It was renamed the White Lion of Mortimer, when JD Wetherspoons leased it in 1990. The leasehold is for a term of 50 years, and the annual rent to the freeholder is £60,000. The freehold was bought on 20th June 2003 for £1,100,000 by T H DOLMAN LIMITED (Co. Regn. No. 04449087) of 9 Linkfield Corner, Redhill, Surrey RH1 1BD. Wetherspoon sold its lease and stopped trading as a Wetherspoon pub on Sunday, November 4, 2018, according to the Wimbeldon Guardian.
From plans noted at Croydon Local Studies Centre, Croydon Library:
Perry & Reid of 9 John Street, Adelphi for erection of new public house “Buck’s Head”, Mitcham
Charringtons bought it from Hoare’s Brewery in 1933.
From the Tithe Apportionment Map of 1846, the occupier of the land owned by William Benson was Thomas Jennings. The land measured 1 rood and 32 square perches.
Occupants from street directories
1839 : William SMITH
1851 : Francis NEWMAN
1855 : Francis NEWMAN
1866 : Francis NEWMAN
1874 : Mary BENNETT
1878 : Mary BENNETT
1880 : Mrs Mary BENNETT
1891 : J.W. CLARKE
1896 : James William CLARKE
1898 : W. CHIVERS
1901 : Harold Edward WESTON
1911 : John Gordon VENING
1915 : Owen STEVENSON
1918 : Owen STEVENSON
1925 : W.H. POOLE
1930 : William Henry POOLE
1940 : Major W. H. POOLE
1940 : W. LANGHAM
From phone directories
1954 : George H. LANGHAM
From Licensing Changes reported in newspapers
1911 : Louis John BROMLEY
From the 1903 Licensed Victualler’s report, the licensee was Henry Edward WESTON, who resided on the premises. The pub was tied to Hoare & Co.’s Brewery, Lower East Smithfield. It offered light refreshments and teas etc. if required, but had no accommodation nor stabling for horses. The pub had a urinal and two w.c.s.
This 1906/7 clip from Merton Memories photo 50445 shows H.E. WESTON on the pub sign.
In World War 1, the licensee, Mr O.C. STEVENSON applied unsuccessfully for exemption from national service, as reported on page 1 of the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 13th April 1917:
Mr O.C. Stevenson, another licensed victualler, also sought a further period of exemption. He said he was landlord of the “Buck’s Head,” and was supplying 150 meals a week, mostly to munition workers. Serious hardship would ensue if he had to join the Army. He was classed C2. In reply to the Military Representative (Dr T. Cato Worsfold), appellant said the meals were hot. He was a member of the Volunteers.
The claim was disallowed, with a month’s calling up notice.
The license transfer of 1940 was referred to in a newspaper article about the ‘tallest landlord‘.
Earliest newspaper reference found so far is an auction in 1822.
In 1976, landlord was Mike GREEN, according to an article in The Sunday People, about a drinking contest between Ron Sparrowhawk and a horse.