Tag Archives: 1958

Post Office in Langdale Parade

7 and 8 Langdale Parade, Upper Green East, Mitcham CR4 2YS

The premises for the post office were obtained in 1958, although it didn’t open until 1961, as explained in the news article below.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January, 1961, page 1.

GPO explain post office mystery

THE G.P.O. explained this week the mystery Of Mitcham’s Langdale Parade post office—taken over in September, 1958, but still not open for business.

They blame the delay on capital expenditure restrictions. And they promise that “open” notices should go up at the end of this year.

It took Mitcham’s M.P. (Mr. Robert Carr) to solve the mystery. After reading about the unopened post office in the News on December 9 he wrote to the G.P.O. for an explanation.

Part of the reply was: “You probably know that the present Mitcham Post Office, sorting office and telephone exchange are housed in a building in London Road.

INADEQUATE

“The accommodation on the ground floor is inadequate for our postal needs and, unfortunately, site limitations prevent us from effecting improvements unless we remove some of the work done there at present.

“In May, 1957, we were offered accommodation in a new block of shops to be erected by a private firm of developers in Langdale Parade. We saw an opportunity of overcoming our difficulties by transferring the Post Office counter to the premises on offer.

“We knew at the time that owing to restrictions on capital expenditure, there was no immediate prospect of opening a post office on the Langdale Parade premises, but if we declined the offer we foresaw difficulty in acquiring suitable premises later.

” We therefore decided to accept, and the premises were leased for a term of 21 years from September, 1958, at the annual rental of £1,170 reduced to £400 per annum for the first three years or until the post office is opened for business, whichever is the earlier.”

Cost of the new post office — about £12,550. Fitting out should begin in March.

A photo from 1960 is on Merton Memories of the inside of the post office.

The land on which the parade of shops called Langdale Parade were built was bought in 1957 by Secunda Properties (Mitcham) Ltd from the Trustees of the Methodist Church at Mitcham. The church had been destroyed by bombing in the Second World War and was not rebuilt. This map from 1933 shows it occupied the site now known as Langdale Parade, with its car park at the back.

1933 OS map

1958 clip from Merton Memories photo 51620 of Langdale Parade after construction. Copyright London Borough of Merton.


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

1958 Tatler recommends Ravensbury Arms

From an article in The Tatler, entitled Dining Out

when my clutch suddenly failed completely on the slope of the Blue House Bridge Croydon Road, Mitcham, I was within one hundred and fifty yards of the Ravensbury Arms.

I must have passed it a thousand times in my life, but as it has always been so close to the start of a journey, south or south-east, I had never given it a thought.

There I found John Dawson and his wife, Stella, and announced my plight. In a couple of seconds they had summoned two bar staff and two of their customers. Between them they pushed me from the bridge, round the roundabout, and into the space in front of their pub.

The Dawsons, I discovered, have built up a great reputation for their cuisine, John Dawson having be come by sheer enthusiasm a sort of self-taught maitre chef, and nothing goes out of the kitchen unless it has his blessing. The menu for this type of pub is remarkable and includes such things as scampi at 7s. 6d., caviare at 12s. 6d., and asparagus 5s. There is a choice of six omelets (including Spanish); a considerable cold buffet, a large range of grills (including a porterhouse steak garni for 12s. 6d.), and so on.

There are red and white wines at 2s. per glass and a short, simple, but quite adequate wine list – Burgundies from 14s. per bottle, Bordeaux from 12s. 6d.

When John and Stella Dawson took over the Ravensbury in 1952 they were possibly the youngest innkeepers in the country, being 24 and 22 years old respectively. John learnt his pub-keeping from his wife’s father, a great cricketing enthusiast, “Burn” Bullock, who played for the Surrey Seconds in the early ‘twenties and then turned professional. Later he took the King’s Head which looks out over the famous cricket green at Mitcham. This is now being run by his widow, Mrs. Lillian Bullock.

Source: The Tatler – Wednesday 12 November 1958 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Ernest Charles Clay, Mitcham Borough Treasurer

5th December 1958. Clip from Merton Memories photo http://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/people/50478 (c) London Borough of Merton

5th December 1958. Clip from Merton Memories photo http://photoarchive.merton.gov.uk/collections/people/50478 (c) London Borough of Merton

Mitcham Borough Treasurer for twenty years, he died at his home in Sutton on Friday 31st January, 1964, aged 57. He had retired from the council in September 1963, and had been suffering from ill heath for a number of years. The funeral service was at Mitcham Parish Church on 5th February 1964 which was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor and Mrs W.H. Sanderson; the Town Clerk, Mr R.H. White; and chief officers of Mitcham Council.

Mr Clay was one of the most prominent members in the community. Not only did he guide Mitcham Council on their methods of finance but also a large number of local organisations. He was a founder member of Mitcham Old People’s Housing Association; treasurer of the Old People’s Welfare Committee, the Citizens Advice Bureau, Mitcham Youth Committee and a founder member of the handicraft class for the disabled.

