Author Archives: Wade

1879 : Beating the Bounds

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 31 May 1879, via the British Newspaper Archive

PERAMBULATION OF THE PARISH OF MITCHAM.

On Ascension Day, May 22nd, and the day following, was witnessed in the parish of Mitcham the now almost obsolete practice of “Beating the bounds of the parish,” which had not taken place since 1835, although a dispute as to boundary occurred in 1847 which was settled by the now fashionable means of arbitration. The arrangements having been kept somewhat secretly, prevented the assembling of so large a concourse of people as might have been expected, the weather being on the first day all that could be desired. We understand that there bad not been a general invitation to the parishioners to attend, but it extended only to the clergy and parish officers. But before giving any further details of the day’s proceedings it may interest many of our readers to give a short account of perambulations in general, and that of Mitcham in particular.

It is stated in Shaw’s Guide to parish law, published upwards of century ago, that “The boundaries of parishes being now settled by custom care is and ought to be taken to preserve them by annual perambulations, which should be kept up at the usual time, and the boundaries of the parishes so carefully viewed and settled in them as to leave no room for any doubt or contest about them. In the times of Popery these perambulations were performed in the nature of processions, with banners, handbells, lights, staying at crosses, &c., and therefore, though such processions were forbidden by the injunctions of Queen Elizabeth, yet by the same injunctions, the useful and innocent parts of perambulations were and are still retained.”

The earliest account that we can find of a perambulation of the parish of Mitcham is obtained from the oldest volume of Churchwardens’ accounts, which covers a period from 1653 to 1680, for in the accounts for the year 1662, the following item occurs: —“ Pd for our dinner and the boyes att our perambulatinge 7s. 2d.” Whether the boys underwent the bumping and whipping generally understood to take place upon those occasions, to indelibly impress the doubtful and difficult parts of the boundary in the juvenile mind, is not here stated, but in the year 1663 is this entry, “Expended on those who went perambulatinge in the Rogation weeke for victualls and drinke the sum of £1 0s. 4d.” and again under date 1670, “ Expended at the perambulacon on those that went ye bounds of ye Pish, £3 2s. 2d.” In the year 1673 the the description of the fare provided upon these occasions is more fully expressed thus for meat, drinke, and cheese, for those that went the perambulation.” No further mention is found of the matter until 1678, when “Expended at the perambulacon on Holy Thursday £3 0s. 0d. for horse hyre that day, 1s.” These items distinctly prove that perambulations of the parish were much more frequent in the 17th than 19th century. Passing over a few years we find that these gatherings did not always pass off quietly as could be wished, as is shown by the following extract from the minutes of a vestry held 20th June, 1731 :- “It is the opinion or the parishioners now in vestry assembled that the churchwardens, against whom actions are brought by William Farrer, Esq., Henry Downs, clerk, Thomas Green and Osmond King, For going in their perambulations on Ascension Day last thro’ a place called the new grounds formerly taken out of Mitcham Heath, ought to bee indemnified by the parish from all costs and charges that shall arise concerning the same.” The foregoing is followed by resolution passed at a vestry held on Sunday, 27th of same month, that “It is the oppinion of the parishioners that Mr. Peter’s be employed to make a case concerning the perambulatious, &c.” The bounds were also ordered to be walked in 1771 and 1772. With the following two entries from the churchwardens’ accounts we shall close our notice of the ancient perambulations of the parish:- “3 May, 1733, Paid for the dinner, wine, bread, beer, cheese, &c., when Mr. Hatsell and the churchwardens, with a great number of the other inhabitants of Mitcham, went the whole perambulation of the parish of Mitcham, £6 19s. 5d.” The Mr. Hatsell here mentioned was the Rev. William Hatsell, eldest son of Sir Henry Hatsell, Baron of the Exchequer. He was instituted vicar of Mitcham 13th July, 1724, and resigned 13th January, 1733-4. “23 May, 1724, To the Wid Boddison was due to her late husband for drink at the perambulation 3 May, 1733, and left unpaid, 10s. 6d. Paid for the dinner, wine, bread, beer, cheese, &c., when the churchwardens, and great number of the parishioners of Mitcham went again the perambulation on the south side of the parish, taking in all Mitcham Common as usual, together with the 80 acres called new grounds, antiently taken out of Mitcham Heath, £6 10s. 0d.”

