Tag Archives: 1888

Mortuary Chapel in parish churchyard

In 1882, the parish church’s burial ground was enlarged and a mortuary chapel was built by Crockett at a cost of £1,761, as referred to in an advertised tender in the Surrey Mirror. (Adjusted for inflation, this was the equivalent of around £200,000 today.)

An entrance from Church Road was made, opposite the post office (later 71 Church Road). A path from this entrance led to a circular path in front the chapel.

The new burial ground was consecrated on 15th January 1883 by the Bishop of Rochester.

This 1910 Ordnance Survey map shows the entrance to the chapel as being opposite the letter box on the west side of Church Road. Another building is shown north east of the chapel, along the wall with Miles Road. The entrance that is there today is not shown and it is not known whether this building was related to the mortuary chapel.

1910 OS map

When Mitcham became part of the London Borough of Merton in 1965, the Coroner decided that autopsies and inquests would be performed at Battersea for both Merton and Wandsworth. This decision was recorded in the minutes of the Parks, Cemeteries and Allotments Committee dated 26th May 1965:

612. Mitcham and Wimbledon Mortuaries

The Director of Parks reported

(i) that following the reorganisation of the London boroughs, H.M. Coroner had decided that as from the 1st April, 1965, he will hold all inquests for both the London boroughs of Merton and Wandsworth at the Battersea Coroner’s Court and that consequently all autopsies on bodies will be carried out at the Battersea Mortuary; and

(ii) that no request has been made to use the Wimbledon and Mitcham mortuaries which had been kept in readiness since the 1st April in case local funeral directors wish to use them as Chapels of Rest, and

(iii) that consequently there seemed to be no necessity to keep the mortuaries available particularly as some financial arrangements would have to be agreed with the London Borough of Wandsworth for bodies admitted to the Battersea Mortuary from this borough.

Source: Minutes of proceedings of the council and committees, London Borough of Merton Council Minutes, 1965-66, volume 2, part 1.

On page 68 of Mitcham Histories: 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane, by the late Eric Montague, is a photograph of the building he took around 1990. The colour version of this photo can be seen on the Merton Historical Society’s website, although it says that it was taken in the 1970s.

Today, nothing is left of the chapel building, although the circular path remains. It is currently not known when it was demolished.

Photo taken 26th April 2017 of plot where mortuary chapel once stood.

Measurements made using the online map show the length of 45 feet along its east-west side, and its depth of 30 feet along its north-south side.

Inquests were held at the Mortuary Chapel. Here are links to some newspaper articles that reported them.

1895 Death from pleurisy
1910 Miss Ellen Peerless, of the Ship Laundry

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

Minutes of meetings held by the London Borough of Merton are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

1888 : The Australian Cricketers at Mitcham

The Australian Cricketers at Mitcham.

On Monday last the sixth team of cricketers from the Antipodes came down to Mitcham by the kind invitation of the Green Protection Committee of the Mitcham Cricket Club, for a week’s preliminary practice, and put up as usual with their old friend Willie Southerton, of the Cricketers.

The weather on Monday was all that could be wished, and several hundreds of spectators assembled to welcome the Colonials. The team is composed as follows

Old members: McDonnell (captain), Blackham, Boyle, Bonner, Jarvis, Jones, Bannerman, and Turner.

New members : Trott, Ferns, Lyons, Edwards, and Worrall.

Through the energy and care of Guttridge, the ground man of the Mitcham Cricket Club, the team was provided with splendid wickets. Monday’s play was mainly confined to hard hitting, just to take the stiffness out of their joints, but on Tuesday they got down to regular work, and onlookers were able to form an opinion on the probabilities of the forthcoming season. The genial and courteous captain (McDonnell) shows his usual good form at the wicket, as does also the veteran Boyle. Blackham will undoubtedly be to the fore this season as a splendid wicket-keeper. Nothing finer in the way of wicket-keeping has yet been seen. Jarvis also shows his usual good form behind the sticks. Turner, according to this week’s work, shows promise of putting in some good bowling daring the season. Jones shows his usual good form. Bonnor will doubt improve, but at present shows want of practice through having wintered in England.

Of the new men, it may said that Trott shows exceptionally good form with the bat, and taken altogether the new comers may be depended on to give a good account of themselves during their stay. There has been some capital fielding exhibited during the week, although their chances in this direction have been somewhat limited owing to the eagerness of outsiders to send home the balls.

The week’s work may be briefly summed up thus : The old members show their usual good form, and the new men show great promise, and have done well on the present slow wicket. No reasonable doubt can entertained that taken altogether the team is one of the strongest that has yet visited the mother country. On Monday next they meet Mr. Thornton’s Eleven, when they may be expected to give good account of themselves.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 05 May 1888 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Henry Weston Devenish

Lived at Hillfield, wife of Bertha Devenish.

Baptised 21st January 1859, son of Henry Devenish (a brewer) and Amelia.

B.A. Exeter Coll., Oxon, a student of Lincoln’s Inn 20 Jan., 1879 (then aged 20), called to the bar 7 May, 1884 (only son of Henry Devenish, Esq., of Whitchurch, Hants); born , 1859.

He married Bertha Bidder on 13th October, 1888. In the 1891 census they were living in Whitchurch, Hampshire.

In the 1901 and 1911 censuses, they are at Hillfield, Mitcham.

In the 1910 telephone book, he is listed with the number Mitcham 845.

1888 Sleeping on a Manure Heap

Sleeping on a Manure Heap.

— At the Croydon County Petty Sessions Monday, before Sir T. Edridge (in the chair) and Mr. J. Cooper, jun., Henry Theobald (13) and John Theobald (12), two brothers, of Gladstone-road, Mitcham, were brought up in custody charged with being found sleeping on a manure heap Sunday morning at 2.15, at Grove-road, Common Fields, Mitcham.

— Prisoners pleaded guilty.

— P.-c. 48 WR said he heard a noise at 2.15 on Sunday morning in Grove-road. He went to a manure heap and there found the two prisoners. He asked them why they did not go home, and they said they didn’t know. In reply to witness’s question, they said their father did not beat them or drive them away. The younger prisoner said their parents gave him some halfpence to buy water cresses, and they took the money home again. Witness took them to the station and charged them. The father refused to bail them out.

— Mr. Theobald said had great trouble with the boys. His wife had been an invalid for two years, and the boys stayed out night after night and would do no work at home.

— Sir Thomas remanded the boys until Saturday, and liberated them from custody on their promising to stop at home, have their meals there, sleep there, and return with their parents to the Court on Saturday.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 27 October 1888 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1888 Long Search for a Pony

Long Search after a Pony.—

At the Croydon County Court on Tuesday the suit Maynard v. Pharoah was heard.

—This was claim of arising out a series of somewhat complicated circumstances.

—The plaintiff Mr. Samuel Maynard, of Pell-street, Canning Town, and the defendant Richard Pharoah, of Queen’s-road, Mitcham.

—Mr. Atkinson appeared for the plaintiff, and said the 4th June, 18S7, Maynard lent pony to a man named Bailey on hire. Bailey took the pony away and did not return it. Subsequently it was found that he had absconded, and the next that was heard of him was at a public-house in Canning Town. In February Bailey gave himself up at Plaistow Police station, and from certain statements then made was brought before the Bench, committed for trial, convicted, and sentenced to nine months imprisonment in the presence of the prosecutor. In the first week of last September plaintiff received certain information that bis pony was in the Croydon district, and he came down and saw the pony in charge of the present defendant. They went to the Mitcham Police-station, saw Inspector Knott, and in reply his inquiries, Pharoah stated that he bought the pony of a man named Bradely, in White-street, Clapham. Bradley was telegraphed to, and he referred plaintiff to a man named Sparrowhawk, who, in his turn, stated that he bought the pony of a man he did not know and had never seen before. Plaintiff was now suing for the unlawful detention of the pony.

—Mr. Dennis appeared for the defendant, and evidence was called on both sides, the question in doubt being that of identity.

—His Honour gave judgment for the plaintiff for £5, to be reduced to 10s. on the pony being given by the defendant and accepted by the plaintiff.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 27 October 1888 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1888 Death of Mrs Weedon


Sudden Death.—

Wednesday morning Mary Weedon, aged 61, wife of William Weedon, a labourer, of 19, Fountain-road, was found dead in bed. The deceased, it is understood, had been suffering lately from bronchitis, but appeared no worse than usual on Tuesday night. The husband, who is very old man and imbecile, sat downstairs in his armchair all night and could give no explanation of the matter.

On Mrs. Murphy, who lives in the same house, taking the deceased up cup of tea at about 7.30 she found her apparently dead. She at once fetched Dr. Love, who found life extinct, and ordered the body removed to the mortuary, there to await an inquest.

The poor old man was found to be in a terribly dirty and neglected condition, and was removed to the Croydon Infirmary.

