Tag Archives: 1973

Sapper Harold H. Taylor

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th September, 1944

Sapper Killed in France

Mitcham Newsagent for Fourteen Years

Sapper Harold H. Taylor (aged 41), of the Royal Engineers, who for fourteen years was a newsagent in London-road, Mitcham, was killed in action in France on September 10. His wife, who is living in Graham-road, received a letter from her husband written two days before his death.

Sapper Tayor joined the Army two years ago, and went to France about ten days after D-Day. He brought his family from Woodford to Mitcham fourteen years ago. There are four children.

His will gives his residence as 103 London Road, presumably above the newsagents shop.

Harold Henry TAYLOR of 103 London-road Mitcham Surrey died 10 September 1944 on war service. Administration Llandudno 30 January to Violet Grace May Taylor widow. Effects £173 16s. 9d.

Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

The 1939 Register shows four occupants at this address:
Harold H. Taylor, born 4th April 1903, newsagent shop keeper
Violet G.M. Taylor, born 29th May, 1903, housewife (surname changed to Spall 13th September 1948)
Violet G. Taylor, born 3rd April 1927, at school
Henry P. Taylor, born 8th April 1937, under school age

1953 OS map

1973 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library

This clip from 1973 shows the newsagents at 103 on the left, the bicycle shop is no. 105, and the pub on the right, the Gardeners Arms, is no. 107.

It was a newsagent until possibly the 1980s. In 2019 the building still exists, but is part of the solicitors Pruveneers LLP, at 103-105 London Road.

From the Commonwealth War Grave Commission

Sapper
TAYLOR, HAROLD HENRY

Service Number 14243886

Died 10/09/1944

Aged 41

Royal Engineers

Son of Henry Thomas Taylor and Mary Jane Taylor; husband of Violet Grace May Taylor, of Forest Gate, Essex.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Clarendon Preparatory School, Mitcham Park

Private school that was at 17 Mitcham Park until 1973.

From the Official Guide to Mitcham in 1938:

Clarendon Preparatory School with Kindergarten is situated in the particularly healthy suburb at 17 Mitcham Park, Mitcham, within easy reach of railway stations and buses.

The house is large, bright and airy and has a nice garden. The School
provides a modern, thorough education for girls and boys from 4 to 16 years, with preparation for Higher Examinations. The health capabilities of every pupil are carefully studied. The School Staff are child lovers and keen pyschologists.

Curriculum of the School includes Religious Knowledge, English Language,
Literature and Composition, History, Geography, Arithmetic, Drawing, Physical Training and Tennis.

One of the features of the School has been the Dramatic, Art and Elocution Tuition open to girls and boys from 4 to 16 years at a very moderate fee. The pupils of the School derive great pleasure from these courses and public concerts are given during the year.

There is also a very successful Dancing Class, Ballroom and Musical Comedy being given.

ad from the 1938 Official Guide to Mitcham

The school closed at the end of 1973 due to the ill health of the headmistress, as told in this article from the 21st December 1973 issue of the Mitcham News & Mercury:

Goodbye Mrs Chips –
head retires and her
school closes too

It’s goodbye Mrs Chips and the end of an educational era with going home time for good at Clarendon, Mitcham’s only private school.

Mrs Nellie Barker, who has reigned for 37 years as headmistress, closed the school last week. She is retiring and selling the building in Mitcham Park.

“I honestly think it would be very difficult to sell it as a school. I am very sad about it but times have changed. I have been ill and my husband has wanted me to give it up for a long time. But I couldn’t, it had become part of my life, but now I really mist,: she said.

Mrs Barker took over Clarendon in 1936 after first helping out and then being asked to become its headmistress. But it was a private school for the education of the children of Mitcham’s business and professional families long before then.

And now, as the surrounding villas in Mitcham Park have become slightly less exclusive and slightly more converted into flats, Clarendon too has fallen to the onslaught of progress.

The school’s 70 children have now gone to other private schools or local state schools.

“Many of our parents are very upset about this. There are still many parents who value our way of teaching where the emphasis is on learning and which is not afraid of discipline when necessary, she said.

