George Alfred Cheeseman
DescriptionA native of Wokingham George was the younger of the two sons of James (1845-1927) and Sarah Ann Cheeseman of 19, Langborough Road. James was chief lay preacher and chief deacon of Wokingham Baptist Church. He was also well-known as a speaker in the Order of Good Templars. George’s brother, William James (1865-1928), became a member of Wokingham Town Council. He died at the age of 63 after a long illness.
George left Wokingham in 1895 to join the Metropolitan Police Force in which he served for twenty-five years. After his retirement he returned to Wokingham to serve his home town. In 1890 he married his first cousin, May Langley (1865-1906) by whom he had three children: George (1891-1954); Florence May (1895-1923) and Daisy May (1899-1915). A year after May’s death George married Anne May Beagle who served as Mayoress during her husband’s mayorality. They had a daughter, Ivy May (1910-1916).
Although he served on almost all council committees, housing and public health were his main concerns. A very outspoken person, George was champion of the cause of the less affluent, whose conditions he continuously endeavoured to improve. He was instrumental in preventing increases in allotment rents, as most of the allotment holders were unemployed. When the allotment land was appropriated to accommodate a sewerage plant in 1930, he solved the problem by selling some of his land in Gipsy Lane to the council for £150 to be used for allotments. He also rented some of his property and was regarded as being a kind landlord
In addition to his civic duties, George served as president and treasurer of the Wokingham Liberal Association of which his father was a founder member. He was also served on the Committee of The Wokingham Ratepayers’ Association.
George died suddenly on Friday 16th January 1948 at his home, ‘The Nest’, in Gipsy Lane. Two railway employees saw him collapse in his garden and ran to his aid but nothing could be done. His funeral service was conducted at the Baptist Church in Milton Road after which he was buried in All Saints’ Churchyard. Cheeseman Close, off Crutchley Road, was named in his memory.
After George’s death his son George, who had become a head teacher of a school in Grantham, Lincolnshire, presented the Town Council with a set of Alderman’s robes.
SourceFormer Mayors of Wokingham from 1885 - 1946, by J Bell.
“George Alfred Cheeseman,” Wokingham's Virtual Museum, accessed September 25, 2020, https://wokingham-tc.gov.uk/museum/document/WTH0151.