Tag Archives: 1957

Mitcham and District Lambretta Club

Clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_Transport_17-1

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th January, 1962, page 1:

Night out for the Goons

The Mitcham Goons celebrated their fourth annual dinner at The White Hart Hotel, Mitcham.

Mr and Mrs D.C. Guy were guests of honour and Bob Hazell of Surrey Scooters, vice-president of the club, was also there.

The trophies for the annual club memorial trial were presented by Derek C. Guy, the first place being won by Harry Neal the club’s secretary, second place by Mike Austin and third place by Norman Creker.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 8th March, 1957, page 1:

A piece of mouldy cheese fetches 3s

A piece of mouldy cheese wrapped in paper sold for 3s. on Monday.

It was a mock auction organised by Mitcham and District Lambretta Club. All the parcels were wrapped so that the bidders did not know the contents.

Other articles sold included a bottle of Mitcham lavender that raised 5s., a puncture outfit and a pinafore.

A novelty item was a cardboard replica replica of a “goon.” It was made by Mrs Margaret Griffiths, Wide Way, Mitcham.

Mrs Griffiths has also designed “goon” pennants and badges. (Goon Harry Secombe is club president.)

The auctioneer was Mr G Hall, Bramcote Avenue, Mitcham, the Club chairman. Nearly £4 was raised.

1957 : Human skull found in Eveline Tea Rooms Coal Shed

He found a human skull in coal shed

A HUMAN skull, wrapped in paper, was found by a man in his coal shed on Tuesday.
The skull, thought to be that of a woman or child, was discovered by Mr. Jack Dann, London Road, Mitcham, while he was clearing away rubbish in his shed behind the Eveline Tea Rooms. The parcel, loosely tied with string, was among some billiard cues, firewood and old sacks.

“ When I picked it up I imagined it was an old rugger ball, but through the paper wrapping I could see some teeth protruding,” said Mr. Dann. “ At first I thought it was animal’s skull.” Mr. Dann, who was a male nurse in the Royal Army Medical Corps, examined it more closely and realised it was a human skull.

The skull, which has a dent in the top, has been taken to Tooting police this week.

The piles of rubbish had been put temporarily in the coal-shed by local builders who were decorating a small storage room.

When they distempered the inside of the building that had been blackened by a fire last year, they found the rubbish stacked in a cavity in the wall.

Note: More than 50 years ago, there was a famous murder in Prospect Road, near the cafe. The name was then changed to Eveline Road.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 8th March, 1957

Skull still not identified

The identity and age of the skull found in a coal shed by a Mitcham man has not yet been determined.

The skull, which was handed to a coroner’s court after being found by Mr Jack Dann, London Road, is still being examined.

“It may be used for medical purposes or destroyed,” said a policeman.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 15th March, 1957

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:


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.


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.

H.G. Dorrett, Ltd

Commercial photographers, was at Manor House, 341 London Road. Owned by Harry Gordon Dorrett and his wife Nell, who bought Manor House in 1930, according to Eric Montague in Mitcham Histories: 4 Lower Mitcham.

1939 ad from Norwood News – Friday 17 March 1939 Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

Listed in the 1938 commercial directory as

Dorrett H.G. & Co., multiple photo-printers, 341 London rd. T N 2208


From baby photos taken in 1957. Photographer Nettie M. MOON


Harry Gordon Dorrett died 5th March 1958 at Briar Wood Nursing Home, Worcester Park, Surrey. He left in £14784 10s. 4d.

A more detailed biography of him can be found on the Croydon Camera Club’s website.

Gresham Motors, 263/5 London Road

1953 OS Map

1953 OS Map

1987 clip from Merton Memories photo 28020 Copyright London Borough of Merton

1987 clip from Merton Memories photo 28020 Copyright London Borough of Merton

This building was demolished and a block of flats, with a shop was built, see Google StreetView:

Why Worry? Consult GRESHAM MOTORS Ltd. Daimler Car Hire Repairs - Car Sales - 24-hour Breakdown Service Pressure Greasing & Service Body Work Spraying and Reboring Decarbonising Overnight 263/5 London Road, Mitcham - Surrey Tel. MITCHAM 8181

1957 ad : Why Worry? Consult
Daimler Car Hire
Repairs – Car Sales – 24-hour
Breakdown Service
Pressure Greasing & Service
Body Work Spraying and
Decarbonising Overnight
263/5 London Road,
Mitcham – Surrey
Tel. MITCHAM 8181

Listed in the 1989 list of shops in The Parade.

