Category Archives: Transport

Mitcham had trolley buses from 1936 to 1960

Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 7th July, 1960, page 1

GOODBYE TO
TROLLEYS

630 service makes way for buses

DETAILS of the change from trolley-buses to the new 64-seater diesel “Routemaster” buses on the 630 West Croydon-Hammersmith route which passes through Mitcham were announced by London Transport this week. The alteration will bring an improved bus service in Mitcham.

Diesel vehicles will begin to run across Mitcham Common for the first time on Wednesday, July 20, following the same route as the trolley-buses. The number on the front of the buses will be changed from 630 to 220 and the diesels will take passengers through to Park Royal at the northern end of the run at peak periods, instead of stopping at Harrow Road (as the present 630s do).

When the change-over comes, London Transport plan to augment their service during weekday rush hours between Mitcham and Shepherd’s Bush with extra vehicles.

At the Southern end of the present 630 route, an important alteration will be the extension of the existing bus route 64 (Addington—Selsdon—West Croydon).

FUMES

London Transport will run this service from West Croydon over the common through Mitcham and Tooting along the 630 route to a terminus at Wimbledon Stadium. The extension of the 64s will also improve the regularity of service between Croydon and Tooting – the 630s have for years been seriously affected in this area due to traffic congestion on more northerly stretches.
This change in the services at Mitcham marks the half-way stage in the replacement of L.T.E. trolley-buses by diesels. Routes 626 and 628 will go at the same time and Hammersmith depot will close down.

Trolley buses followed trams at Mitcham in 1936. London Transport say the main factor behind of preferring diesels to silent, smell-free trolleys is the maintenance of an absolutely flexible service.

Running costs for the two systems are said to be about the same, but the present generation of trolleys are nearing the end of their useful economic life and to continue with the overhead-wire system would involve a large capital expenditure.

A spokesman for London Transport said a continuous close check was kept on the exhaust fumes of their vehicles to ensure that irritation from dirty smoke was eliminated as far as possible.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Transport_25-1 of trolley bus 630 – copyright London Borough of Merton

See also history of bus route 220.

1940 : Removal of tramway rails

From the minutes of the Mitcham Borough Council, volume 6, 1939 to 1940

58. REMOVAL of TRAMWAY RAILS. – The Borough Engineer submitted the following report: –

February 13, 1940.

REMOVAL OF TRAMWAY RAILS

The Ministry of Transport have asked whether the Council will agree to the removal of the tramway rails from London Road and Croydon Road. The price payable will be 8 per ton, less the cost of removal, which will result in a favourable balance, which will be carried to the classification accounts, and I recommend the Committee to agree. The length of tramway rails involved is 12,000 yards in Croydon Road and 2,760 yards in London Road.

Yours faithfully,
RILEY SCHOFIELD,

Borough Engineer and Surveyor.

Resolved, That authority be glven to the Borough Engineer as recommended.

1863 : Fatality at Pudding-fields

Fatal Railway Accident

— An inquest was held at the King’s Head Inn, Mitcham, before T. Carter, Esq., coroner, on the body of Harriet Collins, aged 72, who was killed whilst passing over a crossing, on the Wimbledon and Croydon Railway.

It appeared from the evidence that the deceased, with her husband and daughter, were on their way home by a regular footpath through Pudding-fields, and, on arriving at the railway crossing, they observed a train approaching. The daughter ran across the line, leaving her mother to follow; and on the poor creature attempting to do so, the engine caught her and literally tore her to pieces. The driver of the engine was called on evidence, but said he did not see anything of the occurrence. The stoker, however, stated that he saw the deceased attempt to cross the line, but not until the engine was within 12 or 15 yards of her; he then told the driver to sound the whistle, which he did, but the engine was too near to allow of her escape. The jury returned the following verdict:—

“That, in returning a verdict of accidental death, the jury are anxious to express their wish that the Brighton Railway Company will substitute bridges for footways at the various crossings on the Wimbledon and Croydon Branch, all of which are, in their opinion, more or less dangerous to the public.”

Source: Thame Gazette – Tuesday 13 January 1863, via the British Newspaper Archive.

The area called Pudding Fields was referred to in the Mitcham Memories of Ben Slater.

The name might be related to ‘pudding grass’, a former name of the mint pennyroyal, see Peppermint in 1875.

1866 – Six die when bridge collapses during construction of Mitcham – Sutton railway

From the South Eastern Gazette, 1st May, 1866, page 6:

Frightful Accident at Sutton, Surrey — Six Men Killed by the Falling of a Bridge.

— A lamentable catastrophe occurred at Sutton on Saturday afternoon. The South Coast Company are constructing a new line of railway, which is ultimately intended to connect the London termini with Portsmouth by a direct route. A portion of this line is known by the name of the Mitcham and Sutton Railway, and after crossing Mitcham-common runs at the back of Carshalton and joins the existing Epsom line on the London side of the Sutton station.

A deep cutting through chalk, about half a mile from the junction, renders a bridge necessary for the public road. The work was here in active progress, and the bridge which fell was constructed by means of leaving a keystone of the native chalk and building the brick work upon the chalk abutments. The bridge was nearly completed, but some weeks since a doubt of its stability was entertained, and reports are current in the neighbourhood that the bridge was condemned, and that workmen had absolutely been discharged by the contractor for refusing to work at it, under apprehension of danger. Notwithstanding this, on Saturday afternoon, at half-past two, six men and a ganger were employed. Three of the six were cutting away the chalk, and three others were scraping the brickwork to make it ready for pointing, from which it appears that there was no intention of pulling down the bridge. At half-past two the whole mass of brickwork gave way and buried six poor fellows. The ganger, John White, escaped. Every effort to get at the buried men was made, but it was nearly two hours before they were extricated.