“I don’t think any of my children could have held my belief in discipline against me because when they have left and grown up they often come and see me. And many have sent their own children along.

“At times I have had school inspectors here who have told me that there should be allowed more time for play. But I believe in learning – the children were allowed time for play but if modern day educationalists had their way they would be playing all day!”

Mrs Barker is to go and live in Cheam and is to spend more time on her hobby – writing children’s plays.

Leo’s Ice Cream

Leo’s Ice Cream bar was at number 317 London Road, next to the King’s Head pub. It was part of a block, numbered 317 to 321. Eric Montague said in his Mitcham Histories: 4 Lower Mitcham, page 130, that the block was demolished in 1977-80 and replaced by a building called Boundary House. Currently, in 2018, this houses the Job Centre.

Leo’s Cafe, was run by Lionel (Leo) Dimashio. He also had a fleet of ice cream vans, see the 1959 news item below.

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

1973 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1960 Leos Cafe

1960 Clip from Merton Memories photo 51737 Copyright London Borough of Merton

1953 OS map


The following family background is from a family tree on Ancestry.com by kind permission of Leo’s father-in-law’s granddaughter, who resides in Australia.

When Tommaso Perrotta arrived in the UK from Italy, he changed his name to Thomas Perrott. It was he who started the ice cream business. When his daughter Adelina married Lionello DiMascio in 1931, Thomas and Lionello went into business together and were life-long friends. Lionello changed his surname to Dimashio, and used Leo as his first name. Leo was born in Lanarkshire in 1905, and died in Italy in 1982, aged 76.

Leo Dimashio and his wife Adelina in March 1931

From the Norwood News, 9th March 1962

Miss Adelia Lucia Dimashio, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. Dimashio, London Road, Mitcham, was married to Terence John O’Leary, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. O’Leary, Tavistock Crescent, Mitcham, at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul, Mitcham, on Thursday last week. Carrying a bouquet of white roses and lilies of the valley, the bride wore a full-length gown of silk and Nottingham lace. She wore a pearl coronet with a silk tulle veil. Matron of honour was Mrs. Sylvia Ferrari, the bride’s sister. She wore a chiffon dress and coat. Bridesmaids, Miss Sandra Dimashio and Christina Ferritto wore pink knee-length dresses with matching shoes and hats. They carried bouquets of spring flowers. Youngest members at the wedding were Miss Carla Dimashio (aged four) and Angela Carolla. They wore lavender organza dresses and carried posies of spring flowers. Mr. Michael O’Leary was the best man.


News Articles

Chime gentlemen please – but do it quietly

THE battle of the ice cream chimes, which has been noisily raging for months in local estates, is likely to be a much quieter one — thanks partly to a Mitcham man.

The Ice Cream Alliance, to which about 95 per cent of Britain’s ice cream vendors belong, have issued a code of conduct which should lessen the complaints about musical vans — if
it is obeyed.

Mr. L. Dimashio, London Road, Mitcham, owner of a milk bar and a fleet of ice cream vans,
helped to formulate the code. He is a former president of the Ice Cream Alliance.
Now a member of the executive council, he said: “Some time ago we foresaw the annoyance that would be caused if the chimes caught on. But we did not reckon on it happening so fast.”

Most complaints about the chimes have been from local housing estates — particularly
Glebe Estate and Pollards Hill.

Mr. M. Hedden, Glebe Court Tenants’ Association official said:
“ Although it is winter there has been no real improvement as far as the noise of the chimes is
concerned.

“ But it is in the summer when we really notice it. Then about five different vendors practically race round the estate.

Eldorado

“I did not know the Alliance existed. In the event of further complaints I shall certainly con-
sider writing to them.”

The company who have come in for most complaints at the Glebe Estate are Eldorado Ltd — NOT members of the Alliance. But a spokesman said: “ We are members of another organisation which is preparing its own code of conduct.”

The Alliance code of conduct says:

Chimes or similar mechanism should be kept at a minimum after 7 p.m. They must be sounded while the vehicle is on the move and at not more than five-minute intervals.

The volume should not be excessive. Tunes should be limited to a few bars.

Horns or bells should be sounded only at a few moments each time.

