Alfred Smee (1818-1877)

The Late Alfred Smee, from the Gardeners’ Chronicle, 1877 (Wkipedia)

The Late Alfred Smee, from the Gardeners’ Chronicle, 1877 (Wkipedia)

A chemist, surgeon and an enthusiastic amateur gardener and horticulturalist who wrote a book about his garden in My Garden (1872). He describes the planting of the garden at “The Grange” in Wallington on the banks of the River Wandle as well as the natural history and archaeology of the area.  Fragments of Alfred Smee’s ornamental garden and some trees survive in Beddington Park. In his book Smee describes in some detail the damage done by pests and parasites as well as untreated effluent from a local sewerage works.

Garden Plan from Alfred Smee's book <em>My Garden</em>

Garden Plan from Alfred Smee’s book My Garden

The cover of Alfred Smee's book My Garden

The cover of Alfred Smee’s book:
My Garden

Copies of Alfred Smee’s book, My garden : its plan and culture, are held in the Surrey History Centre’s local studies collection, click here to see the library catalogue entry.

Two other books by Alfred Smee are available in the Surrey History Centre reference collection. Details can be found on the Surrey Library Catalogue by following these links:

Instinct and Reason : deduced from Electro-biology.

A copy of a published collection of Smee’s scientific papers and letters.

Read more about Alfred Smee on Wikipedia

Dictionary of National Biography entry for Alfred Smee

4 thoughts on “Alfred Smee (1818-1877)”

  1. Tony Price says:

    The Carshalton & Sutton History and Archaeology Society commence their 2016 Archaeological Dig on 1st August. The excavation is going to be on the site of Alfred Smee’s fernery house at The Grange. It is part of the Beddington Park HLF project and the main aim is to understand the structure to see if it can be better interpreted. (See

  2. mike guilfoyle says:

    Fascinating article – do you know if AS is related to the Smee family whose grave is in Brockley & Ladywell cemeteries – below are names on memorial inscription.


    Cecil Harold SMEE d1895 78
    Alfred Charles SMEE d1915 54
    Ada SMEE

    1. Pete Smee says:

      I think you will find Cecil Harold was a long way off 78, more likely 18 months (born 10 Dec 1893)

      Alfred Charles Smee was my Great Grandfather, he married Ada Nicholls 10 Sep 1884.

      Our “Clan” goes back to the Clacton, Essex area in the 1750’s but the earlier Church records were lost to the Sea when the Church (and Village) at Walton-le-Soken was lost in a storm and now lies several Miles off the coast from the Victorian replacement location of Walton-on-the-Naze

      Alfred Smee’s “clan” at that time were still around the Sudbury, Suffolk area. Alfred’s great Grandfather moved his family down to London and the next 3 generations worked for the Bank of England with Alfred’s Father becoming Chief Accountant in 1831.

      The question as if the families are blood related has not been solved as there are far too many “indirect” connections for current DNA techniques to be conclusive over 9 generations.

  3. John Cummins says:

    My Great Grandfather Alfred Cummins won a medal for presenting 60 types of apple at The Grange. Information has been provided by the RHS librarian. He was the gardener at the time.

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