Tag Archives: 1955

Mitcham Stadium

Sports stadium, which occupied around 8 acres, north of Eastfields Road and opposite the football ground in Sandy Lane, was built in 1935 and was sold to property developer Wates Ltd in 1955.

1952 OS map

1953 aerial photo showing football and rugby posts on the field. Fernlea Road is on the left, with Sandy lane at the top.

Mitcham Borough council minutes of 6th December 1934, volume 1, page 89, record a letter received from Mr S.E. Parkes:


Read letter from Mr. S. E. Parkes stating that he had had under consideration a scheme for the
utilisation of the disused gravel pit in Eastfields Road for the purpose of a Rugby football ground, and asking whether any objection would be raised by the Council in connection with
the user of this land for the purpose under the provisions of the Town Planning Scheme.

Resolved, That Mr. Parkes be informed that no objection will be offered by the Council.

A detailed history of the stadium can be found at the Gandermonium blog.

Mitcham News & Mercury, 18th May, 1935

Norwood News, 6th September 1935, showing construction of one of the two stands. 300 tons of steel was used in each stand, and by comparison, the Majestic cinema had 350 tons.

Norwood News, 6th September 1935 advertising the opening of the stadium the next day.

In addition to rugby, Irish games such as hurling were played at the stadium.

In 1954, the stadium was called ‘A White Elephant’ in this article in the 1st July issue of the Mitcham & Tooting Advertiser:

The site was sold to Wates Ltd who built housing with Guyatt Gardens, Ormerod Gardens, Fowler Road, Priestley Road with Roper Way connecting to Eastfields Road.

Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 26th May 1955, page 1.

House for sale ad in 1965 referred to the former Mitcham Stadium.

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

Burnett Bullock

The King’s Head pub was renamed the Burn Bullock in 1975 by the owners Ind Coope. ‘Burn’ was the shortened name of its licensee, Burnett Bullock, who died in 1954. His widow carried on the pub business until she retired in 1975. The brewery renamed the pub in their honour.

The Burn Bullock pub sign, photo taken July 2017

He and his wife Lilian became licensees of the King’s Head on 20th January, 1941. They had previously been joint licensees of the Regent’s Arms in London’s West End. Her parents, Mr & Mrs Card, owned the baker’s shop across the road from the King’s Head. Burnett’s father was surveyor in the Mitcham Urban District Council.
(Source: EN Montague, pages 38-39 of Mitcham Histories: 1 The Cricket Green.)

From 300 Years of Mitcham Cricket, a historical record by Tom Higgs, published in 1985:

The former Secretary, Burn Bullock Snr. had produced a worthy son and Burn Bullock Jnr was to score his first century on the Green when only fifteen years of age. Two years later he was a regular member of Mitcham’s 1st XI. The War interrupted Burn Bullock’s cricket career but when he returned to Mitcham in 1919 he lopped the Club’s averages and played occasionally for Surrey 11s. Burn joined the Oval staff as a professional in 1921 but those were the vintage days of Surrey batsmen with the likes of Jack Hobbs, Andrew Sandham, Andy Ducat and Tom Shepherd available. Burn Bullock had few opportunities with the County side and had to content himself with Minor Counties cricket. He left the Oval in 1926 to become cricket coach on a Norfolk estate and in his first season there made 1500 runs and took 50 wickets before bringing the Norfolk side down to see his beloved Mitcham Green.

Three years later Burn Bullock returned south, became a licensed victualler, and in due course took over the King’s Head, next door to Mitcham’s pavilion. In addition to playing for Mitcham, Burn also skippered the powerful North and South of the Thames Licensed Victuallers XI and score some fifteen centuries with them. But excellent as was his playing ability it was for his outstanding service off the field that Burn Bullock is remembered in Mitcham. He served as player, committee member, Hon. Secretary and Match Secretary. Each year he brought the county side sown to the Green to play a charity match for the local hospital and raised substantial sums by this means. At the time of his death in 1954 Burn Bullock was one of the Club’s most distinguished Vice-Presidents.

From the Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 21st April 1954

Mr B. Bullock leaves £2,591

Mr Burnett Wedlake BULLOCK, licensee of the King’s Head, Mitcham, former Surrey cricketer, who died on 21st December last, left £2,591 gross, £2,134 net value. Probate has been granted to his widow Lilian J. Bullock, of the same address.

Lilian Bullock’s obituary was published in the Mitcham Cricket Club Yearbook for 1977.

