150 year old Cottage

7th May 1956

The 150 year old stone cottage from which Singlegate, Colliers Wood, acquired its name, is still standing. It is on the site of Walter Mays Ltd., the cork specialists in Byegrove Road. The cottage was built in 1803, when the Surrey Iron Railway was started. The railway ran from Ram Field, in Wandsworth, to Croydon. It ran through Summerstown, and crossed Colliers Wood High Street diagonally at Cavendish Road, and a single gate was put across the railway at the junction with the street.

The gate-keeper lived in the single-storey cottage, which is believed to be built with grey flint-stones from the ruins of Merton Priory. The roof of the building collapsed after the railway ceased to be used in 1838, but it was repaired in 1900. This roof lasted until three years ago. The cottage was originally called the stone cottage, and the whole of Colliers Wood was known to local inhabitants as Singlegate, even until the turn of the century.

Although the line was described at the time of building as a “ vast and important concern ” it was not successful. The wagons, which carried goods only, were drawn by horse or mule; the introduction of the steam engine, however, rendered it obsolete. The London and South Western Railway Company bought it in 1844 and later sold it to the London and Brighton Railway Co. In 1846 the railway was finally abandoned.

Source: Mitcham Advertiser, Thursday, 7th May 1956

1 thought on “150 year old Cottage

  1. forumitecommentator

    This poorly researched article from the Mitcham Advertiser, Thursday, 7th May 1956 is full of inaccuracies.

    Singlegate, Colliers Wood, did not acquire its name from the Stone Cottage. The name came from the nearby Toll House which stood on the corner of Christchurch Road. The Toll House was eventually demolished to make way for the Fire Station, and Colliers Wood Underground Station now occupies the site. Unlike the much-photographed double-gated Toll House at South Wimbledon, which marked the other end of the Turnpike Road, it was a humble affair with but one single gate.

    There was indeed a gate connected to Stone Cottage where the Surrey Iron Railway crossed the High Street, but the line did not cross at Cavendish Road, as the article states. It crossed diagonally to what is now the junction of Valley Gardens. The Track then passed behind where the Underground Station and retail units now are and followed the straight route of the A24 on Christchurch Road.

    The collapsed roof was repaired well before 1900 as William De Morgan used Stone Cottage as an office for his pottery works in the 1880s. Walter Mays Cork Factory eventually took over the site and the cottage remained until the factory closed in the 1950s. The exit of Tesco Express petrol station marks where Stone Cottage stood. It was still standing when I was a boy and I remember it fondly.

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