Cartoon by Collingsby of George Bennett exhibited in 1879
George Bennett, a postman, born o 18th November 1851. Besides being a postman George kept the Little Wonder stationery, tobacco and confectionery shop at Fair Green. He also caned chairs, did a bit of photography, and repaired bicycles. In his leisure time George ‘did a bit of running in local sports’, and was a sergeant in the Volunteers. On his retirement from the postal service, which he had joined ‘at 5.30 a.m. November 18th 1869 and left after 48 years service ‘at 7.30 p.m. November 17th 1917′.
George Bennett became a beekeeper, partly because he had been informed that bee stings were a cure for rheumatism. According to George, the cure worked. At 95 years of age he was still active, exhibiting honey, wax and bee material at local shows. Tom Francis observed that it either said much for the cartoonist’s ability that people who knew George Bennett in the 1940s could still recognise him in a drawing made some sixty years before, or else ‘said more’ for the virility and vigour of the veteran himself.
From Tom Francis’s notes on slide 61.
The manufacture of floorcloth was related to varnish, said Eric Montague in his Mitcham Histories: 8 Phipps Bridge, page 80:
… used considerable quantities of the ‘foots’ of matured varnish, together with condensed ‘gum fumes’ and ‘black oil’, vapours involved in the making of black Japan lacquer.
A photo from 1869 by Tom Francis of the factory buildings in Morden Road, is available on Merton Memories.
Related News Articles
30th July 1910
DEATH OF MRS. HARVEY.
—On Wednesday morning the remains of the late Mrs. Harvey, mother of Mr. R. M. Harvey, organist at the Parish Church, and Mr. T. P. Harvey, manager of Harland’s Varnish Works, were interred at the Norwood Cemetery. Mrs. Harvey’s husband was a partner in the firm Harvey & Wright, floor cloth manufacturers, who used to carry on business in Morden-lane. For the last few years she lived at Brixton and the funeral took place from her residence there.
Source: http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000945/19100730/096/0005 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)