Category Archives: Roads

Lower Green West Trees and the Mitcham Rake

The trees seen on the left in this photo are much smaller than the rest. Photo taken May, 2019

The three trees at the westernmost end of the green of Lower Green West were planted after the Storm of 1987 had felled the original trees.

The London Box Sash company, situated opposite the old fire station, helped clear the fallen trees using their own saws and other equipment. They didn’t charge the council for this service, instead it was agreed between the two that all the wood salvaged from the fallen trees could be used by the company. Some of this wood ended up as Mitcham Rakes.

A ‘Mitcham Rake’ made by the London Box Sash Company. Photo taken at their premises August 2018.

1889 : A New Cemetery

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 18 May 1889 via the British Newspaper Archive.

A NEW CEMETERY AT
MITCHAM.
REMARKABLE UNANIMITY.

A special meeting of the Croydon Union Raral Sanitary Authority was held the Vestry Hall, Mitcham, Saturday last, for the purpose considering the report of the Clerk (Mr. Harry List) and the Surveyor (Mr. H. Chart), on the subject of inquiry recently held the Home Office to the proposed laying-out a cemetery in Tamworth-lane, Mitcham. Mr. W. J. Lamb presided, and the other members present were Messrs. O. W. Berry, Holloway, Keigwin, F. Tomlin, Webster, Brough Maltby, Rev. K, A. Boyle, and Mr. G. P. Bidder, Q.C. (ex-officio).

Messrs. List and Chart reported as follows: —In accordance with your instructions we attended on Saturday last the inquiry held here by Dr. Hoffman, the Medical Officer of the Burials Acts Department of the Home Office, with reference to the proposal establish a proprietary cemetery at Tamworth-iane, Mitcham Common, and we beg to report to you as follows :— ” That Mr. Ough, C.E., of Austin Friars, London, attended the inquiry and stated that he represented the promoters of a cemetery company, who proposed, if the consent of the Home Office were given, to establish at land now in the occupation of Mr. Bremerkamp, situate at Tamworth-lane, Mitcham, a proprietary cemetery in extent about 80 acres, with the view of meeting the burial requirements of South London and the districts around it. It was proposed to lay-out the grounds in an ornamental manner, with entrances from Greyhound-lane, near Streatham Common, and from Tamworth-lane, near Mitcham Common, the former being probably the principal or more used. The soil was described a loamy clay, and it is proposed drain the surface water into the watercourse passing through the property, and which, after traversing the East Fields and Figg’s Marsh, Mitcham, discharges into the River Graveney at Tooting Bridge, and from there to the Wandle; and it was promised to drain the graves into deep drains discharging into a tank to constructed for the purpose, from whence it would be pumped through a filter either into the sewers of the Sanitary Authority, with their permission, or, if such permission is withheld, on to an irrigation of about three acres prepared for the purpose, from whence it would gravitate into the watercourse before mentioned. Of these alternative proposals for dealing with the deeper drainage the former would be preferred, in which case the promoters would be prepared to compensate the Authority either the payment a lump sura or way of rental for the use of the sewers and fur dealing with the sewage. Mr. Ough laid before the Inspector a plan of the land and proposed works for dealing with the sewage, and at the same time produced and read a report made by M. Mausergh, the eminent sanitary engineer of Westminster, on a proposal to deal with the drainage of a cemetery in the manner now suggested. We then pressed upon the Inspector the fact that as no information with regard to the proposal was yet in possession of the Authority, they were unable to form an opinion as to whether or not it would be desirable in the interests of the district to oppose the proposal, and suggested that the inquiry should be adjourned to give you the opportunity of considering the proposal. Dr. Hoffman consented this suggestion, promising that if the Authority, or the parish of Mitcham, desired to oppose he would continue the inquiry on hearing to that effect, and if the Authority desired to propose any conditions with the view of ensuring the proper use of the works for purifying the subsoil water, such conditions should receive his mast careful consideration, and if reasonable, he would recommend—in the event of the site being sanctioned —that such stipulations should made should ensure the fulfilment of the requirements the Authority. We then asked that copies of the plans of M. Mausergh’s report, which had been produced, might be furnished us for the information of the Authority.”

A long discussion ensued on the consideration of the report, Mr. Bidder taking a prominent part.

It seemed to the general feeling that cemetery would an improvement to that particular part of Mitcham, and that it would open up the roads and stimulate building operations in the vicinity.

It was also mentioned that the objections which were urged against the site were not necessary in this cose, because the Morden site was below the flood level. In this site there would be no difficulty draining into the Authority’s sewers, as the promoters did not anticipate that the drainage would amount to more than 8,000 gallons a day, and the Authority’s sewers could take that additional amount without any difficulty. It was also stated that Messrs. Watney and all the adjoining owners were in favour of the scheme, or at any rate had no idea of opposing it, and there was not the slightest opposition at the inquiry.

After some further discussion, The Chairman moved that the Authority are not disposed to oppose the establishment of the proposed cemetery at Tamworth-lane, Mitcham, provided that in the event of the Home Office sanctioning the site for the purpose of a cemetery, the Home Office be requested to place all the sanitary arrangements of the proposed cemetery under the control of the Rural Sanitary Authority; and that failing an arrangement being come to to drain into the Authority’s sewers, it be required that a filtration area of not less than six acres provided.

Mr. Bidder seconded the motion, which was carried unanimously.

It was also decided that the Clerk should send a copy of the resolution to Dr. Hoffman, and that his attention should be called to the fact that in the Golden Green scheme, referred to by the promoters, a filtration area of three acres was considered necessary for cemetery of 30 acres in extent.

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.

Courtesy Florals

Flower shop that was at 219 London Road

c.1987 clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​8_​1-33, copyright London Borough of Merton

1982 ad for Courtesy Florals at no. 219

Courtesy Florals

(M.J. Harrington)

Flowers for all Ocassions

219 London Road
Mitcham
Telephone 01-648 3506

Mitcham Post Offices

Eric Montague said in his book Mitcham Histories : 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane, page 107, that Mitcham’s post office had occupied 5 locations, as listed below:

1st : at Westhall’s grocery shop in the Broadway

The 1855 directory shows the postal services available:

It lists Joseph WESTALL as grocer and cheesemonger as well as the post office receiving house in Lower Mitcham.

2nd : in a small shop near Mitcham Station

This photo from 1895 shows part of the words ‘Post Office’ above the shop.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Public_Services_18-2, copyright London Borough of Merton

3rd : a purpose built building in the Broadway

The words ‘Post Office’ can be seen etched in the windows on the building on the right in this photo of around 1910:

clip from Meton Memories, photo reference Mit_streets_Lon_38-25, copyright London Borough of Merton

According to Eric Montague in his book Mitcham Histories : 4 Lower Mitcham, pages 127-8, this post office was

erected in about 1900 … a three-storeyed building … its rather fussy facade including false timber framing to simulate an Elizabethan structure.”

4th : Post Office and Telephone Exchange building on the corner of London Road and Elmwood Road

Built around 1920, shown here in this 1953 photo:

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Streets_Lon_38-46, copyright London Borough of Merton

5th : Langdale Parade

In 1961 the post office moved to Langdale Parade in the Fair Green. The telephone exchange building remains.

Currently, in 2019, the Langdale Parade post office has to a smaller shop nearby at number 5:

Post Office at no. 5 Langdale Parade. Photo taken 23rd April 2019