Tag Archives: 1920

1920 Refugees from Russia in Workhouse


England is Heaven.” Mrs Harkness, who has lived in Petrograd for 79 years and who left England at the age five, and is now in the Western Road Workhouse Infirmary, Mitcham, Surrey, considers that after Russia “England is just heaven.”

A old English lady with a high, intellectual forehead, hair of silvery hue, and twinkling brown eyes, Mrs Harkness looked very peaceful she lay in bed and discussed with a representative of “The Daily Mail” what she thought of England after her long life in Russia.

“Petrograd was a miserable state when left,” she said. “People were literally starving in the streets. We had to pay a fabulous sum even for 1lb. of potatoes. Now (oh, it is too wonderful!) I get as much as I want to eat and drink, even eggs and abundance of milk. The few people I have met have been exceedingly kind. In Russia there is

Neither Religion Nor Morality,

“I was a governess when Russia was happy home, but now it is all havoc and hunger and death. Petrograd when we left was city of desolation. People with money in their pockets could not buy provisions, and motor cars were openly stolen. Nearly all the shops were shut, and hunger was common complaint.

“Three of the doctors in our home at Petrograd died from lack of food. We were not allowed to bring any luggage, and the only books I have are my Bible and Prayer-Book. England has progressed wonderfully since my days. There were, of course, no aeroplanes then, no electric trains, and none of your modern wonders of civilisation. Paraffin lamps and sewing machines were thought to be quite up to date in my earlier days.”

Mrs Harkness is one of 56 Britons recently repatriated from Russia.

Source: Motherwell Times – Friday 20 August 1920 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

1920 Fire Alarm System suggested by Chief Fire Officer

From the minutes of the
Fire Brigade, Lighting, Allotments and Recreation Committee
Tuesday, June 11th, 1920
pages 86 to 89

4. Chief Officer’s Report – The following report was submitted:-

                Central Fire Station
                     London Road
                     June 11th, 1920

Gentlemen –

I beg to present the following report for your consideration :-

FIRE ALARMS. – I would respectfully suggest that, before proceeding any further in the installation of additional fire alarms, the Chairman and several Members of the Committee avail themselves of the opportunity to inspect the system in operation in several adjoining districts, viz., Wimbledon, Merton, Epsom, Croydon, or Bromley. This system is the “Gamewell” system closed circuit.

All these districts give favourable reports of the efficiency of the systemn, and I have also had experience of the same installation at Bromley.

I have carefully studied the district as regards fire risks, and the most advantageous positions for fire alarms, and recommend that fire alarm boxes be placed at the following positions:-

To Ring into No. 1 Station

Church Road ………… At Lewis Road
Church Road ………… At Benedict Road*
Morden Road ………… At Hancock & Corfields*
London Road ………… At Streatham Road*
London Road ………… At St. Mark’s Road
London Road ………… At Tooting Junction
Streatham Road ……… Outside Pascall’s Factory*
Park Avenue
Western Road ………… Opposite Holborn Union
Links Road …………… At Corner of Frinton Road
Ashbourne Road …… At Corner of Heaton Road
Commonside East …… At Manor Road*
Lonesome ……………… At Greyhound Lane*

To Ring into No. 2 Station

High Street …………….. At Robinson Road
Devonshire Road ……… At junction of Robinson Road
Cavendish Road ………. At junction of Norfolk Road
Denison Road …………. Opposite Miller Road
Church Road ………….. At junction of Western Road

The advantages of this system are numerous. The cost is spread over a period of ten years, when the whole plant becomes the property of the Council.

The points marked with an asterisk are in the vicinity of factories, and auxiliary lines direct to the point from these factories could be suggested, the factories paying an annual rental, which would greatly reduce the cost of that particular point.

Accumulators for the lighting of motor tender and pump could be recharged by our own generator.

Electrical false alarms are impossible.

The whole system being in series, greatly reduces the mileage of external wiring,I have obtained an estimate for the installation of station plants and boxes for eighteen points, also for twelve points, which I attach for your consideration.

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.

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)

Lower Mitcham School

Now Benedict Primary School, Benedict Road.

Described in the 1918 street directory :

Lower Mitcham, Church road, built in 1897, for 280 boys, 280 girls & 320 infants & enlarged in 1913 for 380 boys, 880 girls & 320 infants; John D. Clarke, master; Miss Annie Roes, mistress; Miss Ellen Smith, infants’ mistress

1899, Mr Harber, Headmaster
1899, Mr Hossack, Assistant Master
1918, Mr John D. Clarke, Headmaster
1918, Miss Annie Roes, Mistress
1918, Miss Ellen Smith, Infants’ Mistress
1926, Mr H. C. Toller, master
1926, Mr F. C. Stone, headmaster
1933, Miss White, Teacher

Newspaper Articles

1899 School Board Report

1910 Antipodean Visitors

1920 Twin Towns

1924 Comedy of School Vacancy

1926 Novel Jazz Band at Christmas

1933 Seaside holiday for Explosion children

Merton Memories Photos

The Canons

January 2016

January 2016


From The Times, 24th June 1920

THE CANONS, an interesting old house with historical associations. Total area about nine acres. The residence and about 5 1/2 acres, let on lease expiring Lady Day, 1940, at £180 per annum, the remainder let on yearly tenancy at £14 per annum. Long frontages to Cricket Green and Madeira Road.

To be offered for SALE by AUCTION, in the Hanover Square Estate Room, on Wednesday, 14th July, 1920, in convenient lots.

The Canons was occupied by Leonard Elphinston Brunel HOMAN, from 1911? to 1938. He died on 28th September, 1938, at aged 75. He left just under £25,000 to his widow Sybil Eustace Holman. This is equivalent to £1.5 million in 2016 values.

See also Mrs Derek Homan.

Reported in the London Daily News of 29th May 1911, that James George Henry Glass was a director of the Bengal Nagpur Railway Co.

From Ancestry National Probate Register

GLASS James George Henry of The Canons Mitcham Surrey died 21 April 1911 at Naples Italy Probate Landon 20 May to Donald James Cumberlege Glass esquire and George Rupert Thomas Upton barrister-at-law.

Effects £216,885 6s. 9d.

This is equivalent to about £23 million in 2016 values.

World War 1 Connections
2nd Lieutenant James Fraser Glass

1920 Fire Brigade Staff and Payments

Appointed as Chief Officer by the Mitcham Urban District Council at the start of 1920, Albert G. Wells introduced retaining fees and remunerations for firemen, so ending the completely voluntary basis for the service.

From the minutes of the
Fire Brigade, Lighting, Allotments and Recreation Committee
Tuesday, June 11th, 1920
pages 86 to 89

4. Chief Officer’s Report – The following report was submitted:-

                Central Fire Station
                     London Road
                     June 11th, 1920

Gentlemen –

I beg to present the following report for your consideration :-

Station no. 1 the Central Fire Station

Name Position Fees
W. Jordan Station Officer £20 p.a.
J. Jordan Sub-Officer £5 p.a.
B. Tapping Fireman 1st Class 3s.
J. Schneider Fireman 1st Class 3s.
F. Harris Fireman 1st Class 3s.
R. Marshall Fireman 2nd Class 2s. 6d.
W. Fenton Fireman 2nd Class 2s. 6d.
L. Ephgrave Fireman 2nd Class 2s. 6d.
V. Broadbridge Fireman 2nd Class 2s. 6d.
G. Marsh Fireman 2nd Class 2s. 6d.
A. Timpson Driver 3s.
F. Cannon Driver 3s.
T. Pugh Driver 3s.

Station no. 2 in Colliers Wood

Name Position Fees
F. Hollands Station Officer £20 p.a.
S. Thorogood Sub-Officer £5 p.a.
A. Kimber Fireman 1st Class 3s.
W. Saker Fireman 1st Class 3s.
E. Broadbridge Fireman 1st Class 3s.
F. Brookes Fireman 1st Class 3s.
W. Webb Fireman 1st Class 3s.
H. Potter Driver 3s.
E. Jones Driver 3s.

The remunerations to firemen and drivers were for the first hour. For the second hour, a 1st class fireman and driver would be paid 2s. 6d., then 2s. for each hour after that. Whereas 2nd class firemen would get 2s. for the second hour and 1s 9d. for subsequent hours.

Remuneration for a fire drill was 2s.

These fees are approximately in 2016:

1920 amount 2016 value
1s. 9d. £4
2s. £4 60p
2s. 6d. £5 75p
3s. £7
£5 £230
£20 £920

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.

Harry Mount

Councillor Henry Lewis Mount was a J.P. and District Chairman in 1920.

1914 - 15

1914 – 15

This photo is from a set of Mitcham Urban District Councillors, from the Local Studies Centre at Morden Library. Reference L2 (352) Cou.

Mount Road was named after him, according to EN Montague, in his Mitcham Histories: 14 Upper Mitcham and Western Road page 79.

In 1939 he wrote an article in the Croydon Advertiser of his memories in Mitcham in the 1870s, called I Remember Early Days In Mitcham.

Copyright David J. Barnes

Copyright David J. Barnes

This photo is from a family history website reproduced here by permission of David J. Barnes.

In 1928 his son Harold was injured in the Mitcham Council Stores Yard:

Harold Mount, aged 22, of Church Road. Mitcham, the son of Mr. Harry Mount, Mitcham magistrate, had a remarkable escape from death on Saturday. He was standing near a steam roller under repair in Mitcham Council stores yard, when one of the rear wheels, weighing 30 cwt., fell off and pinned him by the right leg. It required half dozen men with crowbars to release Mr. Mount, who was taken to Nelson Hospital, Merton, with a fractured right leg.

Source: Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Monday 30 April 1928 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

The Electoral Registers for 1937 have him and Bessie Alexandra Mount living at 116 Church Road, Mitcham. In 1918 he was at the same address, with a Sarah Jane Mount. In 1920 other occupants were Arthur and Edward Earnest Mount.