Henry Copeland appears to have been the first in his family to have moved away from Lincolnshire where he had been born in 1842. According to his grandson Henry "Rob" Copeland, a keen amateur local historian in Beckenham, and writing in the late 1960s...
"...my grandfather HENRY COPELAND came to Beckenham from Sleaford, Lincolnshire, where his father was a Butcher, at the age of 20. He obtained work as a carpenter with a firm of builders, Harris and Hooker, in Wickham Road, predecessors of George Green (Beckenham) Ltd."
William Copeland was Henry's older brother born in 1840. He emigrated to Oregon where he died in 1911
Rob Copeland continued:
"In 1865 Henry Copeland married ELIZA PROCTOR, the daughter of a Sleaford stonemason. Their first home was a cottage next to the forge in Chancery Lane adjoining, where my father TOM COPELAND was born in 1869.
In 1874 my grandfather started the business of Builder and Undertaker in the High Street at what was then No. 106, the present site of Robertson's. In 1885 the business moved to No.1 The Pavement, Oakhill, the corner shop of a new block built in 1882, now known as Bromley Road"
In other notes made by Rob Copeland, now deposited at Bromley Local Studies Library, he wrote:
"Between 1890 and 1910 he built many high class houses, chiefly in Wickham Road and Court Downs Road."
Henry Copeland as a younger man (right).
The original of photo was in the office of Copeland's undertakers business in Beckenham and shown to me by H Rob Copeland in 1986. It is not known what became of the original since the sale of the business.
Henry Copeland and family on the roof of 9 Bromley Road, Beckenham - about 1900
Henry, Eliza and their children have their names in capitals. Their spouses and children do not.
Back row, left to right: Fanny (wife of Tom, below her) Edmund Eyden, his wife HARRIET, WILLIAM H P, GERTIE, LIZZIE (wife of George Parker), Edgar Gatton.
Front row : TOM (daughter Gertrude Olive on knee), HENRY, ELIZA, George Parker (daughter Vera on knee), EDITH (wife of Edgar behind her).
Child front left: Mary (sister of Gertrude) Child front right: Doris (sister of Vera)
The frontispiece to Henry and Eliza Copeland's family Bible
Builders and Undertakers
Photocopied by H Rob Copeland, this is an entry from a Trade Directory of 1892 / 1893. I have not so far traced the original
The extract below is from the Bromley District Times of May 1894 and shows that Henry ran into trouble as a result of his building methods at least on this one occasion.
(The original is a poor scan)
Henry's obituary, published in a local 'paper * makes it clear that he was an upright member of the local community and of the church. Seemingly the writer believed that Henry had reached a good age (he was 79 when he died on 20th October 1921) because of the number of "grey headed friends" who attended his funeral
The full obituary can be read here
*The original cutting of this obituary is in Rob Copeland's papers at Bromley Library, but he was not in the habit of noting the name of the publication or even the date.
The Copelands, and other local businesses, advertise (date about 1900)
An invoice for and detail of the services provided for a funeral, 1926