The place of rendezvous selected on Thursday was the Goat Inn, situated about half-a-mile from Mitcham Junction, and punctually at eight a.m. the perambulation was commenced. Amongst the company present were the following:- Rev. D. F. Wilson, M. A., vicar, Rev. H. G. Dod, curate, Mr. Churchwarden Nobes, who bore his wand of office, the three overseers, viz., Messrs. W. R. Harwood (who carried a staff inscribed Mitcham Parish,” apparently a relict of long defunct bumbledom), S. Love, and J. Lewis. A few other parishioners and friends joined later on.

The arrangements for the day were principally under the direction of Messrs. E. and R. M. Chart, the latter of whom carried a ribbon map of the boundaries, upwards of 25 feet in length. The proverbial “boys,” six in number, especially told off for the duty, beat the various boundary posts and streams of water, &c., with willow wands. The “State” was represented by two policemen, who apparently enjoyed this somewhat novel form of duty.

Starting from the Goat Inn the party followed the river, leaving McRae’s tannery on the left, a man provided with waterman’s boots defining the boundary down the stream, but it was found advisable to take a punt where the water was particularly deep and muddy. Searl’s and Ashby’s mills were passed in due course, and the various boundary posts having been beaten by the boys after the Vicar had pronounced, whilst the perambulators stood bare-headed, “ Cursed be that removeth his neighbour’s land mark.” Entering the grounds of the late Mr. G. P. Bidder, the stream was followed to Rutter’s snuff mills, then through the grounds of Morden-hall, and past Phipp’s-bridge to Merton Abbey Station. Merton bridge was reached at 12.15 p.m., where a stick was floated under, the waterman being in mid stream ready to receive it as it came out on the other side.

The company then adjourned to the Six Bells for lunch, which was admirably served by Host Giles. The chair was taken by Rev. H. G. Dodd, the Rev. D. F. Wilson having left the party, but rejoined it later on in company with Rev. F. S. Legg, vicar of Christ Church, Singlegate, Mr. Churchwarden Nobes taking the vice chair. After all had done justice to the collation.

The Chairman rose and in a short but pointed speech proposed, “The Queen,” which the company heartily responded to by singing the National Anthem. The Vice-Chairman, in rising, said he had much pleasure in being present on that occasion. It was the first time he had walked the bounds of Mitcham, although he had done so in another parish. He spoke of perambulations being an ancient custom and alluded to Lord Nelson having resided at Merton, upon the verge of which parish the company were then assembled. After complimenting the overseers and Mr. Chart upon their excellent arrangements, he concluded by calling for three cheers for those gentlemen.

Mr. W. R. Harwood, in an appropriate speech, returned thanks for the overseers, and Mr. Chart, whom said they were all indebted.

The perambulations were again commenced, through the garden of the Six Bells, over part of what was once the Wandsworth and Croydon tramway, the boundary here being somewhat intricate, to the back of Child’s flour mill, and Byegrove-mead, where the new sewage works are in course of and up to the wall of Garrett Cemetery. The railway crossed in several places, the axe being used on the various boundary posts to show that none had been passed over. Some little time was spent in defining a small detached part of the parish, which being at last satisfactorily settled, the party made towards Tooting Junction, some of them going through a house that had been built over the parish boundary. Tooting Junction was reached at 4.30 p.m. and after crossing the garden of the house supposed to have been the residence of Daniel de Foe, the company separated, having had a somewhat tiring but agreeable day.

