writes 'his enthusiasm for his adoptive village is apparent from his own words "I am so deeply pledged to other schemes for the protection and improvements of Eynsford". As we shall see his ideas of improving Eynsford did not always appeal to the villagers'. Today without the 'care and attention' given by Elliott Downs Till many of the buildings in the village would not have survived.