Researching Berkhamsted’s history in Victorian times and into the early years of the twentieth century one could identify several local citizens who from humble beginnings made their mark, prospered and even became wealthy. One such was Joseph North. The road bearing his name has nothing to do with its geographical location, rising as it does rather confusedly up the steep hillside on the south west side of the town. Both John Sills and David Pike made money in their later years dealing in the sale of land and building houses. Neither could be said to be worthy of the additional accolade of ‘as rich as Croesus’, a title that was bestowed on Joseph North.
Joseph North was indeed a very wealthy man, but was he ever given the appellation “as rich as Croesus”? A little booklet of cartoons and comic verses refers to many individuals including Joseph North. Joseph’s portrait with accompanying text is, “Joe North, the Berkhamstead (sic) Croesus. He nearly owns the town. Why don’t he build a nice new Church, and pull the old show down?”
Joseph North is buried in a simple grave in Rectory Lane Cemetery together with his first wife Charlotte and Charles Edward Seagrave and his wife Charlotte.
Jennifer Sherwood, Chronicle v.XVI (Mar 2019).