Tag Archives: 1961

Mitcham Post Offices

Eric Montague said in his book Mitcham Histories : 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane, page 107, that Mitcham’s post office had occupied 5 locations, as listed below:

1st : at Westhall’s grocery shop in the Broadway

The 1855 directory shows the postal services available:

It lists Joseph WESTALL as grocer and cheesemonger as well as the post office receiving house in Lower Mitcham.

2nd : in a small shop near Mitcham Station

This photo from 1895 shows part of the words ‘Post Office’ above the shop.

clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Public_Services_18-2, copyright London Borough of Merton

3rd : a purpose built building in the Broadway

The words ‘Post Office’ can be seen etched in the windows on the building on the right in this photo of around 1910:

clip from Meton Memories, photo reference Mit_streets_Lon_38-25, copyright London Borough of Merton

According to Eric Montague in his book Mitcham Histories : 4 Lower Mitcham, pages 127-8, this post office was

erected in about 1900 … a three-storeyed building … its rather fussy facade including false timber framing to simulate an Elizabethan structure.”

4th : Post Office and Telephone Exchange building on the corner of London Road and Elmwood Road

Built around 1920, shown here in this 1953 photo:

clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_Streets_Lon_38-46, copyright London Borough of Merton

5th : Langdale Parade

In 1961 the post office moved to Langdale Parade in the Fair Green. The telephone exchange building remains.

Currently, in 2019, the Langdale Parade post office has to a smaller shop nearby at number 5:

Post Office at no. 5 Langdale Parade. Photo taken 23rd April 2019

Framfield Road

Framfield Road is off the west side of Streatham Road opposite The Driftway. It leads into St James’s Road. The reason for the name is unknown, however next to it is Uckfield Grove, and the town of Uckfield in Sussex has a town of Framfield two miles to the east of it.

Possibly built around 1928 as in that year mortgages were provided by the Mitcham Urban District Council, under the Small Dwellings Acquisitions Act, for houses valued at £625 each.

As approached from the Streatham Road end, the houses on the left are arranged in blocks of six, numbered odd from 1 to 107. On the right side the houses are numbered even from 2 to 88. Extra houses were built on plots near the St James’s Road end that had garages. A number of houses have since been divided into flats.

The Royal Mail website says that there three postcodes in use in this road, namely CR4 2AL, 2AU and 2AW.


News Items

From the Manchester Evening News – Monday 11th January 1943, via the British Newspaper Archive

Home Guard Fell in River At Night

While two Home Guards were patrolling on the Thames quayside at Wandsworth, one of them, William Edward Field (41), of Framfield Road, Mitcham, fell into the river in the darkness and was drowned.

At the Battersea inquest to-day the Coroner (Mr. Hervey Wyatt) recorded a verdict of accidental death. He said that Field’s companion, Ernest William Horsman, who climbed down a wire and made two unsuccessful rescue attempts, had every reason to congratulate himself on his fine effort to help his friend.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry for W.E. FIELD, he was in the 52nd County of London (Wandsworth Gas Co.) Battalion of the Home Guard. He was the son of Edward and Daisy Field, of Mitcham and husband of Elsie Catherine Field, of Mitcham. Although his grave is in the London Road Cemetery, it is not in the ‘War Graves’ section that has the graves of the local Home Guard that died in 1941. It is in plot 9, which is near the Victoria Road entrance.

Edward Pullen gets MBE in 1961 but missed DCM in 1916

Why Mrs Wood was last to leave Majestic Cinema

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 1st December, 1961

PROJECTORS whirred to a stop and the audience filed out of the Majestic Cinema for the last time on Saturday evening.

But Mrs. G. Wood, Carew Road, Mitcham, waited until the cinema was empty before she walked out. She had been the first person in Mitcham’s only
cinema house 27 years ago and she intended to be the last one out.

Mrs. Wood’s husband, George, had intended to be with her at the last performance but other commitments kept him away. Both had attended the first film on the opening night and enjoyed numerous films there for 25 years.

I’ve never played bingo and I don’t think I will,” added Mr.
Wood

1961 obituary of Jack Gillard, newsvendor at Fair Green since 1920

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 10th March 1961

NEWSVENDOR JACK DIES

Sixty-nine-year-old Jack Gillard, who died suddenly in hospital on Tuesday (7th March 1961), was one of Mitcham’s more famous landmarks.

For 41 years, he had sold newspapers at Fair Green, and was known by thousands of local people.

Mr. Gillard, of Henry Prince Estate, Earlsfield, had been in poor health for some time and had not been at his usual pitch for about four months.

He often talked about the changes in the district since he became a newsvendor in 1920.

“When I first moved in to Mitcham – I lived in Love Lane – it was like a small country village,” he would recall.

And he remembered shouting the big news over the years . . . The General Strike, the R101 disaster, the outbreak of war, the first atom bomb over Japan . . .

Three years ago Jack had a serious accident and later a leg was amputated. He was fitted with an artificial limb.

For years he tried to persuade Mitcham Council to let him put up a covered stand, but was never successful.

Jack Gillard

1961 obituary of Albert Bowdery

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th February, 1961

Timber Yard Man Dies In Hospital

A man who joined the Merchant Navy when he was 10 and sailed round the world twice before leaving the service, died on Friday at his Rose Avenue, Mitcham, home.

He was Mr. Albert Henry Bowdery who, until six months ago, lived for many years at Bath Road, Mitcham. He was 61.

Mr. Bowdery was best known for the timber yard he ran from his home. He retired and became security officer at Wimbledon Greyhound track about six months ago.

During the first world war, when he was 17, Mr. Bowdery was twice in ships which were sunk. Both incidents occurred within six weeks and, on one occasion, he was picked up by a German ship after being six hours in the sea and was interned in Holland.

Mr. Bowdery died in hospital. He leaves a widow, a son, two brothers and a daughter.

The funeral was on Friday 24th February 1961 at London Road Cemetery.

1961 Baths Superintendent retires

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th February, 1961

For the past 28 years Mr Charles Paterson Walker has been keeping 126,000 gallons of water clean and at the right temperature.

Next May he won’t have to bother any more. He is retiring from the post of Mitcham Baths Superintendent.

But 65-year-old Mr Walker will not be forgotten when he leaves. By the end of the month he hopes to finish his “diary of events,” telling the story of the Baths.

At his Epsom home he told me this week: “There have been so many events there over the years I thought I would keep a record.”

Mr Walker himself has led an interesting life. Before he took over the Baths in 1929 he was a marine engineer on a luxury shipping line. He left because of the big slump at the time.

During the last war his main task was keeping about 150,000 officers and men and 500 Wrens warm. He was in charge of the heating at a Fleet Air Arm training base in Lancashire.

Any plans for his retirement?
“I am just going to take things easy,” he said.