Tag Archives: 1947

Percy Mayhew

Confectioners, newsagents and stationers, from early 20th century to possibly the late 1960s.

A number of postcards of scenes in Mitcham have his name on them, such as this undated one of London Road.

‘Mayhew’ in bottom left hand corner.

This photo of Preshaw Crescent has ‘Mayhew Mitcham’ on the left and ‘2721 Johns’ on the right, who might have been the photographer.

Preshaw Crescent

This photo of the Blue Houses has ‘Percy Mayhew’ on the left.

Ravensbury Arms and the Blue Houses

There is a collection on Merton Memories.


In the 1919 electoral register, Daisy Maud and Percy Mayhew are listed at number 8, The Parade. In the 1925 street directory, listed as a confectioner at number 4 The Parade, which was renumbered as 231.

Listed in the 1929 Where to shop in Mitcham advert as at 239 and 231 London Road.

This ad, possibly from 1935, shows 237 – 239 London Road:

This ad from 1947 has the Monarch Parade address and refers to the previous address of 237 – 239 London Road.

1947 ad

In the programme for the 1952 Sports and Shopping Week his shop is listed as having contributed a pen and pencil set, worth 13s. 11d., as a prize in the lucky programme number competition. The address of the shop then was 72 Monarch Parade. The shop can just be seen on the right of Davant Ltd (the furniture shop at number 73), in this 1950 Tuck postcard:

1950 Tuck postcard

Listed in the 1954 telephone directory as newsagent, tobacconist, 72 Monarch Parade, London Road, MIT 2478.

Listed in the 1967 edition of the Mitcham Chamber of Commerce Yearbook, but not in the 1969 edition.

Romany School of Dancing

Elsie and Bobby Smith started giving dancing lesson in Monarch Parade in the early 1940s, according to a contributor to the Facebook Mitcham History Group. An ad from 1962 said that they had been established for 21 years, giving their start year as 1941.

In 1947, this ad shows that they were teaching at the Majestic cinema:

Learn to Dance at Mitcham's Most MODERN BALLROOM Romany School of Dancing Elsie & Bobby Smith (N.A.T.D.) now at Majestic Mitcham. Beginners Classes : Mon & Thurs Intermediate Classes : Tues & Fri Dances : Wed & Sat. Private Lessons by Appointment

Learn to Dance at Mitcham’s Most MODERN BALLROOM
Romany School of Dancing
Elsie & Bobby Smith (N.A.T.D.)
now at Majestic Mitcham.
Beginners Classes : Mon & Thurs
Intermediate Classes : Tues & Fri
Dances : Wed & Sat.
Private Lessons by Appointment

They then moved to their own premises at the rear of 482 London Road, and named it the Romany Club de Danse. The opening night was 17th July 1950:

Norwood News – Friday 14 July 1950 Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. From the British Newspaper Archives

This ad from 1959 gives times and prices:

1959 ad

1959 ad

Text:

Elsie and Bobby Smith, N.A.T.D., invite you to dance at the

ROMANY BALLROOM

482, London Road, Mitcham.

Strict beginners classes, Mondays & Thursdays, 8-10.30, 2/6.

TUESDAYS
Beginners and Intermediate
8.30-10.45

WEDNESDAYS
Old Time 8-11 2/6.

FRIDAYS
Over 25’s Beginners 8-11

SATURDAY MORNING
Children’s Ballroom Class
10.30-12. 1/-.

SATURDAY CLUB DANCES TO “ROMANY BAND”.

PRIVATE LESSONS BY APPOINTMENT DAILY
For Enquiries : ‘Phone MITCHAM 4329.

STAGE BRANCH : Ballet – Tap – Modern Dance – Acrobatic Class Daily

This 1953 OS map shows the Dance Hall:

1953 OS Map

1953 OS Map

In 1954, ‘the undefeated Star Professional Champions’ Wally Fryer and Violet Barnes demonstrated there:

Norwood News – Friday 07 May 1954
Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Ad from 1962 shows the introduction of a ‘Rock n Roll Club’ on Saturday nights:

1962 ad

1962 ad

Text of ad:

ROMANY’ School of Dancing
Est. 21 years
Principals : Elsie and Bobby Smith, N.A.T.D.
482 LONDON RD, MITCHAM (opp. Mitcham Stn.). Tel. MIT 4329

