The pram repair shop at no. 3 Bramcote Parade, on the corner of Bramcote Avenue and Cricket Green, was one of the workshop/shop locations for William Cottam’s business, Cottam Baby Carriages.
A postman on the Mitcham History Facebook Group said:
The pram shop was still going until the late 1990s as I used to deliver and collect from there. The owner had parcels to and from all over the world. There were only 2 such businesses in this country that repaired and renovated quality and antique prams. Sometimes I could not get the parcels through the door, it was so crowded with prams etc. The owner died around 2002 and the shop closed down… some of those prams cost a fortune then. I tried to get him to donate 4 wheels to the Mitcham Air Cadets for a box cart for a big parade and fun day at Brooklands, but he was talking £60 a wheel then in about 1998.
In the 1971 phone book, the shop in Bramcote Parade is listed with the Croydon address.
The business started in Croydon, as told in this article from 1961:
Croydon Times Friday, 17 February 1961 page 4
Success as an expert in a fast dying craft
Baby carriage dealer, Mr William Cottam, who has a shop in Lower Church Street, is a craftsman who has found success on the first day in trade a pram repairing.
Mr Cottam, who lives in Mitcham, realise the need for a good workmanship in a baby carriage repairing business when he left the Navy at the end of the last war. He bought the shop and found trade so great that you soon had to extend the building. he purchased the next-door premises but still no business was brought to him.
His good workmanship was appreciated by people throughout the district and within five years of starting his trade, he found that he needed a workshop and more manual help. So he opened a workshop in Mitcham Road, and employed three helpers.
Mr Cottam, who is 43, is married and has two children. Paul, aged 12, at present attends a Mitcham secondary school, but hopes to enter his father’s business as soon as possible. Linda is 15, but she wants to be a shorthand typist.
The success story of Mr Cottam – who was born and educated in Croydon – still continues, for he now has another shop, in Mitcham Lane, Streatham.
There are not many businessmen who can boast of an international trade after only 15 years in a profession, but this is the case with Mr Cottam, for orders for repairs have been received from South Africa and Egypt.
He explained, “in many countries prams cost so much that to throw them away after they become damaged is impracticable. In many cases the customer finds it cheaper to give the work to me than to buy a new one.
With each repair job I like to check and put the finishing touches, so I know each job is up to standard and will be appreciated by the customer.”
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