Category Archives: Housing

1970 : Pollards Hill Estate rents for new 5-person houses too high

Rents of about £9 plus a week which will be charged on soon to be completed homes in the new Pollards Hill Housing Estate are being scoffed at by council tenants.

Tenants at present living in overcrowded conditions are being given the opportunity to move to future new homes on the 850-dwellings estate. However, the common reaction is ”These rates are too high by far – we can’t move unless they are brought down.”

The higher rents come in as a part of the rent structure for new tenancies – based on 210% of gross value on houses and 185% on flats – brought in by Merton Council.

Borough Housing Manager Mr A.A. Brown said 1,000 tenants had so far been invited to move into the new Pollards Hill Estate when their five and six person houses and flats become available.

Small response

“But the response of people interested in moving has been small,” he said.

Mr Brown was confident, however, that no flats or houses on the new development will be left empty when they were completed by the summer of 1971.

“I am sure they will be quickly occupied from the council waiting list.”

Among the existing tenants who have been given the opportunity of moving is 42 year old printer Mr John Uren.

Father of a teenage son and daughter, he would be entitled to move into a new 3-bedroom house from his four-guinea-a-week, two bedroom flat on the post-war estate at Pollards Hill.

“But I doubt I if I shall accept the offer – anyone who would pay £9 a week rent could just as well by their own new home,” Mr Uren said.

And Pollards Hill Estate tenants Association secretary Mr Dennis Small said these are not rents for ordinary council tenants at all – the council are only catering for people with big incomes. To pay the kind of rents the council asking for their new homes, a man would need to earn up to £40 a week.”

The new rents for a strongly opposed by the council’s labour minority. Said Councillor D.W. Chalkley, sole Labour representative on the housing committee: “With better handling of the housing account, these new tenancy rents could have been contained within the existing structure, which the Government would not have permitted to be raised.

“With such high rates, most people are quite naturally scared off.”

Merton’s letter inviting overcrowded tenants to move to Pollards Hill drew attention to the recently improved rent rebate scheme.

Prefer to pay

“But most tenants would prefer to pay their way rather than hope they will continue to qualify for rebates,” Councillor Chalkley commented.

“And, in any case, the present scheme where one council tenant subsidises another is wrong – it should be spread evenly amongst all ratepayers.”

Official opening of the first to five person houses at Pollards Hill will be carried out by Mitcham MP Mr Robert Carr, January 28.

Franklin Crescent

A crescent, that is nearly a square, road with an island centre, off the north side of Sherwood Park Road in the eastern part of Mitcham. Possibly built in the early 1930s. Houses are numbered odd, clockwise from 1 to 71, and even on the island in the centre, also clockwise from 2 to 28.

The Royal Mail postcode website says that there are two postcodes used in this road : odd numbered houses are CR4 1ND, while even numbered ones are CR4 1NH.

Photo of the front of no. 10 taken in 1983.

Photo of the rear of no. 10 taken in 1983. Vehicle access to the back was possible and this photo shows a garage on the left.

Photo of the back garden of no. 10 taken in 1983.


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

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.

Howard’s Brookfields Estate

Advertised in 1938:

Charming but inexpensive homes are to be found in Mitcham and none are more attractive than those on Howard’s Brookfields Estate which is situated on the London Road. Buses pass the end of the estate’s own concrete roads, linking Acton and Belmont.
Only three minutes away from the estate is Mitcham (Southern Railway) Station, with its frequent services to Tooting, Croydon, Wimbledon, and thence to all parts of London, and not more than ten minutes walk is Mitcham Junction Station from which leave many fast trains to the London Termini.

Despite such accessibility, however, the estate retains something of that quiet peace which more and more home-makers are seeking beyond the whirl of London.

It is with the benefit of such surroundings that the houses on this estate have been erected : their sound construction, labour-saving design and attractive appearance are in keeping. Leasehold (99 years), the prices range from £625 (total weekly outgoings approximately £1 5s. 2d. including repayment ground rents, rates and water) for centre houses, to £650 (£1 5s. 11d. weekly) for end houses, and £675 (£1 6s. 11d. weekly) for semi-detached houses. Freehold, the prices are £795 (£1 6s. 6d. weekly), £825 (£1 7s. 3d. weekly) and £850 (£1 8s. 5d. weekly). There are three types of houses, from which purchasers may choose.

Fundamentally, however, these houses are constructed to the one well-considered design. With a drawing room (12 ft. 9 ins. by 11 ft. ins.) and a dining room (12 ft. 11/2 ins. by 10 ft. 3 ins.) a pleasant hall and a kitchen (10 ft. by 6 ft. 9 ins.), upstairs three bedrooms, two large and one small with bathroom and separate w.c. supply the accommodation which the average family finds most convenient.