Monday – BEGINNERS ONLY, expert tuition, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Tuesday – HOLIDAY COURSE CLASS, 8-10.30 p.m. ……… 2/6
(Special tuition for every kind of holiday dancing)
Thursday – BEGINNERS and INTERMEDIATE, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Friday – Over 25s, Beginners and Intermediate, 8-10.30 p.m. 2/6
Saturday morning – Children’s Ballroom, 10.30 a.m. – 12 noon ……1/-
Saturday night – ROCK ’N’ ROLL CLUB, 7.30-11 p.m. …… 3/-
Sunday – OLD TIME CLASS and PRACTICE, 7.30-10.30 p.m. 3/-

STAGE BRANCH – Tuesdays and Fridays, 4.30 p.m.

Private Lessons Daily


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

Bridge Road

Road that was off east, or right-hand, side of Christchurch Road, opposite Runnymede. It was closed in 1966.

In this 1952 OS map, the road is shown with a single terrace of eleven houses on the north side, numbered sequentially 1 to 11.

1952 OS map

1952 OS map

Aerial photo from 1947 shows the row of houses on the left side of the road.

29th April 1947 from Britain From Above

29th April 1947 from Britain From Above

Aerial photo from 1949 shows the road looking to the west. The dome atop the tower on the right was Frys Metals factory.

19th March 1949 from Britain From Above

19th March 1949 from Britain From Above

It is not mentioned in the 1891 street directory, but there are two houses listed in the 1896 street directory and all eleven in the 1904 street directory:

1896

1, James CAVENDER, stationer
2, John STOPHER, greengrocer

1904

1, James CAVENDER, stationer
2, Arthur Thomas THORNS, greengrocer
3, Auburn Frederick ISACKE
4, Austin C HOLLANDS
5, William SHARPE
6, Arthur Albert FRISBY
7, Charles TAYLOR
8, Arthur SWINDELL
9, Robert SWINDELL
10, Edwin YOUNG
11, William YOUNG

The road was closed in 1966:

Bridge Road is to be closed down

Bridge Road, a cul-de-sac off Christchurch Road, Mitcham is to be closed. Merton Council have given planning permission to Frys Metal Foundries Ltd., for redevelopment which involves the closing of the road.

The road was originally the principle means of access to residential properties which have since been demolished. It now serves the factory premises only.

RIGHTS OF ACCESS

The council agreed to give permission provided the council’s right of adequate access to the public sewers were preserved.

Also provided that the owner of the factory should take over the responsibility for the street lamps and cables in the road, and also bear any costs incurred in closing the road.

Frys have also offered land near Bridge Road to the council free of charge for the proposed widening of Christchurch Road. The offer has been accepted.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th May, 1966, page 1.

Occupants in 1939

1, Leonard Douglas and Elizabeth HAYNES
2, Mary Jane and Rosa FISK
3, William Charles and Alice Louisa and Christopher ADAMS
4, James and Maude BURLING
5, Robert and Gertrude MARSHALL
6, Alfred and Mabel Frances FORD
7, Robert and Doris May TAYLOR; Edith Mahala FRISWELL
8, James Alfred and Sarah Ellen DURLING
9, Henry William and Rose Florence and Florance DALTON
10, Ernest John and Flora BURLING
11, Charles Walter and Susan FRANCIS


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

Wandsworth Gas Company’s Coal Ship “Mitcham”

19461102-mv-mitcham

THE LAST WORD IN “FLAT IRONS”: The 1,780-ton coasting collier “Mitcham,” the Wandsworth Gas Company’s new vessel, seen on the Thames at Wandsworth after negotiating the fifteen miles of river from the estuary. When she turns round at Wandsworth there is little room for other traffic to pass. The “Mitcham” has a squat funnel to save her lowering it at each bridge, and her collapsible masts are stepped down into the holds.

The Wandsworth Gas Company are adding several new ships to their fleet, and the “Mitcham” bears a close resemblance to the “Chessington,” details of which were given in “The Sphere” of June 29. She is equipped with sloping wing ballast-tanks, which ensure that the cargo automatically precipitates itself to within the range of the mechanical grabs during the discharging operations.

Source: The Sphere – Saturday 02 November 1946 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

19460629-mv-chessington

AN IMPORTANT ADDITION TO LONDON’S COLLIER FLEET : A diagrammatic drawing of the S.S. “Chessington,” the largest vessel to pass the Thames bridges. The “Chessington,” belonging to the Wandsworth and District Gas Company, is known as a “flat-iron,” and she is able to carry 2,700 tons of coal on each trip from the Durham coalfields. The ”Chessington” recently completed her maiden voyage, attracting much attention as she came upstream beyond the Pool and Westminster Bridge. She is nearly 260 ft. long, and as she passes under the bridges her funnel lowers in the usual manner and her masts telescope into the holds. The “Chessington” is equipped with sloping wing ballast tanks which ensure that the cargo automatically precipitates itself to within the range of the grabs during discharging operations. The general lay-out of the ship is of much improved pattern, and special attention has been paid to the officers’ and men’s quarters.

Drawing by S. E. Beck

Source: The Sphere – Saturday 29 June 1946 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

19470308-mv-mitcham

How They Bring The Coal To London

The Colliers which Supply the Gas Works abd the Power Stations

The fuel crisis has thrown into high relief the role of the Thames up-river colliers, the “flat-irons” which supply the gasworks and the power stations with the vital fuel to keep the lights of London burning.

Some of these colliers come from South Wales, making the trip down the Bristol Channel, round Land’s End, through the Straits of Dover and into the Thames Estuary. The majority, however, come from Tyne and Humber ports, and it is upon these that attention has been focused during the recent fateful week.

From Tyne to Thames is no long voyage, but it is very much London’s lifeline and, thanks to the devoted work of the collier skippers and their cres, who through their way through the February gales and ice-floes, London power stations will once again able to build up their stocks. Many of those same men, it must be remembered, braved the perils of the same East Coast trip when they had more than weather to contend with – first the magnetic mine and then the E-boat constantly menacing the ships as they came south laden with their precious cargoes.

The largest of these ships are found in the Wandsworth and District Gas Company’s fleet, whose works are situated the farthest upstream. Their ships have to negotiate seventeen bridges before they can reach their discharging-point at Wandsworth. This Company has for long set the standard for the design of these of ships, and practically each their ships has been, when built, the largest in this trade. Now they have the first diesel driven “flat-iron” the Mitcham, which can carry a total of 2,700 tons of coal. This compares with 1250 tons for the pioneer ship Wandle of 1909 and 600 tons for the first screw collier, John Bowes, which in turn carried about twice as much as a collier brig.

Depth of water and amounts of head room under bridges are items of paramount importance in up river navigation, and it is essential for the ships to arrive at the wharf during the latter stages the flood-tide. After cargo has been discharged the passage down-river must be begun as soon as the flood-tide appears, for in this light condition the vessel is much higher out of the water.

Source: The Sphere – Saturday 08 March 1947 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Leyens Carboard Box Co. Ltd.

Factory that was at 9 Western Road, which made cardboard boxes. The building was originally the Zion Congregational Chapel.

It was listed in the 1963 Borough of Mitcham List of Factories.

In the 1954 telephone directory, listed as 7 Western Road : MIT 4681 and 131 Love Lane : MIT 2016.

The company was started by Max Leyens probably in 1939, as there isn’t an entry of it in the 1938 directory.

He was born in 1906 in Schwanenberg, Germany. At the start of World War 2 he was living at 21 Mitcham Park, and he was interned in the Isle of Man. He was released from internment on 4th December 1940 as category 12. His Home Office release card showed his previous and present occupation as cardboard manufacturer.

He was naturalised in 1947 as recorded in the London Gazette:

Leyens, Max; Germany; Cardboard Box Manufacturer;
21, Mitcham Park, Mitcham, Surrey.
22 September, 1947.

In 1953, Max Leyens patented an improvement for cardboard boxes, registered as GB28753A.

The company went into voluntary liquidation in 1981 as recorded in the London Gazette:

LEYENS CARDBOARD BOX CO. (1971) LIMITED

At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the above-named Company, duly convened, and held at 7-13 Western Road, Mitcham, Surrey, on 24th April 1981, the following Resolution was duly passed:

“That the Company be wound up voluntarily, and that S. Guthrie-Brown, of 1 West Smithfield, London EC1A 9LA. be and he is hereby appointed Liquidator for the purposes of such winding-up.”

R. V. Machin, Chairman.

Max Leyens died in December, 1984, as reported in the journal of the Association of Jewish Refugees (pdf). He had been living in Bournemouth, and left £78,750 in his will, according to Ancestry.

News Articles

Mitcham News & Mercury, 7th June, 1957

Factory blazed – but workers did not know

HOUSEWIVES raised the alarm when fire broke out at the Leyens Cardboard Box factory in Western Road, Mitcham, on Thursday last week.

They saw smoke billowing from the factory window. Minutes
later there was a loud crash as part of the factory roof caved in.

But the staff, who were having lunch in the canteen, did not
realise the building was on fire.

“The canteen is at the front of the factory. We were listening to the radio and didn’t hear the noise,”- said an employee.

Over 200 tons of raw materials — reels of paper and cardboard
sheets — were severely burnt. Damage to the budding and loss
of materials is estimated at between £3.000 and £5.000.

SALVAGE ATTEMPT

Two fire engines went to the factory. Using hoses the firemen
managed to confine the blare to the laminating room. They
stayed two hours with one of the machines.

“The fire brigade took control very quickly. If they had not acted so promptly it could have easily spread to the rest of the building,” commented Mr M. Leyens, the managing director.

Before the fire brigade arrived, some of the men tried to salvage boasrding and paper, but the heat became too intense.

Expensive machinery and other equipment were only slightly damaged. Production was held up only until fresh supplies of raw materials arrived.

Note: Almost a year ago – on June 7, 1956, fire broke at the factory and materials worth £300 were destroyed.

1947 Rubber Dump Fire

BIG SURREY RUBBER FIRE ATTRIBUTED TO HEAT

200 Firemen Fight Worst Blaze Since Blitzes

INTENSE heat in London — the temperature in the afternoon rising to 90 degrees — was thought responsible for the outbreak of one of the worst fires for many months. The great fire broke out in a Government rubber dump near Mitcham Common. Thousands of tons of rubber blazed and 200 firemen were faced with an all-night task. The scene was reminiscent of blazing Nazi oil dumps bombed by the R.A.F. in the war.

More than 30 fire engines were rushed from all parts of South London to cope with the blaze, the fire assuming alarming proportions.

The fire spread rapidly and quickly reached a factory. Heavy smoke clouds drifted across Mitcham Common toward Streatham, and surrounding property was threatened by the blaze.

Thousands tons of scrap rubber blazed while firemen were trying to get a hose working. They were handicapped by the distance the nearest available water supply — the River Wandle — and were trying to prevent the fire from reaching two builders’ yards. The dump is controlled the Board Trade.

“AMAZING SIGHT.”

Gangs of men worked to clear fire ” break” between the dump and surrounding houses. The N.F.S. later said the fire was the biggest this year and for quite some time previously.” One eyewitness said: “It is an amazing sight—like the pictures blazing Nazi oil dumps bombed by the R.A.F.”

There was a “general call out” to fire brigades. Over 200 firemen using “walkie-talkie” apparatus fought the fire and four hoselaying lorries ran hoses from the Wandle.

At the dump were 10,000 tons rubber, including 3,000 tons of tyres worth about £40,000 to £50,000.

SUN BLOTTED OUT

About 120 employees of the adjoining factory of Bryans Aeroquipment, Ltd., formed a bucket chain, and the factory girls provided water, lemonade, and biscuits to firemen exhausted by the heat. One of the firemen, overcome by the heat and fumes, was removed to hospital.

Firemen were at work all night. Some of them said they expected the dump to smoulder for a week.

Smoke from the fire blacked out the sun in Central London, ten miles away. Some onlookers likened a mushroom-like column of smoke stretching from the heart of the fire to pictures of the atom bomb explosions.

Source: Western Morning News – Tuesday 03 June 1947 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

There are 9 photos on Merton Memories.

New Close

Built in 1936/7, a council housing estate originally of 95 houses and 3 flats.

Bought for £14,475 from Messrs Clarkson by Mitcham Borough Council for rehousing people made homeless by the Explosion, and for their slum clearance programme.

1935 New Close Clarksons Land sale to Mitcham

1935 Map of land bought by the Council

This 1952 OS map shows that the estate had its own fire alarm post (FAP), next to number 2.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th May, 1936:

“Laying out of housing estate”

Reporting on the lay-out plan of New Close Housing Estate, the Borough Engineer, Mr Riley Schofield, said it allowed the erection of 135 houses. The density on the land purchased, viz. 9.70 acres plus one half of the width of Phipp’s Bridge road, and one half of the railway, a total of 11.149 acres worked out at 12.1 houses per acre.