Particular stress is made on not annoying hospitals, night workers and nursing homes.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 30th January, 1959, page 1.


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

1973 : News article on The Cricketers pub

In 1973, the Mitcham News & Mercury ran a series of articles on local pubs. Here is their report on The Cricketers, published on 16th November 1973:

Landlord Mr Charles Cromack with some of the Inn’s famous cricket pictures.

WARTIME PHOENIX BECAME TODAY’S CRICKETERS

THE worst moment for the Cricketers in Mitcham’s Cricket Green was when they had to decide whether to blow up the pub or the Vestry Hall.

It happened during the war when, with the compliments of the German air force, a land mine dropped between those two most important buildings in Mitcham.

The mine didn’t go off right away and the locals had time to put up a blast shield but, as any ex-air warden knows, there’s no point in setting it up on both sides of the bomb – there has to be somewhere for the blast to go.

There are still people in Mitcham who remember the arguments that raged over which building would be added to the list of bomb sites in the area. And there are some who reckon they made the wrong choice in saving the Vestry Hall.

Bar in store

But, finally, the bomb went off and that made way for the Cricketers as it is today. It was rebuilt about 15 years ago – just as the regulars were getting used to the bottle store behind the pub.

But whatever anyone says about the loss of the old pub which had graced the Cricket Green since the late 1700s, the new Cricketers is a worthy successor.

It has been going long enough not to have that fiercely modern look of the new or “done up” pub yet, it’s not so old as to be plain uncomfortable. And with the atmosphere it inherits from its cricketing tradition, it emerges, rightfully as a well-known pub of character.

The first thing you notice in the lounge bar are the dozens of photographs of cricketing “greats”. A long line of former county players stare down slightly disapprovingly as the customers line up at the bar and the whole of one wall is given over to a colour photograph of Mitcham playing Streatham on the cricket green. On the way to the gents there is a collection of cartoons depicting the rules of cricket.

But, then, it’s only right that the pub should hang on to some of its history – after all, for years it was used as the pavilion.

Atmosphere of a different kind is provided by the licensee, Charles Cromack. He’s an enormous man, given largely to blue suits and yacht club ties, who seems to spend most of his time on the outside of the bar where he calls for drinks on the house as if the stuff was still a penny a pint.

With him is his wife, Joan, with her pewter goblet from the London Victuallers Golfing Association. Together they make the ideal couple to run a pub where businessmen come in to unwind.

They come from the executive floors on the local industrial estates and from the many offices fronting the cricket green. Dozens of them make the daily trek to the pub where they set about a lager, a laugh and lunch.

Overseas representative for Downs Bros of Church Path, Mr. Richard Dickinson, said: “We mostly come here for the beer – after all it is real beer, from the wood. But then there’s the food as well. I think the Cricketers serves real pub food and, for that, it’s one of the best in the area.”

Down’s Transport manager, Mr. Peter Galtrey was there too: “I like to eat in the bar as a rule but people entertaining clients can go in the restaurant upstairs. Anyway, you generally find the lunches here are pretty good.”

And so they are, Charles Cromack admits: “I suppose the food here is as important as the drink. Our restaurant does very well.”

The restaurant is really a small meeting room cosily decorated with a red colour scheme and complete with bar and barmaid. It is perhaps too small, giving the impression of a country tea shop but there’s a good meal to be had there with melon and 8oz. steak, mushrooms, tomatoes, peas and potatoes, then a cheese board and coffee at £1.58p.

For those who prefer to eat in the bar, a good helping of real home-made steak, kidney and mushroom pie comes at 27p and chips and peas at 7p a portion.

Penny bonus

A ham sandwich costs 18p and arrives with a knife.

Service is good and quick, and very reasonable considering there always seem to be about five people milling around behind the bar. Barmaid Irene Hogg, the pub’s 53-years-old heart-throb, dishes out a warm wlcome and refers to everyone under 90 as “young man.”

A bonus heart-throb is 25-years-old Penny Balsom, a very shapely clerk at the borough’s health department in the Vestry Hall. All eyes swivel towards the door when she walks in with an absurdly unintentional sex appeal.

