Category Archives: People

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.

1929 : Funeral of Mr J.G. Guyatt

From the Mitcham Advertiser and Surrey County Report, 14th March, 1929, page 1.

Mr J.G. Guyatt.

Funeral of a Well Known
Contractor.

The funeral of Mr JG Guyatt, the well-known contractor of Mitcham and Brixton, who died suddenly last week at his Mitcham home, Grove Lodge, Sutton Road, at the age of 75, took place on Saturday morning.

Mr Guyatt was one of the largest cartage contractors in the London area and at one time owned over 100 horses and carts. Of late years motor lorries largely displaced the horse-drawn vehicle, but Mr Guyatt retained his love of horses to the end. It was fitting that his funeral procession should be of the old-fashioned horse-drawn kind.

The first part of the service was held in the Wesleyan Mission Church, Fair Green. It was conducted by the minister, the Rev. A. Denman Martin, who also officiated at the graveside.

Mrs Guyatt, who died two years ago, and her daughters were formerly active members of the Mission, and Mrs Parks, the younger daughter, was a member of the choir and a soloist. Before coming to Mitcham seventeen years ago the family worshipped at Brixton Hill Wesleyan church.

Mr Guyatt, who took no active part in Mitcham public affairs, succeeded to the business founded by his father and extended it enormously. He owned several gravel pits in Mitcham and was a contractor to many local bodies. His chief interest outside his business was his old-world garden at the rear of the house. He was the eldest of twelve children, ten of whom survive him. His own family consists of two sons and two daughters. The business will be carried on by the elder son. The younger one, Mr Frank Guyatt, has a separate motor transport business.

Mr Guyatt, who had not quite recovered from a serious illness, which left his heart in a weak state, was at work as usual on Monday last week, the day before his death. He collapsed at breakfast time and passed away in a quarter of an hour, to the sincere regret to all who knew him or had business relations with him.

Mr Nicholls, the organist, played “Oh Rest in the Lord” as the funeral procession entered into the church and later the Funeral March. The hymn sung was “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand”.

The mourners were Mr JG Guyatt and Mr Frank Guyatt (sons); Mrs SE Crabb and Mrs H Parks (daughters); Mr W Guyatt, Mr L Guyatt, Mr John Guyatt, Mrs Howes and Mrs Priest (brothers and sisters).

Others present were Mrs JG Guyatt, Mrs Frank Guyatt, Mr and Mrs JG Guyatt, junior; Mrs John Guyatt, Miss Herbert and Mrs W Guyatt, junior; Mr C Guyatt, Miss L Guyatt, Mr E Guyatt, Miss Priest, Mr Howes, Mr Rickard, Mr Priest, Mrs Calver and Mr Robert Parks.

The beautiful floral tributes included wreaths from all the aforementioned families and from Dr Shelswell, Mr Rawlings, Eastfields Pit, the workpeople at Eastfields, Mitcham yard, motor department (Brixton Hill), horse department, Mr and Mrs Arthur Beard, Mr and Mrs Thatcher, Mrs G T Hodges and family, Mr and Mrs Cramp and family, Mr Walter Clarkson and family, Mr H Clarkson and Sons, Mr Wells (Eastfields), Mr and Mrs P Bell, Mr and Mrs J Ellis, Mr and Mrs John Gillett, Mr and Mrs J Emmerton, Mr William Priest, Volan and Trigg (George Neal and Sons), Mr Nathan Guyatt, Mrs Collins, Mr and Mrs Halliday, Mr Moon, Mr and Mrs Bruce Thompson, Mr John Cronk and family, Mr and Mrs George Thompson and family, Mrs Shepherd, Mrs Allen and Mrs Johnson.

1923 : Seaton Road Feuds

From the Norwood News – Tuesday 5th June 1923, via the British Newspaper Archive

GIPSIES’ MELEE.
WHOLESALE SUMMONSES FOLLOW.
AMAZING COURT SCENE.

A feud among gipsy folk living at Seaton road, Mitcham, culminated on Saturday in quite a colony of them appearing at Croydon County Police Court.

They swarmed about the precincts of the Court to the extent that everybody was asking what was the matter.

The full details of the feud or vendetta did not come to light, and the public were disappointed, inasmuch as the story was not told for their benefit.

Evidently something serious happened in Seaton-road on May 19, and the outcome was 19 summonses and cross-summonses for assault. Leonard Dixie and his wife, Britannia Dixie, of Seaton-road, were summoned for assaulting William Smith and Alice May Hudson; Mercy Sparrowhawk, of Portland-road, Mitcham, charged with assaulting Amy Deakins, Britannia Dixie and Leonard Dixie; Phoebe Smith, William Smith, John Smith and William Smith, junior, all summoned for assaulting Leonard Dixie and Britannia Dixie and Thomas Edmund Stevens for assaulting Louisa Stevens, on the 20th.

Louisa Stevens did not appear to charge Thomas Edmund Stevens.

The charge sheet looked so formidable as to almost stagger the sitting magistrates.

Sir Arthur Spurgeon, chairman of the Bench, hit on a happy idea. He got all the parties ranged together on one side of the Court. There they stood in a row, with a crowd of onlookers greatly interested in them.

Mr. Clark, solicitor for some of the parties, said: I would suggest to your Worship that everybody be bound over.

The Chairman : We cannot do that at this stage.

SUMMONED TEN TIMES

Mr. Stanley Gibson said he represented the Dixies, who were summoned ten times and in turn were the prosecutors four times. His friend, Mr. Clark, was in six of the cases, and he must say they were both mystified how to settle the whole business.

The Chairman : How did the trouble originate?

Mr. Gibson : There was a general fight on May 19, and it is the outcome of that.

The Chairman : What led to the fight — a wedding?

Mr Gibson: I could not say.

The Chairman: Or perhaps a funeral?
(Laughter.)

Mr. Gibson : I don’t know.

The Chairman : You don’t know much about it then.

Mr. Gibson: My instructions are that a fight was going on when my clients, the Dixies arrived on the scene. How the original fight started we cannot say.

The Chairman : This is evidently a quarrel amongst families. I don’t know who is to blame, and I suppose if you heard all the cases we should not get to the bottom of it. The result, one pretty well knows, would be to find there were six to one and half-a-dozen to the other. All the lot are mixed up, summoning and cross-summoning one another, and what will be the advantage in the end to any particular party, I fail to see. My suggestion is that they should all shake hands and go home.
(Laughter.)

BYGONES:

The Clerk : That is the best thing, Sir Arthur, and let them bury the hatchet.

Both Mr. Clark and Mr. Gibson intimated they were agreeable to settle the dispute in that way. Meanwhile the parties looked on bewildered.

The Chairman : What do you say, Dixie?

Dixie : I don’t want to punish anybody.

The Chairman : Certainly not ; and you have no objection to shaking hands with these people and letting bygones be bygones?

Dixie (reluctantly): No.

The Chairman: And you, Smith, your are also agreeable to shake hands and let bygones be bygones?

Smith : Yes.

The Chairman : Come on, then, you two shake hands.

Smith approached Dixie and held out his hand. Dixie paused a moment, and then took the outstretched hand in his own.

Mrs. Dixie refused to shake hands with Smith, and indignantly brushed past him.

Alice May Hudson shouted out that she did not agree to a settlement in this way. She handed up to the Bench a doctor’s certificate as to the state of her health.

The Chairman : Of course, the usual bruises, and lost hair. (Laughter.)

Smith said he would take the responsibility for his married daughter, who objected, and withdrew proceedings on her behalf.

The Chairman : Very well, that is the best ending. All the cases are withdrawn.

The ending was so sudden and abrupt that all the parties looked at one another in amazement.

The Court was quickly cleared, but the parties remained about the corridors for a long while after, and there were heated conversations going on.