He was also a district head of the Forces Help Society and secretary of S.A.F.F.A. as well as being connected with many smaller organisations.

Mr Clay joined Mitcham Council in 1929 when it was an urban district. When Mitcham became a borough he was promoted to deputy borough treasurer and during the war he became the Borough Treasurer.

A keen photographer, he was to have been presented with the A.R.P.S. on Wednesday.

Mr Clay leaves a widow, son and daughter.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 7th February, 1964, page 1.

In his will, he left his widow £5,516 which, when adjusted for inflation, is around £100,00 in 2017 values.

Ernest Charles CLAY of 86 Albion Road, Sutton, Surrey, died
31st January 1964.

Probate

London 18th March to Dorothy May Clay, widow. £5,516.

Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995.
Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England (c) Crown copyright.


Note about his forename: the newspaper article and Merton Memories photo refer to him as E.C. Clay. On Ancestry, a death index entry has an Ernest C. Clay, aged 57, first quarter of 1964, Surrey Mid Eastern (Vol 5G, page 294), which is assumed to be him. Also from Ancestry, the will for Ernest Charles Clay is a match on the date of death, residence in Sutton.

Beck & Co. (Meters) Ltd.

53 Lilian Road, Streatham, SW16

Meters, Engineers


Source:
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

The company bought the gas mantle factory of Robin Ltd. in 1939. They used part of the factory for production of water meters, petrol pumps and steam valves. Source: Mitcham Borough Council minutes, page 476, volume 5.

News Articles
Newcastle Evening Chronicle – Friday 15 August 1958

RAIDERS GAG WATCHMAN, GRAB £3,000

MR. TED PARKER, 68, a night watchman, was bound and gagged by six bandits who raided Beck Meters Ltd. of Mitcham (Surrey) today and stole about £3,000 from two safes which they blew open. The gang cut through a chain wire fence into the grounds of the factory, made their way to the despatch department and overpowered Mr. Parker. They bound him to a chair, gagged him and taped his mouth with sticking plaster.

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

Home Radio

Shop that was established at 187 London Road (opposite Eagle House), in 1946 by brothers Alan and Colin Sproxton, using their service gratuities. The name “Home Radio” was suggested by their father.

September 1947 – the shop at 187 London Road, and their van. From Murphy News.


In 1959 Colin Sproxton took part in the Monte Carlo Rally.

Colin Sproxton in 1959 at the Monte Carlo Rally. Clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_​People_​124-1, copyright London Borough of Merton.


Home Radio initially sold electrical appliances, as shown in these adverts from 1960.


The business grew with selling components by mail order. According to an article in The Radio Constructor magazine (pdf), Home Radio and Mitcham became known all over the world.

Colin Sproxton retired in 1964, the year of this catalogue cover:

1964 Home Radio catalogue

The back cover of this catalogue showed how to get to their shop by public transport. The map also showed their service shop in Locks Lane.

Their 1968 components catalogue, was advertised in Practical Wireless magazine, and said that it was:

Used and acclaimed by scientists, engineers, technicians, teachers & students

1968 Practical Wireless magazine ad

In 1969 they moved to larger premises to cope with the need to store large amounts of components for the mail order business. They went to the top floor of a new office block at 234 – 240 London Road, which gave them 2,400 square feet of space. The business was being run by Alan Sproxton and Ernest Layton at this time.

The Radio Constructor magazine described the dinner that was held at The Grange on 23rd April 1969 to celebrate the expansion of the business. A guest at the dinner was an old friend of the Sproxton family, Mr B. Mund Hopen from Bergen in Norway, who was in charge of the Norwegian Shipping Mission during World War 2. Mr Sproxton, in his after-lunch speech said that it was his opinion that three things saved Britain from defeat: radar, the tenacity and courage of the RAF, and the Norwegian tanker fleet which came over to Britain.


The company was wound up in 1982, as recorded in the London Gazette:

HOME RADIO (COMPONENTS) LIMITED

“That it has been proved to the satisfaction of the Company that this Company cannot, by reason of its liabilities, continue its business and that it is advisable that the same should be wound up; and that the Company be wound up and that Keith John Chapman of 1-2 Pudding Lane, London EC3R 8AB, be and is hereby appointed as Liquidator of the Company for the purpose of such voluntary winding-up.”

A. Sproxton, Chairman

Death of Mrs W. A. Leney

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
24th January 1958

Mrs. Winifred Annie Leney, wife of Mr. Sam Leney, who was licensee of the Queen’s Head public house at the Cricket Green for 28 years, died suddenly on Tuesday at the Licensed Victuallers’ Benevolent Institution, Peckham. She was 72.

The couple moved from Mitcham in 1953.