Category Archives: Council

1962 Slum Clearance Scheme

from the Mitcham News & Mercury, 25th May, 1962, page 1:

Mitcham’s ambitious slum clearance scheme

ABOUT 140 HOMES TO GO

It may start next year, say council

Hundreds of Mitcham people are likely to have to leave their homes soon when Mitcham Council go ahead with a large scale slum clearance scheme.

About 140 dwellings, scattered in many parts of the town, are included in the scheme, which will possibly get under way early next year.

Split into five groups the dwellings included in the scheme are in Phipps Bridge Road, Blue House Cottages, Fountain Place, Prussia Place, Nursery Road, Gladstone Road, Sibthorp Road, Fountain Road and Western Road.

SOME HOMES ALREADY VACANT

Compulsory purchase of many of the properties is inevitable. Thousands of pounds will be involved in the acquisition.

Some of the dwellings, however, are at present vacant.

The Borough Engineer, Mr J.W. Turner, has advised the council’s housing committee to split the slum clearance scheme into two phases.

He thinks that the Gladstone Road, Sibthorp Road, Fountain Road and Western Road areas – forming part of an area which should, he feels, be considered with the council’s redevelopment of the Town Centre – should be deferred until further progress has been made on the the town centre proposals.

If the housing committee do leave these areas it would mean that only 54 dwellings would be immediately affected.

LOCAL INQUIRIES MAY BE HELD

It is not possible to say yet the date the scheme will start. Various legal channels have to be gone through and there is also a possibility that many local residents, affected by the scheme, will object to the Minister of Housing and Local Government. This may mean a series of local inquiries.

The sites in Fountain Place, Prussia Place and Nursery Road are the only ones included in the scheme which will be re-developed for residential use.

The other sites will be used for roads, redevelopment of the town centre and one for a school site.

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

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.

Pig Bins and Tottenham Pudding

Food waste was collected in pig bins, metal dustbins in the street. The waste, such as potato peelings and plate scrapings, were sent to a plant for boiling into a feed for pigs, called Tottenham Pudding.

From the Mitcham & Tooting Advertiser, 4th February, 1954

Pig bins to be abolished

Waste food is now ‘unprofitable’

Kitchen waste is no longer to be collected in Mitcham, and the council’s
street pig bins are to be removed.

Commenting on this at Thursday’s meeting of Mitcham Council, Aid. C.A. Norris (Ind.) congratulated the Public Health Committee on their decision to abolish what he described as “the pig-bin nuisance, and the now unprofitable collection of kitchen waste generally.”

VOLUNTARY COLLECTION

The committee made their decision after receiving a letter from the
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries stating that the Government had decided that the salvage of waste food by local authorities would in future be on a voluntary basis.

The Minister, the letter continued, was prepared to revoke individual
directions for the salvage of kitchen waste should local authorities wish
him to do so. although he hoped they would give the matter careful consideration before deciding to disband their waste food services.

1928 : Pigs starved to death

From the Norwood News of Friday 29th June 1928, via the British Newspaper Archive:

PIGS STARVED TO DEATH.
`APPALLING CRUELTY’ AT MITCHAM.
STOKER SENT TO PRISON.

” The evidence is quite clear. You have been guilty of most appalling cruelty. All the magistrates are agreed that they never heard a more revolting case. You will have to go to hard labour for six weeks.”

Sir Arthur Spurgeon, chairman of the Croydon County Bench, made these remarks on Wednesday to XXXX, of 249, Church-road, Mitcham, who was summoned on four informations for, being the owner of ten pigs, he permitted and caused unnecessary suffering to them by unreasonably omitting to supply them with food and water at Batsworth-road Allotment Grounds on May 12.

Mr. E. B. Knight, prosecuting, said defendant was employed at the Mitcham Gas Works as a stoker, at a salary of £4 13s. 6d. per week. About three years ago he built some pig sties on his allotment plot at Batsworth-road, and began keeping pigs. On May 12, the sties were inspected by Mr. Rabbetts, the Council’s Nuisance Inspector, who found ten pigs in an absolutely starving condition. In addition, there were the remains of three other pigs which had died, or been killed, and the remains had been eaten by the other pigs.

LEGS PARTLY EATEN.

In one sty there were a sow and two small pigs, and the carcase of a small pig with the back legs partly eaten away, and the skin and remains of another pig. There were six small pigs in the second sty, and the bones of another. In the third sty there was one sow. There should have been 14 pigs altogether. The carcases of three were there, but where the fourth was they did not know.

The great probability was that no food or water had been given to the pigs for about three weeks. They had been shockingly neglected. In the tub or tank there were potato peelings covered with scum not fit for pigs or anything else.

” CALLOUS INDIFFERENCE.”

” It is difficult to understand,” added Mr. Knight, “how anyone could let these pigs starve to death in this unaccountable way. The whole of the stock had to be destroyed. Inspector Scott saw defendant, who told him that, some soap had got into the wash and given the pigs scaldings, which had upset them. A more callous indifference to the suffering of animals could hardly be conceived. When Inspector Scott asked defendant when he had last brought food, the reply was, “I do not know. I have been saving the wash from the house to save expense.”

The particulars given by Mr. Knight as to the condition of the pigs were substantiated by Mr. C. E. Rabbetts, chief sanitary inspector for Mitcham U.D. Council.

Inspector Scott also corroborated.

” 3 WEEKS WITHOUT FOOD.”

Mr. Richard Herbert Evans, a veterinary surgeon, said the pigs had been without food or water for quite three weeks. It was possible for the pigs to have killed the weak ones and eaten their carcases. The entire stock were in too weak and emaciated a condition to have been fit for human consumption, and would never have recovered. The five months’ old pigs, which should have weighed about 85 lbs., were only 20 lbs.; and the seven months, which should have weighed about 120 lbs., were only 30 lbs. The animals must have endured intense suffering.

ACCUSED’S STATEMENT.

Defendant said he could only put it down to a long run of bad luck, and to the fact he had been feeling very unwell. He had sustained big losses with pigkeeping, and became so depressed and worried that he did not know what be was doing. He was vary sorry.

On hearing the sentence, defendant exclaimed, ” I hope you will save me from prison for the sake of my wife and children.”

Sir Arthur: You should have thought of that before.

Air Raid shelters in 1948

Mitcham Borough Council minutes, volume 15, 1948-49, page 95 :-

The Borough Engineer submitted the following report: –

December 3, 1948.

To the Chairman and Members of the General Purposes Committee.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Air Raid Shelters.

In accordance with the instructions of the Committee I give below a list of shelters which have not yet been demolished :—

  • Morden Road (Deer Park Gardens).
  • Commonside West.
  • Commonside East.
  • Manor Road.
  • Rowan Road.
  • Figges Marsh S.
  • Figges Marsh N.
  • Manship Road.
  • Moffatt Gardens.
  • Cranmer Road.
  • Fair Green.
  • Carshalton Road.

Home Office sanction to the making safe of the shelters has just been received and negotiations are proceeding with the contractors, Messrs. J. Sullivan, Ltd., whose tender (in the sum of £603 15s.) was forwarded, in July, to the Home Office for approval.

Personal note: I remember in the mid 1960s the air raid shelters at the southern end of Figges Marsh and on the north side of Cranmer Road near the junction with Carshalton Road.

Mitcham Council gained more control over milk from 1922

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes, volume VIII, 1922-23, pages 195-6, meeting of the Public Health and Burials Committee, on 12 September 1922:

11. MILK AND DAIRIES (AMENDMENT) Act, 1922

The Clerk submitted the following report re the Milk and Dairies (Amendment) Act, 1922:

To the Chairman and Members of the Public Health Committee, Mrs. Hallowes and Gentlemen:

MILK AND DAIRIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1922.

The provisions of the above Act came into operation on the 1st September 1922, the Act being passed in order to strengthen the hands of Local Authorities in their efforts to protect the milk supply from contamination. Some of the sections of the Act refer to the adulteration of milk and the regulations as to imported milk, the administration of which are in the hands of the inspectors appointed by the County Council and with which the District Council are not primarily concerned.

The District Council are, however, directly concerned with the
administration of the Dairies, Cowsheds and Milkshops Order of 1885, which Order is amended by Section 2 of the new Act.

The Order in question requires the Council to keep a register of persons carrying on in the trade of cowkeepers, dairymen or purveyors of milk, and the Order gives gives the Council no power to refuse to register any person or remove him from the register. The Act of 1922 empowers the Local Authority to refuse to enter any person on the register or remove him from the register if satisfied that the public health is likely to be endangered by any act or default in relation in quality, storage or distribution of milk, provision being made
to remove the name of any person from the register and for appeal against the proposed removal.

I suggest that applications for registration should in future be presented to the Public Health Committee, accompanied by a recommendation from the Sanitary Inspector as to the advisability or otherwise of acceding to the application.

Yours obediently,
STEPHEN CHART,
Clerk to the Council.

It was Resolved, That the Report be received and the recommendation therein adopted.

Links
Registration of Dairies and Milk Shops in 1917
1934 Milk Licences


Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Urban District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.