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

Mitcham MPs

Members of Parliament for the constituency of Mitcham, between 1918, when it was created, and 1974, after which the town was included in the Mitcham & Morden constituency.

Name From To
Dr Thomas Worsfold December 14, 1918 February 13, 1923
Mr James Chuter Ede March 3, 1923 December 6, 1923
Sir Richard Meller December 6, 1923 June 24, 1940
Sir Malcolm Robertson August 19, 1940 July 5, 1945
Mr Thomas Braddock July 5, 1945 February 23, 1950
Mr Robert Carr February 23, 1950 February 28, 1974

Drina Strange

Drina Strange was the stage name of Alexandrina Marguerite Stringer.

Born in 1902 in Birmingham, she lived with her parents in 264 Links Road, and attended Links Secondary School for Girls. At 18 she was 6 foot 1 1/2 inches in height. She won a four year scholarship at the Trinity College of Music and she possessed a contralto voice of unusual range of power. On the 6th May 1922, at the end of the N.M.I.A. “Pageant and Revels of Merrie Mitcham, the All-Comrades suburb”, in front of a crowd of over a thousand, she sang Land of Hope and Glory, which she had not long before given at the Albert Hall.

(Source: Part 24 of the history of the North Mitcham Improvement Association (N.M.I.A.), and electoral registers).

Later that year a report said that was a new singer of unusual promise.

From the Middlesex County Times – Wednesday 22nd November 1922:

The contralto soloist, Miss Drina Strange, is a new singer of unusual promise. When her voice has reached maturity Miss Strange should make an enviable reputation. Her rendering of the solos in “A Tale of Old Japan” was a fine combination of thought and feeling. As an interpreter, with a keen sense of atmosphere, Miss Strange has remarkable gifts, and her talent in thin direction was revealed even more clearly in Elgar’s beautiful song, “Like to a Damask Rose,” for which she was encored. Her phrasing enunciation, tone-colour, and absorption in the spirit of her songs were some of the best features of an eventful evening.

She took her own life, aged 22, in 1924.

From the Daily Herald – Thursday 19th June 1924

TENSE SCENE AT AN INQUEST

DRAMATIC DEMAND BY A MOTHER

A SINGER’S END

“Can he go into the mortuary and see my daughter and see the ruin he has done?”

This dramatic question was put by a distracted mother at an inquest held at yesterday on a young singer who poisoned herself because her lover had proved “a fraud,” to quote the words of her father. It was to this person that the mother alluded.

The dead girl was Alexandrina Marguerite Stringer (22), known on the concert stage as Drina Strange. Her father, who was much distressed, stated that months ago his daughter introduced a young man to him.

“I saw he was a fraud at the first sight,” he went on, “and I warned her against him.” Later he heard from his daughter that he was married, and sent for and spoke to him. His daughter was much upset — it drove her mad.

The coroner here read letter from Miss Stringer — ‘Moga’ is the nickname of a friend :

“Moga knows all and still loves. I am ashamed and unhappy. Do not blame my lover for this, for I was unhappy before he crossed my path. He was my only star and light. Will my dear mother ever forgive me? I am unworthy to be beneath your honest roof. So here I die to win success in death. God forgive me. I am a vile creature. I die with love for my parents, and gratitude for their forgiveness, and, above all, please let my lover alone.— Good-bye; Dina.”

LETTER TO MAN’S WIFE

Sidney Kibby, Western-road, Southall, a clerk employed by the Maypole Dairy Co., replying to the coroner, said he knew he ought to have told Miss Stringer earlier that he was married. He had done wrong.

Why did you leave it until this girl’s 21st birthday? — I thought it the best thing to do then.
Having told her the facts you still continued take her out? — Yes.

Kibby produced a letter written by Miss Stringer to his wife, in which she said:-

“I feel I must apologise …. I realise I have done a wicked wrong, and how you have forgiven I cannot tell I hope you will restore the former love of your husband …. I swear I shall never see him again if only you will continue to give me your forgiveness. Dina Strange.

