Tag Archives: 1866

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.

Rumbold Villas

Houses from north to south, between Aspen Gardens and Arneys Lane, off the west side of Carshalton Road, south of Mitcham Junction.

They were built in 1923/4, possibly by Joseph Owen. The houses south of Arneys Lane to the junction with Goat Road, were originally called Tramway Terrace, and were built earlier than 1894.

1894 OS map

1894 OS map

1932 OS map

1932 OS map

R.M. Chart valued the completed houses and loans were made by the Mitcham Urban District Council to purchasers under the Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, 1899.

No. Borrower Property Value £ Loan £
2 J. JORDON 750 675
3 P. PERRYMAN 730 500
4 G. MARLOW 730 655
5 F. ALLEN 725 650
6 L. BURKILL 725 600
7 K.T. TODD 730 655
8 J.B. ROWAN 900 800
10 H.L. GOFF 790 710
13 A.F. FERGUS 725 600
14 S.A. STOLLS 725 600
16 V.H. BARMBY 725 650
17 J.R. GASK 740 665
18 E.H. GRUBB 740 615
19 S.K. BUTTON 725 650
20 A. CRIPPEN 725 575
21 R.G. WILKINS 725 600
22 E.H. JENNER 725 650

Source: Volume IX, Mitcham UDC Minutes, Finance and General Purposes Committee, 1924.

Note that JORDON may be a typo, and probably should be JORDAN.

The name possibly came from the nearby Rumbold Farm, as shown on this 1866 OS map.

1866 OS map

1866 OS map

The 1924 electoral registers gives occupants for numbers 12 to 22.

12, Agnes HALE and Thomas Hargrave YATES
13, Alexander Forrester and Caroline Sophia FERGUS
14, Sidney Arthur and Lily STOLLS
15, Sidney Randolph and Grace Kathleen SELF
16, Victor BARNBY
17, John Reginald GASK

19, Sidney Kenneth BUTTON

22, Edmond Frank and Kate JENNER

In the 1925 electoral register, the names Rumbold Villas and Tramway Terrace have been dropped.


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


Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Urban District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

Rock Terrace

A terrace of houses built near the crossroads of two field paths. One path went from the parish church, north-westerly across the fields; the other ran east to west along Fox’s Path.

This OS map of 1866 shows where these two paths met, and, while Rock Terrace is not actually named, the buildings outlined in red may well be it.

Later, the terrace was extended and the road was named Belgrave Road, with the path leading to the church being called Belgrave Walk.

Earliest reference found so far in the newspaper archives is for an auction of 9 houses in Rock Terrace.

Freehold ground-rent of £21 per annum, arising from nine houses in Rock-terrace, Mitcham — £115.

Source: Morning Advertiser – Wednesday 29 August 1866 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

This 1910 map shows the outline of houses in Belgrave Road. Given that Batsworth Road was laid on the original path from Fox’s Path, then the 9 houses referred to in the auction may well have been the whole terrace.

News Stories

1922 Rock Terrace Recreation Ground

A major event was the Explosion of 1933.

King George V Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1935

Note that Lady Worsfold, residing at Hall Place when this photo was taken, moved to the White House at the cricket green the following year when her husband, T. Cato worsfold, died.

Rock Terrace and Queen Street (sic), Mitcham, Jubilee Tea. From Mitcham News & Mercury, 31st May, 1935.

Rock Terrace and Queen Street (sic), Mitcham, Jubilee Tea. From Mitcham News & Mercury, 31st May, 1935.


Merton Memories Photos

Church Class

Off to the Races – this photo was reproduced in Eric Montague’s Mitcham Histories: 8 Phipps bridge, on page 113 with the caption that it was around 1910.