Tag Archives: 1922

Drina Strange

Drina Strange was the stage name of Alexandrina Marguerite Stringer.

Born in 1902 in Birmingham, she lived with her parents in 264 Links Road, and attended Links Secondary School for Girls. At 18 she was 6 foot 1 1/2 inches in height. She won a four year scholarship at the Trinity College of Music and she possessed a contralto voice of unusual range of power. On the 6th May 1922, at the end of the N.M.I.A. “Pageant and Revels of Merrie Mitcham, the All-Comrades suburb”, in front of a crowd of over a thousand, she sang Land of Hope and Glory, which she had not long before given at the Albert Hall.

(Source: Part 24 of the history of the North Mitcham Improvement Association (N.M.I.A.), and electoral registers).

Later that year a report said that was a new singer of unusual promise.

From the Middlesex County Times – Wednesday 22nd November 1922:

The contralto soloist, Miss Drina Strange, is a new singer of unusual promise. When her voice has reached maturity Miss Strange should make an enviable reputation. Her rendering of the solos in “A Tale of Old Japan” was a fine combination of thought and feeling. As an interpreter, with a keen sense of atmosphere, Miss Strange has remarkable gifts, and her talent in thin direction was revealed even more clearly in Elgar’s beautiful song, “Like to a Damask Rose,” for which she was encored. Her phrasing enunciation, tone-colour, and absorption in the spirit of her songs were some of the best features of an eventful evening.

She took her own life, aged 22, in 1924.

From the Daily Herald – Thursday 19th June 1924

TENSE SCENE AT AN INQUEST

DRAMATIC DEMAND BY A MOTHER

A SINGER’S END

“Can he go into the mortuary and see my daughter and see the ruin he has done?”

This dramatic question was put by a distracted mother at an inquest held at yesterday on a young singer who poisoned herself because her lover had proved “a fraud,” to quote the words of her father. It was to this person that the mother alluded.

The dead girl was Alexandrina Marguerite Stringer (22), known on the concert stage as Drina Strange. Her father, who was much distressed, stated that months ago his daughter introduced a young man to him.

“I saw he was a fraud at the first sight,” he went on, “and I warned her against him.” Later he heard from his daughter that he was married, and sent for and spoke to him. His daughter was much upset — it drove her mad.

The coroner here read letter from Miss Stringer — ‘Moga’ is the nickname of a friend :

“Moga knows all and still loves. I am ashamed and unhappy. Do not blame my lover for this, for I was unhappy before he crossed my path. He was my only star and light. Will my dear mother ever forgive me? I am unworthy to be beneath your honest roof. So here I die to win success in death. God forgive me. I am a vile creature. I die with love for my parents, and gratitude for their forgiveness, and, above all, please let my lover alone.— Good-bye; Dina.”

LETTER TO MAN’S WIFE

Sidney Kibby, Western-road, Southall, a clerk employed by the Maypole Dairy Co., replying to the coroner, said he knew he ought to have told Miss Stringer earlier that he was married. He had done wrong.

Why did you leave it until this girl’s 21st birthday? — I thought it the best thing to do then.
Having told her the facts you still continued take her out? — Yes.

Kibby produced a letter written by Miss Stringer to his wife, in which she said:-

“I feel I must apologise …. I realise I have done a wicked wrong, and how you have forgiven I cannot tell I hope you will restore the former love of your husband …. I swear I shall never see him again if only you will continue to give me your forgiveness. Dina Strange.

P.S. — If you care to be a friend of my mother’s she will always welcome you. She is one of the sweetest beings living. I hate myself bringing so much misery to her. Heartbroken. — D.S.”

The medical evidence was that Miss Stringer had taken salts of lemon. The doctor added that he found no trace that she had been interfered with.

In returning verdict of “Suicide during temporary insanity,” the coroner observed that the conduct of Kibby led to this poor girl taking her life, and he was responsible, if not legally, at any rate morally.

Miss Stringer’s father was escorted from the court by police officers and his son, and a police-sergeant escorted Kibby, who made a hurried exit.

Crusoe Farm Dairy

Clip from undated photo on Merton Memories, reference Mit_​Work_​Industry_​15-1, copyright London Borough of Merton.

From the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail – Wednesday 24th May 1922, via the British Newspaper Archives.

Romance of a Dairy.

A descendant of Capt. Cook, the explorer, and the oldest inhabitant of Mitcham, Mrs Taylor, aged 96, has died in the house in which she established a one-cow dairy 55 years ago. Mrs Taylor named her dairy “Crusoe Farm Dairy.” There is a local tradition that Daniel Defoe once lived at Tooting Hall, close by.

In a few years Mrs Taylor built up one of the largest milk businesses in South London. It is still carried on under the same name. Up to last Christmas Mrs Taylor was active and in full possession her faculties.

This OS map from 1895 shows Crusoe Farm and Tooting Hall.

1895 OS map

The 1911 census shows Elizabeth Taylor, aged 84, widowed, address: Crusoe Farm, Arnold Road Tooting Junction, Mitcham. She was born in Modbury, Devon and was married 41 years and had 5 children, of which 3 were still alive in 1911. Only one other occupant is shown, her son John Henry Taylor, 52, carpenter.


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

Mitcham Council gained more control over milk from 1922

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes, volume VIII, 1922-23, pages 195-6, meeting of the Public Health and Burials Committee, on 12 September 1922:

11. MILK AND DAIRIES (AMENDMENT) Act, 1922

The Clerk submitted the following report re the Milk and Dairies (Amendment) Act, 1922:

To the Chairman and Members of the Public Health Committee, Mrs. Hallowes and Gentlemen:

MILK AND DAIRIES (AMENDMENT) ACT, 1922.

The provisions of the above Act came into operation on the 1st September 1922, the Act being passed in order to strengthen the hands of Local Authorities in their efforts to protect the milk supply from contamination. Some of the sections of the Act refer to the adulteration of milk and the regulations as to imported milk, the administration of which are in the hands of the inspectors appointed by the County Council and with which the District Council are not primarily concerned.

The District Council are, however, directly concerned with the
administration of the Dairies, Cowsheds and Milkshops Order of 1885, which Order is amended by Section 2 of the new Act.

The Order in question requires the Council to keep a register of persons carrying on in the trade of cowkeepers, dairymen or purveyors of milk, and the Order gives gives the Council no power to refuse to register any person or remove him from the register. The Act of 1922 empowers the Local Authority to refuse to enter any person on the register or remove him from the register if satisfied that the public health is likely to be endangered by any act or default in relation in quality, storage or distribution of milk, provision being made
to remove the name of any person from the register and for appeal against the proposed removal.

I suggest that applications for registration should in future be presented to the Public Health Committee, accompanied by a recommendation from the Sanitary Inspector as to the advisability or otherwise of acceding to the application.

Yours obediently,
STEPHEN CHART,
Clerk to the Council.

It was Resolved, That the Report be received and the recommendation therein adopted.

Links
Registration of Dairies and Milk Shops in 1917
1934 Milk Licences


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.

Connect House

Office building, 21 Willow Lane, Mitcham, CR4 4FL.

Bought on 29th January 2015 for £3,100,000 by CONNECT HOUSE LTD (Co. Regn. No. 9296558) of Unit 9, Ravensdale Industrial Estate, Timberwharf Road, London N16 6DB. Source: Land Registry, title number TGL100496, obtained November 2017.

The land was used to grow watercress by Gaston DUTRIEZ, who bought the property from William Francis Joseph SIMPSON in 1922. Source: Land Registry title and 1930 Commercial directory.

In 2012, Google Street View shows the building as Connect House Serviced Offices, by a company called Frendcastle. On 8th November 2017, BBC London reported that the building was being used by four local councils as temporary housing, with rooms costing between £30 and £40 per night. A Royal Mail postcode search for the address shows 84 flats.

2016 Street View

2012 Street View

1938 OS map


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

News of the World Houses

Houses built along Madeira Road and Commonside West, possibly between 1922 and 1926.

These photos, taken in May 2016, show houses along Commonside West. Most of the houses in Madeira Road have been extended to the front with porches etc.

Commonside West

Commonside West

Commonside West

Commonside West

This photo is from the 1926 article referred to below.

1926 NotW Houses

Architects CULPIN and BOWERS

COST: Approximately £600 per house.

MATERIALS: The external 9 inch brick walls are covered up to the cill levels of the first floors, above which the front has a projecting stucco band and a felt-floated cream-white plaster finish; the chimney stacks are faced with red sand-faced bricks; the window casements throughout are of wood; the halls and sculleries have red composition floors, and the roof is covered with variegated sand-faced plain tiles.

Source: an unnamed architectural magazine being sold on ebay


Building application no. 350 submitted by the News of the World for ’28 cottages, Commonside East and Madeira Road’ was approved by Mitcham Urban District Council on 12th September, 1922. Source: Proceedings of the council Volume VIII 1922 – 23.


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.

Rock Terrace Recreation Ground

From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council
Volume VIII 1922 to 1923
Finance and General Purposes
Page 92

16. Rock Terrace.
Read letter from the Mitcham Municipal League asking the Council to consider the advisability of securing vacant land in the neighbourhood of Rock Terrace for a recreation ground.

Resolved, That the Chairman of the Committee be authorised to approach Mr. Hatfeild thereon.


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.

Raleigh Gardens

The Raleigh Gardens Estate was built in 1922/3 by Higgs and Hill on the site of Mitcham House.

1910 OS Map

1910 OS Map

A ‘T-shape’ road, with 8 houses leading to Upper Green West, 4 on either side, and two more terraces of houses running from the London Road towards, but not reaching, Love Lane. The road was gated at the Fair Green end.

1950s OS Map

1950s OS Map

In May 1922 with the first eight houses nearing completion, the builder put forward three suggestions to the Mitcham Urban District Council for the name of the new road. These were Mitcham House Gardens, Fair Green Gardens and Mitcham Fair Gardens. The council suggested instead Raleigh House, and then the builder suggested Raleigh Gardens, which was accepted by the council.

Only the terrace of houses numbered 12 to 24 remain today after the road widening and bypass of the Fair Green.


From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council
Volume 1922 to 1923 May to April Vol VIII
Highways and New Streets and Buildings
Page 81

Plans Sub-Committee reported that they approved plan 329 from Messrs. Higgs & Hill were for a ‘New Road off Western Road’, and plan 321 from same was for a cottage in New Road, with the condition that the main sewer is not disconnected as shown on the plan, but an interceptor be put into each pair of houses.