All six were of course dead, and there is reason to hope that their death was almost simultaneous with their apprehension of danger. On visiting the spot on Sunday morning we found the six poor fellows were lying on the floor of a cottage adjoining, and exhibiting a frightful aspect of violent deaths. One of them had his face and head absolutely torn in halves horizontally; another’s countenance could scarcely be recognised.

The names of the poor fellows are Edward Berry, Chas. Collard, Wm. Cook, Henry Hyder, and Hutchinson ; the sixth was not identified at the time of our visit. The contractor for the line is Mr. Joseph Firbank, of Newport, Monmouth, and the construction of the bridges is underlet to Mr. Henry King, of Lower Norwood.

Walter Mays Ltd.

The Abbey Cork Mills of Walter Mays Ltd was built on the site of William De Morgan’s pottery, Colliers Wood, in around 1890.

1950 OS map

Walter Carden-Mays born December 1865 in Camberwell. He married in 1888 and died on 21st January 1941 in Surrey. The ‘Carden’ part of the family name was dropped at some point, and his company was known as Walter Mays Ltd.

Listed in the 1925 street directory as Walter Mays Ltd. (Abbey Cork Works), 150 & 152 Byegrove Road.

1924 aerial photo. The site for Colliers wood underground station can be seen bottom right. The cork factory is on the left of the High Street.

1934 OS map rotated to show same view as aerial photo above


Ad from Flight Magazine of 1938 :

and directory listing from same:

WALTER MAYS, LTD., Abbey Cork Mills, London, S.W.19 (Liberty 3764).—” Everything in cork “; carburettor and oil indicator floats, gauge glass washers, gland packings, strut sealing corks, anti-vibration mats, composition cork jointing to D.T.D.219A, laminated and plain.

In an entry on Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History from 1939 about suppliers to the aircraft industry, cork joints to specification DTD 219A were widely used for petrol tank gaskets and packings.


The Stone Cottage of the Surrey Iron Railway stood on the Walter Mays Ltd site for over 150 years.


Mitcham Military Service Tribunals

As reported by the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 16th June 1916, an employer of a cork business in Colliers Wood, appealed for his son. Although not named, it is likely that the company was Walter Mays Ltd.

Exemption was asked for a skilled mechanic, by the owner of a cork manufacturing business in Colliers Wood. The employer said the man was very valuable in his present employment and he will be practically impossible to replace. A large proportion of their manufacturers were for government uses. He employed about 17 men of whom are only three were eligible. He pleaded that his son was capable of doing almost anything in the business and his departure might cause the closing down of the business.

Three months exemption.

In the Mitcham and Tooting Mercury, 2nd November 1917, the company and employee are named in an appeal.

Mr Walter Mays, cork manufacturer, of the Abbey Cork Works, High Street, Colliers Wood, asked for a exemption for Mr T.W.S. Cavey, age 41, B1, motor driver and mechanic, residing at Birdhurst Road, Colliers Wood.

Applicant: An exemption for so long as the man remained in his employment. He was engaged in delivering all Mr Mays’s important Government contract work. The average mileage was 250 miles a week.

Counc. Baker : I suppose it is all Government work that Mr Mays does?

Applicant: Oh, yes, it is most important.

The appeal was disallowed.

In the 1919 electoral register a Thomas William Sherrin CAVEY was living with his wife Florence Louisa in 28 Birdhurst Road. He died in 1950 as stated on the Find-A-Grave website, which also says he was a Music Hall performer known as Stirling Fred.


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

Veteran Car : Benz Ideal 4.5 hp reg P3518

This car was bought by Mr F.E. Manning, Mitcham Park, in the mid 1950s. He was a director of Allen Bros garage. It had a fairly good engine, which he stripped down and rebuilt. He and his son worked on rebuilding the rest of the car. They took drawings from another Benz and made components as near as possible to the original.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Transport_26-2 showing Mr Fenning working on the car

They entered the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally in 1957.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_​Transport_​26-2, copyright London Borough of Merton

In this article from 1959, his son didn’t go with him on the rally.

Veteran run

For the third year running Mr F.E. Manning has driven his 1900 Benz over the finishing line in the annual veteran car run to Brighton. And this year he got back to his home in Mitcham Park in time to see himself on the television newsreel.

Although breaking no records for the run, Mr Manning bowled along merrily in his black and primrose car (with solid tyres), crossing the finishing line at 2.30 p.m. with plenty of time to spare.

“Traffic was very heavy,” Mr Manning told me, “so we could not record any spectacular time. But we only stopped once en route and that was for lunch, The car behave perfectly all the way.”

Mr Manning’s 17-year-old son Butch did not go with him this year. “I think he got fed up with getting soaked through on the two previous runs. But we were very lucky as the weather was good this year,” Mr Manning added.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury 6th November, 1959

Restored again in 2006/7 the car was sold at Bonhams auction in February 2017 for around £105,000.

Wavy Canopy Edge of Mitcham Junction

From an article called “Houses That Go With The Job”.

19560128-the-sphere-mij-wavy-canopy

Mitcham Junction is architecturally more conventional, with the Stationmaster’s house forming the block lying parallel with the down-line. A canopy with a wavy instead of the more usual jagged edge projects below the level of the upstairs windows, out over the platform.

Source: The Sphere – Saturday 28 January 1956 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)