Weedon is one of the oldest inhabitants of Mitcham, and was was one of the old men who a few years ago were taken day after day to London to attend at the High Court as witnesses in the protracted law suit respecting common rights at Beddington Corner.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 27 October 1888 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Hooper’s Telegraph Works

News Stories

Morning Advertiser – Wednesday 16 February 1870


Incorporated under the Companies Acts, 1862 and 1867. Capital, £250,000, in shares of £10 each, payable as follows:-

    £1 per Share on Application. 
    £2     "        Allotment.
    £2     "        1st April, 1870. 
    £2     "        1st June, 1870. 
    £1     "        1st August, 1870. 


        John Dunlop. Esq. 
        Hon. L. Agar-Ellis, M.P. 
        C. Seymour Grenfell, Esq. 
        William Hooper, Esq., Managing Director. 
        Frederic Lubbock, Esq. 
        Admiral Sir Wm. Wiseman, Bart.  


        Messrs. Robarts, Lubbock, and Co. 
        Bank of Scotland (Edinburgh and Branches). 


        Messrs. Ashurst, Morris, and Co. 

Temporary Offices:- No. 114, Gresham House, Old Broadstreet, E.C. 

This Company has been formed to takeover and the well-known works of Mr. William Hooper, for the manufacture of Indiarubber Core for Telegraphic purpose, and add thereto the business of Covering the Core for Submarine Cables, and sub-merging and maintaining the same, whereby the Company will enabled execute the largest contracts for the manufacture of Submarine and Land Telegraphs. 

The value Mr. Hooper's process for the manufacture of Core is now fully recognised. He has successfully carried on his present business, and with a comparatively small capital has made vary large profits, sufficient to ensure out of that branch of the alone a handsome return on the whole capital of the Company; and when the other branches have been added, it is but fair conclude that the profits this undertaking will favourably compare with those of the existing Companies. 

Mr. Hooper has already manufactured according to his process the Cores for the following Cables, all which are in  perfect working order, viz.: 

       Ceylon to the Mainland of India. 
       The Persian Gulf Cable, laid last year by the Indian Government.
       England to Denmark. 
       Danish-Russian Cable (one section). 
       Scotland to Norway 
       Sweden to Russia. 

Besides upwards of 500 miles laid in various parts of India, Brazil, Australia, &c. Mr Latimer Clark, while engaged as Engineer and  Electrician to the Indian Government, in a letter addressed to Mr. Hooper from Bombay, so recently as the 18th October, 1869, says, in  reference to a Cable submerged in the Persian Gulf: - 

   “We have been examining, and I am bringing home a specimen of the very first sample Core which you sent out in 1863 to the Persian Gulf, and which has had no special care taken of it; it is as perfect as when it first left England, and can in no way be distinguished from a new sample fresh out of the factory.” 

The Company, while possessed of the exclusive right use Mr. Hooper's process for the manufacture of Indiarubber Core, will be prepared to contract for Cables with Guttapercha Core. 

Mr. Hooper has contracted with the Great Northern Telegraph China and Japan Extension Company for the manufacture of their cables, 2,300 miles in length, for £896,000; and it is one of the terms of the agreement between Mr. Hooper and the Company that two-thirds of all profits from this contract shall belong to this Company, which will thus enter on actual and highly remunerative operations at once. Mr Hooper has already made considerable progress with this contract. Mr. Hooper’s works at Mitcham, which are capable of executing large contracts for Core, will be taken over for £65,000. Mr. Hooper’s consideration for Patents and Goodwill will be entirely contingent on the success of the Company, and consists of one-half the net profits of year, after 7 1/2 per cent per annum had  first been paid to the Shareholders. At the end of 10 years the whole the profits will accrue to the Company. 

Copies of the Articles of Association and of the Agreement with Mr. Hooper can be seen at the Offices of the Solicitors of the Company.

Applications for Shares, in the form annexed, accompanied by a deposit of £1 per Share, can be left with the Bankers of the Company.Deposits will be received at any of the Branches of the Bank of Scotland. If no Allotment is made the Deposit will be returned in full. 

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 21 June 1873

“The Hooper.”

—It may, perhaps, be interesting to our readers to know that the Hooper Telegraph Company (limited), whose extensive works are at Mitcham, have had a vessel built bearing the above name, the first ever constructed entirely for telegraph purposes, and embracing every improvement in the paying out machinery and appliances for picking up a damaged or lost cable, which experience up to the present time has suggested. She is 350 feet in length, 55 feet beam, 35 feet in depth, and of 5,000 tons register, with engines of 400 nominal horsepower, working up to 2,000, and realises a speed of 10.5 knots an hour. She has taken in 1,500 miles of cable from the Hooper Works, at Millwall, belonging to the Western Telegraph Company, which is about to lay 2,500 miles of cable along the east coast of South America, which left on Saturday. After coaling and taking in stores at Plymouth the Hooper will sail direct for Pernambuco.

This Cable Ship was later renamed the Silvertown, see History of the Atlantic Cable

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 19 June 1875

Presentation to Mr. John P. Hooper.

—On Saturday, the 12th instant, pleasing ceremony took place at the offices of Hooper’s Telegraph Works Limited,” 31, Lombard-street, E.C., the occasion being the presentation of a handsome epergne and dessert stands to Mr. John Hooper in anticipation of his wedding, which announce in another portion of our journal as having taken place on Wednesday last. The epergne and stands, which were the work of Messrs. Elkington and Co., bore a suitable inscription, stating them to be the gift of the officers and workpeople of Hooper’s Telegraph Works, Limited, at Millwall, Mitcham, West Ham, Lombard-street, and of the cable steamship Hooper, with whom Mr. John Hooper now holds the chief position. The presentation was made on behalf of those assembled by Mr. A. Maclachlan, for many years connected with Hooper’s Telegraph Works, who in addressing Mr. John Hooper, said—

“I have been requested to undertake the pleasing duty of presenting to you on the occasion of your wedding this testimonial on behalf of those so long associated with you in connection with Hooper’s Telegraph Works, Limited, at Millwall, Mitcham, West Ham, and Lombard-street, and of the officers of the cable steamship ‘Hooper.’ This duty is the more pleasing because it gives me the opportunity of expressing in the name of those thus connected with you the high respect and esteem in which you are held by them. I know that ever since your first connection with our works you have always merited and possessed the cordial respect and affection of all who have the good fortune to be associated with you. In begging your acceptance of this testimonial, we heartily wish you every happiness in your married life, and that you may live long to enjoy the comforts of your own home.”

In reply to Mr. Maclachlan, Mr. John Hooper said —

“I am sure I thank you each and all for your kindness in presenting me with this handsome testimonial. I need scarcely that I shall always bear in mind the good feeling and good fellowship which must exist between us, as evinced by your present, and while such good fellowship does exist, I am certain that all our undertakings will prosper. I have doubt that if those connected with the three factories and with our ships, coupled with those working at Lombard-street, are prepared to pull together as heretofore, our present undertakings will be as successful as the past. I am sure it is most handsome on your part to present me with such a gift and I can only say again that I thank you each and all very much.”

Sussex Agricultural Express – Saturday 20 October 1888


MESSRS. BLAKE. HADDOCK, & CARPENTER WILL SELL BY AUCTION, at the Mart, Tokenhouse-yard, City, E.C., on WEDNESDAY, 7th November, Two o’clock precisely, by direction of the trustees under the will of the late James Bridger, Esq., the valuable and important MANOR of BIGGIN and TAMWORTH, with the quit rents, fines, heriots, &c., extending over large area, and including the Fair Green. Also, nine acres of capital MARKET GARDEN GROUND. A compact property fronting the two greens. Also, four FREEHOLD GROUND RENTS, amounting to £29 5s. per annum, the important PROPERTY of HOOPER’S TELEGRAPH WORKS, occupying an area of four acres on Mitcham Common, and let at £225 per annum. Particulars and conditions of sale, with plan, may had of J. Penfold, Esq.. Solicitor, 21, John-street, Bedford-row, W.C, ; Mr R. M. Chart, Surveyor. Lower Mitcham; and at the At Auctioneers’ Offices, 45, High-Street, Croydon. Note.—At the same time will be sold other Property at Croydon and elsewhere.

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 24 September 1898


Messrs. BLAKE & CARPENTER Will Sell by Auction, at the King’s Head, Mitcham, Monday. October 17th, at Six o’clock the evening, 1 FREEHOLD COTTAGE PROPERTY, known as Hooper’s Cottages, situate at Commonside East, Mitcham, the annual rental value of £49 10s. Particulars and conditions of sale may be had of the Solicitors, Messrs. Andrew and Cheale. Tunbridge Wells ; R. M. Chart, Esq., Mitcham ; and of the Auctioneers, 45, High Street, Croydon.