The lunching businessmen were most flattering in their comments but none of them wanted to be quoted: “Wouldn’t want the wife to see it, old man . . . ”

Auburn-haired Penny just opened her eyes very, very wide and said: “I never knew I was any sort of a mascot or anything. I just come here because it’s handy at lunch time and I like the people.”

There was an immediate murmur of approval at these words.

Finding out why the regulars in the public bar liked the Cricketers was more difficult. Almost to a man they said it was the lousiest pub in Mitcham, and Jim Goodsell added that the governor wasn’t too sociable in the “public”. Why not go somewhere else then?

“Because he comes here,” he said and pointed to his brother Fred.

Argument

Fred Goodsell thought for a moment, hesitated over saying he was only there because Jim was there, and finished up with: “You can always find a good argument in here.”

Immediately he had one. New faces popped up to say it was the only place you could get decent beer while others came to play crib or darts.

Certainly none of them could have been attracted by the bar itself. It seems to have missed out on all the effort that produced all those cricketers in the lounge. Instead there is dark green wallpaper, peeling at the edges and an obscene sort of trough at the foot of the bar which catches cigarette ends.

But there’s a lot to make up for it. Just outside the public bar is a rose garden and, although there’s plenty of traffic noise, it’s a real suntrap in the summer.

Strangely enough, not many people seem to know about this, most of them sit out in front of the pub where they can rest their feet on the bumpers of cars in the car park and catch glimpses of the cricket green through the traffic.

The Cricketers isn’t a big pub so there’s no room for bar billiards or any of the more traditional pub games but there’s a flourishing darts club and a football team; every year there’s a coach outing to the races at Goodwood.

The public bar has a TV and in both bars are one-arm bandits which pay out a ceiling of 10p in cash and the rest in tokens.

There is no juke-box – which gives the lads in the public bar something to moan about; but there is piped music on tape.

Mild, disappearing from most pubs these days, is still on draught at the Cricketers; bitter comes from the wood as well. There’s draught Guinness, draught lager and Worthington “White Shield”, as well.

Gardeners Arms Pub Sign

The Gardeners Arms pub, 107 London Road, Mitcham, had a heraldic style sign hanging from a post in the centre of the wall on the upper floor. In November 2017, the sign couldn’t be found by the new landlord.

There are three photographs on Merton Memories, and none show a sign attached, for example, this one from 1989:

Clip from Merton Memories photo Mit_21_11-2 copyright London Borough of Merton.

This undated black an white photo shows flower baskets hanging from the wall:

Clip from Merton Memories photo Mit_21_11-1 copyright London Borough of Merton.

The late Eric Montague, of the Merton Historical Society, took a slide of 109 & 111 London Road in 1966, and this included the pub, which has no sign.

A 1973 photo on the Collage collection also doesn’t show the sign:

1973

The only photograph found so far showing the sign is from Google Street View, from 2008:-

The sign is blurred when zooming in, but what can be seen is shield with a blue background, a white chevron with two objects above and three or more below. The shield has two supporters, one of which may be a gardener. The Surrey Coats of Arms, online at the Surrey History centre website, have been searched for Mitcham arms, and none of these have a field of blue with a white chevron.

Street View of 2012 shows no sign:

2012

1973 Elton John visits Pye record factory

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 30th November, 1973.

Elton John visited the Pye record factory on Monday 26th November, 1973.

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road … hello Western Road, Mitcham.” This could have been the theme of a visit made by the top pop star Elton John when he visited the Pye Factory, Western-road, Mitcham on Monday and watched some of his discs being pressed. Pictured with him is supervisor Mr Ken Spink.

R.A. Stephen & Co., Ltd.

120/126 Lavender Avenue

Instrument Makers
Light Engineers

As listed in the 1963 Borough of Mitcham List of Factories.
Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT

Ad from 1973 gives address as Miles Road:

WOMEN REQUIRED
FOR
MACHINE & ASSEMBLY WORK
40 hr. week. Starting at £17.30, plus time keeping bonus.
Long service pay. Canteen facilities. Sick pay.
R. A. STEPHEN & CO. LTD., Miles Road, Mitcham, Surrey.
Telephone: 01-648-1668.