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METROSOGLOW, John

b. 1884 – d. 1910

John is something of a mystery. His first mention in the records is at aged 20, with no family connections. Indeed, he was the only person with this surname in the entire record collections [available today]. The full story of John’s life will probably never be known but from the records we do have, a picture emerges of the final sad years of that life.

1900s

[UPDATE] John first appears entering the Strand Union Bear Yard workhouse on 11th August 1904. He is discharged the following day to St. Giles Workhouse. These records tell us he is a Greek Shop Assistant, born in 1884.


John then appears on 2 May 1905 when he is again admitted to the Bear Yard receiving wards of the Strand Union Workhouse from St Martins in the Fields parish. [The record shows…] He was born in 1884, his occupation was a shop assistant in a tobacconists and his religion is stated as ‘Greek’. He is described as sick and temporarily disabled. The following day he is discharged to the London Sick Asylum which was in Cleveland Street, Marylebone and part of the Strand Union.

2nd May 1905, Admission to Strand Union Workhouse
3rd May 1905, Discharged to Cleveland St. London Sick Asylum
Admitted to Cleveland St. Sick Asylum 3-May – 12 Aug 1905

On 12 August 1905 he is discharged and admitted straight back to Bear Yard. The following day he is discharged to St Giles Workhouse.

Only six days later he is moved again to Cane Hill, Coulsdon. This was a relatively new institution opening in 1883 as the Third Surrey Pauper’s Lunatic Asylum but by 1905 was known as Cane Hill Asylum.

John was moved again on 25 June 1906 to what appears in the Lunacy Patients Admission Registers to be Derby.

Is ‘Derby’ correct or has there been a transcription error?

It seems even more unlikely given that John’s next and final move is on 20 November 1907 to Long Grove. His condition is given as ‘not improved’.

1910s

The record shows John was discharged from Long Grove on 4 August 1910, reason ‘DEAD’, at only 26 years of age. The cause of death was given as pulmonary tuberculosis and tuberculous enteritis. He was buried [edit: with the name METRASOGLOW] in Horton Cemetery on 9 August 1910.

Authors Comment

John Metrosoglow was almost certainly not born with that name. The information that he was Greek leads to the possibilities that his name ended ‘-oglou’, a common suffix in Greek names meaning ‘son of’. Could the first part be ‘Mitros’, a pet form of Demetrios? “Mitroglou” is a Greek surname. Was John his first name? Was he born in 1884? Was he born in the UK, so far no records of this can be found? Perhaps he was born in Greece? The only certainty is that he spent the last five years of his life being moved from one institution to another before settling at Long Grove.


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