William Page was born on 24 December 1810, the son of Maurice Page, a fishmonger of Middle Row, Croydon. He worked with and eventually took over from his father, and moved the business to premises at 14 High Street. He was suceeded in turn by his own son, William Robert Page, before the business was sold in about 1883. William Page died on 15 February 1892, at the age of 82, leaving two sons and two daughters.
In later life, Page became a well-known member of local society, and chairman of the Old Croydon Tradesmens Society. He was particularly known for his longstanding memories of the town. In 1880, he wrote down some of his recollections in the present manuscript. When he died in 1892, it was suggested that he must have mislaid these [notes], for, to our knowledge, no one has ever seen them [Croydon Advertiser, 20 Feb 1892]. They were apparently rediscovered soon afterwards, however, and in July 1893 were bound as a vellum-covered volume, at the expense of the grateful recipient of his kindness (possibly John Ollis Pelton). In 1921, the manuscript was in the possession of Pages son, William Robert Page, who lent it to FW Moore (chairman of Croydon Public Libraries Committee) for copying. William Robert Page died in January 1938, and it may then have passed to his friend and executor, John Ollis Pelton, who, in turn, died in December. The manuscript was recieved by Croydon Library in February 1939.
Page was consulted by Jesse Ward when he was compiling Croydon in the Past (1883); and by John Ollis Pelton when writing Relics of Old Croydon (1891). This manuscript was transcribed by FW Moore in 1921: he incorporated the bulk of the text, in sections, into his collation of the antiquarian notebooks of CW Johnson ( now in Croydon Archives Service)