Category Archives: Urban District

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.

1917 : Flooding of the Links Estate

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 10th August, 1917, page 2:

THE FLOODS AT MITCHAM AND COLLIERS WOOD.

The aftermath of the floods at Mitcham, Tooting Junction and Colliers Wood is what was expected.

Those who remember the great storm of the early months of 1914, when Tooting Broadway, Mitcham Road and other parts of the borough suffered considerably from the flood,
are certainly justified in their expressions of disgust at the means available to prevent these floods.

At Seely-road, the tenants are up in arms, and are reported to have refused to pay their rent this week, owing to the damage done to their household goods through having 2ft.
to 4ft. of water in the ground floor rooms; feeling that action will enable their landlord to make a claim in bulk upon the proper authorities for compensation.

After the last storm, the tenants were assured that it would not be possible for the scenes of 1914 to reoccur, as proper pumping machinery was installed to meet future contingencies. Apparently, the great force of water lost week overcame the capacity of the pumping machinery and, getting the upper hand, the water flowed in all directions and did considerable damage.

The wood pavement in High street Colliers Wood, was torn up by the force of the water, and the Rural District Council’s men have been busy this week in relaying the road way; whilst, in all directions the gardens give evidence of extensive floods, and the open doors, of the cottages and houses affected show bare flooring which is gradually drying, now the water has subsided.

The river Wandle is a pretty old fashioned stream, passing through some of the sylvan beauty of Surrey (in ordinary times); but on the occasion of floods it becomes a strong torrent, and once it overflows banks, the surrounding property is soon presenting the appearance of a vast lake. Some explanation of the failure of the pumping machinery
awaited.

The river Graveney formed the north boundary, along with the railway line the south, of a golf course, as shown in this 1895 OS map:

1895 OS map

The housing estate built on this land was dubbed the Links Estate, being a reference to the golf links. By 1911, as this OS map shows, a number of roads with houses had been built. The river Graveney also formed the boundary between the London County Council and the Mitcham Urban District Council, which is why the letter below from Mr Popple of Links Road was forwarded on to the Mitcham council.

1911 OS map

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 109-112, Public Health and Burial Committee meeting of 11th September, 1917

FLOODING : LINKS ESTATE –

The Clerk reported that on August 1st there was a very abnormal rainfall, which resulted in the flooding of many houses on the Links Estate, in consequence of which he had received 31 complaints from owners and occupiers, together with claims to be compensated of varying amounts, a list of which he presented to the Committee ; that these had been duly acknowledged by him, pointing out that the flooding of their properties was due to the overflowing of the River Graveney, caused by the quantity of water discharged from the relief Sewers of the London County Council and the incapacity of the river; at the same time repudiating any liability of this Council for any damage arising therefrom.

The Clerk drew attention to a report made to him as Surveyor to the late Rural District Council recorded in Vol. XVIII., p. 485, of that Council’s Minutes, in which the danger of this flooding was anticipated and the action of the Rural Council in consequence thereof.

The Clerk also reported that he had forwarded copies of the complaints and claims to the Chief Engineer of the London County Council and had written him on the subject; further, that he had, with Mr. Drewett as Chairman of the Joint Sewerage Board
had an interview with Mr. G. W. Humphreys, the Chief Engineer, and had obtained from him a promise that he would take into consideration the practicability of adopting some temporary means preventing future floodings from the Graveney until some permanent work can be carried out, and that my letters and the complaints and claims should be laid before his Committee.

It was Resolved, That the Clerk’s report be entered in the minutes of this Committee.

The following letter was read from the Local Government Board asking for the observation of the Council on a complaint of Mr. Popple, of Links Road, as to the flooding.

It was Resolved, That the action taken by the Clerk be approved and that the Local Government Board be made acquainted with the facts, and that they be requested to urge upon the London County Council the necessity for providing for the adequate capacity
of the River Graveney to discharge the volume of water brought into it.