The weather on Friday morning looked very threatening, and heavy showers were experienced during the day, but nevertheless at a few minutes after 8 a.m. the Rev. H. G. Dodd, the overseers, and others arrived Tooting Junction, and immediately the perambulation was recommenced under the guidance, as before, of Messrs. E. and R. M. Chart. Following the course of the Graveney, a tributary of the Wandle, to Streatham-lane, where noted the bridge over the stream, called Roe Bridge,” which connects the parishes of Mitcham and Streatham, has a stone let the north side, bearing the Merchant Taylor’s arms, and inscribed, “This bridge was built at the cost of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, 1652.” Still following the river to the railway, which was crossed near Streatham Rifle Butts, the party proceeded to Lonesome, passing over the race course and leaving the stand the left. Here several posts put up by Croydon parish were duly marked with a cross. Passing through the wood to the extreme north east corner of Mitcham Common, which was reached at ll a.m., and at that point, the rain having cleared up for a short time, an enjoyable al fresco lunch supplied by Mr. Marchant, of the Horse and Groom, was partaken of. The common was then skirted to Beddington station, and after going down Beddington-lane for a short distance the fields were entered on the right, and a walk straight across country passing over the railway en route brought the company out of the plantation near Beddington Corner. Mr. Chart informed us that the enclosure of this piece of ground, about 80 acres in extent, was the cause of considerable litigation which was finally settled about 1816 by the Court of King’s Bench. The vicar here joined the party, and skirting the plantation, reached the post opposite the Goat Inn at 1 p.m., and against it “the boys” received the orthodox bumping, although of a mild description, which brought the perambulation to close.

We cannot conclude without commenting upon the orderly manner in which the proceedings were conducted throughout, and which reflected great credit upon all concerned.

The overseers expressed their determination place iron boundary posts at various points decided upon during the perambulation.

Joseph Owen

Born 1880, Sheffield, Yorkshire.

Married 1908 to Susannah Young in Colchester.

In the 1911 census, Joseph Owen, aged 31, lived at 11 The Crescent, Westmead Road, Sutton, Surrey, with his wife Susannah, 31, and their son Arnold, 1. His occupation was civil engineer and surveyor with the London County Council.

A public family tree on Ancestry.com says that he went to Canada between 1912 and 1915 and worked for the Canadian Pacific Railways.

On his return he lived in Ashbourne Road, and took part in starting the North Mitcham Improvement Association in 1919, as told in its history, written by A.H. Bailey:

Mr Joseph Owen, of 89 Ashbourne Road, came to Mitcham in the early days of the war, from Canada; he had, however, lived in the neighbourhood before going abroad. He was one of the parents of the Association. He added to his great abilities as a civil engineer remarkable enterprise and push. To him, more than anyone else, was due the acquisition of land and erection of Halls for the Association.

An Electoral committee was formed, Mr Owen was nominated, the ward was canvassed as it had never been before for a local election and Mr Owen was returned on a poll of 838 against 428 for the party ticket. His majority considerably exceeded the total votes cast for a victor the previous April.

Mr Owen’s municipal career was brilliant; he became Chairman of the Highways Committee and remained in that office during the years that Mitcham developed at its greatest rate. He pressed for public baths and, but for him, Mitcham would not have had the public library when it did. Mitcham has its quota of ratepayers only; but Mr Owen resolved the problem by giving the site and half the cost, he also presented Sherwood Park Recreation Ground to the Council and endowed a bed at the hospital.

Incidentally it may be mentioned that the Library was largely Mrs Owen’s design. Mr Owen reached the Chair of the District Council and was a County Councillor. Mr Owen, who in his private capacity, was responsible for the building development of what are now the Long Thornton and Pollards Hill Wards. The Majestic Cinema was erected largely by the efforts of the first N.M.I.A. Councillor.

Later he took up residence at Pentlands, St Georges Road, Mitcham.

In 1926 he started the Tamworth Park Construction Company.

He put up the cost of the Mitcham Library, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 03 July 1930:-

LIBRARY GIFT.

By the munificence of Councillor Joseph Owen the “village” is to have a public library. He has given a site for one in London-road, opposite the Holborn Schools, and is willing to pay the cost of the building, less only the amount expected to be obtained from Government grant. The sketch plans, drawn up by a local firm, provide for a figure extension when required, even, perhaps, to the addition of a museum. Mitcham is changing so amazingly rapidly that a place for storing tangible hits of its history—in picture, photo, wood, metal, stone — is due in the interests of future generations.

In the 1939 register he lived at 20 Beeches Walk, Carshalton.

He died in 1943, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 4th February 1943

Death has claimed Mr. Joseph Owen former Chairman of Mitcham U.D. Council. He gave the borough its public library site, and. provided about half the cost of the building. Sherwood Park Recreation Ground was another gift. With Mrs. Owen, he endowed a bed in the Wilson Hospital. For a time Mr. Owen was a representative of Mitcham on Surrey Comity Council. He developed housing in Mitcham and was chiefly responsible for the town getting an up-to-date cinema theatre.

20 Beeches-walk, Carshalton, Surrey, died 21 January 1943 at Kingslea Nursing Home, Mulgrave Road, Sutton, Surrey.

Probate Llandudno 12 July to Susannah Owen widow and Arnold Courtney Owen, chartered civil engineer. Effects £8,760 1s. 1d.

Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

Commonside West

Road from Upper Green East towards the junction with Madeira Road. Buildings are on one side only, as the other side is Three Kings Piece, which is a part of Mitcham Common. An exception being the sports changing rooms opposite Madeira Road.

Houses are numbered sequentially, from 1 (Newton House) to 72, which is part of the News of the World Houses. Between the Cold Blows footpath and the entrance to Park Places is currently only the Windmill pub and Merton Sea Cadets, but there were houses near the pub. Numbers 51 and 52 were demolished in 1967.

c.1900 : Newton House on the right in this clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​2_​10-9 copyright London Borough of Merton

Occupants from Street Directories
Listed below in order from the Upper Green towards Madeira Road. The beer retailer referred to in these listings is for the Windmill pub.

1896
This directory lists the road as Mitcham Common (west side), and Cold Blows is shown as St Mary’s Avenue, which was a temporary renaming of that footpath.

John RICHENS (Newton House)
William WILLIAMSON (Holly Cottage)
Mrs SAHLER (Maori Cottage)
Christopher ROBINSON (The Lawn)
William BARNES, engineer
Mrs Lilian IRLAND, music teacher
Mrs DREWETT senior
Thomas GARDNER, furniture dealer

…. here is St Mary’s Avenue

Thomas Bodle LAWRENCE (Avenue Cottage)
James BROOKSON
James SAYERS, beer retailer
Charles GOULD
George SAWYER
John THOMPSON, diaryman
William F.J. SIMPSON (Park Place)

1904

John RICHENS (Newton House)
William Rutherford McLEOD (Holly Cottage)
William James DICKISSON (Trent Cottage)
Charles LESTER (The Lawn)
William BARNES, engineer
Thomas LAWSON, shopkeeper
Alfred GARDNER, furniture dealer

PILLAR LETTER BOX

…. here is Cold Blows

Thomas LAWRENCE
Miss SHEPHERD
Alexander Tully GRANT, beer retailer
John THOMPSON, diaryman
William F.J. SIMPSON (Park Place)

1911

Mrs RICHENS (Newton House)
William Rutherford McLEOD (Holly Cottage)
William James DICKISSON (Trent Cottage)
Charles LESTER (The Lawn)
William Howard BARNES, confectioner
William BARNES, engineer
Thomas LAWSON, shopkeeper
Alfred GARDNER, furniture dealer

LAMP POST LETTER BOX

…. here is Cold Blows

Thomas LAWRENCE, decorator
Miss SHEPHERD
Henry Edward CLISBY, beer retailer
John THOMPSON, diaryman
William F.J. SIMPSON (Park Place)

1915

Mrs RICHENS (Newton House)
William Rutherford McLEOD (Holly Cottage)
Ernest Frederick GOERING (The Nook)
Charles LESTER (The Lawn)
Mrs TURNER (Meriden)
Frank JAMES (Allesley)
William Howard BARNES, confectioner
William BARNES, engineer
George Frederick LOCKYER
Alfred E. GARDNER, furniture dealer

