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Heads Greengrocers Ancestry


A Beasley's Brewery dray, just left the brewery, heading down Lakedale Road going past 'Heads' the Greengrocer's.

The Head family was very widespread in Plumstead, Woolwich, Erith and Abbey Wood, stemming from the ‘immigration’ of John Headd, a gunner from Southampton who, after serving in the Napoleonic Wars in the Caribbean, ended up in Woolwich Barracks. He was discharged through ill-health, after a distinguished service, and lived in the Sprays Buildings, Plumstead.

He married Sophia Smith in 1802 at St Nicholas's Church. They had many children, not all of which are traced down the line, but their son, Stephen married Margaret Wilkie in 1844 at St Nicholas. They all lived in Maxey Road . They also had lots of children, my Great Grandfather being one of them — Matthew Charles Head, He married Esther Gilbert. They lived at 79 Plumstead Road. (Esther's father was a Greengrocer) Many siblings had jobs in Woolwich Arsenal or in engineering.

My Grandfather married a girl up from 'real' Kent — Charing — called Ellen May Coppins. I am not certain, but I have an idea that my grandfather got into Greengrocery through his Grandfather George Gilbert. George Gilbert was married to Esther Kitt and they lived in Erith. Esther Kitt was related to the Kett family of Wymondham, Norfolk, and to Robert Kett of Kett's Rebellion in 1549. My Grandfather eventually owned 3 shops — Plumstead Road, Lakedale Road and Welling High Street.

I never have lived in or near Plumstead but my sister lives in Roydene Road. Other surviving family members live locally but I am long since out of touch, living in Lancashire.

My father seemed to have got rid of much of the past memorabilia as he got older — he died in 2001. If anybody has any stories, connections, photos, etc. I should love to hear. Please email me

Mark Head

This is my Great Grandfather, Matthew Charles Head, who was born in 1856 and lived at 19 Maxey Road, Plumstead, until he married Esther Gilbert. The marriage was at St James, Plumstead on Boxing Day 1881. They lived at 79, Plumstead Road.


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