Category Archives: Health

Albert Thomas Till, Medical Officer for Health at Mitcham

16th July 1936. Dr Till, with the Mayoress, Mrs Davies, at a ‘Welfare Centres ‘ garden party at Park Place. Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Hospitals_​4-1

In the 1935 Medical Directory he is listed as living at 43, Mitcham Park.

In 1924 he obtained his degree as Batchelor of Medicine / Batchelor of Surgery and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; and post-graduated with Dental Public Health in 1931 at the University of London. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health, and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

He was the Medical Officer at the Mission Hospital in Mahamba, Swaziland; and the Resident Medical Officer at the Victoria Hospital in Damascus, Syria.

He authored Dental caries in native children, published in the South African Medical Journal in 1927; Some observations on influenza in 1933 and Liquid paraffin, a cause of loss of weight in children, in 1934, both in the Journal of State Medicine.

He was appointed Mitcham Medical Officer for Health in 1937.

Injured during bombing raid on 12th November, 1940, at 31 Mitcham Park, he died the same day at Wilson Hospital. He was 40 years old.

From Norwood News – Friday 15 November 1940, page 2:

Obituary
TRAGIC DEATH OF DR. TILL
Medical Officer of Health at Mitcham

THE tragic death of Dr. A. T. Till, Medical Officer of Health for Mitcham, has cut short a promising career at the comparatively early age of 40 years.

He was a native of South Africa, and came to Mitcham 3 1/2 years ago, when he was temporarily appointed for six months’ trial to succeed the late Dr. Fegen, who then was a part-time officer of health. By the end of his term, Dr. Till had given such complete satisfaction, that be was unanimously given the full-time post of medical officer. That he justified that confidence is recognised everywhere. Year by year he endeared himself more and more to the Council, his colleagues, and the ratepayers generally, and he came to be regarded as one of the most popular of Mitcham’s public servants. Unostentatious at all times, Dr. Till wielded a great influence throughout the borough, and improved the health services to a remarkable extent.

A prominent Council official paid him this tribute: “Dr. Till was a first-class officer,” he said. “Exceedingly capable, and most popular with the whole of the public services. Ever ready to give advice, it could be absolutely relied unon. The Council has lost one of its best and most conscientious officers.”

A sad coincidence is that normally he would have been on duty elsewhere on the night of his death, but he had arranged an exchange with a professional colleague. During the war period, Dr. Till had been in charge of the ambulance and first aid posts. In addition to his ordinary duties, and he worked unceasingly for the benefit of the public services.

The Mayor (Ald. E.J.D. Field) is calling a special meeting of the Council for to-morrow (Saturday) to pay tribute to Dr. Till’s memory, and to place on record an appreciation of his services.

Dr. Till leaves a widow and daughter to mourn their irreparable loss.

Commonwealth war Grave Commission casualty record.

In his will, he left £909 3s. 7d. to his widow Emily Annie Till (around £50,000 in 2019 values).

Sources:
Wellcome Trust; London, England; Collection: The Medical Directory, 1935; Reference: b21330724_i13766260

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.

Rumbold Farm

1867 OS map

Farm house and land off west side of Carshalton Road, on part of what is now the Willow Lane industrial estate. Also known as Rumbold’s Farm or Rumbold Castle, it dated back to the 17th century.

As reported in the London Evening Standard – Saturday 16 February 1861, the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which had been established in 1852, used its Samaritan Fund to obtain for convalescing children

the renovating influence of sea and country air, and in a large measure the committee were indebted for the opportunity of doing this to the kindness of two friends of the charity, one of whom, at Brighton, undertakes the entire cost of the Home which she has established there, whilst Lady Harding receives the children at a moderate charge of Rumbold’s Farm, Mitcham, a home founded by and still under her management.

The archivists at Great Ormond Street Hospital said that from 1869, the Hospital for Sick Children had its own convalescent home at Cromwell house in Highgate, but prior to that, after opening in 1852, they used the Mitcham home run by Lady Harding and another private home in Brighton. From 1927-83 the hospital had a larger ‘Country Branch’ further out in Surrey at Tadworth Court, which continues to operate today as a charitable trust providing respite care services for children.

Morning Post – Monday 22 July 1861 via British Newspaper Archive

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 28 March 1885 – via British Newspaper Archive

Text of ad:

OLD RUMBOLD FARM, opposite Mitcham Junction Station. Mitcham Common.—For Sale, useful old Building Materials, 12,000 plain tiles, window sashes. six cucumber frames, large copper and furnace, large kitchener, 5-ft. wide, nearly new; also capital American cooking range. 4-ft. wide, nearly new, pump with lead pipe, taps attached, with apparatus for supplying bath or high service, quantity of firewood, &c.