Local Government Board,
Whitehall, S.W., 1,
15th August, 1917

Sir, –

I am directed by the Local Government Board to forward to the Mitcham Urban District Council the enolosed copy of a letter which has been addressed to the Board by Mr. H. Popple, 96, Links Road, Tooting, S.W.17, and I am to request that the Board may be furnished with the observations of the Council upon the subject of this communication.

I am Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
F. J. Willis,
Assistant Secretary.

96, Links Road,
Tooting, S.W. 17.
4th August, 1917.

The President of the Local Government Board,—

I beg to bring to your notice the shocking conditions existing on the Links Estate, Tooting, London, S.W., Parish of Mitcham.

This estate is composed of a large number of 5-roomed houses tenanted by respectable working people. A very large percentage of the male population is away serving with the Colours.

Whenever a heavy downpour of rain is experienced on this estate the roads become flooded, the water in many cases surging up through the drains. In some instances the flooding only occurs in the roadway, and even in this case an offensive sediment remains which creates
disease. In other cases the whole of the neighbourhood is turned into a huge lake, varying from inches to 3 or 4 feet deep. This latter has happened twice during the past week, and three times within a month. About a month ago a petition was sent to the local Borough Council, Mitcham, but nothing has been done in the matter except talking. Talking does not assist in such matters, and I am, therefore, appealing to you in the interests of health. Such conditions are disastrous in many ways; the damp conditions prevailing and the
offensive sediment deposited by such floods being a huge source of danger to the community. There is a very large Council School on the estate, and the children passing to and fro after such floods must inhale the germs created by the dried offensive sediment. Again, a small child slipping out unnoticed from one of the houses, might easily be drowned.

The damage caused is also very great, as the majority of the male population being away the women left are unable to lift the heavier furniture, and it is generally recognised that a piano or such article standing in about a foot of water is not going to improve. Further, the male population left have devoted their spare time to cultivating
vegetables in accordance with the desire to produce as much food as possible, and it is heartbreaking to see such labour wasted by the vegetables boing washed away by the flood.

I am placing the case in your hands, confident that you will see that proper redress will be given if such lies within your power.

I might add that I lived six years in the neighbourhood before any suggestion of this kind occurred, the first flooding taking place on June 14th, 1914. I believe the cause to be primarily as follow:-

About 1912, the L.C.C. were granted power by Act of Parliament to lay a 4ft. storm-sewer to carry off the London storm water and discharge it into the River Wandle. This sewer does not discharge into the river Graveny at Colliers Wood. This being but a brook, such
a volume of water being discharged into it is already heavily taxed, holds up the water with which it is already charged, causing it to overflow and thus turn our estate into a gigantic lake. Thus it happens that many thrifty men who have purchased property in this
neighbourhood and are away serving their country are having their little all ruined in order that the L.C.C. or whoever is responsible, might save a few pounds.

I should be pleased if you yourself or a reliable inspector would visit my house and the surrounding neighbourhood and note the state existing.

There are hundreds who could fully endorse my letter, and I therefore ask you in my name and in the name of the others who are not here to ask for themselves to see that the matter receives proper and immediate attention.

I am, Sir,
Yours faithfully,
(Signed)
H. POPPLE.

Mr. Councillor Laing reported that on the occasion of the flooding referred to Mr. Cusden loaned his horse and van for conveying persons to and fro through the flood.

It was Resolved, That a letter of thanks be sent to Mr. Cusden.

It was moved by Mr Drewett and seconded by Mr Bland, and Resolved, That the Council be recommended to give special consideration to the serious conditions created by heavy rainfall and

Report from the Town Clerk, Robert Masters Chart, from the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 133-4, meeting of 25th September, 1917

FLOODING : LINKS ESTATE.—

The Clerk reported that he had replied to the letter of the Local Government Board of August 10th, in accordance with the instructions of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, as follows :—

Sept. 12, 1917.

Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 16th August, enclosing a letter addressed to the Local Government Board by Mr. H. Potter, drawing the attention of the Board to the Flooding of houses on the Links Estate, Tooting Junction, in this Urban District, which letter was laid before the Public Health Committee of tho Council yesterday, I am directed to
state as follows:—

1. The River Graveney at the locus-in-guo forms the boundary between this District and the County of London. The London County Council contend that this portion of the river is under their jurisdiction as being scheduled as a Sewer in the Metropolis Management Act of 1855, although this Council do not admit the contention. The outfall of this river is into the River Wandle at Mitcham, and is the natural outfall for this area.

2. The London County Council have from time to time constructed overflows from their Southern Area Sewers into the River Graveney, the last of these being constructed in or about 1913, and is 4ft. in diameter. The late Rural District of Croydon at that time pointed out to the London County Council the probability of flooding of, and damage to, property that would ensue unless proper provision was made for increasing the capacity of the river to accommodate the volume of water that would be discharged when, in times of storms, these sewer overflows were brought into action.

3. The view expressed by the late Croydon Rural District Council in 1913 have been realise on two or three occasions, notably on June 29th, and again on August 1st of this year. On the former occasion the Medical Officer of Health and Sanitary Inspector reported to this Council that although considerable inconvenience and some damage was caused to the occupiers, no nuisance injurious to health was occasioned.

4. Numerous complaints have been received from owners and occupiers, and some claims for compensation, to all of whom a reply has been given that, whilst this Council regrets the occasion, they repudiate any liability for damage or responsibility for the flooding, having provided an efficient service of soil sewers and surface water sewers for the drainage of the Links Estate; at the same time, they have forwarded copies of the complaints and claims to the L.C.C. engineer, and a deputation from this Council have interviewed the Chief Engineer and urged upon him the necessity of providing a more effective outfall for the River Graveney.

5. Having regard to the fact that the present unsatisfactory condition has been brought about by the L.C.C. in order to relieve the Southern portion of their district from flooding to the prejudice of this Council’s District, this Urban Council trust that the Local Government Board will urge the L.C.C. to take immediate steps to provide an adequate outfall for the River Graveney.

Yours obediently,
Robert M. Chart

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 165-6, Council meeting of 23rd October, 1917

FLOODING OF LINKS ESTATE

The following letter was read from the Chief Engineer of the London County Council:-

LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL,
Engineer’s Dept.,
County Hall,
Spring Gardens, S.W., 1.
9th Oct. 1917

dear Sir,

RIVER GRAVENEY

As promised on the occasion of your call here on the 7th ult., I have considered the question of carrying out temporary works for the prevention of the overflowing of the River Graveney at the Links Estate. After inspection of the river and the adjacent land which had been flooded in recent storms, I am afraid that the work in a nature of a temporary expedient would prove to be ineffective to cope with such an influx of water as has been at times experienced this summer.

I am, however, about to place the whole matter before the Main Drainage Committee of my Council.

Yours faithfully,

G. HUMPHRIES,
Chief Engineer.


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

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.

Russell Road

Road off west side of Glebe Path, connecting to Love Lane.

Houses are numbered, from west to east, from 1 to 38. They all have the postcode CR4 3AP. Number 1 is divided into 3 flats. There are four terraces of houses. From Love Lane on the north side, houses are numbered odd 1 to 21, and on the south side even 2 to 24. At the Glebe Path end, the terrace on the north side is numbered odd 23 to 31 and on the south side 26 to 38. Source: Royal Mail postcode finder.

It is believed that the road is named after Athel Russell Harwood, as is the nearby Harwood Avenue.

1953 OS map

The Glebe Path end of this road was originally called Bounty Place, presumably a reference to Queen Anne’s Bounty. It was renamed to be an extension of Russell Road, and hence renumbered, by Mitcham Urban District Council in 1930. Source: Mitcham UDC minutes, 24th June, 1930, page 171.


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

Public Convenience opposite Ravensbury Arms

1962 clip from Merton memories photo, reference Mit_​Streets_​Col_​Cro_​16-5 copyright London Borough of Merton

Built around 1930/1 as discussed as item (3) below in the council minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council, volume XVI, 1930 to 1931, page 101

PUBLIC CONVENIENCES.

The Surveyor submitted the following report June 3rd, 1930.

Dear Mr. Chart,

Re SITES FOR PUBLIC CONVENIENCES.

I suggest to the Committee the following’ sites for their consideration :

(1) Short cul-de-sac roadway off High Street, Colliers Wood,
opposite Christchurch Road, and adjacent to The Victory PH.

(2) The northern extremity of Figges Marsh, at the junction of
Gorringe Park Avenue and London Road.

(3) At the junction of New Road and Croydon Road, adjacent to the Ravensbury Arms.

The first one will drain to the sewer by gravitation, and in the remaining two positions pumping will have to be resorted to.

I think that it is essential that the conveniences in the first two positions be constructed underground, but with respect to the third site, the Committee might consider incorporating the existing tramway shelter in an overground convenience at this point.

If the general opinion is in favour of underground, the alternative to No. 3 would be at the other end of New Road, at its junction with Commonside East. I think that it is just possible to drain an underground convenience by gravitation into the soil sewer.

Yours obediently,

RILEY SCHOFIELD, Assoc.M.Inst.C.E.,
Engineer and Surveyor.

RESOLVED, That the Surveyor be instructed to prepare a further report showing the cost of providing sanitary conveniences at Colliers Wood on the site suggested.

Note that New Road is now called Cedars Avenue.

1953 OS map


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.

Fair Green Bandstand

Built in 1924 and demolished in ????, the bandstand at the Fair Green was at the western end, across the road from the Nags Head pub.

photo taken possibly before the 1930s

From Mitcham Urban District minutes in July 1924, the bandstand was built by Messrs McFarlane, Mr Hann connected the drainage to the culvert, and Sayers & Son was awarded the contract to paint it with anti-corrosive paint, for £20 18s. The County of London Electric Supply Company was paid £28 16s. for the installation of lighting for the bandstand.

The nearby Zion Congregational chapel objected to a bandstand being built. The council responded that it would

do all in their power to endeavour to secure quietude during the hours of service at the Church.

Source: council minutes 9th May 1924, page 24.


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.

Mrs Wray, pioneer of Mitcham’s child welfare service, died in 1960

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th May, 1960, page 1.

CHILD WELFARE PIONEER DIES

Mrs Elizabeth Sarah Wray, friends to hundreds of Mitcham families and pioneer of Mitcham’s child welfare service, has died. Her home was at Harcourt Road, Wallington.

Mrs Wray joined Mitcham Urban District Council in March, 1916, as the first health visitor. She remained until her retirement in February, 1943.

Mrs Wray, who did her rounds by bicycle, laid the foundation of maternity and child welfare in Mitcham. Working alone as health visitor she organised the first infant welfare clinics and inaugurated the home visiting scheme.

She was behind the opening of the infant welfare clinic in the creche at Colliers Wood –
one of the first.

HIGHEST ESTEEM

In 1920 a second health visitor was appointed, and Mrs Wray became senior health visitor. Later she was promoted and became the first local superintendent health visitor and infant life protection visitor.

During her 23 years’ service she worked during the term of three successive medical officers of health.

Dr Florence M Parsons, former assistant Mitcham medical officer of health, writes of Mrs Wray: “Practically every family in the borough was known to her.

“Many thousands of mothers have reason to be grateful to her invariably sound, helpful and sympathetic advice, and she was always held in the highest esteem by her professional colleagues and all those with whom she came into contact.”

Mrs Wray, a widow, has been an invalid for some years. The funeral service was at Wallington Parish Church on Wednesday last week. It was conducted by the Rev Frank Colquhoun, who also took the service at Streatham Vale crematorium. He paid tribute to her life of service for the community.

See a photograph, from Merton Memories, of her in 1920 at Woodlands.

