Sydney Gaston

1937 mayor of Mitcham, full name Sydney Leonard Gaston.

Born 1882, died 18th March 1945. His wife, Constance Edith Gaston, died 22nd September, 1958, aged 74.

His son John Sydney Gaston, died 30th July 1943, aged 21. He was a pilot with the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, 102 Squadron. He is buried in Hamburg cemetery in Germany. Source: Commonwealth War Grave Commission.

In 1920 he was the first editor of the by the North Mitcham Improvement Association magazine The Sentinel. The May 1949 issue said about him that

He was a man of letters, a musician, an elecutionist and amateur actor, a gardener and a cook. His speciality as a cook was making cakes. He was a wise councillor and an orator. He became chairman of the U.D.C. and Mayor of the Borough, a County Councillor and Chairman of the Bench of Magistrates. No one went to 61 Melrose Avenue or, later 2 Garden Avenue for advice, on any subject under the sun, without being helped and impressed by his knowledge. Truly a guide, counsellor and friend.

To buy number 2 Garden Avenue, he borrowed £600 from the Mitcham Urban District Council in 1924 which provide loans under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, 1899. R.M. Chart had valued the property at £810. Source: page 705, Volume IX, UDC Minutes, Finance and General Purposes Committee, 15th April, 1924.

Sydney Gaston became chairman of the Mitcham Magistrates in 1939 when Sir Isaac Wilson resigned from the position. Source : Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Friday 27 October 1939


Ald. Gaston The New Chairman

Sir Isaac H, Wilson, of The Birches, Mitcham Green, has retired from the position of chairman of the Mitcham magistrates, which he has held for several years.

The announcement was made by Alderman A. Mizen, the senior magistrate, at the opening of the Court in Mitcham Town Hall on Monday morning. The other magistrates present were Alderman S. L. Gaston, who has been chosen by his fellow magistrates to succeed Sir Isaac, Alderman J. Fitch, Mr. Harry Mount and Mrs. Ransom. Alderman Mizen said Sir Isaac resigned the chairmanship and also the deputy chairmanship at Croydon, at a meeting of the Bench on Friday. Alderman Gaston had been appointed to succeed him in both positions.

I congratulate my colleague on the honour that has come to him.” the alderman added. and we all feel sure that the business of the court will be conducted faithfully and well, as in the past, under his chairmanship.”

Mr. Ingle, Deputy Clerk, associated Mr. N. C. Gillett. the Clerk, and himself with what Alderman Mizen had said. While they regretted the loss of Sir Isaac Wilson they welcomed Alderman Gaston. Both had been members of the Bench for many years.

Mr. J. S. Stevens spoke similarly for the legal profession.

Alderman Gaston said they all regretted that Sir Isaac Wilson had found it necessary, through the passing of time, to give way to younger man. His shoes would be difficult to fill, but he (Alderman Gaston) would do his best.

Alderman Gaston then took the chair, Sir Isaac Wilson, who was not present, has not resigned his position as a magistrate. He is over seventy years of age.

Merton Memories Photos

1938 crowning the May Queen
1938 presenting medal to fireman
1939 with wife

The Sentinel magazines by the North Mitcham Improvement Association are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

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