Tag Archives: 1972

Gaydons

Menswear shop, was at 11 Upper Green East, ‘facing the clock tower’ as stated in their ads

1972 ad

1972 ad

Text of ad:

GAYDONS
of
MITCHAM
(facing Fair Green Clock Tower)

for

MENSWEAR
YOUTHSWEAR
and NOW
BOYSWEAR

Telephone 648 2179

Also at:

130 Streatham Vale 764 2526
91 Streatham Hill 674 6479
3 Warwick Way, Victoria 834 4187

Ad from 1952:

1952 ad

1952 ad

Text of ad:

GAYDONS LTD.

MAN’S SHOPS

invite your inspection of their latest ranges

Sport Jackets = Smartly tailored in Single or Double Breasted styles.
Sports Trousers = Gaberdine or worsted in attractive new shades.
Suits = To suit all occasions. Expertly cut and tailored.
Raincoats = In cotton or wool Gaberdine.
Shirts & Ties = In modern and traditional styles.

For Men of Faultless Taste

Local Branch
11 UPPER GREEN – MITCHAM (Facing Clock Tower)

Also at
TOOTING
STREATHAM
VICTORIA
KINGSTON

Scaffolding (Great Britain) Ltd.

Listed in the 1963 Borough of Mitcham List of Factories at

Scafco Works
23 Willow Lane

Scaffold Construction


From the Norwood News, 5th November 1965:

COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS REQUIRED BY SCAFFOLDING (Great Britain) LTD.
WILLOW LANE,
MITCHAM,
for I.C.T. 1301 Card/Tape Computer, previous experience although desirable is not essential, and recent school- leavers will be considered.

Applicants must have G.C.E. pass in Maths preferably at A level. Excellent conditions of employment including Staff Cafeteria, Company Buses, Sports and Social Club.

Apply COMPUTER MANAGER, MIT 3400 ext. 389

For more on the ICT 1301, The National Museum of Computing are restoring one.

News Articles
1972 : SGB and the last 50-mile stretch of the M4

Morfax (Metal Developments) Ltd.

Metal works factory that was at 11 Willow Lane, Mitcham, Surrey,
CR4 4NA, from the mid-1950s, to possibly 1993.

The factory contributed to the production of the Exocet missiles. From Flight International magazine, 10th August 1972, page 216a:

“a model of the missile hangs from its launching ramp which is being built by Morfax Ltd for production models”

Exocet consists of six functional units: the homing head, front equipment compartment, warhead, sustainer motor, boost motor and rear equipment case. Four equi-distant wings on the sustainer-motor casing give aerodynamic lift and stability;
four fins mounted on the rear equipment casing in the same planes as the wings are powered for pitch, roll and yaw control.

One of the major British sub-contractors is Morfax Ltd of Mitcham, Surrey. The company began talks with Aerospatiale in the first half of 1971, getting down to detailed planning following the inter-Governmental agreement in June of that year. Many of the items which are now the responsibility of Morfax were built on a pre-production basis by Aerospatiale,
although production parts will entirely be the responsibility of the British firm.

A lull between prototype fabrication and full production, while Aerospatiale and French test inspectors check that units built by Morfax conform to specification requirements, is
allowing the Mitcham concern to finalise its arrangements for a full-scale assembly line.

Many of the machine tools to be used have been developed specially by Morfax for the Exocet programme. Typical of these is a four-headed, seven-axis unit which performs the complete machining operations on the launching ramp. The company’s interest in the weapon is comprehensive, making as it does parts for both the missile and its launcher.

Missile work includes aluminium alloy castings for the front and rear equipment cases, the main machined forging for the front ring and the rocket motor venturi tube, as well as
a wide range of other parts. Of the ten sections of mechanical items pro-
duced in Britain, nine are manufactured by Morfax and the remaining
one by the Manchester Royal Ordnance Factory.

The largest of the major units being produced by Morfax is the launching
ramp, for which the company not only constructs the complex main beam
assembly but also parts for the locking box and missile suspension. In addition to holding sub-contracts from Aerospatiale, the firm has agreements with SFENA (Societe Frangaise d’
Equipements pour la Navigation Aerienne) under which it manufactures very-high-precision mechanical parts for the missile’s gyro.

Other Newspaper Articles and Ads


An ad in Norwood News – Friday 8 July 1955 refers to the ‘new factory’:

TOOLROOM PERSONNEL, night or day shift, millers, turners, detail fitters, etc.: high rates, new factory, excellent conditions.

— Morfax, Willow-lane. Mit. 4525

Norwood News – Friday 14 April 1961

YOU CANNOT AFFORD to miss this opportunity to work for MORFAX LTD. WILLOW LANE, MITCHAM, SURREY Rates are high, overtime unlimited (and carries a bonus). New and interesting machines allow the advancement of already skilled craftsmen.

JIG BORERS
HORIZONTAL BORERS
MILLERS
TURNERS
GRINDERS
FITTERS

Call and see for yourselves!

BUSES 64, 77, 115, 220, 44, 80, 80a, 88, 118, 152.
TRAINS TO MITCHAM JUNCTION

or Phone : MlTcham 4525

17th March 1972 : “Mr E. Hall fitting a synchro-pack to the flying control feel chassis for Concorde at Morfax Ltd, Willow Lane, Mitcham. The firm have the contract to do this for the British Aircraft Corporation.”

1972 Morfax had first Vidimatic NC

Birmingham Daily Post – Tuesday 28 September 1976 reporting on the Subcontractors’ Expo ‘SUBCON’

HOW TO HANDLE A BOMB . .

An unusual exhibit at Subcon is the Morfax Wheelbarrow Mark VII a remote controlled vehicle for bomb disposal and security.

The need for a remote handling vehicle for the investigation, removal and neutralisation of potentially lethal explosive devices has become more apparent over the past few years, during which there has been a marked increase in terrorist activity directed against both military and civilian targets.

In 3 1/2 years the Wheelbarrow has already proved itself in this role during its service with the British Army and has revolutionised methods of handling suspicious objects. Urban terrorist warfare is now a world-wide problem and overseas defence agencies have shown considerable interest in this entirely British equipment.

So far, more than 200 wheelbarrows are in use and 5,000 bombs have been dealt with, saving many lives.

The wheelbarrow is part of the exhibit on the Morfax stand at SUBCON 76

ad from 1987

From the Liverpool Echo – Friday 26 November 1993

Barrow buy

DEFENCE equipment group Alvis is to buy a firm which makes bomb disposal robots in a deal worth an initial £600,000. The purchase of Morfax, which makes the so-called Wheelbarrow robots, comes after Alvis in conjunction with Racal won the contract for robot updates. Alvis, which already supplies the devices, will pay an additional £1.4m if sales targets are beaten.


The factory was probably built in the early part of the 1950s, and expanded thereafter.

From the Merton Council Planning website, this is a summary of some of the many planning applications, most of which do not have a reliable date, although some do have a date showing when permission was granted.

MIT1625 – office and combined garage and workshop for building contractors
MIT1874 – use of land as building contractors yard and erection of workshop, stores and offices
MIT1834(O) – Office and Factory for general engineering
MIT1931 – factory for general purposes
MIT1932 – liquid oxygen supply store
MIT2020 – extension to factory
MIT2064 – power house, stores and additional WC’s
MIT2839 – workshop for a limited period (granted permission 19/07/1956)
MIT2899 – building to house press, bending rails and forge
MIT2776 – extension to factory and retention of drawing office
MIT2946 – covered loading area (granted permission 20/12/1956)
MIT3519 – motor cycle shed (granted permission 29/01/1959)
MIT3566 – office block, works canteen and lavatories
MIT3589 – transformer chamber
MIT3420A – press and profile shop
MIT3619 – extension to heavy crane bay
MIT3646 – extension to heavy crane bay, oxygen store and tensile testing bay
MIT3678 – extension of factory including 3 storey office block
MIT3755 – lavatory and cloakroom block
MIT3760 – liquid oxygen store and meter room
MIT3956 – extension of factory including four storey office block
MIT3956B – lift and staircase block
MIT4216 – temporary cycle rack and motor cycle shed

The following applications indicate the year, e.g. MER978/67 was 1967.

MER978/67 – erection of single storey workshop and gantry at rear of factory for use in connection with nuclear and aircraft research
MER645/73 – erection of building to house hydraulic press for use in connection iwth high precision engineering research developing nuclear, atomic aircraft and defence production
MER595/77 – extension to factory (withdrawn 31/12/1977)

No associated documents are available online before the year 2005.

Arthur Weston’s Scrap Yard

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 12th May 1972

Why Arthur doesn’t like
local authorities

To Merton Council, Arthur Weston’s scrap yard is just a spot on the map which is hardly likely to fit in with the new look Western-road. It’s a mechanical knacker’s yard filled to the gates with carcasses of smashed motors and heaps of their oily innards. It would, they told him, have to go.

“Arthur Weston and Sons, Scrap Metal Merchant”, along with the gipsies site, the few boarded-up warehouses and sheds that make up the grimiest corner of Fair Green, are to be cleared away. When the bulldozers and builders have gone, rows of new houses and flats will take their place. What they don’t know, at the Planning and Development Department, is that they are razing a small trading empire.

Public service

There’s Arthur’s, where for nearly 30 years he’s been carrying on where his father Herbert left off, with picking up wrecked cars and selling the decent remains to anyone who wants to come and rummage around for spare parts.

“Sometimes 24 a week — and that’s a service. Who else gets all the old dumped wrecks off the road and makes use of them? The police have told me I’m doing the public a service,” he says.

And next to him, all around him — too near for the most part, he says — are the gipsies where trading covers anything from broken down gas stoves to the breeding of small herds of assorted dogs.

“See that yard next to mine? A load of them came and squatted with their vans there and never paid one penny rent and the council couldn’t do nothing about it. And there’s me paying a rent I couldn’t divulge to you.”

The gipsies, he observed, are being offered a caravan site built especially for them.

“Me — now whose going to offer me another yard for scrap dealing? I reckon I’ll have to chuck the whole lot in. After all these years! These yards were my father’s life and they’ve been mine. I was working here when I was 10 years of age. And I really mean work. Not work like they mean today. Now its going in a matter of a few weeks. Just like that,” he said.

“I’ve got to May 31 to clear up and get out.”

At 39, small but strong, he looks older with years of pulling engines out of written-off vehicles.

“Its a dirty job but it’s true that where there’s muck there’s money. And what’s wrong with that?” This bother doesn’t just mean finding somewhere else to put the 700-odd old cars he has at his two yards in Western Road.

He also has a yard at Caterham.

“The council there have told me to clear out of that. And Wandsworth council have just told us they are going to pull down our house in Tooting. So I started to think about building a bungalow at Reigate. Of course they’ve turned down the plans for it, haven’t they?”

Arthur Weston isn’t feeling too kindly disposed towards local authorities at present. Apart from the fact that they have authority in the first place, they seem to have some very strange ways of imposing it.

By-laws

“This yard is divided into two halves. On this side I can strip down motors and do them up. But if I want to sell them I have to pull them over to that side. Don’t ask me why. That’s what I’ve been told I’ve got to do. By laws!”

He pointed to a small lean-to, used for shelter in the rain. “I rent this yard but that thing there costs £150 a year in rates.” Fighting councils, he believes. only costs you more in the end.

He loves his yards and his scrap as much as any actor loves the stage. If it wasn’t for the parting of Arthur and the business three Weston sons would carry on when he is too old.

“My youngest — he’s four — comes here already to help and cleans metal and such like,” he says.

Even so, the big ends and chassis of cars are not what they were and some wrecks are worth nothing to him.

“They don’t make cars like they used to. When my dad was in business they built them solid and there was plenty to make use of. Now? Like paper underneath most of them,” he says.

“Take hearses. When I was younger I used to deal in hearses. Plenty of good solid metal in them. I remember I went to see one in a place at Putney and I was inside lying on the floor looking at all the steel and nobs and suchlike. A bloke came and opened the door and I started moaning. Cor, he didn’t half run.” he said.

“Nowadays,” he went on sadly, “there aren’t many hearses around. And what there are are all gilt and show.”

When he started in the yard, not so much out of choice but because there was no other work about, he regarded the job as manual, not skilful. A case of necessity he thought, never dreaming he would be as dedicated and knowing about metals and their various market values as his father.

To anywhere

He and his brother will go anywhere to pick up anything that promises some future use. And Arthur has an eye for a trend as well as the metal in the chassis. In his yard at the moment is a horsebox, circa 1920.

“Belonged to Lord Derby. I went all the way to his place to get it,” he said.

But mostly it’s wrecks with bonnets or sides smashed in from the impact of crashes.

“I suppose it could turn you up a bit, knowing that people have been killed or injured in them. But you don’t think about it. Just get on with it.

“Even when a car’s been in a really bad smash and its a mess — there’s always some part of it that has a use.” he added.

He will take away a lot of memories when he closes the gates for the last time.

“The worst time was the night when someone set fire to the place. You can imagine how a fire spreads in a place like this. Burnt out, skint I was. Know who did it? If I did they wouldn’t be around today I can tell you.”

When it’s all over he will have to think what he will do next.

“I’ve got a bit. I certainly won’t have to worry about money but a man like me has got to have a job. A pub? Don’t talk stupid! I’d drink the place dry in a week.”

The biggest sadness is that there is no yard now to pass on to his son.

“But then I’ve thought perhaps I’d like something a bit better for my boys. Not, so dirty and not such hard work. Like a proper car showroom. You never go to one of those places without you see the boss in a smart suit do you? Not like me!”

1972 Pollards Hill Design Award

Design Award For Pollards Hill Estate

Mitcham’s Pollards Hill Estate has won a major architectural award for Merton.

The £4 million complex of 562 houses and 288 flats has already aroused great interest among local authorities and architects.

And this week Merton’s Borough Architect, Mr Bernard Ward, revealed that his architects have been given the South East Region Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Mr Ward, Borough Architect of Merton since 1965, regards this as one of the highlights of his career. But it was, he emphasised, a team job from five men in his department.

“I am very pleased. It’s quite an achievement as there are only 13 regions throughout Great Britain to which the Institute make their awards.”

He believes the award has been made on the basis that Pollards Hill houses a large number of families without the architects having to resort to high-rise blocks to do it. Those who have visited the estate since it was completed have been surprised at the spacious surroundings in which so many people can be accommodated.

This was his team’s objective when they first presented their ideas to the council’s Housing Committee four years ago.

Problems

“We wanted to build an estate which was mainly composed of houses and not flats. They said that if this could be done then it would be ideal. So
we went ahead,” explained Mr Ward.

There was plenty of head scratching, thinking and discussing among his staff before the final design was produced.

“A lot of designs hit the waste paper basket before we came up with the right one,” he explained.

Both Mr Ward and his team were aware that the huge tower blocks built by many
local authorities in the past were neither pleasant to look at nor to live in. But there was the council’s long housing waiting list to consider.

Both had to be taken into consideration before the final plans for Pollards Hill were produced.

Once this had been approved, there were few architectural problems.
“The only problem we had was to do the job within the budget for the project,” he said.

Altogether the team worked on the design for four months. They were a good team he said. It was a pity that most of them had now left Merton and gone their separate professional ways in the last two years.

Unique

But the experience they had in the design of one of the first estates where homes have been provided for 100 persons per acre would, he believed, stand them in good stead in their present jobs.

When the first tenant moved in on January 28, 1971, Pollards Hill was regarded, in architectural circles, as almost unique.

Merton Council had managed to house hundreds of families while adding to the quality of the environment. This is not achieved by many local councils in their battle to reduce housing lists.

The estate borders South Lodge-avenue, where previously there had been hundreds of prefabs, built as temporary post-war accommodation for bombed-out families.

Now, the long streamlined honeycomb of houses and flats which stretch up to the borough boundary is an attractive replacement.

The award is to be presented at a special ceremony at Merton Town Hall in October.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 8th September, 1972 page 1

SGB and the last 50-mile stretch of the M4

A put up and pull down job

Men from Scaffolding Great Britain, the Mitcham-based firm, did one of their quickest ever jobs when they set up and dismantled equipment for the opening ceremony of the new M4 motorway extension in December.

They had two days to put up a VIP stand and three hours to take it down when the opening ceremony was over.

The equipment was supplied by the Showex Division of SGB, and included a 62-seater VIP stand, red carpet, ceremonial tape, public address system, flag poles and toilet facilities.

The ceremony, on December 20, was for the official opening of the last 50-mile section of the M4 connecting London to South Wales.

The package deal was supplied under contract to the five main contractors engaged in the construction of the new motorway.

Installation work began at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, December 20 and was finished in time for the opening at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, December 22.

As soon as the opening was over the Showex division had three hours to clear the site. This was completed in only two hours.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury 21st January, 1972 page 22