Robert Masters Chart

The Charter Mayor of Mitcham when it was incorporated as a borough. For biographical details, see Chart Family.

He wrote an article for the Daily Mirror, published on Charter Day, Wednesday 19th September 1934.


Scores Made on Mitcham Green Kept by Cutting Notches in Stick

By ROBERT MASTERS CHART, Charter Mayor of Mitcham

I never thought I should live to see the day when this village in which I was born, eighty-four years ago, would be exalted to the dignity of a borough, and I its first mayor.

Yet one ought not to feel surprise, for, village though we remained for centuries, we have always moved with the times. If times several centuries ago were slow moving, that was not our fault.

I can remember when the growing of medicinal herbs formed our principal industry — lavender, peppermint, camomile, poisonous cucumbers and liquorice, to name a few. Now we specialise in varnish, paint, chocolate and fireworks.

That’s modern enough by all standards, and they are only a few of our activities in the seventy factories within our boundaries.


Henry Hoare, the Fleet-street banker and financial power, was the big man of Mitcham when my great-grandfather settled here in 1760, and it was Hoare who instructed my great grandfather to build the parish church.

My great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father all held the office of clerk to the parish council. I was vestry clerk from 1886 to 1915, when the urban district was formed. And now my son, Lieutenant-Colonel Stephen Chart, D.S.O., is the charter clerk of the borough of Mitcham.

I should be hiding the truth If I did not say boldly, this Wednesday is a very proud day for me. For fifty-two years I have held public offices in Mitcham, and although I want to see a younger man take my place as Mayor In November, I shall, during my short term of office do all in my power to maintain the traditions of which all Mitcham people are justly proud.

FROM 5,000 TO 60,000

When I helped in 1871 in taking the census of Mitcham the Population was only 5,079, or 579 more than it was sixty years before. But in the last sixty years it has increased to over 60,000, good citizens all.

There have been numerous other changes, as we have moved with the times, but there is one unchangeable feature of Mitcham which sportsmen all over the world would be sorry to see change. I refer to our immortal Green, a cradle of cricket.

This was where the original Australian Test team used to practice, and here, in 1730, there was “a great match between the Gentlemen of London and those of Mecham,” whose scores were kept by cutting notches in a stick.

New that we have achieved the status of a borough, an honour our people well deserve, I am confident that Mitcham will advance to further prosperity and happiness. It is an occasion for rejoicing, and I want to see all our townsfolk sharing in the celebrations. They will be very heartily welcomed.

I hope they will come and share with me the pride and pleasure that is our joint privilege.

Merton Memories Photos

1882 volunteer fireman
1911 Coronation

Charter Day

with Lord Lieutenant of Surrey

With Sir Isaac Wilson

As Mayor

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