P.S. — If you care to be a friend of my mother’s she will always welcome you. She is one of the sweetest beings living. I hate myself bringing so much misery to her. Heartbroken. — D.S.”

The medical evidence was that Miss Stringer had taken salts of lemon. The doctor added that he found no trace that she had been interfered with.

In returning verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity,” the coroner observed that the conduct of Kibby led to this poor girl taking her life, and he was responsible, if not legally, at any rate morally.

Miss Stringer’s father was escorted from the court by police officers and his son, and a police-sergeant escorted Kibby, who made a hurried exit.

Edenvale Road

Road that runs northward from Gorringe Park Avenue, crossing St Barnabas Road to Ashbourne Road. Its shape seems to follow the path that separated Gorringe Park House from the farm on its east side, as shown on this OS map of 1911.

1911 OS map

The 1925 street directory names the road as Eden Vale and lists the properties from number 79 Ashbourne Road:

East side.

North Mitcham Improvement Association Sports Ground
William TYRELL, poultry farm

West side.

1 through 17

… here is Milton rd

19 through 33

This directory only lists odd-numbered houses on the west side of the road. The electoral register for Autumn 1925 also lists only the odd numbers, and the occupants were:

1, Frederick Walter and Ethel CATTERMOLE
3, David MUSTARD; Thomas TAYLOR
5, Joseph William GOBBY; Kezia Maude ADAMS
7, Marguerite BROWITT
9, Harold and Mary Elizabeth ODAM; Mary Elizabeth WOOD
11, David and Annie McGREGOR
13, John Joseph HANDCOCK; William John BATTLE
15, Frederick LIFE; Charles BECKETT
17, George Frederick GOODBODY; Ernest WALLER
19, Thomas Robert and Ethel Elizabeth BLACKMORE; Francis LAMBLE
21, Frederick William HALLET; Bertram Charles AGATE
23, Cecil Armfield WAKELING
25, Elizabeth WISEMAN; Sydney William EADE
27, Walter William and Emily STALLWOOD
29, James Thomas and Hilda JACKSON
31, Minnie TURNER

North Surrey Poultry Farm, Albert and Louise TYRELL

The Autumn 1926 electoral adds some even-numbered houses:

2, Alonzo James & Margaret Mary SHARP
4, William and Jemima and Harold Percy BULL
6, Nellie Hannah GREENSTREET
8, Arthur and Gertrude HULKS
10, Albert George and Lucy Matilda CONSTABLE

North Surrey Poultry Farm, Albert and Louise TYRELL

In the 1929 electoral register appears more even-numbered houses, from 12 to 28:

2, Victor and Florence ANGLE
12, Bernard Eden and Dorothy Charlotte CANDY
14, Frank and Mabel Winifred CHEESMAN
16, George Boswell and Getrude Maud CHAMPNISS; John William McFarlane and Margaret Josephine KIDD
18, Ernest Leslie and Emily Beatrice ANSTY Joseph John and Elsie Mabel IVE
20, Hedley Frank and Margaret Gertrude JACKSON
22, Thomas Joseph and Annie Esther SAGE
24, Frederick William and Rebecca Esther EAGLESTONE
26, Benjamin Frederick James and Norah Winifred BALDWIN; Percy Edward and Kathleen DODSWELL
28, Ivan Albert and May and Ellen WEALE

North Surrey Poultry Farm, Albert and Louise TYRELL

1932 is the last year that the poultry farm is listed in the electoral registers. In 1934 there are more even-numbered houses from 30 to 36.

This 1950 OS map shows ‘Tennis Courts’ on the east side of Edenvale Road. These were on the North Mitcham Improvement Association sports ground referred to in the 1925 street directory.

1950 OS map


Embed from Getty Images

High jump athlete Dorothy Tyler-Odam MBE moved to Edenvale Road as a young girl with her parents. From the 1925 electoral register, she lived at number 9. She died in 2014, aged 94.


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