From an article in The Tatler, entitled Dining Out
when my clutch suddenly failed completely on the slope of the Blue House Bridge Croydon Road, Mitcham, I was within one hundred and fifty yards of the Ravensbury Arms.
I must have passed it a thousand times in my life, but as it has always been so close to the start of a journey, south or south-east, I had never given it a thought.
There I found John Dawson and his wife, Stella, and announced my plight. In a couple of seconds they had summoned two bar staff and two of their customers. Between them they pushed me from the bridge, round the roundabout, and into the space in front of their pub.
The Dawsons, I discovered, have built up a great reputation for their cuisine, John Dawson having be come by sheer enthusiasm a sort of self-taught maitre chef, and nothing goes out of the kitchen unless it has his blessing. The menu for this type of pub is remarkable and includes such things as scampi at 7s. 6d., caviare at 12s. 6d., and asparagus 5s. There is a choice of six omelets (including Spanish); a considerable cold buffet, a large range of grills (including a porterhouse steak garni for 12s. 6d.), and so on.
There are red and white wines at 2s. per glass and a short, simple, but quite adequate wine list – Burgundies from 14s. per bottle, Bordeaux from 12s. 6d.
When John and Stella Dawson took over the Ravensbury in 1952 they were possibly the youngest innkeepers in the country, being 24 and 22 years old respectively. John learnt his pub-keeping from his wife’s father, a great cricketing enthusiast, “Burn” Bullock, who played for the Surrey Seconds in the early ‘twenties and then turned professional. Later he took the King’s Head which looks out over the famous cricket green at Mitcham. This is now being run by his widow, Mrs. Lillian Bullock.
Source: The Tatler – Wednesday 12 November 1958 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)