Category Archives: Wars

Walsingham Road

A cul-de-sac road that is off of the east side of Caesars Walk, after Cecil Place and before Hatton Gardens.

1954 OS map

The name refers to Francis Walsingham, spymaster of Elizabeth I. See wikipedia entry.

This road, and the other roads between the railway line and the Wilson Hospital were on the former estate of The Cranmers which was bought by Isaac Wilson in 1926. All these roads have names related to Elizabeth I.

There are 37 houses, all with the postcode CR4 4LN.

As entered from Caesars Walk, the houses on the left are numbered odd from 1 to 29, with three terraces of 6, 5 then 4 houses. At the end of the road is a square, and a terrace of 4 houses, numbered 31 to 37, is at right angles to the rest of the road. The houses on the south side of the road are numbered even from Caesars Walk end from 2 to 30, also in three terraces of 6, 5 then 4 houses.

Number 13 was destroyed by enemy action during the Blitz. On 29th October 1941 four people lost their lives. (The links are to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website.)

Eleanor Margaret GRANGER, aged 27 and Reginald Frederick Stanley GRANGER, aged 30.

William Joseph LISMORE, aged 75 and Ada Rosa Lavinia LISMORE, aged 64.

Planning application MIT1287 was granted 29th July 1949 for the house to be rebuilt.

Occupations from the 1939 Register:

Architect & Surveyor
Bakers Roundsman
Bricklayer
Chargehand Wireless Coil Winder
Clerk Advertisement Dept Newspaper (Make-up )
Clerk Upholstery Factory
District Foreman Wandsworth & Dist Gas Co
Domestic Duties
Draper’s Warehouseman’s Clerk
Dressmaker
Engine Fitter & Oxy-acetylene Welder Heavy Worker
Established Clerical Officer H M Civil Service
Gardener (Retired)
Gas Works Labourer Coke Dept Heavy Worker
General Labourer
Hop Factor
House Furnishings Salesman
House Painter
House to House Salesman Own Account
Household duties (unpaid)
Housewife
In Receipt of Old Age Pension
Incapacitated (Age )
Junior Clerk Chartered Accountants
Labourer Registered Hide Market Leather Control
Laundry Hand
Machine Room Capstan Labourer
Metal Polisher
Metropolitan Police Constable
Metropolitan Water Board Assistant Turncock Heavy Worker
Nitro-Cellulose Lacquer ‘Lab’ Assistant
Nurse
Photogravine Operator
Piano Manufacturer
Police Officer Retired
Registered Architect & Surveyor Chief Technical Assistant (In control of all A.R.P. shelter construction work in Borough of Holborn)
Roneo Operator (Retired )
Sheet Metal Worker (Aircraft)
Shop Assistant (Food Dept)
Stores & Stock Clerk (Wireless Receiver & Spares)
Sub-postmaster
Telephone Exchange Wireman (Travels)
Tram Driver LPTB (London Passenger Transport Board)
Unpaid Domestic Duties
Unpaid Domestic Duties Occasionaly Drapery Shop Assistant
Varnish Factory Warehouseman Retired
Wood Machinist


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.