LAMP POST LETTER BOX

…. here is Cold Blows

Thomas LAWRENCE, decorator
James JORDAN
James BOXALL, beer retailer
John THOMPSON, diaryman
William F.J. SIMPSON (Park Place)

1925
Note that Cold Blows is not named as such, but is shown as ‘footpath to Lower Green’ i.e. the cricket green

Thomas George BAKER, builder (Newton House)
William Rutherford McLEOD (Holly Cottage)
Charles LESTER (The Lawn)
Alfred DREWITT (Fernhurst)
Mrs TURNER (Meriden)
Henry Willam ORFORD (Allesley)
William H. BARNES (Malvern)
William BARNES
George Frederick LOCKYER (The Cottage)
Alfred Ernest GARDNER, furniture dealer (Homeside)

.. footpath to Lower green ..

George Oliver NASH (North Lodge)
Lawrence Thomas BODLE, builder (Avenue Cottage)
James JORDAN
Alfred KILLICK
Harry LOCK
George WEST
Benjamin HILLS
Thomas HIGGS, confectioner
James BOXALL, beer retailer
Charles Thomas SEARS
George SAWYER
Mrs ODELL
John THOMPSON, dairy
William Charles HINES
News of the World Sports Ground (Leonard WHITE, hon. sec.) (Park Place)

In the 1938 commercial directory, T.G. BAKER is listed as builder at no. 1 Commonside West, telephone number 2915.

1936 clip from Tom Francis photo of Albert Ernest Gardner’s furniture stores, from Merton Memories phot reference Mit_​2_​10-11 copyright London Borough of Merton.

In the 1912 directory, Alfd. E. Gardner, Common side west, is listed as a manager of the Zion Congregational School.

Lower Green West Trees and the Mitcham Rake

The trees seen on the left in this photo are much smaller than the rest. Photo taken May, 2019

The three trees at the westernmost end of the green of Lower Green West were planted after the Storm of 1987 had felled the original trees.

The London Box Sash company, situated opposite the old fire station, helped clear the fallen trees using their own saws and other equipment. They didn’t charge the council for this service, instead it was agreed between the two that all the wood salvaged from the fallen trees could be used by the company. Some of this wood ended up as Mitcham Rakes.

A ‘Mitcham Rake’ made by the London Box Sash Company. Photo taken at their premises August 2018.

Mitcham MPs

Members of Parliament for the constituency of Mitcham, between 1918, when it was created, and 1974, after which the town was included in the Mitcham & Morden constituency.

Name From To
Dr Thomas Worsfold December 14, 1918 February 13, 1923
Mr James Chuter Ede March 3, 1923 December 6, 1923
Sir Richard Meller December 6, 1923 June 24, 1940
Sir Malcolm Robertson August 19, 1940 July 5, 1945
Mr Thomas Braddock July 5, 1945 February 23, 1950
Mr Robert Carr February 23, 1950 February 28, 1974

1889 : A New Cemetery

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 18 May 1889 via the British Newspaper Archive.

A NEW CEMETERY AT
MITCHAM.
REMARKABLE UNANIMITY.

A special meeting of the Croydon Union Raral Sanitary Authority was held the Vestry Hall, Mitcham, Saturday last, for the purpose considering the report of the Clerk (Mr. Harry List) and the Surveyor (Mr. H. Chart), on the subject of inquiry recently held the Home Office to the proposed laying-out a cemetery in Tamworth-lane, Mitcham. Mr. W. J. Lamb presided, and the other members present were Messrs. O. W. Berry, Holloway, Keigwin, F. Tomlin, Webster, Brough Maltby, Rev. K, A. Boyle, and Mr. G. P. Bidder, Q.C. (ex-officio).

Messrs. List and Chart reported as follows: —In accordance with your instructions we attended on Saturday last the inquiry held here by Dr. Hoffman, the Medical Officer of the Burials Acts Department of the Home Office, with reference to the proposal establish a proprietary cemetery at Tamworth-iane, Mitcham Common, and we beg to report to you as follows :— ” That Mr. Ough, C.E., of Austin Friars, London, attended the inquiry and stated that he represented the promoters of a cemetery company, who proposed, if the consent of the Home Office were given, to establish at land now in the occupation of Mr. Bremerkamp, situate at Tamworth-lane, Mitcham, a proprietary cemetery in extent about 80 acres, with the view of meeting the burial requirements of South London and the districts around it. It was proposed to lay-out the grounds in an ornamental manner, with entrances from Greyhound-lane, near Streatham Common, and from Tamworth-lane, near Mitcham Common, the former being probably the principal or more used. The soil was described a loamy clay, and it is proposed drain the surface water into the watercourse passing through the property, and which, after traversing the East Fields and Figg’s Marsh, Mitcham, discharges into the River Graveney at Tooting Bridge, and from there to the Wandle; and it was promised to drain the graves into deep drains discharging into a tank to constructed for the purpose, from whence it would be pumped through a filter either into the sewers of the Sanitary Authority, with their permission, or, if such permission is withheld, on to an irrigation of about three acres prepared for the purpose, from whence it would gravitate into the watercourse before mentioned. Of these alternative proposals for dealing with the deeper drainage the former would be preferred, in which case the promoters would be prepared to compensate the Authority either the payment a lump sura or way of rental for the use of the sewers and fur dealing with the sewage. Mr. Ough laid before the Inspector a plan of the land and proposed works for dealing with the sewage, and at the same time produced and read a report made by M. Mausergh, the eminent sanitary engineer of Westminster, on a proposal to deal with the drainage of a cemetery in the manner now suggested. We then pressed upon the Inspector the fact that as no information with regard to the proposal was yet in possession of the Authority, they were unable to form an opinion as to whether or not it would be desirable in the interests of the district to oppose the proposal, and suggested that the inquiry should be adjourned to give you the opportunity of considering the proposal. Dr. Hoffman consented this suggestion, promising that if the Authority, or the parish of Mitcham, desired to oppose he would continue the inquiry on hearing to that effect, and if the Authority desired to propose any conditions with the view of ensuring the proper use of the works for purifying the subsoil water, such conditions should receive his mast careful consideration, and if reasonable, he would recommend—in the event of the site being sanctioned —that such stipulations should made should ensure the fulfilment of the requirements the Authority. We then asked that copies of the plans of M. Mausergh’s report, which had been produced, might be furnished us for the information of the Authority.”

A long discussion ensued on the consideration of the report, Mr. Bidder taking a prominent part.

It seemed to the general feeling that cemetery would an improvement to that particular part of Mitcham, and that it would open up the roads and stimulate building operations in the vicinity.

It was also mentioned that the objections which were urged against the site were not necessary in this cose, because the Morden site was below the flood level. In this site there would be no difficulty draining into the Authority’s sewers, as the promoters did not anticipate that the drainage would amount to more than 8,000 gallons a day, and the Authority’s sewers could take that additional amount without any difficulty. It was also stated that Messrs. Watney and all the adjoining owners were in favour of the scheme, or at any rate had no idea of opposing it, and there was not the slightest opposition at the inquiry.

After some further discussion, The Chairman moved that the Authority are not disposed to oppose the establishment of the proposed cemetery at Tamworth-lane, Mitcham, provided that in the event of the Home Office sanctioning the site for the purpose of a cemetery, the Home Office be requested to place all the sanitary arrangements of the proposed cemetery under the control of the Rural Sanitary Authority; and that failing an arrangement being come to to drain into the Authority’s sewers, it be required that a filtration area of not less than six acres provided.

Mr. Bidder seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.

It was also decided that the Clerk should send a copy of the resolution to Dr. Hoffman, and that his attention should be called to the fact that in the Golden Green scheme, referred to by the promoters, a filtration area of three acres was considered necessary for cemetery of 30 acres in extent.