Category Archives: Transport

1922 : Mitcham Common Aerodrome plan dropped

From the Shields Daily News – Friday 22nd December 1922, via the British Newspaper Archive

AIR TERMINUS PLAN DROPPED.
TOO EXPENSIVE: £1,000,000 INVOLVED.

It is understood that the Air Ministry has now abandoned definitely the scheme to replace Croydon aerodrome as the London Air terminus by another and more central site.

After searching the surroundings of London the only credible alternative has been found to be Mitcham Common. The local authorities here, however, would definitely oppose any scheme to turn this Into an aerodrome. It would necessitate diverting the Croydon Corporation tramways, which connect with Tooting by way of the common, and would also necessitate the removal of Tooting Bec golf course, which is one the wealthiest and most popular courses in South London.

COMPENSATION DEMAND.

A new site would have to found for the club and Mitcham residents would require a corresponding piece of common land that which they would asked to vacate. Moreover, Mitcham Common is in the river fog area, which Croydon just escapes. It would cost the Air Ministry about £1,000,000 with the compensation money and the money they would have to spend in equipping Mitcham as an aerodrome, building sheds, cleaning and levelling, and installing lights, etc. For a quarter of that sum the present Croydon terminal could be made the finest aerodrome in the world, and the only advantage of Mitcham would be the saving of fifteen minutes car journey between the heart of London and the aerodrome.

SPEEDING-UP PLAN

As the air journey saves several hours to passengers coming from the Central European towns, this is merely a negligible saving.

If it is found necessary, however, to save these minutes, the terminus can move after March 30 next to the Aircraft Disposal Co.’s site on the Waddon side of the aerodrome, where there is already a railway siding.

By arrangement with the railway company electric trains could run on to the aerodrome from Victoria in 20 minutes.

This is the only possible solution of the problem, and the Air Ministry will almost certainly adopt it.

Note that the Tooting Bec golf club had previously been on the land that became the Links Estate.

Mitcham and District Lambretta Club

Clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_Transport_17-1

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th January, 1962, page 1:

Night out for the Goons

The Mitcham Goons celebrated their fourth annual dinner at The White Hart Hotel, Mitcham.

Mr and Mrs D.C. Guy were guests of honour and Bob Hazell of Surrey Scooters, vice-president of the club, was also there.

The trophies for the annual club memorial trial were presented by Derek C. Guy, the first place being won by Harry Neal the club’s secretary, second place by Mike Austin and third place by Norman Creker.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 8th March, 1957, page 1:

A piece of mouldy cheese fetches 3s

A piece of mouldy cheese wrapped in paper sold for 3s. on Monday.

It was a mock auction organised by Mitcham and District Lambretta Club. All the parcels were wrapped so that the bidders did not know the contents.

Other articles sold included a bottle of Mitcham lavender that raised 5s., a puncture outfit and a pinafore.

A novelty item was a cardboard replica replica of a “goon.” It was made by Mrs Margaret Griffiths, Wide Way, Mitcham.

Mrs Griffiths has also designed “goon” pennants and badges. (Goon Harry Secombe is club president.)

The auctioneer was Mr G Hall, Bramcote Avenue, Mitcham, the Club chairman. Nearly £4 was raised.

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.