Tom Francis took a photo of the farmhouse, which can be seen on Merton Memories.

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

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.

Cumberland House

Cumberland Hospital was paid for by Isaac Wilson, and built on land he owned, at the rear of his house The Birches. Its entrance was at the end of Whitford Gardens at Cold Blows.

Opened in 1939, it was demolished in 1992. Its perimeter wall along Cold Blows remains.

1953 OS map

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 21st July, 1939, page 1.

LEFT THE GOLD KEY AT HOME

But Sir Isaac’s Splendid Gift is Duly Inaugurated

CUMBERLAND HOUSE OPENED

An amusing hitch occurred at the formal opening of Cumberland House, Mitcham, on Friday afternoon. Sir Isaac Wilson, as the munificent donor of the place, was about to present the key to Sir Richard Meller, M.P., with which to unlock the door, when he discovered that he had left it at home.

A messenger was dispatched post-haste, and in ten minutes’ time he arrived with the gold key.

The ceremony then proceeded smoothly. It was a semi-private affair, arranged by the Surrey County Council officials. Among the guests present were Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson, Sir Richard and Lady Meller, the Mayor and Mayoress of Mitcham (Ald. and Mrs. Field), Mr. R. M. Chart, the 89-years-old Charter Mayor of Mitcham, Mr. Stephen Chart, the vicar of Mitcham (the Rev. C. A. Finch) and Mrs. Finch, Col. W. F. Johnson, Mr. Christopher Chart, Dr and Mrs. A. T. Till, Ald. E. H. Rickards (Croydon), County Councillor Mrs. C. Randall, Mr. and Mrs. G. S. Alderman, Mr. H. H. Dance, staff, officials, and inmates of the House.

COSTS £60,000.

The building was erected at the cost approximately of £60,000 by Sir Isaac Wilson, on land belonging to him, and adjoining his own residence at The Birches, almost overlooking the famous Mitcham Cricket Green. The foundation stone was laid on March 1, 1937, by Sir Kingsley Wood, then Minister of Health. The place was originally to be used as a home for poor disabled persons, and it was vested in trustees for that purpose. Subsequently, however Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson, with the approval of their co-trustees, offered the building as a gift to the Surrey County Council for use as a convalescent home in connection with the Council’s hospitals. The munificent and public-spirited offer was gratefully accepted in May, 1938. Under the scheme, Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson are life members of the committee of management, with seven other members appointed by the County authority. The hospital has been furnished and equipped by the Council, who have also appointed the necessary staff. The first patient was admitted on March 29 last. The hospital has accommodation for 110 patients and 24 staff. The patients are mainly transferred from hospitals as requiring from two to eight weeks’ further treatment in order to firmly reestablish their health.

UP-TO-DATE.

On the ground floor there are the administrative offices, kitchens, a dispensary, and two units. The first floor comprises two ward units, an electrical treatment room, the doctor’s flat, and dining-rooms for the nursing and domestic staff. The second floor contains bed- and other rooms for the matron, assistant matron, and 22 members of the nursing and domestic staffs, including two staff common rooms. The lay-out of the Home is magnificent, with sunshine balconies, and spacious grounds for recreation.

Sir Isaac paid tribute to the architects, Messrs. Chart, Son and Reading; the builder, Mr. C. Higginson; his confidential friends, Mr. R. M. Chart, and his son, Mr. Stephen Chart (Town Clerk of Mitcham), Sir Richard Meller, and the Rev. C. A. Finch, chaplain of the home. He declared that every one of these gentlemen had helped him by good advice during the building of the Home. He went on to say that the Surrey County Councii were now trying to do the very best they could with the building, and “I shall be fully recompensed to know that the institution will be carried an efficiently in the future for the benefit and use of convalescent cases,” he added.

DEPUTISING FOR MINISTER OF HEALTH.

Sir Richard Meller humorously suggested that a record of the ceremony should be “the safe arrival of the key.” He greatly appreciated the honour and privilege conferred upon him, he said. He was really deputising for the Minister of Health, who was unable to attend. “This is a succession of noble acts of benefaction by Sir Isaac Wilson,” commented Sir Richard. The building of Wilson Hospital, and the Garden Village, are other worthy examples of his generosity. There is nothing which adds to human happiness so much as the enjoyment of good health, and Sir Isaac and Lady Wislon have been so charity-minded as to build these institutions to try to confer the greatest blessing on mankind by providing them with means of achieveing the greatest human happiness.”

In handing over the Home to County authority, Sir Richard thought the donors had paid tribute to the efficient administration of that body. It came at an opportune moment for the County Council in providing them with the necessary accommodation to relieve their present hospitals, and particularly as an outlet for the large institution being built on St Helier Estate. Sir Richard gave the assurance that the intentions of the trustees would be carried out as far as possible.

“The opening of this home, concluded Sir Richard, “confers a very valuable asset upon the County, and it should be duly recorded among the great historic events of Mitcham.”

“By taking over this building, the County Authority have enabled Sir Isaac to confirm two benefits on community, provision of an institution for the sick, relief for the ratepayers. It is a second example of the dual benefit that Sir Isaac has conferred upon the ratepaying community through Wilson hospital and now Cumberland Home. “Where I am ye shall dwell,” seems to have animated the donor, for he has built both institutions close to his own private residence, equivalent to saying what is good enough for me I hope is good enough for you. In your name as residents of Mitcham, and on behalf of the County of Surrey, I express to Sir Isaac and Lady Wilson our whole-hearted gratitude for their generosity and kindness. Before their eyes they will have the satisfaction and knowledge that those who came here sick went away rejoicing in good health.” (Cheers).

The company then proceeded to the main entrance of the budiling, and Sir Richard unlocked the door with a gold key, declaring the Home open for the succour of mankind.”

Photos on Merton Memories:
Laying of the Foundation Stone
Foundation Stone
1958 : Chest hospital building


The hospital, originally under the Surrey County Council, became part of the NHS in 1947. This ad for nurses in 1949 shows it was part of the St Helier hospital group:

16th July 1949

In 1979, the Sutton, Merton and Wandsworth Area Health Authority announced it was to close. The buildings were demolished in 1992. Redevelopment of the site by the health authority has included day care centres, and is the site of the Merton Dementia Hub.

For more information about the hospital, see the website Lost Hospitals of London.


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

1895 Death from pleurisy

MITCHAM.

On Tuesday, Mr Percy Morrison held an inquiry at the Mortuary Chapel, Mitcham, relative to the death of Emily Mills, the wife of Joseph Mills, a builder’s labourer, living at 26, Sibthorp-road.

— The husband stated that the deceased was 40 years age, and since her father’s death, which took place in March last, had not been in good health.

— Dr Oscar Berridge Shelswell deposed that he attended the deceased on the 3rd inst., and found that she was suffering from pains under the heart and slight pleurisy. On the 13th inst. he discovered that she was suffering from pneumonia and pleurisy, to which he attributed her death.

— The jury returned a verdict in accordance with the medical evidence.

Source: Surrey Mirror – Friday 24 May 1895 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Doctor Henry Love

Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1857, he gained his Batchelor of Art and Batchelor of Medicine at Dublin University in 1878. He died in March 1934.

In the 1891 census, he is living in Mitcham with his wife Eliza Lea, who was also born in Dublin, at no. 3, Whitford Lane. Their eldest daughter, Eva Maud, aged 8, was born in Mitcham in 1883, so he would have moved from Ireland to Mitcham between 1878 and 1883.

In the 1885 Medical Directory his address is Ryde Cottage.

In the 1901 and 1911 censuses he is living at Elm Lodge. The electoral registers shows he was at Elm Lodge until 1923, when he moved to Avoca, until 1933. He was in hospital June 1933, and died the following year.

He contributed “Procidentia, complete Rupture of Cervix Uteri, occurring in Twin Labour,” to the Lancet, in 1882. In 1891 he wrote for the Lancet, “Rupture of the Uterus during Parturition”.

Merton Memories photo at the Woodlands Maternity Clinic in 1920.

News Articles

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 16th June 1933

DR. Henry LOVE

Satisfactory Progress
after operation

We are pleased to be able to state that Dr. Henry Love is making satisfactory progress in his serious illness. He is still a patient in Wilson Cottage Hospital, and the operation he has undergone has proved successful.

Dr. Love is 77 years of age, and everybody wishes him a speedy recovery and many more years of public service.


His death was reported in March 1934:

Believed to have been the oldest doctor in practice in Surrey, Dr. Henry Love, of Commonside, East Mitcham, has died, aged 77.

Source: Hastings and St Leonards Observer – Saturday 17 March 1934 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

In the 1912 directory Henry Love M.B., L.R.C.S.I., Lower Green east, is listed as a manager of the Zion Congregational School.