What happens next? The search for Octavie Cripps

I don’t think I’ve yet posted an update on my blog about not finding out something, however after so much research and no leads, I feel I should write about what I have done so far to try and track down the location of where my great great grandmother was either buried or possibly cremated. 

My Belgian-born great great grandmother, Octavie Marie Mabille, was born in Binche, a small town in Belgium, in 1860. She spent most of her life in London and the last years in Carshalton where she lived with her son, Arthur William Cripps, who ran a newsagent on Wrythe Green.

Recollecting her childhood, my cousin and granddaughter of Octavie, Muriel Fulford, remembers that she wore a little white bonnet and that she was bed bound. She had a live-in nurse named Miss Pudney (apparently a relation of the poet John Pudney) who cared for her.

Octavie died on 28 December, 1940 in Carshalton. Unfortunately, the location of her burial has become something of a mystery and after contacting numerous cemeteries, I am still none the wiser as to where she is buried.

I’ve contacted Amanda Cove of Merton Council’s cemetery office who was able to confirm that Octavie was not buried within any of their cemeteries.

  • Church Road Cemetery in Mitcham
  • Gap Road Cemetery in Wimbledon
  • London Road Cemetery in Mitcham
  • Merton & Sutton Joint Cemetery in Morden

Dammie Rutter of Sutton Council also confirmed that there was no record of Octavie in any of the following cemeteries:

  • Cuddington Cemetery in Worcester Park
  • Sutton Cemetery in Sutton

I then contacted Chris Micallef of Croydon Council who searched for Octavie within their crematorium and cemetery and again no trace of Octavie.

  • Queens Road Cemetery in Croydon
  • Mitcham Road Cemetery (also known as Croydon Cemetery)
  • Greenlawns Cemetery in Warlingham

Although Octavie died in Carshalton, I felt there might be a possibility of her burial taking place at Nunhead Cemetery as her husband, Arthur Robert Cripps, was buried there in 1911. I visited Southwark Council’s cemetery offices once again in Camberwell New Cemetery this week. There I looked in the record books for Camberwell Old Cemetery, Camberwell New Cemetery, Nunhead Cemetery and Honor Oak Crematorium. The crematorium at Honor Oak was one of the earliest to open in the area and looking through the record books I noticed the catchment area for their cremations stretched throughout south London and the southern counties. But after over an hour of searching, I came away only with more cemeteries to add to the ever-growing list of places I know she isn’t buried at.

I don’t believe Octavie would have been buried in Belgium or France as this would have been very difficult (if not impossible) to do during the War.

I’m waiting for a response from Brookwood Cemetery in Woking, which although quite a distance away, was set up for the purpose of relieving London’s cemeteries and churchyards of thousands of burials.
Edit (22/11): I received a reply from Brookwood, informing me that they have no record of Octavie Cripps being buried there.

The next step for me is to write letters to several local Catholic parishes in the area that might either have some sort of record of Octavie, or just knowledge of a Catholic churchyard or cemetery which deceased members of the local congregation would have been likely been buried in.

I hope over time that I am able to solve this mystery. If you can think of anything I have missed that might hold a clue to finding her, please get in touch by leaving a comment in the field below.

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