A portion of the estate accommodating 36 houses might not be proceeded with, leaving 99 houses for immediate development.

It was proposed to erect a disinfection house, to be isolated in the south-east corner of the property.

The size of the houses provided for a living-room, scullery, W.C., and bathroom and larder on the ground floor and three bedrooms on the first floor and for the provision of a shed at the rear of each house. A proportion of the houses to have more than three bedrooms.

The Council approved the plan.

Housing Committee, Thursday, October 10th, 1935

LAND, PHIPPS BRIDGE.

-Messrs. Chart, Son and Reading reported that they had been in communication, on behalf of the Council, with Messrs. Clarkson for the acquisition of 9 1/2 acres in Phipps Bridge Road, and that the terms upon which Messrs. Clarkson were prepared to sell were, that the total sum to be paid for the land should be £14,475, and that of this sum £12,047 should be paid upon possession being given of 8 acres 0 roods, 5 perches, and that the balance of the purchase money should be paid on vacant possession being given of the remainder of the land either on the death of Mrs. Clarkson or earlier if Mrs. Clarkson ceases to occupy New Close House. The Town Clerk reported that these conditions had been referred to the District Valuer for his observations, and a report had been received from the District Valuer stating that he was prepared to support an application for a loan at this figure.

Resolved. That the Council be recommended to purchase the site at the price quoted, and that application be made to the Minister of Health to sanction a loan of £14,600 for this purpose.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 1 1934-35 pages 980-1

Finance and General Purposes Committee
Tuesday, 21st July 1936

8. Nameing of New Street
– That in lieu of “New Close” suggested in the report of the Housing Committee, the name of “Jarrow Road” be substituted.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 2 1935-36 page 841

Highways, New Buildings, Lighting and Public Works Committee
Thursday, October 14, 1937

New Close Estate.
-It was Resolved, That his worship the Mayor be asked to hand over officially the New Close Housing Estate to the Housing Committee on Saturday, October 23.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 3 1936-37 page 1065


November 12, 1937

New Close Housing Estate

– The Borough Engineer reported that he had received a quotation from the Wandsworth Gas. Co. for the carcassing required for 95 houses and 3 flats for gas services, amounting to £176 12s., and that he had also received an offer from the company to supply 98 slightly used reconditioned gas cookers at the reduced price of £5 each.

Resolved, That the quotation and offer submitted by the Wandsworth Gas Co. be accepted and the order placed accordingly.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 3 1936-37


From the minutes of Housing Committee
11th December 1947
page 151

PIGEONS

The tenant of 36, New Close, has erected a 15-ft. long pigeon loft without first having first obtained the Council’s permission. I shall be glad of the Committee’s instructions.

I am, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,
B. THRUPP
Housing Manager

Resolved – That the tenant be instructed to remove forthwith the pigeon loft which has been erected without permission.


The name ‘New Close’ can be traced back to the 17th century. Deeds published in the Harvard Law Library mention a lease from that Richard Garth for ‘New Close’.

Lease, 1633, January 19. 8 Charles I. 1 Item : parchment ; 42 x 58 cm.

SUMMARY:

Lease between Richard Garth, esq., of Morden (Surrey) and Dame Dorothy Capell of Morden of a new brick house in Morden, with all out houses, barns, etc., with 1 adjoining close called “the Marsh Close,” containing 5 acres, another called “New Close,” containing 5 1/2 acres, another called “Great Parkelandes,” containing 13 acres, another called “Little Parkelandes,” containing 8 acres, another called “Grube Close,” containing 3 acres, and another called “Water Dens,” as now it is enclosed, containing 8 1/2 acres; except and always reserved all woods, timbers, and trees now standing, etc., with all hunting, for 21 years (if she live so long) from last Michaelmas, at the annual rent of £30 5s. Signed: Dorothy Capell.

WITNESSES: Edward Straynge, James Grantham, William Mathewe.

NAMES: I. Garth, Richard. R. Capell, Dorothy, Dame. III. Straing, Edward. IV. Grantham, James. V. Mathew, William.

SUBJECTS: I. Deeds—England—Surrey. 2. Deeds—England—Morden. 3. Surrey (England)—Charters, grants, privileges. 4. Morden (England)—Charters, grata, privileges.

Source: Harvard Law Library, though this text is no longer online
Retrieved: 2007
This text can also be seen online as part of a Google Books search.


Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Borough Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.