1955 : Harry Gray’s fair leaves winter HQ at Mitcham

From the Mitcham & Tooting Advertiser, 7th April, 1955


Harry Gray’s fair leaves winter H.Q. at Mitcham

MITCHAM show-king, 74 year old Harry Gray, whose fair began its annual tour on Monday, after months of patient preparation, is hoping for a hot, dry summer. Last year’s tour was badly affected by wet weather.

For the last 50 years the fair has spent the winter months in quarters near Mitcham Baths.

Every September, after a long summer programme, the mobile playground returns to its Mitcham home for five months’ rest. Throughout winter, the showmen overhaul their expensive equipment and repaint everything. In addition they talk over future plans and examine suggestions for additions to the fair.


Harry Gray is a tough and efficient boss, despite his age. A showman all his life — he was born while his parents were on a tour — he comes from a family which for generations has belonged to the amusement world.

Since taking over the present fair, Mr. Gray has experienced many difficulties. One of these is the competition from television and the cinema. Expenses are heavy and every year costs increase.

Nevertheless, this year’s tour is ambitious and includes visits to Hampstead Heath and Newbury races. Other places included are Clapham Common, Tooting Bec Common, Victoria Park and the famous Mitcham Fair in August.

On Monday the fair left Mitcham for its first port of call—Hampstead Heath. Trucks and trailers swung out on to the London Road early in the morning. The trucks, many of them of over 15 tons in weight, drove in convoy with a noise like muffled thunder.

To carry the many tons of equipment the lorries have to be kept in perfect running order and must be driven with care and skill. The Gray fair has the proud record of never having been involved in any road accident.

When the convoy reached Hampstead Heath, about 50 men swarmed over the lorries and within a few hours the Gray Fair was erected and ready to receive its first customers.

A workman overhauls one of the fair’s many powerful lorries.

The winter home of the Harry Gray fair. It has been used by showmen for over fifty years.

Glebe Square

Social housing built by Mitcham Borough Council, in 1955, on the site of the Glebe Villas. The council’s 2,500th post-war dwelling was completed there.

The blocks of flats are arranged as a square, with the western side on the east side of Glebe Path. The two southern blocks face Lower Green West, but are separated from it by fencing. There are two other blocks, one on the eastern and the other on the northern side.

There are 36 properties in total, numbered anti-clockwise sequentially from 1. In 1960 an attempt was made to change the numbers of the western block that had doors facing onto Glebe Path. Protests from homeowners in that road prevented this. See Glebe Path renumbering.

Layout of Glebe Square. Lower Green West is at the bottom of this diagram.

Layout of Glebe Square. Lower Green West is at the bottom of this diagram.

Aerial view of Glebe Square. The road on the left of the square is Glebe Path.

Aerial view of Glebe Square, looking northwards. The road on the left of the square is Glebe Path.

1955 Bryans Aeroquipment Ltd Board Appointments

From Flight magazine, 10th June 1955, page 818

Bryans Aeroquipment Board Appointments

THREE executives of Bryans Aeroquipment, Ltd., have been appointed to the Board. They are Messrs. Jack Austin, as design director, Victor Lawton, sales director, and H. D. Strawson, O.B.E., production director. All three previously held the posts of “special directors” of their respective departments.

Mr. Austin has been with the company since its early days, controlling the design and drawing-office sides of the business. Except for a short break during the war, when he was with M.A.P., Mr. Lawton has served successively as sales manager, general manager, and sales director since he joined the company in 1939. Mr. Strawson took over the production side of the business when he joined in 1952, following employment with Imperial Airways and B.O.A.C., in the latter case as chief engineer (operations).

Other directors of the firm are:

Mr. C. E. Stearns (chairman),
Mr. J. R. Bryans (managing),
Mr. M. C Bryans, and
Maj. P. W. S. Bulman, C.B.E., M.C., A.F.C., F.R.Ae.S.

Bryans Aeroquipment, Ltd., market test equipment covering the fields of gyroscopes, manometry, electrical temperature measurement (including jet-pipe thermocouples), oxygen breathing, cabin pressurization, sound recording, and artificial breathing and reaction testing for pilots. They have agents in over thirty countries throughout the world.

The company was based in Willow Lane, Mitcham.

2,000th post-war council home built in 1955

Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser
Thursday, 7th July 1955


Housing chairman unable to give Phipps Bridge date

‘Impossible to say when work will start’

Mitcham Council have built their 2,000th post-war permanent home – but no one realised it at the time.

It happened a few weeks ago. Calculations show that the 2,000th home is a flat on the Ravensbury Estate.

When the town’s 1,000th post-war home was opend at Pollards Hill several years ago, there was a special celebration to mark the event.

Up to date, 2,128 permanent houses have been provided by the council since 1945. In addition, 345 temporary Arcon bungalows were erected shortly after the war, as well as 107 short-term hutments.

Now, the council are waiting to go ahead with their big Phipps Bridge redevelopment programme. They plan to build 636 new flats and houses at a cost of more than £1.75 million on land at present occupied by the closed-down dust destructor and old property.

Planning problems

Ald. Fido said it was impossible to say when work would start. There had been delays because of planning problems. It had been hoped to obtain the Mitcham Stadium site for building to fill in the gap until the Phipps Bridge scheme could go ahead.

The eight-acre stadium site has been bought by Wates Ltd., the local building firms, who intended to build blocks of flats there.

Because of shortage of land the council’s future building plans – apart from Phipps Bridge – are restricted to one or two small sites such as Pitcairn Road where 17 flats and houses are to be built, and Inglemere Road where a dozen flats are to go up.

Work in progress

A number of old people’s bungalows and flats are being, or will be, built on existing estates. These include 17 cottage flats on the Short Bolstead Estate, where work should start soon. The Elm Nursery Estate will be completed when 20 homes for old people have been erected, and work is in progress on 36 more at the Glebe Estate.

In addition Mitcham has 184 flats under construction at the Banstead joint housing estate.

The 2,500th home was celebrated in 1956, see Completion of 2,500th Post-War Dwelling

See also this Engineering website about the Arcon design, and this website for details about Nissen huts, or ‘hutments’.

Mitcham Foundry and Engineering Ltd.

Based at the James Estate, corner of Bond Road and Western Road.

From the Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 18th August 1955

He solved U-boat secret

When the Navy captured a German U-boat during the early part of the war, an underwater metal cutter with an entirely unknown type of valve was discovered inside it.

Admiralty experts were stumped. They wanted to use similar valves on equipment in our own submarines, but did not know how they were made. Naval engineers started to draw up plans and meanwhile one of the small valves was sent to the Mitcham Foundry and Engineering Company.

Mr. Robert Badcoe, one of the two partners at the foundry, studied the valve carefully. He decided, after a lot of thought, that he could make one, and set about it.

The valve took 64 operations and contained 13 different threads, but it was soon completed and sent back to the Admiralty. A few days later blueprints arrived at Mitcham telling Mr. Badcoe how the valve could be made!

Work at the foundry ranges from the manufacture of cheese and sweet moulds to the building of underwater television equipment and secret components for Harwell, the atomic research centre.

Originally a workhouse, and, in the first world war a hospital, the foundry lies back from the Western Road near Mitcham Fair Green.

At a very early age, Mr. Badcoe, who now lives in Worcester Park, was apprenticed to a Tooting firm of carburettor manufacturers. Steadily he built up an extensive knowledge of the motoring and light engineering trade.

For a number of years he acted as a second mechanic to a Maserati motor racing team in this country.

Later, when the firm closed, Mr. Badcoe decided to take over the foundry at Mitcham and with his father-in-law, Mr. George Langlands, as a partner, gradually built up the business.

Mr. Badcoe, now nearing 60, is a man who believes in facing emergencies only when they arise and his 35 hand-picked and skilled men follow in his footsteps. They still refuse to wear protective clothing for their faces and hands although they are continually dealing with white hot molten metal.

When the war started the factory immediately began to manufacture shells, aeroplane parts, fire-fighting apparatus and metal air valves for frogmen’s breathing units.

The firm once received an order from the Air Ministry for thousands of aircraft parts for which over 80 tons of lead had to be used.

It was stored on the floor of one of the workshops, and a few days later, when workmen reached the bottom of the pile, they found that the weight had caused it to sink about four feet into the ground.

A big order which the foundry is dealing with at present is a speciality and they have often been called upon to make such things as jewellers’ lathes for Hatton Garden merchants.

Mr. Badcoe and his team are now working on a special type of outboard propellor unit for a Commonwealth Government.

Each unit is made up of hundreds of different parts and often the men have had to make their own jigs and fixtures.

(photo) Mr. Badcoe’s son, Christopher, places a finished unit among the other equipment for an important contract.

Note that some online company check websites show this company as number 00245458 at 174 London Road, CR4 3LD, the engineering works at the rear of the Swan.

James Estate
132 Western Road

Castings, Engineering.

Borough of Mitcham List of Factories,
Town Clerk’s Department,
July 1963.
Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT