Tag Archives: 1921

Flight Lieutenant Joseph Laurence Moore D.F.C.

Flight Lieutenant Joseph Lawrence Moore, service number 42071, served in 97 Squadron, R.A.F.

He died 25th June 1943, aged 22. He was piloting a Lancaster bomber (LM327-B) on a raid on Elberfeld, Wuppertal, Germany. His aircraft was shot down and all of the crew were killed.

From Norwood News – Friday 29 November 1940

Awarded the D.F.C.

Among the latest awards for bravery is that of Pilot-Officer Joseph Lawrence Moore of Mitcham, who has been granted the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Pilot-Officer Moore was born at Mitcham in 1921, and commissioned in the R.A.F. in May, 1939.

His parents now live at Ulverston, where he received his education at the local Grammar School.

In the London Gazette of 22nd November 1940, he is listed as being in 115 Squadron whgen he received his DFC award.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record, which says his parents were Thomas and Ella Oliver Moore, of Ulverston, Lancashire.

His parents were living at 10, High Street, Colliers Wood in 1921 according to the Electoral Register. At that time, Colliers Wood was part of the Mitcham Urban District.

See also the RAF Pathfinders website.

Henry Fowler, Last of the Lavender Growers

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_People_57-1, copyright London Borough of Merton.

Lavender grower who lived at Lavender House in Bond Road.

He had a stall at Covent Garden from 1882 to 1919, according to this article in the Hull Daily Mail of Monday 28 July 1919:-

Sweet Lavender.

Mr Henry Fowler, one of the largest dealers lavender in the country, who has large gardens at Mitcham, has retired from the Covent Garden stall which he has occupied for 37 years without a break. The first crop of lavender from Carshalton was cut on Saturday, and a few bunches were on sale in the streets.

After the First World War, the price of lavender had doubled, and was grown outside Mitcham, according to this article from 1920:

Mitcham Lavender Dearer.

The first cut of Mitcham lavender, which is ready for market a fortnight earlier this season, has been made by Mr Henry Fowler, of Lavender Nursery, Bond-road, Mitcham, known as the last of the growers. –

It is 1s 6d a bunch this season, which is more than double the pre-war price. The crop, though small, is in fine bloom. Most of it is grown just outside Mitcham, at Wallington and Carshalton.

From the West Sussex County Times – Saturday 17 July 1920.

In 1921 the price was five times that before the war, he said in this article from the Daily Herald of Monday 18 July 1921:

SWEET LAVENDER

Once Flourishing Trade Now Almost Extinct

For the first time in Mitcham’s history, the lavender season has opened without even a sprig of the sweet-smelling plant being on sale in the town.

“It doesn’t pay to handle it nowadays,” said Henry Fowler, well known at Covent Garden as “the last of the Mitcham lavender kings,” to DAILY HERALD representative, “although never do I remember such a figure it fetched in Garden yesterday — 20s. a bundle. Before the war I sold for 4s.!”

Mr. Fowler, who is 76, used to sell as much as 20 tons a season. All the “Mitcham lavender” (offshoots from the original Mitcham stock) is now grown at Carshalton, a neighbouring place, by a Beddington firm of market gardeners.

There are only about five acres left, but next year, Mr. Fowler said, there would be more grown. “And then I shall dabble in it again.”

Mitcham soil grows the finest lavender in the world, but the market gardeners say that other flowers and vegatables are more profitable. Moreover, all the land will soon commandeered for manufacturing purposes.

Distilling lavender is still a big trade in Mitcham, much of the plant coming from Hitchin, Worthing, and other places.

“It is the first time for 40 years I have never had lavender to sell,” were Mr. Fowler’s parting words.

A large lavender distillery was run by W.J. Bush & Co. Ltd.


Henry Fowler had been born around 1846 in Dunstable, Hertfordshire. When he was 35 he was a florist’s labourer according to the 1881 census, which shows him as living at number 6, Dixon’s Cottages (near the present day Gardeners Arms in London Road). In the 1911 census he is listed as a florist, aged 65, with his wife Anna 72, and daughter Nellie 39.

He died in 1925, as reported locally and in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 26 March 1925:

Mr. Henry Fowler, the “Lavender King,” hes died. For over 40 years he supplied Covent Garden market with big consignments of lavender. Since 1922 he had been out of the business.

Note that lavender is still grown in Carshalton.

News articles are from the British Newspaper Archives, which requires a subscription.

1921 suicide in Langdale Avenue explained

9th June 1921 from Pall Mall Gazette

DEAD BODY IN FOOTWAY TRAGIC DISCOVERY AT MITCHAM.

The dead body well-dressed man, with a revolver by his side, was discovered early to-day in the footway of Langdale-avenue, Mitcham. The revolver was a large six-chambered one, with four full cartridges and two spent ones. The dead man has since been recognised as a former resident of Albert-road, Mitcham. Revolver shots were heard late last night, but no notice was taken of them the time.

Source: Pall Mall Gazette – Thursday 09 June 1921 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

This death was then explained at the inquest, when the suicide note of the dead man was read out:

EXPLANATORY LETTER POLICE.

Suicide’s Precaution “To Save Mystery.”

“My Brain Is Gone.”

A long letter addressed to the police was read at the inquest on the man named Hunt who was found shot the street Mitcham. In this he said –

To save any mystery, I am Percy John Hunt, late of Lynn Road, Balham.

If you make inquiries at Langdale Avenue, Mitcham, or Lynn Road, Balham, you may find out the whereabouts of my wife.

She deserted me last year after thirty years of married life, and is now touring, I believe, with the eldest daughter on the music-hall stage. Since my wife left me I have felt fit for nothing. She seemed to obsess the whole of being, and, try as I would, I could not shake it off. Only by drinking in the day time have I been able to carry on. My nights have been hell. I am doing this now to save something else, as wife may tell you.

Mrs Hunt said she certainly believed that his idea was “to do me as well as himself.”

She last saw her husband on January 19, but had written often since. A recent letter to their daughter asked for money, and she sent £4.

In reply to the Coroner (Mr Nightingale), Mrs. Hunt said her husband must have reached the end of his resources. He had sold up the home and lived on the proceeds. He had been drinking terribly. She had had a fearful life the last few years.

She was living in Lynn Road, Balham, and her husband’s address was Elmhurst Mansions, Clapham.

They lived formerly in Albert Road. Mitcham, within view of the spot where the body was found.

From a farewell letter addressed to the wife the Coroner quoted the following sentences :— It has taken something bring me to this — a strong, healthy man of 50. My brain has gone. l am no good.

A verdict of “Suicide while of unsound mind” was returned.

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Monday 13 June 1921 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

York Place

Terrace of 7 shops, on the north side of the Fair Green, west of the London Road. It became part of St Marks Road, until demolished to make way for Majestic Way in the late 1980s.

york-place

early 1900s

1921

1921

1964

1964

From the Dentists Registry entries from 1879 to 1893, William James Jones was in practice as a dentist with the pharmacy at 1, York Place before 22nd July 1878.

From the 1891 street directory:

from High Street to Killick’s Lane

NORTH SIDE

1 W.J. Jones, chemist & stationer
2 Post Office
3 William Saynes, beer retailer
4 Joseph Shepherd, corn dealer
5 G.B. Bennett, tobacconist

7 William Shepherd, machine agent

In the 1915 street directory, these retain the numbers as above, but are part of St. Marks Road:

NORTH SIDE

1 John K. Harvey, chemist
2 Mrs L.C. Williams, dining rooms
3 George York, undertaker
4 H. Tedder, hair dresser
5 William Whittington, tobacconist
6 William Augustus Martin, butcher
7 S. & E. Rimmel, grocers

In the 1925 street directory, the shops have been renumbered odd:

1 John K. Harvey M.P.S., chemist
3 William Scratchley, dining rooms
5 George York, undertaker
7 H. Tedder, hair dresser
9 William Whittington, tobacconist
11 A. Bacon, hosier
13 S. & E. Rimmel, grocers

From the 1954 telephone directory:

1 J.K. Harvey, chemist & druggist, MIT 0892
3 Thorpes Radio, MIT 3964
5 George York, undertaker, MIT 2926
7
9
11
13

(Scratchley’s Dining Rooms is in the 1954 phone book at 310 High Street, Sutton VIG 4125)

Phipps Terrace

A terrace of 28 houses that was south of Palestine Grove and north of the Merton Abbey Iron Works, to the west off of Church Road. The terrace didn’t have its own road.

1921 aerial view looking north

1921 aerial view looking north

Occupants in 1925:

  1. Henry Greening
  2. William Wadmore
  3. Clarence Weston
  4. Frederick Harrington
  5. Frederick Hamilton
  6. William Richard Blake
  7. William Rowland
  8. Alfred Kent
  9. Hugh Thomas Church
  10. Horace Furlonger
  11. William Henry Taylor
  12. Henry James Sedgwick
  13. Alfred Harwood
  14. William John Dewar
  15. Charles Marshall
  16. William Edgington
  17. Frederick Willmott
  18. Sidney Poulton
  19. George Catlin
  20. Henry Sharp
  21. Frederick Eaton
  22. William Faulkner
  23. Albert Ernest Hockley
  24. James Varnham
  25. Mrs Sparkes
  26. Thomas Brown
  27. Frederick Edwards
  28. Henry Poulton

World War 1 Connections

From the Surrey Recruitment Registers:

W ROWLAND of 7 Phipps Terrace, Church Road, aged 31 Years 11 Months, Carpenter. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 9 December 1915 to the Royal Engineers.


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