Alfred Henry Bailey

Alderman and mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. Born 1876, died 22nd May, 1959.

Mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. This clip is from Merton Memories photo 50641 copyright London Borough of Merton

Mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. This clip is from Merton Memories photo 50641 copyright London Borough of Merton

His obituary as reported in the local press:

Mr A.H. Bailey, former mayor, Boer War veteran and campaigner for a better Mitcham, died on Friday after a short illness. He was 82.

Throughout his long connection with Mitcham he fought for improvements. It is through his efforts that Mitcham was provided with two secondary schools.

In recent years, despite his age, Mr Bailey continued to play an active part in local organisations and affairs.

Mr Bailey came to the district in 1909. For several years until his death he lived in a bungalow at Glebe Court Estate, London Road.

Before he met his wife and settled down he was a roamer. He went to South Africa in 1895, and fought in the Boer War.

He joined an uitlander regiment and, as sergeant, took part in the battles preceding the relief of Ladysmith.

After being a member of Mitcham Urban District Council for six years he was elected chairman in 1926. Since then he has served the district in almost every civic capacity.

He became a member of the Borough Council in 1935, an alderman in 1937 and in 1944 he and his wife became Mayor and Mayoress.

His interests in Mitcham were many. He was president of the local boy scouts association for 17 years, a war-time deputy chief warden, founder member of the North Mitcham Improvement Association and founder member of the Anglo-Netherlands Association – now the All Nations’ Sports and Cultural Association.

Mr Bailey’s funeral was on Wednesday (27th May, 1959) at South London Crematorium.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th May 1959

More information on his life was given in a profile in the The South Warder, magazine of the South Mitcham Residents Association, volume 1 issue 1, November 1947.

Born in 1876 at Epsom, he attended the same primary school as Mr. Chuter Ede, the MP for Mitcham in 1923.

At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to a trade he disliked, and when in his ‘teens he emigrated to South Africa, ultimately settling in Pretoria, working in a shop for three years and becoming personally acquainted with the State Attorney (Field Marshal Smuts).

When hostilities broke out he found the lines to Cape Colony and Natal blocked, and had to escape through Portuguese territory (this route was later used by Winston Churchill). Joining a Uitiander Corps, he quickly became a sergeant and saw service at Colenso, Vaal Krantz, Spion Kop, and eventually taking part in the relief of Ladysmith; he was then invalided home to England with enteric fever.

On returning to civil life he entered the Post Office engineering service, retiring in 1936 at the age of 60.

He came to Mitcham in 1909 and was elected to the Council in 1920, and raised to the Aldermanic bench in 1937.

Mr. Bailey was very prominent in the formation of the Air Raid Precautions of the Borough and served throughout the War as a Deputy Chief Warden.

He served on many Committees of the Council and also on several outside bodies, such as School Managers, Boy Scouts, etc., where he was well known for his intelligent approach to the problems arising therein.

Perhaps the highlight in his long career was to be chosen as Mayor during V.E. year, when, in addition to his normal duties, he was seen at practically every street party held in Mitcham, accompanied and ably supported by the Mayoress, Mrs. Bailey.


In the 1911 census, Alfred Henry Bailey, inspector in the engineers department of post office telephones, is living at 48 Boscombe Road, with his wife Florence May, aged 34, and daughter Mary Alice, aged 1.

From a public family tree on Ancestry, his daughter Mary Alice married Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse in 1938.

Alfred Henry Bailey died in 1959, as shown in his probate record, from Ancestry:

BAILEY Alfred Henry of 180 Glebe Court, London Road, Mitcham
Surrey, died 22nd May 1959 at St. Anthonys Hospital Cheam Surrey.

Probate London 9th July to Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse quantity surveyor and Mary Alice Rodhouse (Wife of the said Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse).

Effects £1886 13s. 8d.

Adjusted for inflation, this is worth around £40,000 in 2017 values.

Merton Memories Photos
1945
1946 visit to Hengelo
1958