Tag Archives: 1901

Corporal William Henry Harding, D.C.M.

William Henry Harding was born on 5th November 1892 and was baptised on the 1st January 1893, at the Mitcham parish church in Church Road. His parents were William Henry and Phoebe Harding, living in Fountain Road.

The 1901 census shows their address as 43 Fountain Road, and the occupants were:

William H Harding, Head, aged 33, born 1868, flower seller
Pheoby Harding, Wife, aged 27, born 1874, flower seller
William H Harding, Son, aged 8, born 1893
Leonard Harding, Son, aged 9, born 1892

He joined the Army on 22nd October 1908, becoming a private in the 1st East Surreys, 3rd Battalion (Special Reserve). His service number was L/9806. He had said he was 18 years old, but was nearer 16. The Surrey Recruitment Registers show that physically he was 5 ft 3 and three-quarter inches tall, weighed 9 stone, and had grey eyes and brown hair.

He was stationed in Dublin, Ireland, when WW1 started.

Corporal W.H. Harding was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for his outstanding bravery. He went into noman’s land and rescued his officer, 2nd Lt. Wilfrid Allen Davis. Cpl W.H. Harding was wounded but although he got him back, Lt. Davis subsequently died.

The entry in the London Gazette reads:

For conspicuous gallantry on “Hill 60,” when he beat off the enemy’s assault by throwing hand grenades, freely exposing himself though the trench was being heavily bombed.

Lt-Gen Sir John Roberts presented the medals.

Cpl W.H. Harding was also awarded the British War Medal, 1914 Star and Victory Medal.

He was discharged 22nd August 1917.

He died in 1954, aged 61.

Sources

Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912
Ancestry.com. British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
Surrey Recruitment Registers 1908-1933
London Gazette, Publication date: 29 June 1915 Supplement:29212 Page:6379

Stoker 1st Class Frederick George Aimes

Frederick George Aimes was born on 20th March, 1901, in Brixton.

Working as a wood sawyer, he joined the Navy at 18 years old on 12th May 1919, serving on the Vivid II.

He married Ivy Ethel May Stone in 1924.

In 1934 he received the RN Long Service and Good conduct Medal.

He lived with his wife Ivy Ethel May at 4 Poplar Avenue, Mitcham, between 1930 and 1939.

1953 OS map

He joined HMS Hermes on 24th August 1939 and died when his ship was sunk by Japanese aircraft on 9th April 1942 in the Indian Ocean.

The sinking of HMS Hermes was reported in the Portsmouth Evening News – Friday 10 April 1942:

Portsmouth Evening News, 10th April, 1942, page 1.
Image © Johnston Press plc. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

CRUISER CLAIM UNTRUE
Tokio Boasting

The aircraft carrier H.M.S. Hermes has been sunk ten miles off the coast of Ceylon. An Admiralty communique states that she was sunk by air attack and that a large proportion of her crew (complement 660) may have reached land.

It is known that an earlier Japanese claim to have sunk two cruisers is quite untrue.

The Hermes (10,850 tons) completed in 1924, was the first vessel specially designed as an aircraft carrier.

The Japanese are to-day laying claims to more successes in the Indian ocean. Tokio asserts that yesterday two cruisers, a destroyer, a patrol vessel, and six otherships were sunk while a third cruiser was damaged. The claims included 46 Allied aircraft shot down.

There is no confirmation of these claims.

The Admiralty communique states:- “The Board of Admiralty regrest to announce that the aircraft-carrier H.M.S. Hemes (Capt. R.F.J. Onslow, M.V.O., D.S.C., R.N.) has been sunk by Japanese air attack of the coast of Ceylon. No further details are known, but it is probable that a large proportion of the ship’s company of HMS Hermes have reached land, as she was only about ten miles off shore when she was sunk.

Sunk near Sri Lanka, or Ceylon as it was called then, the wreck of the ship has attracted divers. The website Dive Sri Lanka has accounts on 8 expeditions to the wreckage over a period from 2005 to 2014.

Sources
The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 1126
Service

General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 2a; Page: 704
Marriage

Ancestry.com. UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 147
Long service medal.

Ancestry.com. Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1962 Reference: CC802/47/6Residence at Poplar Avenue

The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, London; Admiralty: Royal Navy Seamen’s Services Continuous Record (CR) Cards; Class: ADM 363; Piece: 437.
Service Record.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

Service Number D/SS 120797

Died 09/04/1942

Aged 41

H.M.S. Hermes
Royal Navy

Son of George and Connie Aimes; husband of Ivy Ethel May Aimes, of Mitcham, Surrey.


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

1961 : Eldest of 3 brothers at TW Palmer retires

THE unique service of three brothers to one firm has come to an end—with the retirement of 75-year-old Charlie Sears from T. W. Palmer, constructional engineers, Merton Abbey.

Charlie, senior erection supervisor, joined the firm 61 years ago. But able to keep him in touch with latest developments will be his two brothers who have no thought of retiring yet.

Brother Bill (aged 70), Park Road, Colliers Wood, and brother Frank (aged 72), Wilson Avenue, joined T. W. Palmer soon after Charlie.

Source : Mitcham News & Mercury, 27th January, 1961, page 9.

In the 1901 census, Charles Sears, aged 15, is living with his parents James, 41, and Elizabeth Sears, 42, at no. 3 Blue Houses, Christchurch; with his brothers, Francis, 12, William, 10 and sisters Mary, 4 and Annie 1.

In the 1911 census, he is 25 and living with his wife Clara, also 25, and their son of 2 months Edmund at 7 Stamford Terrace, Feltham Road. His occupation is listed as an Iron Worker in an Iron Foundry.

Mitcham Police Station

The current police station was opened on Saturday 18th June 1966. The previous building it replaced opened in 1855.

In the 1901 directory it was listed as being the Metropolitan Police Station (W Division) with John Jenkins as station sergeant, with 4 sergeants and 19 constables.

It was announced in 1964, that the building was to be demolished, eighty years after it was built.

POLICE STATION IS COMING DOWN

Work on Mitcham’s new police station has started. For this week a demolition squad moved in to knock down the old station, which dates from 1884.

The squad were expected in October but they didn’t arrive and it looked as though local police would have to put up with their present building for some time to come.

A temporary police station was erected but no signs of the old one coming down were to be seen.

The present station, which overlooks the Cricket Green, will be replaced by a modern building, probably with several storeys.

Work is expected to take 18 months.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 5th June, 1964, page 1.


Mayor opens new police station

Mitcham’s new £98,000 police station was officially opened on Saturday by the Mayor of Merton, Sir Cyril Black. And over 3,000 members of the public toured the station and visited a special exhibition in the car park throughout the day.

“The open day was very successful, far better than we anticipated,” commented Inspector S.W. Brunger, who organised the day with Supt. H.W. Gibson.

He added: “Open days are usually held for particular occasions like an opening. But because the public showed a great deal of interest it is quite possible they will be held more often.”

The opening ceremony was held on the top floor in the canteen. Members from all walks of life were present and Mr Robert Carr, M.P., arrived later.

Sir Cyril Black said he hoped the police would have no work to do in their new station, but if they did it would have a satisfactory completion.

He emphasised the need for the public to see what goes on in a police station and to understand the policeman’s work.

He said: “The police are anxious that their work is fully understood by the public. We must realise the task in which the police are engaged.”

He added: “The public have got to be educated in their duty to co-operate with the police. The task of policemen would be easier if full co-operation from the public was always forthcoming.”

Commander G.C.F. Duncan said the ambition of the police was to show the people of Mitcham what they are paying for and what goes on in the station. He said they wanted to knock down the idea that the police were working behind closed doors. The police had nothing to hide from the public.

“This is the newest police building in South London,” he said, “and it took many years to achieve it, but it has got to last a long time and we hope the public will think the money was well spent.”

Plans for the new station were first under way in 1962 and building started in 1964. It stands on the site of the old station which was built in 1884.

Before the public started to arrive the guests were taken on a tour of the station. They saw the various offices, detention rooms and the cells.

Then in the car park at the rear they saw an exhibition that included a mobile police unit, police dogs and horses, police sports car and a car that was involved in a fatal accident.

The most important exhibition was a special van and equipment used when accidents have occurred and to warn other motorists of the accident and dangers ahead.

Then from lunchtime to well into the evening the public were shown round.

One little girl was so pleased with her visit that she presented the sergeant on duty at the front reception desk with a flower.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th June 1966, page 1.


Aerial view showing front of building.

Aerial view showing front of building.

Aerial view showing rear of building. The road on the right is Mitcham Park.

Aerial view showing rear of building. The road on the right is Mitcham Park.

Thomas Parsons & Sons, Ltd.

Paint factory that was at 92 Church Road. Closed in 1964 when it the company was taken over by Donald Macpherson. Telephone number was MITcham 4444.

clip from 1954 aerial photo on Merton Memories, reference Mit_​Buildings_​57-2 and copyright London Borough of Merton


News Articles
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 14th February, 1964, page 1

Macpherson’s take over Parson’s
FEARS FOR JOBS AT TWO FACTORIES
‘Redundancy is possible’

A THREAT of redundancy hangs over some employees of local paint firms Donald Macpherson and Thomas Parsons, it is revealed this week.

For on January 31 negotiations for Macphersons to take over Parsons were completed and now the redundancy threat is clear.

Manager Mr. C. J. Flynn said this week that redundancy was possible although the firm would take every consideration and do everything possible for their employees.

He said it was impossible at this stage to say how many people may be redundant.

In a statement the chairman. Mr. R. P. Chester. says: “We shall give every assistance to all potentially redundant staff in obtaining other employment which will include reasonable time off without loss of pay so that they may attend potential employers for interviews and so forth.”

Wherever possible, Mr Chester said, alternative employment will be offered at other Group factories and where necessary assistance will be given with expenses.

He added: “It is realised that without loyal and keen staff a company cannot succeed and we therefore hope that the thought which has been given to the position to each employee of Thos. Parsons will prompt their present employees to continue to serve the new company in the loyal and true way that they have served the old.

STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN

We regret the need to close these works and we are very concerned with the way in which this closure will affect some employees. However, we will do all that we can to ensure that the hardship to employees is as little as it can be.”

And in a statement to Parsons employees the chairman of the old company said some redundancy was inevitable.

He said the directors and shareholders of Parsons would have wished to retain the business within the Parsons family but the difficult trading conditions experienced over the past few years together with the greatly increased competition in the paint trade has made this impossible.

Parsons, which was founded in 1802, are providing money which will enable a special redundancy payment to be made to employees whose services are terminated.

They are also setting up a trust fund out of which it is intended to continue the payment of ex-gratia pensions to existing pensioners and also to make payments in due course to staff who have had long service with the company.

Our City Editor writes:

Terms of the take-over of Thomas Parsons and Sons by Donald Macpherson were that Thomas Parsons formed a new company to which they transferred all the paint business, goodwill and all necessary assets and liabilities of Parsons.

The net assets of this new company amount to £325,000.

Macpherson acquired all the assets of this new company in exchange for 427,984 ordinary stock units of 5s.

these new units will rank pari passu with the existing ordinary stock, except for the final dividend of 12 per cent, recently declared in respect of the year to October 31, 1963.

The bid was first announced on November 7, 1963.

From the Mitcham Advertiser
3rd June 1954

TRIP TO BOGNOR

A party of 31 pensioners, wives and widows from Messrs. Thomas Parsons, the Mitcham paint firm, went to Bognor on Saturday for their annual outing. The firm provided tea, chocolates and cigarettes. With them was Councillor E. E. Mount, Deputy Mayor of Mitcham, who is chairman of the works’ social committee.

From the Mitcham advertiser
30th November, 1950, page 5

150 YEARS OF PAINT-MAKING

Firm of world repute

Known all over the world for their paints, varnishes and colours, Messrs. Thomas Parsons and Sons. Ltd., of Church Road, Mitcham, will next year celebrate their 150 years of existence as a business. For the greater part of that time the firm have had their main factory in Mitcham, and the total number of employees is nearly 500.

Well equipped modern factories are also established in Dublin and Glasgow. In the firms service are 55 men whose years of labour exceed 1,760. One of them, Mr. W. H. Pantling, who has just completed 50 years at the Church Road factory, stepped into the limelight at the
firms first dance and cabaret held in the Baths Hall on Friday. He made a speech before the Mayor and Mayoress, the directors and about 300 fellow employees, who loudly applauded him.

RAISED £25,000

Mrs. George Parsons, director of the company since 1934, received the Mayor and Mayoress and the other guests, and presided throughout the evening. She is the only daughter of Sir Alfred and Lady Newton. The late Mr. George Parsons was born in Mitcham in 1864. He died this year aged 86. For years Mr. and Mrs. G. Parsons lived in London Road, Lower Mitcham, in a house adjoining the railway and now the Labour Hall. Both are remembered for their active
interest in the Parish Church.

Mr. G. Parsons was the second son of Thomas and Emily Parsons, and a grandson of the George Parsons who, in 1802, joined the firm of William Wood varnish manufacturers of Long Acre, London He was as educated at Croydon and in 1881 started work in the factory at Mitcham. On the death of his father in 1884 he became co-partner and owner of the business with his elder brother, Thomas.

During the first world war he raised over £25,000 in aid of the Fulham Homes for disabled ex-Service men by organising an exhibition of war models in the Parsons showrooms in Oxford Street, London.

Departmental heads present included Mr. O. C. Williams (secretary and general manager), and Mr. J. A. Downie (works manager).

Part of the story of the progress of this celebrated Mitcham firm was related by the Mayor (Aid. T. A. East) during an interval in the dance and cabaret programme. He congratulated the firm and Mr. Pantling.

The organising committee of the function were Mrs. I. Blake, Messrs. A. Marshall. (secretary and M.C.), and R. C. Sutton, and Coun. E. E. Mount, whose father, the late Coun. Harry Mount, was also with the firm for many years.


1937 ad from Flight Magazine

1937 ad from Flight Magazine

Text of ad:

PARSONS’

Enamels – Paints
and Varnishes
for
Aircraft
and aerodrome buildings
to British Standards
Institution and Air Ministry
specifications

THOS. PARSONS & SONS LTD.
Makers of varnishes & fine colours since 1802

315-317 Oxford Street, London, W.
Works: Mitcham, Surrey

Telephones:
Mayfair 0742 (six lines) 3647 (two lines)
Telegrams: “Varjap, Phone, London”

Members of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors

Mr Thomas Parsons, of Mitcham, and of Parsons and Sons, varnish manufacturers, 40, Long-acre, who died at the Laurele, Woodside, Wimbledon, on November 1st, aged 41, left personal estate of the net value of £19,600 8s. and £23,163 5s. 2d. gross.

Source: Surrey Mirror – Friday 08 February 1901 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required).

MITCHAM.

The will (dated April 6, 1871), of Mr. Thomas Parsons, late of No. 40, Long-acre, and of No. 6, Baron-Grove, Mitcham, varnish manufacturer, who died Oct. 18 last, has been proved by Mrs. Emily Parsons, the widow, the value of the personal estate in the United Kingdom amounting to over £34,000. The only persons benefited by the will are the testator’s wife and children.

Source: Surrey Mirror – Saturday 03 January 1885 from the British Newspaper Archive.


Might be related:
Norfolk Chronicle – Saturday 12 September 1778

JAMES PARSONS, at his MANUFACTORY, Stratford, near Bow Bridge, sells Tar and Turpentine, and makes Pitch, Rozin; Oil of Turpentine, Oil of Tar, Varnish of Pine, and Oil of Fir for mixing with White Lead. and has been many Years used his and has been many Years used in his Navy for paying Ships’ Sides and Masts : It is the best, cheapest and neatest Preparation for preserving from Decay all Timber Buildings, Gates, Rails, &c. &c. exposed to Weather; it preserves the Colour of the Timber, and new Work pay’d with it requires no other Paint. Iron Pallisades, &c. pay’d with Varnish of Pine, are prevented from Rust. One Gallon will pay 144 square feet. OIL of TAR is an effectual Remedy against the Fly and Scab in Sheep, and the Mange in Dogs: It is used for softening Rigging. OIL FIR mixes with White Lead and gives beautiful Gloss, it is an elegant Paint for the Inside of Houses, and the best Preservative for the Bottoms of Boats, or any thing else where a fine White is required. Varnish Paints of different Colours ready prepared.

The will of Mr. Thomas Parsons, late of No. 40, Long-acre, and at No. 6, Baron-grove, Mitcham, varnish manufacturer, was proved on the 3rd inst., the estate in the United Kingdom amounting to over £34,000.

Source: Cheltenham Chronicle – Tuesday 30 December 1884 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)


Varnish, Paints and Cellulose Solutions

Source:
Borough of Mitcham List of Factories,
Town Clerk’s Department,
July 1963.
Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT