Tag Archives: 1972

Mulholland Close

Road on the Eastfields Housing Estate, built in 1972 on land formerly occupied by Pain’s fireworks factory. The name should have been Milholland after the then current director of Pain’s, but the council got the spelling wrong.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
29th December, 1972

Council boob and a tribute back-fires

When Merton Housing Committee named a road on the new Eastfields Estate, Mitcham, after a local businessman they meant it as a compliment.

But the compliment back-fired when someone in the housing department got the name wrong.

And the man in the middle of the mess is annoyed that his name has been taken in vain now for over five months.

The road should have been Milholland-close – after Mr Philip Milholland, director of Pain’s Wessex Fireworks Ltd who had a factory on the site for 100 years.

But when the sign went up it read ‘Mulholland’ – and went un-noticed for several months.

Mr Milholland said this week : “I am annoyed. They should have got it right and I hope they are going to put it right. I have written to the housing department pointing out the mistake.

I didn’t even realise they had named this close after me until an old works manager of mine who lives in the area saw the sign and told me they had got it wrong.”

At first the housing committee decided that as local residents had been used to living in Mulholland-close for several months it would be wrong to change the name.

Housing Manager Mr A. A. Brown said: “I think it was because they thought people had possibly got used to it and even had notepaper printed with the address. Now however the matter has been referred back to the committee.:

Explaining the mistake he said: “It was a mistake of someone in the department and I think it happened because Mulholland is such a usual name and Milholland isn’t. We are very sorry.”

1972 Morfax had first Vidimatic NC

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
11th August 1972

THE FIRST DIXI 75 four-axis jig borer to be equipped with the Vidimatic numerical control system that incorporates television camera tubes is being installed in the Willow-lane, Mitcham, works of Morfax Ltd, to increase facilities for precision machining of complex workpieces. This is the first installation of its kind in the world.

Work at Morfax ranges from new stabilisers for the QE2 liner made from 1-inch thick stainless steel plate, structures for the Skynet 2 communications satellite and the UK5 experimental space satellite which are being assembled in a specially constructed clean room.

Among either works are artificial feel chassis for control of the Concorde and compressor casings for the Rolls-Royce RB211 engines.

1972 Why Sally put on weight

From Mitcham News & Mercury
21st April 1972

MITCHAM BAKER KEN TURNER wondered why his new horse Sally was putting on weight. He thought it was either the good food she gets at the bakery or children slipping her the odd cake when she was out on her delivery round.

Then last Saturday morning when he went down to her stable he found out. There was Sally and a newly born foal. Said Mr Turner: “I was stunned — she was out doing her round only the day before and seemed perfectly all right. It was a wonderful surprise and we are calling him Lucky.”

Sally, a four year old Kent Cob was bought from a dealer just before Christmas and pulls Mr Turner’s delivery van to keep going a family tradition, which started in 1792 when the bakery opened in Mitcham.

Mr Turner began to suspect that she was in foal and a vet confirmed that this was likely.

“But he assured us that there was plenty of time and she could go on working for a while. So I was really surprised when I looked in the Stable on Saturday morning.”

“It’s a bit of a bonus. When I bought her I never expected another animal as well. When the foal is old enough it is going down to a stud at Ockley. Meanwhile I have borrowed another horse to keep the round going.” he said.

Mr Turner and the dealer he bought Sally from are still mystified as to how she got pregnant.

“She must have er . . . . running loose in the field,” he added.

Barbara Thrupp

Mitcham Council Housing manager from March 1936, as noted by the Housing Committee on 12th March 1936, page 447, volume 2 of Mitcham Borough Council minutes.

Miss Barbara Thrupp, A.R.I.C.S. was awarded the MBE in the 1952 New Year’s Honours.

News Articles

Personality Girls To Collect Rents Mitcham (Surrey) Council looking for girls of 18 or more with pleasant personalities. They are wanted for training in house management, which carries a salary of up to £760 a year. The girls will be paid while they are training. Miss Barbara Thrupp, Mitcham housing manager, explained: “It is something more than just collecting rents. We want girls with the personal touch who can take an interest in the tenants’ comfort, look after repairs and sort out all the housing problems that arise nowadays.”

Source: Dundee Evening Telegraph – Tuesday 06 April 1948 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

It’s possible that this is the same person:

Chester City Council on Wednesday created new municipal department by appointing Miss Barbara Thrupp, of London, to manager of the house property management department at a starting salary of £250 per annum and a minimum increment of £20.

Source: Hull Daily Mail – Thursday 26 April 1928 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

She published an article on public housing in 1929 called The Scope of a House Property Management Department, by BARBARA THRUPP, B.A., P.A.S.I. (Chartered Surveyor), House Property Manager, Chester City Council. The first page of this is available as an extract.

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

1972 : The Peter Osgood Boutique

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
Friday 9th June 1972
page 1

England and Chelsea footballer Peter Osgood has opened a boutique at Cricket-green, Mitcham.

And the Peter Osgood Boutique has been opened because Peter and his partner Bryan Couchman believe that the area is poorly served for girls who want clothes.

“If they want anything they have to go to Wimbledon or Croydon – both a long way. And we have stocks here as good as anything they can buy at either shopping centres,” said Bryan Couchman.

The Chelsea team train at Bishopsford-road Sports Ground, and there are many club supporters in the area.

And there was a full complement present when the two men opened for business on Friday.

“It’s very difficult for the plump and cuddly girls to get nice clothes these days but we are planning to keep a good stock of size 20 and 22 dresses in stock in nice modern styles,” said Mr Couchman.

During the summer months and when he isn’t training in the winter, Peter Osgood will serve in the shop. “He will even be serving on Saturday mornings before matches,” said his partner.

Peter Osgood (Fashions) was listed in the phone book between 1972 and 1975, the address was 325A London Road, which is in the parade of shops south of the Job Centre, next to the Burn Bullock.

1972 phone book entry

1972 phone book entry

Armfield Crescent

A curved road that runs from the London Road, north of the Mitcham Library, southwards to St Marks Road, with council housing built after the Second World War.

View of Armfield Crescent from Mainwaring Court, Paxton Court is on the left. Photo taken in 1968.

There were originally four blocks of flats, three on the east side and one on the west, housing in total approximately 200 families.

On the east side the blocks are named, from the London Road end, Elm Court, Mainwaring Court and Coningsby Court. The latter two are of the same design, in that they are mostly maisonettes with a downstairs of kitchen and living room with an upstairs of bedrooms and bathroom.

On the west side is Paxton Court which consists of single level flats only. All of these blocks had four or five storeys and so included lifts. The use of sloping tiled roofs served to hide the lift’s engine room from view.

Each flat had use of one shed, for bicycles and prams, which were grouped into rows at the back of the blocks. Paxton Court also had sheds in front of the block. A row of sheds that faced away from the flats were frequently vandalised and broken into, with their contents stolen.

Flats are numbered sequentially, and all except Paxton Court, have their own postcode.

Block Postcode Flat Numbers
Coningsby Court CR4 2JT 1 to 56
Elm Court CR4 2JU 1 to 47
Mainwaring Court CR4 2JW 1 to 56
Paxton Court CR4 2JY 1 to 27
Paxton Court CR4 2JZ 28 to 54

In addition there are eight houses, originally for old people, called Armfield Cottages, near the St Marks Road end. They have a postcode of CR4 2JJ.

A block of flats built around 2015 on the site of garages that were between Armfield Cottages and the playground was named Calico House and given the postcode of CR4 3FB.

The road is probably named from the Armfield family and their connection with the Potter and Moore farm near Figges Marsh. In 1859, Elizabeth, daughter of James Bridger, married John Armfield.

The housing site is also called Elm Nursery Estate, as it was originally a Mizen nursery. This name is preserved in a horse watering trough located in front of Coninsgby Court, at its southern end.

Photo taken 1st November 2017.

This council housing estate was developed in 1951/2. Flats were accessed via stairwells or lifts to communal balconies. In Mainwaring Court for example, the ground, second and fourth floors were in the main part of the block and had 12 flats each. On the ‘wings’ of the block were the ground, first and third floors.

Heating was by coal or coke fires in each flat, and a coal bunker was provided in the kitchen with access from the communal balcony. An example of the costs is shown from this extract from my mother’s diary, shortly after moving in to Mainwaring Court.

2nd January 1953, cost of living in a flat in Mainwaring Court

Rent was £1 13s. 10d, about 40% of the wages of £4 4s. Electricity cost £1 5s. 6d., gas (for cooking) 11s. 10d.

Kitchen sink in flat in Mainwaring Court. The coal bunker was under the draining board on the left. Photo taken c.1972

The blocks of flats on the east side of the road had grass areas at the back for children to play on. These were changed to numbered car parking bays, starting with Elm Court, in September 1974, as noted in my diary.

The bays were numbered sequentially from north, at the rear of Elm Court, to south, at the rear of Coningsby Court. As the numbers didn’t relate to flat numbers, e.g. there was one bay 20 and three flats numbered 20, this did cause some confusion with residents. I used two bays at one point, much to the irritation of my neighbours.

My Hillman Hunter estate in car parking bay 38, and my Singer Sunbeam estate plus Triumph TR62R motorcycle in bay 37. Photo taken in 1979.

Land to the east of between Armfield Crescent was kept for allotments, although later it was planned by Mitcham council to build a bypass road, the ‘Eastern Loop’ to run from the London Road around the centre of Mitcham. This didn’t happen, and in 1979 the land was cleared.

Northern section of allotment land behind Elm and Mainwaring Courts

Allotment land cleared between Mainwaring Court and Feltham Road.

Housing was built on this land from 1979.

View from 4th floor of Mainwaring Court of Feltham Road housing being built on former allotment land.

1979. View of housing being built on former allotment land behind Elm Court.

News Articles

From the Mitcham & Tooting Advertiser

3rd May, 1951

£180,505 borrowed by Mitcham Council over 60 years to build 103 flats and maisonettes on the Elm Nursery estate.

2nd August, 1951

Labour councillor Tom RUFF complains that the names chosen for the new blocks on the Elm Nursery estate have no relation to local history. He said that MIZEN would be better for Mainwaring Court and CAREY or CAREW for Coningsby Court. The POLE-CAREW family once owned land in Mitcham and Carew Road was named after them. The new flats were adjoining a road known locally as Carry Close, although it should be called Carey Close. Conservative councillor MINGAY said that the names chosen did have a connection with Mitcham.

See also Armfield Crescent Block Names.

8th September, 1951

Elm Nursery scheme will be completed next Spring”

About 20 families have moved in so far, into Elm Court first. The first block, Elm Court, has 40 3-bedroom flats and 7 2-bedroom flats. The second block, Mainwaring Court has 56 2-bedroom flats as does the third block Coningsby. The fourth block, Paxton, will probably have a high proportion of 3-bedroom flats.

Mr & Mrs D.M. O’KELLY were among the first tenants in Elm Court. Mr G.C.A. PANNEL, caretaker for the whole estate, also moved in.

The rents for 2-bedroom flats in Elm Court are £1 12s. 6d. and £1 17s. 6d. for the 3-bedroom flats.

The flats include special drying cupboards and electric water-heaters.