Former Young & Co pub at 340 London Road, Mitcham, CR4 3ND. No longer exists, a block of flats stands in its location.
In a 1883 lease, it was called the White Swan but it become the Cricketers by 1823. Young & Bainbridge first leased the pub in 1831 and bought it in 1881. A famous and popular cricketing pub, it was the headquarters of the Mitcham Cricket Club, providing a meeting place, dressing rooms and a raised balcony for the scorers. The pub was run by the former England cricketer James Southerton from 1875 until his death in 1880. In the late 19th Century, in the first stages of the Australian tours, the Australian team spent time training here. (Source: Helen Osborne’s book Inn and Around London – A History of Young’s Pubs).
The original pub was damaged by a bomb during World War 2, and was replaced by a new building in 1958.
According to Eric Montague, in his book Mitcham Histories:5 Lower Green West, pp 41-42:
After an air raid on 23rd September 1940, it fell casualty to the explosion of a parachute mine dropped by the Luftwaffe.
The mine landed between the inn and what was then the town hall, and it’s delayed action fuse allowed sufficient time for strengthening the sandbagging around the municipal offices. To the anguish of his regulars, the decision was taken by the ‘powers that be’ that it was the inn that had to be sacrificed in the explosion that followed soon afterwards. The Cricketers was reduced to a pile of rubble, and rebuilding during wartime was out of the question.
What remained of the century old pub was soon cleared away, but within a few days it was ‘business as usual, conducted from a small bottle store at the rear which somehow escaped the main force of the blast, and was pressed into use as a temporary bar.
This remained the position for 15 years. Post-war building restrictions diverted labour and material to the erection of houses, and delayed rebuilding the Cricketers until the 1950s. in December 1955 plans were deposited with Mitcham Borough Council by William G Ingram and son, the architect for Young and Company, and two years later the new public house was opening time for the Christmas trade. The official opening ceremony was performed on Thursday, 9th January 1958, the first pints being pulled appropriately by the famous Surrey Cricketing twins, Eric and Alec Bedser. Arthur McIntyre, Jim Laker and Andy Sandham were among those who happily joined in the celebrations, cheering the raising of a huge laurel wreath to the new cricketers balcony, and toast in the phone the future of the house in Young’s best brews. In the hands of Charles Cromack the Cricketers quickly regained the popularity of its predecessors, the crowded bar speaking eloquently of the convivial atmosphere and the excellence of the food and drink offer both at the bar and in the first floor restaurant.
This building was demolished in May, 2017. Youngs had sold the pub in December 2009 for £460,000 to CHATSWORTH LAND LIMITED (Co. Regn. No. 6046241) of 20 Hale Lane, London NW7 3PN. It was subsequently sold in November 2015 for £900,000 to CRICKETERS GREEN LIMITED (incorporated in Jersey) of 4th Floor St Paul’s Gate, 22-24 New Street, St Helier, Jersey, JE1 4TR.
(from street directories)
1839 : Anthony NEWLAND
1851 : George WATTS
1855 : George WATTS
1866 : E. COPPIN
1874 : Henry DAWSON
1878 : Henry DAWSON
1891 : Sarah SOUTHERTON
1898 : Sarah SOUTHERTON
1911 : Edward CRANHAM
1915 : Frederick James KIPPING
1915 : Edward CALLAGHAN
1918 : Edward CALLAGHAN
1925 : E.J. CALLAGHAN
1938 : Edward J. CALLAGHAN
From Council Minutes:
1902 : Mr Waters
In 1968, Mr & Mrs Charles Cromack are mentioned as licensees in an article about the unveiling of a cricket mural in the pub. Charlie Cromack was still the landlord in 1982, as pointed out by a Facebook user, see comments below.
Another comment on the Mitcham History Facebook Group said that Charles Cromack left the pub in 1986.
The Mitcham News & Mercury did a series of articles on local pubs in 1973, including the Cricketers.