Tag Archives: 1908

1908 : Crimean veteran’s funeral

Croydon’s Weekly Standard – Saturday 10 October 1908


The funeral took place at Mitcham of George Green, seventy-four, a Crimean veteran who fought at the Alma and Inkerman, and before Sebastopol. Green had been eight years in Holborn Union Workhouse at Mitcham. He was in receipt of a special compassionate pension from Chelsea Hospital, and when he had an opportunity of leaving he refused.

The old soldier was given a military funeral. The coffin was borne on a gun-carriage, and escorted by detachments of the Grenadiers, Scots, and Coldstream Guards. The rear was brought up by twelve veterans, inmates of the workhouse.

They lined up as his body left the grounds, six on each side, and each old man stood with his hand raised to the salute as the coffin passed.

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.


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

Lance Sergeant Victor John Cullum

Photo courtesy of Margaret Purnell

Born in the first quarter of 1908.

He married Florence Harwood in 1931. In 1939 they lived in 29 Franklin Crescent, Mitcham.

His daughter Margaret Purnell said :

My dad served with the RA 1939-1946. He managed to escape with others from Singapore during the Japanese invasion of Malaya in 1942.

He was a Mitcham man from 1931 to 1973.

The British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 show a Lance Sergeant V. J. Cullum, Royal Artillery, service number 2040217, captured 15th February 1942. This is from The National Archives, reference WO 361/2058, POWs Far East Master Roll 1942-1943 (ABC).

His wife received the standard letter saying that he may have been captured, or is missing:

His daughter said that he wasn’t captured …

… although the army thought that was the case at the time.

Extract from my dad’s diary

’14th Feb 1942: – managed to leave the docks on HMS Penang, a small coastal boat. Under heavy gunfire for 2 hours for a long distance out. In the meantime, Singapore Docks were blazing furiously. They were pushed into Hold by Officers, sitting on drums of Kerosene. “Going to be unlucky if hit”. Got stuck on sandbank 2 hours out. Captain orders “Take to Lifeboats”. Our boat was holed by shell splinters, took all our time to keep afloat. Commandeered a Chinese Junk – “Penang” signaled to come back, had slid off bank. Mechanics had to take over engines. I volunteered with Rattue for Bofors gun duties; was glad to get out of Hold…………………….

They eventually docked & camped at Colombo March 10th 1942. Most of them were ill with various ailments. Back in the UK, my mum received a letter

“V.J.Cullum missing dated March 15, presumed dead” and telling her to get her papers in order. She received a telegram from my dad at the same time saying that he was safe….

The telegram he sent his wife:

In the Battle of Singapore, Britain surrendered on 15th February 1942.

Mitcham entry from the Story of Congregationalism in Surrey

The story of Congregationalism in Surrey
by Cleal, Edward E; Crippen, T. G. (Thomas George)

Publication date 1908

Mitcham (1818)

Towards the end of the eighteenth century some ministers associated with George Whitfield preached in a little building that had been prepared for them in this village.

Amongst those who afterwards rendered occasional service were Matthew Wilks, Rowland Hill, Thomas Jackson of Stockwell, and John Sibree of Frome. Other ministers preached more regularly. At first the attendance was encouraging, but later the congregation declined and the chapel was closed.

In 1816 another effort was made to evangelise the village, and on November 27 in that year a little chapel was opened by Revs. Rowland Hill, E. J. Jones, and R. Stodhart.

Shortly afterwards Rev. Thomas Williams, formerly of Trowbridge, accepted an invitation to supply the pulpit for twelve months, during which time the place became so crowded that the necessity was strongly felt for erecting a new chapel.

A good site was procured, and with the strong recommendation of such men as those we have mentioned, with Dr. Collyer, Thomas Lewis of Islington, and indeed all the neighbouring ministers, the case for Mitcham was laid before the public.

On April 28, 1819, a commodious chapel called Zion Chapel was opened. It was built to accommodate 300 persons, but provision was made for a gallery which would seat an additional 200. The opening services were conducted by Revs. G. Mudie, Dr. Collyer,and Thomas Jackson. The Evangelical Magazine tells us that the attendance was numerous and respectable, and the collections liberal, but a debt of over £700 remained.

Mr. Williams did not remain long after the opening of the new chapel. In September, 1820, he accepted an invitation to become co-pastor with Rev. Timothy East at Birmingham.

On January 17, 1821, a church was formed by Rev. Samuel Hackett of London; and Hoxton students ministered to the little fellowship till July, 1823, when one of their number, Rev. John Varty, was ordained pastor.

John Varty was a Londoner, born November 29, 1798. He remained at Mitcham fifteen years, and in 1839 removed to Fareham, where he ministered for twenty-three years. He afterwards held a pastorate at Aston Tirrold, Berks, and after a short residence at Northampton died rather suddenly in London, April 16, 1873.

Thomas Kennerley, of Burton-on-Trent, was the next minister. He, too, was born in the great city, and as a youth attended Surrey Chapel. He studied for the ministry at Newport Pagnell, and on leaving settled at Burton. Soon after his removal to Mitcham a front gallery was erected, and on Sunday, January 12, 1840, the chapel was reopened. Two years later a large room was built for the Sunday school and with a view to establishing a day school.

In 1854 Mr. Thomas Pratt, a deacon of the church, bequeathed £20 per annum for the support of the ministry, and £90 per annum for the support of day schools. A British school was opened on July 20, 1857, in which 200 boys and girls received instruction.

During Mr. Kennerley’s pastorate at Mitcham he was for some years one of the joint secretaries of the Surrey Mission. In 1856 failing health compelled him to resign. For a time he preached at Eltham, but was never again strong. He lived for a while in retirement at Gravesend, and died July 12, 1870.

A few months after Mr. Kennerley’s resignation Rev. George Stewart, of Hastings, accepted the vacant charge. He remained till 1862, when he removed to Newcastle-on-Tyne. He has since held pastorates at Glasgow, Kilburn, Reading, and Bexhill, and now lives retired at Woodford Green.

Mr. Stewart was succeeded by Rev. Thomas Orr. He was born in 1823 at Annandale, near Kilmarnock, and was educated for the law. He was making con- siderable headway in his profession, but removing to Glasgow, under the influence of Dr. Morrison and Dr. Guthrie, he gave up his career to enter the ministry. After a course at Edinburgh University he settled at Ayr in 1852, and then removed to Mitcham, where he was recognised June 23, 1863.

For six years and a half Mr. Orr exercised a faithful and helpful ministry at Mitcham. In 1869 he removed to Poole, and four years later to Windsor, where he laboured for twenty years. He died at Crouch End September 30, 1895, in the seventy-first year of his age.

In 1870 Rev. George William Joyce, a student of Hackney College, accepted the pastorate. He remained two years and removed to Tavistock in Devon.

The next minister was Rev. J.F. Poulter, B.A. Mr. Poulter was educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. For twenty-six years he had laboured at Wellingborough. Mr. Poulter’s pastorate at Mitcham extended from June 20, 1872 to December 27, 1874. He has not sought another charge, and is spending the evening of his long life at Wimbledon.

In 1875 Mr. H. W. Mote, of Hackney College, accepted the vacant pulpit. His recognition took place on August 3, but he was not ordained until October, 1876. Mr. Mote only remained another year. He resigned in 1877, and was followed by Rev. W. H. Belchem, whose pastorate was also short, lasting from October, 1877, to June 29, 1879.

In 1880 Rev. Robert Richman accepted an invitation to the vacant charge and commenced his ministry on August 1.

Mr. Richman found a membership of only thirty, but it has since largely increased. The neighbouring population is rapidly growing, and there is every reason to expect for the church a prosperous future. In 1886 the chapel was refurnished and decorated. For some years there had been friction between the church and the day school, but at last the trouble was settled, the church receiving £10 a year for the use of the school-room. Now the school has a reputation for efficiency and good work which is acknowledged by all religious parties.

The tomb of Rev. Ingram Cobbin, M.A., author of a once popular Bible Commentary, who died in 1851, is in the burial ground adjoining the church.

Source : The Internet Archive

1908 Pascalls Blackfriars Road Oasis


Messrs. James Pascall and Son, the well-known manufacturing confectioners, of Blackfriars-road and Mitcham, have long enjoyed the reputation of being foremost among considerate employers of labour, and they appear to be ever on the watch to add to the social enjoyment of their eight hundred male and female hands, who not only possess a Club and Institute, but also a Convalescent and Holiday Home at Leigh-on-Sea. Less than six months ago there was large refuse yard at the rear of their factory in Valentine-place, and it occurred to the head of the firm that it might be converted into a recreation ground garden. Twenty-eight of the employees were promised an equal piece of ground to cultivate, and they lost no time in setting to work. The refuse was cleared away, walks were constructed, half-a-dozen cartloads of good soil were carted from Mitcham, and a number of small trees were planted. Soon it was discovered that the female hands had been “left out in the cold,” whereupon Mr. Pascall offered to present plants to all who would undertake to cultivate them and compete for prizes this summer. The experiment was a success; fewer than twelve hundred plants were handed over to the young people, who watched with tender care the growth of the various flowers.

The first show in connection with the scheme was held yesterday (Thursday), when Mr. and Mrs. Pascall, accompanied by Mr. Sydney Pascall, took part in the prize distribution.

Mr. Pascall congratulated the competitors on the success of their efforts. The display was a most creditable one. They could not have a garden city there, but they could do their best to have a garden in the city. He thanked his employees for the way in which they had used the ground placed at their disposal, and expressed the hope that next year they would have even a better show. (Applause.)

Mrs. Pascall, in distributing the prizes, also expressed her satisfaction at the excellence of the show, and said an encouraging word to those who had not been successful in winning prizes.

Mr. Sydney Pascall playfully observed that they had long been famous as the producers of sweet things, but now they were famous as the producers of the wonders of Nature. (Applause.)

The cut flowers exhibited at the show were sent to the Evelina Hospital.

Appended are the names of the prize winners:—

Garden Plots.— Mr. Barrett, 1; Mr. Richardson, 2; Miss Russell, 3.
Geraniums. — Miss Norris, 1; Miss Punter, 2; Miss Burke, 3.
Fuchsia. — Miss Punter, 1; Miss Smith, 2; Miss E. Brigden, 3.
Ferns. — Miss M. Booker. 1; Miss Punter, 2.
Marguerites. — Miss Sanders, 1.
Petunia. — Miss Tuker, 1; Miss Kearney, 2.
Verbena. — Miss Isaac, 2. No 1st awarded.
Cut Flowers. — Miss Smith. 1. No 1st awarded.
Prize for best Garden Plot (A Department).— Mr. Richardson.
Special prize for General Excellence. — Miss Punter.

Source: South London Press – Friday 07 August 1908 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Twin Towns


Compliments Between Surrey and Australian Communities.

The most interesting incident in the Empire Day celebrations at Mitcham was the breaking of a large Australian flag presented to the Surrey town by Mitcham, Australia.

The ceremony took place at Lower Mitcham School in the presence of a crowd that included visitors from the Commonwealth township. Telegrams were exchanged between the two places. Mitcham, Australia, was settled near Melbourne by a Surrey Mitchamite, named Slater, 40 years ago, and is now a thriving fruit-growing centre.

In 1908 Mitcham, Surrey, presented its namesake with a Union Jack, a cricket bat, and a bunch of lavender.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 25 May 1920 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)