Category Archives: Housing

Cedars Avenue

Road that runs south westerly from Tamworth Lane to Commonside East where it crosses Mitcham Common to Croydon Road near the junction with Carshalton Road. The part of the road across the Common was a footpath until it was widened in 1930/31.

From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council
Volume XVI May 1930 to April 1931
Highways Committee
4th June 1930
Page 115

IMPROVEMENTS.

I lay before you plans for the construction of a new road from Watneys Road to Galpins Road at an estimated cost of £3,880.

I also lay before you plans for the widening and reoonstruction of New Road from the common from Blue House Bridge to Cedars Road, at an intimated cost of £5,391.

In both cases it is proposed to maintain a footway on one side only, and in the case of the first mentioned road the width of the carriageway is 18 ft., and in the latter instance 24 ft. with 5 ft. footpath.

Yours obediently,
Riley Schofield, Assoc.M.Inst.C.E.,
Engineer and Surveyor.

Resolved –

(f) Improvements, Mitcham Common – That the Committee defer consideration of the plans for construction of a new road from Watneys Road to Galpins Road and for the widening and reconstruction of New Road across the Common from Blue Houses Bridge to Cedars Road, pending the decision of the Conservators with regard to the promotion of a Bill in Parliament.

This OS map from 1910 shows the route of road and footpath to the Blue House pub:

1910 OS map

It also shows two large houses off the east side of the road, and opposite the drive that led to Brenley. The names of these can be seen on this 1953 OS map, as The Chantry and Radstock.

1953 OS map

In the 1964 electoral register, the houses in Cedars Avenue were listed as:

No. 1,3 and 5
Brenley
Newholme
Orchard Cottage
Malvern
Devonia
Havrincourt
The Cedars
Radstock
The Chantry
The Orchard
Malgarry
Clonmel

Rear garden of The Orchard. Photo kindly supplied by a former resident.

Cedars Avenue looking towards Commonside East. Havrincourt is on the left. Photo kindly supplied by a former resident of The Orchard.

The houses on the east side of the road were renumbered even, starting from the Commonside East end, possibly in the 1930s. The 1939 for sale ad below for Devonia was the same as an ad listed for no. 2.

Road being surfaced in the 1960s. See comment below by Alan Hutchings.

News articles and adverts

Norwood News – Friday 14 April 1939

MITCHAM COMMON (partially overlooking).

Bright semi-detached freehold; vacant possession; 2 receptions, 3 bedrooms, kitchen, separate w.c., nice garden; £745. – Apply on premises, “Devonia”, Cedars-avenue, Mitcham; Mitcham 4130.

Norwood News – Saturday 13 November 1926
Image © Reach PLC. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Text of ad:

MITCHAM
(Immediately facing Common and Golf Links).
(By tram alight at Blue House).
Substantially Built Brick and Tile
FREEHOLD HOUSES.
3 and 4 bedrooms. Every modern convenience.
Room for Garage.
£975 to £1,200.
LIBERAL MORTGAGE ARRANGED.
Apply, any time, any day, to:-
PYLE, Contractor,
Corner of Cedars Avenue and Commonside East,
MITCHAM, Surrey.


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.

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

Gunsite

An area of Mitcham Common that is south of the Mitcham Junction tramstop and railway station, east of the Carshalton Road, and is bounded on its eastern edge by the railway line between Mitcham Junction and Hackbridge stations, and on its southern edge by the scaffolding yards at the rear of the Corporation Cottages.

The area is called the Gunsite after its use during WW2 as an anti-aircraft installation, as shown on this 1955 OS map:

1955 OS map

This photo shows what remained of the site around 1961. The view is towards the west and the houses of Carshalton Road can be seen in the background.

c.1961 photo of the Gun site, where children often played. From Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-2

Photo taken around 1961 of the Gunsite. The houses in the background are on Carshalton Road. Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-1

The Gunsite was demolished in 1962/3.

Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th July 1962.

At last
—Gunsite
is to go

ONE of Mitcham’s biggest eye-sores, the Gun Site, Carshalton Road, Mitcham, is at last going to be cleared . . . at a cost of about £13,000.

Work on clearing the site is expected to start in about two months’ time.
The Ministry have approved a tender of £10,800 submitted to them from the Conservators and have further agreed to bear the cost of replacing trees on the site.

WELCOMED

A further cost of £2,000 fees will be included in the work.

This news is welcomed not only by Mitcham Common Conservators but by Mitcham Council and the public.

The Gun Site is one of the few remaining war relics in Mitcham and local people have been pressing for years to clear it.

The conservators hope to replace it with a grass landscape with trees.

Demolition of buildings on the Gunsite, around 1962/3. In the background can be seen a signal at Mitcham Junction Railway Station, and part of the Mitcham Golf Club building. Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-3

Currently, in 2020, the area shows no sign of its wartime use.

Information Board at the southern entrance to the Gunsite. Photo taken 22nd May 2020.

This board has no date and doesn’t mention the WW2 use of the area, however on the Conservator’s website, suggested walk no. 2, ‘Between The Tramstops’ (pdf) says:

… the area is known as the Gunsite because six anti-aircraft guns were stationed here during the second world war. The troop quarters were still present in the mid-1950s when they were used to house local people while new estates were being built in Mitcham.

The text on the info board:

Mitcham Common is a 180 site of Metropolitan Importance for nature conservation that is one of the most interesting and varied open spaces in south London. It supports a range of habitat types which include secondary woodland and scrub, ponds and other wetland features, together with large tracks of natural grassland and smaller parcels of the regionally important acid grassland and heathland habitats. Together these are home for a vast array of plants and animals many of which are locally rare. In order to maintain this biodiversity the Common requires active management which is undertaken by full-time staff assisted by local volunteers.

The Common is managed and regulated by the Mitcham Common Conservators who are a statutory corporation empowered under the Metropolitan Commons (Mitcham) Supplemental Act 1891.

For further information about the common or the conservatory contact :

The Wardens Office
Mill House Ecology Centre
Windmill Road
Mitcham
Surrey CR4 1HT
Tel: 020 8288 0453

Or visit: www.mitchamcommon.org

Mitcham Common is part of what is to become the Wandle Valley Country Park, and area of some 500 hectares of Metropolitan Open Space. the Park includes Beddington Park to the south, Beddington Farmlands landfill site and Thames Water Sewage Worksin the centre and the Common to the north. Work has already begun to develop the Park, ahead of the Beddington Farmlands site becoming available for open space in the future.

Note that the Metropolitan Commons (Mitcham) Supplemental Act 1891 is available to view on the Parliamentary Archives website.

News Items

Norwood News – Friday 06 January 1956

Gun-site families to change huts

The regrouping of families living at the gun site in Carshalton-road, near Mitcham Junction, will cost £1,000. The War Office, who want to clear up part of the site, have asked that the families should move into huts on the north side of the entrance road to the site. The condition of the huts the, people will move into is poor, say Mitcham Council. It is the conversion of the huts which will cost the money. Mitcham have agreed to the proposal on condition that the Ministry of Housing pay the cost of conversion.

Memories

Discussion on the Facebook Mitcham History Group led to these memories being recalled:

Carole said

… dad used to talk about the house opposite that had had its roof damaged and repaired so many times that they had V for victory in morse code in the tiles on the roof. Sadly, it was removed when re-roofed.

Eddie said

Happy memories as a kid playing there.

Isabella said

I was born on the gun site in 1947, lived there until 1954. I had a fantastic childhood growing up there.

Pat said

My brothers used to play there.

One night the whole of Pollards was out till 9pm looking for one of them ( he’d got carried away playing & forgot the time).

Another time my mum was cleaning under his bed & found a tin with hand grenades & bullets in it….she went with him to the police station and they had to have them blown up by the army. To say we’re lucky to be alive, is an understatement.

Terence said

I was born there in the old mess hut

Photos

Photo taken from a bench near the centre of the Gunsite area, looking west towards the Carshalton Road. Photo taken 18th May 2020.

One of the oak trees in the wooded area at the south eastern corner of the Gunsite. Photo taken 18th May 2020.


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