ATKINSON, Henry William 1752-1834. Moneyer. Of those who made Dulwich their home in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, none made his fortune quite so literally as did Henry William Atkinson, who lived at ‘Ryecotes’ on Dulwich Common (demolished 1966, now the site of Ryecotes Mead) from 1783 to 1798. The Company of Moneyers was responsible, until the Royal Mint was ‘nationalised’ in the 1840s, for the manufacture of the nation’s coinage. In Henry William the two dynasties which dominated the Company, those of Atkinson and Vander Esch (his mother’s family) were combined. He entered the Mint as an apprentice in 1770, and in 1777 was elected a Fellow of the Company.

On his marriage Atkinson moved to Dulwich, taking a lease of two recently-built brick houses (one of which he sub-let) on the north side of the Common, with an adjoining 3-acre pasture. From 1786 another 4-acre meadow was added to this. He and his wife Susanna raised a large family at Ryecotes, several of whom were themselves later to achieve eminence. After leaving Dulwich, Atkinson took up lodgings in the Mint itself, becoming Provost of the Moneyers and dying in 1834. He is buried in the Dulwich Burial Ground in the Vander Esch/Atkinson vault which is still visible on the Village side.

Patrick Darby