Tag Archives: 1959

Leonard H. Munday

Mitcham Borough Council Valuation Officer from 1928 to 1947.

In council minutes from 1917, he was a rate collector.

News Articles

Ex-valuation officer’s rating appeal dismissed

Mr Leonard Munday, valuation officer for Mitcham from 1928 until 1947, has failed in his bid to cut the rating assessment on his own house at Crescent Grove, Mitcham.

In a reserved decision in London on Thursday last week, Mr R.C.G. Fennell dismissed Mr Munday’s appeal against a local valuation court’s decision which reduced by £2 to £54 the gross value on his house. Mr Munday had asked the Tribunal for a greater reduction.

Industry zone

He said his house was within an area planned for industrial development. He had an intimate knowledge of rents in the borough, and in the absence of rental evidence relating to his own house, the next best method in fixing the assessment should be on the basis of the capital cost of the property. In adpoting such a method he arrived at figures representing a gross value of £38.

Mr Fennell said the present valuation officer, Mr W.H. Mason, had relied on pre-war rental evidence for 10 houses in the neighbourhood which he regarded as providing a fair basis for comparison, although they differed in size and situation.

Mr Munday was directed to pay the valuation officer a guinea costs.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 25th September, 1959, page 1.

Veteran Car : Benz Ideal 4.5 hp reg P3518

This car was bought by Mr F.E. Manning, Mitcham Park, in the mid 1950s. He was a director of Allen Bros garage. It had a fairly good engine, which he stripped down and rebuilt. He and his son worked on rebuilding the rest of the car. They took drawings from another Benz and made components as near as possible to the original.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Transport_26-2 showing Mr Fenning working on the car

They entered the London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally in 1957.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_​Transport_​26-2, copyright London Borough of Merton

In this article from 1959, his son didn’t go with him on the rally.

Veteran run

For the third year running Mr F.E. Manning has driven his 1900 Benz over the finishing line in the annual veteran car run to Brighton. And this year he got back to his home in Mitcham Park in time to see himself on the television newsreel.

Although breaking no records for the run, Mr Manning bowled along merrily in his black and primrose car (with solid tyres), crossing the finishing line at 2.30 p.m. with plenty of time to spare.

“Traffic was very heavy,” Mr Manning told me, “so we could not record any spectacular time. But we only stopped once en route and that was for lunch, The car behave perfectly all the way.”

Mr Manning’s 17-year-old son Butch did not go with him this year. “I think he got fed up with getting soaked through on the two previous runs. But we were very lucky as the weather was good this year,” Mr Manning added.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury 6th November, 1959

Restored again in 2006/7 the car was sold at Bonhams auction in February 2017 for around £105,000.

Alfred Henry Bailey

Alderman and mayor of Mitcham 1944-45. Born 1876, died 22nd May, 1959.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 17th November 1944 with his wife photographed after the Mayor’s formal election the previous week.

His obituary as reported in the local press:

Mr A.H. Bailey, former mayor, Boer War veteran and campaigner for a better Mitcham, died on Friday after a short illness. He was 82.

Throughout his long connection with Mitcham he fought for improvements. It is through his efforts that Mitcham was provided with two secondary schools.

In recent years, despite his age, Mr Bailey continued to play an active part in local organisations and affairs.

Mr Bailey came to the district in 1909. For several years until his death he lived in a bungalow at Glebe Court Estate, London Road.

Before he met his wife and settled down he was a roamer. He went to South Africa in 1895, and fought in the Boer War.

He joined an uitlander regiment and, as sergeant, took part in the battles preceding the relief of Ladysmith.

After being a member of Mitcham Urban District Council for six years he was elected chairman in 1926. Since then he has served the district in almost every civic capacity.

He became a member of the Borough Council in 1935, an alderman in 1937 and in 1944 he and his wife became Mayor and Mayoress.

His interests in Mitcham were many. He was president of the local boy scouts association for 17 years, a war-time deputy chief warden, founder member of the North Mitcham Improvement Association and founder member of the Anglo-Netherlands Association – now the All Nations’ Sports and Cultural Association.

Mr Bailey’s funeral was on Wednesday (27th May, 1959) at South London Crematorium.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th May 1959

More information on his life was given in a profile in the The South Warder, magazine of the South Mitcham Residents Association, volume 1 issue 1, November 1947.

Born in 1876 at Epsom, he attended the same primary school as Mr. Chuter Ede, the MP for Mitcham in 1923.

At the age of 12 he was apprenticed to a trade he disliked, and when in his ‘teens he emigrated to South Africa, ultimately settling in Pretoria, working in a shop for three years and becoming personally acquainted with the State Attorney (Field Marshal Smuts).

When hostilities broke out he found the lines to Cape Colony and Natal blocked, and had to escape through Portuguese territory (this route was later used by Winston Churchill). Joining a Uitiander Corps, he quickly became a sergeant and saw service at Colenso, Vaal Krantz, Spion Kop, and eventually taking part in the relief of Ladysmith; he was then invalided home to England with enteric fever.

On returning to civil life he entered the Post Office engineering service, retiring in 1936 at the age of 60.

He came to Mitcham in 1909 and was elected to the Council in 1920, and raised to the Aldermanic bench in 1937.

Mr. Bailey was very prominent in the formation of the Air Raid Precautions of the Borough and served throughout the War as a Deputy Chief Warden.

He served on many Committees of the Council and also on several outside bodies, such as School Managers, Boy Scouts, etc., where he was well known for his intelligent approach to the problems arising therein.

Perhaps the highlight in his long career was to be chosen as Mayor during V.E. year, when, in addition to his normal duties, he was seen at practically every street party held in Mitcham, accompanied and ably supported by the Mayoress, Mrs. Bailey.

In the 1911 census, Alfred Henry Bailey, inspector in the engineers department of post office telephones, is living at 48 Boscombe Road, with his wife Florence May, aged 34, and daughter Mary Alice, aged 1.

From a public family tree on Ancestry, his daughter Mary Alice married Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse in 1938.

Alfred Henry Bailey died in 1959, as shown in his probate record, from Ancestry:

BAILEY Alfred Henry of 180 Glebe Court, London Road, Mitcham
Surrey, died 22nd May 1959 at St. Anthonys Hospital Cheam Surrey.

Probate London 9th July to Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse quantity surveyor and Mary Alice Rodhouse (Wife of the said Alfred MacIntyre Rodhouse).

Effects £1886 13s. 8d.

Adjusted for inflation, this is worth around £40,000 in 2017 values.

Merton Memories Photos
1946 visit to Hengelo

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


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


482, London Road, Mitcham.

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

Beginners and Intermediate

Old Time 8-11 2/6.

Over 25’s Beginners 8-11

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


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.

Montague John Stenning

He had a grocery and provisions shop at 34 Church Road, at the corner of Church Place, opposite the Bull pub.

1959 clip from Merton Memories

1959 clip from Merton Memories photo 50966 Copyright London Borough of Merton

Listed in the 1930 and 1938 directories as

Stenning Montague J. grocer, 34 Church rd

An indication of when he started trading from number 34 can be found in the advertisements of the Mitcham Parish Church Magazine. His first ad appears in the July 1924 issue, and in the January 1924 issue the shop has the name W. B. Trowbridge.

July 1924 ad in Parish Church Magazine

July 1924 ad in Parish Church Magazine

January 1924 ad in Parish Church Magazine

January 1924 ad in Parish Church Magazine

In this 1974 photo, number 34 is derelict, but part of ‘MJ Stenning’ can be seen on the railings near the ground.

alt='Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk'

1974 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

The Limes

Was 380 London Road.

Used as a halfway house for homeless people before they were allocated housing, this building was demolished in 1962/3.

1959 photo on Merton Memories.

News Articles

The Limes to go as half-way House
MITCHAM’s half-way house, “The Limes” – a temporary housing centre for homeless families – London Road, Mitcham, is to go.

Mitcham Council revealed this at their meeting last night (Thursday) when the chairman of the housing committee. Coun. W. J. Dungate. said the site was to be redeveloped.

Three modern-style shops, maisonnettes, garages and site works will be built in its place.

The large house, which was taken over some years ago by Mitcham Council, was split into eight units.

Most of the families who are put into “The Limes” stay for about 18 months before alternative accommodation is found for them.

Six families

At present there are six families in the building. A spokesman in the local housing manager’s department said this week: “I don’t know when the building will be demolished but we have purchased another building at Streatham where the families will be accommodated.

” The Limes’,” she went on, was once a large private house. When the council took it over they did so knowing that sooner or later it would have to be pulled down for road widening in London Road.

“That time has come and we are gradually making plans to transfer the tenants.”

Since “The Limes ” was taken over by Mitcham Council. local people have been anxious to see an end to it They have called the centre a slum, disgrace and an unwanted place in Mitcham.”

Time and again they have complained about the conditions there, and urged the council to clean it up.

In January this year Mr. Tom Braddock, former Labour M.P. for Mitcham, said at least £3.000 needed to be spent on the centre to give it “a decent living condition.”

But now the council have accepted proposals for the re-development of “The Limes” and have invited tenders for this scheme in advance of the demolition of the site.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury 27th April, 1962, page 1.

David Walter Chalkley

1959 mayor of Mitcham. Born 11th May 1913, died 1987, aged 74.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 22nd May, 1959:

Forty-six-year-old Ald. David W. Chalkley, prospective parliamentary Labour candidate for Croydon North-West was elected Mayor of Mitcham yesterday (Thursday). Ald. Chalkley, who lives in Deal Road, Tooting, was nominated Mayor last year, but he was forced to turn the offer down through his wife’s illness.

Housing Committee chairman in 1972, as stated in this clip from Mitcham News & Mercury, 16th June, 1972:

Mitcham News & Mercury 16th June 1972

Miss Barbara Thrupp, ex-Mitcham Council Housing Manager, in the Close named in her honour. With her are, front row, left to right, the Town Clerk of Merton, Mr Sidney Astin, Housing Manager Mr Archie Brown, and Housing Committee chairman Coun David Chalkley.

Merton Memories Photos

1959 as mayor
with family at mayor making ceremony
1960 at Red Cross Dance

Chalkley Close, off St Marks Road, is named after him.