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

1957 Bryans Aeroqupment Expansion

From Flight magazine, 14th June 1957, page 820

Bryans Aeroquipment Expansion

CONSIDERABLE reorganization has recently taken place in the business of Bryans Aeroquipment, Ltd., of Willow Lane, Mitcham, Surrey.

Mr. J. R. Bryans has taken over the chairmanship of the company in the room of Major C. E. Steams and is for the time being retaining the joint managing directorship with Mr. Derek H. Broome, M.A., who joined the firm last January
and was elected to the Board in April.

Mr. Broome served his apprenticeship with Rolls-Royce, served during the war with the Fleet Air Arm, and was subsequently employed for some years by I.C.I. and then by Tube Investments.

Mr. A. Bodley Scott, A.M.I.E.E., D.F.H.(Hon.), who joined the company in April as research and development engineer, has taken over research and development activities from Mr. Austin, who remains design director.

Mr. Scott was originally with G.E.C. on design and development of telephone and V.H.F. communications equipment and electronic test gear, and later joined the Ministry of Aircraft Production to work on radar control and gyro-stabilized gun-sights.

His last appointment was with the Royal Naval Scientific Service, where he was engaged on specialized work that included the development of control and stabilization systems for guided weapons.

A new laboratory is being set up at the company’s Mitcham factory to cover work in the normal fields in which Bryans Aeroquipment has been engaged over the past eighteen years; it will undertake, in addition, more advanced electrical work and development of electronic apparatus.

A new block being built at No. 1 Willow Lane, about 150 yards from the factory, to house office staff and design and drawing office personnel, is expected to be completed this month.

Church Place numbers 1 to 12

A terrace of 12 houses that were on the west side of Church Place, a road off Church Road, between numbers 32 and 34. Demolished in 1962/3, see below.

1953 OS map

1953 OS map

World War 1 Connections
Private Albert Morgan

From the Surrey Recruitment Registers:

H G CHOULER of 11 Church Place, Mitcham, aged 33 Years 11 Months, Engine Driver. Volunteered with the Derby Scheme on 29 February 1916 to the Royal Fusiliers (15th Batn).

W E GREEN of 12 Church Place, Mitcham, aged 34 Years 8 Months, Labourer. Volunteered on 1 November 1915 to the Royal Garrison Artillery.

W JONES of 1 Church Place, Mitcham, aged 18 Years 2 Months, Labourer. Conscripted on 28 August 1917 to the 20th Training Reserve Batn.


From Minutes of the Housing Committee
6th June 1957
page 48

The Town Clerk reported that at the meeting of the Public Health Committee held today the Medical Officer had submitted official representations under Section 25 and 154 of the Housing Act 1936, that the areas comprising the houses 1 to 12 (consecutive numbers inclusive) Church Place and Nos. 46 to 60 (even numbers inclusive) Love Lane and Nos. 1 to 9 (consecutive numbers inclusive) Nicholls Cottages, Gaston Road, be dealt with as Clearance Areas.

Resolved, That the Council give an undertaking to carry out or secure the carrying out of such re-housing as the Minister of Housing and Local Local Government may consider necessary.

From the minutes of the Highways Committee
8th March 1962
page 817

Demolition of 1-12 Church Place and 42-60 Love Lane
The following quotations have been received for the demolition of the above properties:-

Company Cost
Gorst & Co., Ltd. £290
Syd Bishop & Sons (Demolition), Ltd. £350
J. W. Elliott £450
W. H. Penfold & Sons, Ltd. £489

I recommend that the lowest quotation, that of Messrs. Gorst & Co., Ltd. in the sum of £290 be accepted.
Yours obediently,
J. W. Turner,
Borough Engineer and Surveyor

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

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