Category Archives: Commerce

Husband and wife killed in air raid in firm’s basement in London

From Norwood News – Friday 17 January 1941, page 2

Took Shelter at Premises Bombed in London

Mr. and Mrs F. J. Roberts, Spencer-road, Mitcham, have been the victims of enemy action.

They were in the habit of sheltering in the basement of Mr. Roberts’ business premises in London, and when these were bombed, both Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were killed. Mr. Roberts was well-known and respected in Mitcham.

He was secretary of the penny-a-week collection scheme on behalf of Wilson Hospital, succeeding Mr. Allen, the founder. In this capacity Mr. Roberts rendered good service, and his efforts were much appreciated.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record for Francis James Roberts, aged 46, his wife Mary Roberts, aged 48, and their son David Iowerth Roberts, aged 15, states that their address was at 19, Spencer Road, and that they died on 11th January 1941 in the premises of Elder & Fyffes, Bow Street. This company imported bananas, and was renamed the Fyffes Group in 1969, according to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.

The 1939 register shows that Mr F.J. Roberts was a Printing Dept Supervisor at the firm.

1929 : Funeral of Mr J.G. Guyatt

From the Mitcham Advertiser and Surrey County Report, 14th March, 1929, page 1.

Mr J.G. Guyatt.

Funeral of a Well Known

The funeral of Mr JG Guyatt, the well-known contractor of Mitcham and Brixton, who died suddenly last week at his Mitcham home, Grove Lodge, Sutton Road, at the age of 75, took place on Saturday morning.

Mr Guyatt was one of the largest cartage contractors in the London area and at one time owned over 100 horses and carts. Of late years motor lorries largely displaced the horse-drawn vehicle, but Mr Guyatt retained his love of horses to the end. It was fitting that his funeral procession should be of the old-fashioned horse-drawn kind.

The first part of the service was held in the Wesleyan Mission Church, Fair Green. It was conducted by the minister, the Rev. A. Denman Martin, who also officiated at the graveside.

Mrs Guyatt, who died two years ago, and her daughters were formerly active members of the Mission, and Mrs Parks, the younger daughter, was a member of the choir and a soloist. Before coming to Mitcham seventeen years ago the family worshipped at Brixton Hill Wesleyan church.

Mr Guyatt, who took no active part in Mitcham public affairs, succeeded to the business founded by his father and extended it enormously. He owned several gravel pits in Mitcham and was a contractor to many local bodies. His chief interest outside his business was his old-world garden at the rear of the house. He was the eldest of twelve children, ten of whom survive him. His own family consists of two sons and two daughters. The business will be carried on by the elder son. The younger one, Mr Frank Guyatt, has a separate motor transport business.

Mr Guyatt, who had not quite recovered from a serious illness, which left his heart in a weak state, was at work as usual on Monday last week, the day before his death. He collapsed at breakfast time and passed away in a quarter of an hour, to the sincere regret to all who knew him or had business relations with him.

Mr Nicholls, the organist, played “Oh Rest in the Lord” as the funeral procession entered into the church and later the Funeral March. The hymn sung was “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand”.

The mourners were Mr JG Guyatt and Mr Frank Guyatt (sons); Mrs SE Crabb and Mrs H Parks (daughters); Mr W Guyatt, Mr L Guyatt, Mr John Guyatt, Mrs Howes and Mrs Priest (brothers and sisters).

Others present were Mrs JG Guyatt, Mrs Frank Guyatt, Mr and Mrs JG Guyatt, junior; Mrs John Guyatt, Miss Herbert and Mrs W Guyatt, junior; Mr C Guyatt, Miss L Guyatt, Mr E Guyatt, Miss Priest, Mr Howes, Mr Rickard, Mr Priest, Mrs Calver and Mr Robert Parks.

The beautiful floral tributes included wreaths from all the aforementioned families and from Dr Shelswell, Mr Rawlings, Eastfields Pit, the workpeople at Eastfields, Mitcham yard, motor department (Brixton Hill), horse department, Mr and Mrs Arthur Beard, Mr and Mrs Thatcher, Mrs G T Hodges and family, Mr and Mrs Cramp and family, Mr Walter Clarkson and family, Mr H Clarkson and Sons, Mr Wells (Eastfields), Mr and Mrs P Bell, Mr and Mrs J Ellis, Mr and Mrs John Gillett, Mr and Mrs J Emmerton, Mr William Priest, Volan and Trigg (George Neal and Sons), Mr Nathan Guyatt, Mrs Collins, Mr and Mrs Halliday, Mr Moon, Mr and Mrs Bruce Thompson, Mr John Cronk and family, Mr and Mrs George Thompson and family, Mrs Shepherd, Mrs Allen and Mrs Johnson.

Alkens Drawing Supplies Ltd

Draughtsman supplies shop, was at Monarch Parade, London Road.

c.1987 clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_​8_​1-18

This receipt from 1981 shows the address as 73/75 Monarch Parade. London Road, Mitcham CR4 2JB, tel 01-640 5316.

Receipt dated 8th June, 1981.

The 1971 telephone directory showed the address as 189 London Road, telephone 01-640 0461.

Note that a company of the same name was incorporated in 2007 and dissolved in February 2019, and it is not known whether there was a connection with this business in Mitcham.

Licensed Coffee Stalls in 1927

From the UDC minutes, volume 12, pages 721/2

All were licensed for one shilling per year. Home addresses are in brackets.

Mr Osborne near Club House, Mitcham Cricket Club , Lower Green
Mr George (35 Haydons Road) Leonard Road
G. Gunner (50 Covelton Road) Croydon Road
A. Cobb (6 Acre Road) Waterfall Bridge
P. Loader (30 Grenfell Road) London Road
G.T. Harwood (23 Mount Road) Waterfall Bridge
C. Pearson Christchurch Road
C. Tortalano (3 Portland Place) near Mitcham Junction Station

1855 : Illegal Weights

Two stories of traders adjusting their scale in their favour. From the Croydon Chronicle and East Surrey Advertiser – Saturday 15 September 1855, via the British Newspaper Archive.

Illegal Weights.

— Mary Bateman, shopkeeper, of Mitcham, was charged by Mr. Dart, Inspector of Weights and Measures, with having an unjust balance, a quarter of an ounce against the purchaser.

Mr. Dart stated that the defendant was last April fined 5s. for the same offence, the scales then being half an ounce against the purchaser.

The defendant—I have been in business 40 years, and until this man came I never had a complaint made against me ; all the other inspectors used to allow me a turn, and the people expects it. I had a woman come in the other day, and because the scale did not go down, she said she would not have the butter; and after this man left, I asked an old gentleman who is lodging with me, and who was an ale connor, if it was not right for me to have the turn, and he said “Yes,” and that he always had it, and allowed it himself ; and I have asked my neighbours, and they all say that they are allowed a turn, and if I was not a poor lone widow, but a man that could speak for himself. I should not have been summonsed here.

Mr. Sutherland considered the defendant was quite able to speak for herself, and she must be aware that if the the scales were not allowed a turn, it was not right that the butter scales should. Mr. Dart said he had endeavoured to convince the defendant, that having scales like the butter ones, was wrong.

The Defendant : Yes ; but I am not convinced ; I have done so for forty years, and it takes some time to convince any one against that.

Mr. Sutherland : Then by that you have been cheating the public for forty years ; you must now know that the scales must be right ; you will be fined 5s., and the costs 9s.

The Defendant : Our profits are now so low that we cannot get anything out of the things, and if we are compelled to have the scales this way we shan’t be able to live ! !

The old lady, after some time, produced the money, grumbling all the while she was finding it; and as she was leaving the court reiterated her fear of not being able to get on, now this new-fangled method of weighing was come in.


W. Williams, of Mitcham, butcher, was charged with having an unjust balance.

Mr. Dart deposed, that he visited the defendant’s shop, and just as he drove up to the door Mrs. Williams went to the scale and took off the piece of fat produced ; it was on the scale in which the goods to be sold were weighed ; on testing the scales he found them exact without the fat, hence the addition of that made the weight against the purchaser.

In defence Williams said that the scales were made of wood, that his shop was an open one, and that the weather affected the scales, and the fat was put on to adjust them, without that it was in favour of the purchaser.

Mr. Sutherland considered that the defendant ought to have such scales as were not affected by the weather.

Fined 5s., and 9s. costs.

1968 : Turner’s Bakery horse Lizzie retires

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 20th September, 1968

After over 25 years as a bakery carthorse, Lizzie has moved from the noisy London suburbs to the peace of a country farm.

Lizzie, a liver chestnut Welsh cob who has reached the
distinguished age of 30, has worked for the past 15 years for Turner’s (Mitcham) Bakery, Fair Green, believed to be the only bakery in London which still uses horse-drawn vans for its delivery rounds.

For those 15 years she has been delivering bread in the Pollards Hill area with her driver Mr. Ted Gibson. Lizzie and Ted were a well-established team as they worked together for J. A. Taylor Ltd of Tooting for 10 years before going to Turner’s.

Life for Lizzie has not all been hard work, however. At the Easter Monday Horse Show in Regents Park she won first prize in the van parade and the Welsh rosette for the best Welsh Cob in the show.

Lizzie’s working day lasted about nine hours and she could make up to 450 calls a day. Anybody who maintains the horse is an outdated and uneconomical means of transportation is challenged by Turners who have proved that if a horse is ill the round takes over an hour longer to operate with a petrol vehicle.

Lizzie went into retirement yesterday (September 19) to Cherry Tree Farm, Lingfield, where she will mix with company from ex-race horses to costers’ donkeys.

Her successor, aptly named Lizzie II, is a nine-year-old bay Welsh Cob who will join Sally, Dolley and Kitty in maintaining Turner’s tradition of horse-drawn vans.

Rising costs led to Turner’s Bakery stopping using horses in 1973.

Eddown & Co.

Was at 190 London Road, Mitcham CR4 3LD, on the west side and north of junction with Bond Road. Motor parts, engineers tools and accessories shop.

As of January 2018 the building still displays the name Eddown but was sold in possibly 2013/4, with the owners moving to the south coast.

This Google StreetView from 2012 shows the shop with its For Sale sign.

A local motor dealer commented on the Mitcham History group on Facebook:

always a great service and nothing was ever too much trouble. No have to use another car parts company and fifty per cent of the time the parts are wrong

A receipt from 1981

Receipt from March 1981

Planning application 17/P3987 registered in November 2017 for

demolition of existing part one and part two storey building and development of two detached blocks comprising 9 residential units and 1 commercial unit

Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.