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)