NOTES BY: Jan O’Brien





I was looking at the Summerhill Road website and was looking at the census returns for no 23 where I lived for 34 years. I was intrigued to see that an artist in water colours called Meadows lived there in 1891. I did a search and found the Meadows Family Tree address and a wealth of other information. Prior to 1901 the houses in Summerhill Road were known by house name rather than number and number 23 was then known as 1 Sydenham Villas. The following is an extract from the 1891 Census that shows the entry for Arthur Joseph Meadows.





The first time the house appeared on the Census reports was 1861 which suggests the property had originally been built in the mid 1850’s. Summerhill Road was known as being a ‘Sample Street’ as no more than 4 houses were of the same architectural style.

Following the arrival of the Northern & Eastern railway in 1840, the locality around ‘Summerhill Road’ was one of the earliest new housing developments in Tottenham. The improved communications and transport links to London meant that Merchants and Businessmen could now move with their family’s to what was then a very rural location. These were professional people seeking a higher standard of housing outside of central London which could also accommodate their live-in servants.

This is best illustrated by the following list that shows a cross section of families who have lived in the house over the past 150+ years.  Arthur Joseph Meadows was resident in 1891 with his wife Laura along with four daughters and three sons. The house was a large three story structure that could easily accommodate this number of people.


 No 1
1861 Lewis 6 (1 Servant) Carpet Warehouseman
1871 Hall 4 Reired Ships Broker
1881 Allen 6 (1 Servant) Cashier -Dining Rooms
1891 Meadows 9 Artist in water colours
1901 Coleman 3 Widow Note: A Charles Dickens also resident but not the Charles Dickens
1911 Coleman 3 (1 Servant  1 Visitor) Widow-Private means
1926 Elec Roll Coleman 3 Emma Mercer and Hepzebah Thomas
1939 REGISTER Creask 8 Charles Creask Builder - elderly parents Fredk and Fanny Creask
1953 Coronation Barnes (William) 8 Includes Mary Ovens and Lilian Smith
1963 Elec Roll Barnes 5 Elizabeth Barnes & Lilian Smith
  O'Brien   Jan resident for 34 years


Arthur Meadows

The following has been reproduced from the ‘Meadows Family Tree’ with permission of Alan Hart

Arthur Joseph Meadows was born in Mile End in the East End of London in 1843. The youngest child, he lived with his parents until his father's death in 1863. He then continued to live in the neighbouring streets off Bow Road in close proximity to his mother and his sister Ann and her family, until 1868.

One interesting vignette of the young Arthur that has survived was as a member of a Mile End amateur dramatic society, 'The Pickwick Histrionic Club', which appeared at the Beaumont Institution in Beaumont Square (where the Meadows family lived at the time). Arthur appeared in a drama called, 'All that glitters is not gold', and the critic of 'The Players' Magazine noted in his review of the evening that, "Mr A.J.Meadows as Lady Leatherbridge was also exceedingly good", perhaps showing some of his father's and grandfather's dramatic talent.

Arthur Meadows married Laura Louise Harrison (born c.1844) at Islington Parish Church in 1864. Arthur and Laura had ten children, of whom three were born in Bow. The seven younger children were all born in Dover, where the family lived from 1869 until the 1880s, firstly at Charlton House, and later in Eastbrook Terrace. James Meadows trained his son Arthur as an artist, and Arthur was apparently determined to pass on the family tradition and talent: in the 1881 census, the entry for each of his three eldest children, including Gordon Arthur Meadows, was "scholar and art pupil".

 By 1891, the family had returned to London, and was living in Summerhill Road in Tottenham. At the time of the 1901 census, the family had moved once again, to Portland Road in Notting Hill. Arthur Meadows died here in 1907. After Arthur's death, Laura is recorded in the 1911 census living with her daughters in Addison Road, Notting Hill, "letting apartments". In 1916 Laura lived in St John's Road in Golders Green.

Whilst Arthur Meadows very firmly followed the family tradition as an artist, he differed from his elder brothers by concentrating almost exclusively on marine painting. Unlike his brothers James Edward and Edwin, he does not appear to have drawn inspiration from the Essex countryside, but from the south coast of England where he lived for many years, the Dutch ports, and from the coasts and rivers of France and Italy, including the canals of Venice. The choice of continental subjects resulted in bright, sunny, colourful paintings which earned him great success in his own lifetime, and have ensured an enduring reputation after his death as the most successful Meadows artists. Arthur Meadows exhibited at the Royal Academy in London for the first time in 1863, and subsequently his works were exhibited at the Royal Hibernian Academy of Arts in Dublin, and at the British Institute and the Suffolk Street gallery of the Society of British Artists in London. An example of his work is in the collections of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

For more information on the Meadows family then refer to the following link:



Arthur Joseph Meadows was a painter of coastal scenes and marines who was greatly influenced by Clarkson Stanfield. Arthur Joseph is generally considered to be the best of the Meadows family of marine artists, he was the younger brother of James Edwin Meadows Jnr. and the son of James Meadows Snr.

His work compares favourably with most of the major nineteenth century maritime painters producing seas, which look as if they might be subject to all the vagaries of the tidal forces. He had the ability to convey the depth and immensity of the ocean. His shoreline scenes with beached boats lying close to the waters edge, while fishermen unload their catch, were also very effectively executed.

There follows a small selection of his many painting that illustrate what a fine artist he was.


Estuary Scene with Women Unloading Barge - A J Meadows

Fishing vessels in Rough Weather 1874 - A J Meadows

Off Whitby - A J Meadows


Smacks making Dover Harbour 1835  A J Meadows

St Margaret’s Bay - Dover - A J Meadows



Country Scenes with Cottage - A J Meadows

Venice 1903 - A J Meadows


Article prepared Dec 2019 Alan Swain

Research Notes by Jan O’Brien