Here, in fact, are homes that are in no way pretentious – but are lastingly comfortable, and well equipped. There is the fitted kitchen for instance. With walls and floor partly tiled, with notably complete cupboard and larder fittings, folding table, sink cabinet with two teak drainers, and the all-important enamelled “Ideal” boiler and enamelled gas copper.

Then there are the attractive tiled fireplaces in the drawing and dining rooms and the sensible electric panel fires in two of the bedrooms. There is the heated linen cupboard, and tiled bathroom with enclosed panelled bath, fitted with mixer and hot shower. Numerous gas, electric and radio points assure the maximum of convenience throughout.

Nor has that thoughtful planning stopped short at the house itself; not only are there good paths already made, but at the back is a brick-built coal bunker. Space for a garage is included in the garden. What is more, these homes have the very great advantage of being guaranteed brick construction throughout. With no road charges, legal charges or other extras, this estate of 200 homes is meeting the requirements of a great number of careful purchasers.

The estate was built on the site of the Brookfields Nursery. An ad in the 1929 town guide has

Mitcham Lavender

J.N. CHESHIRE

Nurseryman and Florist

Brookfields Nursery
463 London Road

comprising 9 acres on the Banks of the River Wandle

Wreaths and Bouquets made to order
Telephone No. 2244 Mitcham

John Norkett CHESHIRE is listed as Market Gardener at the same address in the 1930 and 1938 commercial directories.

1932 OS map showing the Brookfield Nurseries

This 1938 map shows the estate taking shape:

1938 OS map


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

1960 : Glad Farewell to Nissen Huts

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th April 1960

Home … but not for much longer for the occupiers of this Nissen hut at Wide Way. Until recently there were many homes like this on the site.

The last families on Mitcham’s largest Nissen hut colony on Wide Way will soon be saying a glad farewell to the dwellings they call home.
They are the last of 60 families who have lived in the galvanised huts on a muddy site littered with bricks, glass and old car parts for as long as eight years.

But nearly all have tried to make a home of the huts until better places are found for them.

One mother of six boys between the ages of 15 months and 11 years said she found it almost impossible to bring up a family in such conditions. But she had tried, and gay curtains decorated the small windows of the hut.

BROKEN WINDOWS

Another woman with four young children is looking forward to moving to a house with a small garden.

“As long as I have somewhere where they can play without wandering away or getting lost, I won’t mind,” she said stop

“The garages in nearby houses are in better condition a More habitable in these hearts similar woman. But I’m lucky ones – I am moving this week.”

At present there are fewer than a dozen families living on the site. The empty huts have become a playground for children who have added to the chaos by breaking windows and defacing the walls.

1950 : Glebe Estate Flats construction concern

Mitcham News and Mercury
3rd March, 1950, page 1

Glebe Estate Flats
Scheme “Causing Some Anxiety”

CONCERN at progress on the Glebe Estate where a hundred flats are under construction was expressed by Mitcham’s Housing chairman (Ald. C. A. Norris), at Tuesday’s Council meeting.

“This scheme, ill advised in the first place, seems doomed to failure and is causing us some anxiety,” he said. They hoped the contractor would pull the thing round and give them some units of accommodation.

No-one knew what the rents would be. Figures varying between 45s. to 60s. a week had been mentioned. He hoped there would be enough people on the local housing list willing to pay these high rents.

A report of the Borough Surveyor (Mr. Riley Schofield) states that progress on the site is not satisfactory, but the architect informed him that the position did not warrant the exercise of his power under Clause 19 of the conditions of contract to serve a notice that the contractor was not proceeding with the work with reasonable diligence.

The amount of work had improved considerably during last two months. average weekly value of builders’ work in January including the Christmas holiday was approximately £1,500. The December figure was £1,000 and the highest figure prior this was £900 in August.

The Beeches

The Beeches Estate is on London Road, Mitcham, just south of the new Mitcham Fire Station. It was built in 1959/60 on the site occupied by E.T. Pearson Ltd., who made Lactagol. The factory site was bought by Mitcham Borough Council in 1959.

The Royal Mail website lists 32 flats on this estate, all with the postcode CR4 4BH.

From the Norwood News, 15th July 1960:

The Beeches

A block of maisonettes and flats being built at 417-45, London Road, Mitcham, will be called “The Beeches.”

The building is a slightly offset T-shape, with the the top of the ‘T’ facing the road, which has a ground floor of flats, and two upper floors of maisonettes. The vertical part of the ‘T’ to the rear has two floors of maisonettes.

Note the arrangement of the windows in the lower floor of each maisonette. All have French windows and a window to its side. The road facing block has six flats. The three flats to the left of the stairs have the French windows on the right of the main window, whereas the three flats on the right have the French windows to the left of the main window. The rear block has an alternating pattern of these windows.

Also of note are the brick-enclosed drain pipes.

Photo taken October 2018

A report in May 1959 said that the cost to Mitcham Borough Council was around £82,000.