Tag Archives: Armfield

Mrs G.E. Armfield

From the Mitcham Advertiser, 28th November, 1947

Lavender Days Recalled

DEATH OF MRS. G. E. ARMFIELD

The funeral took place at Mitcham of Mrs. Gertrude Elizabeth Armfield, aged 82, formerly a prominent resident of Mitcham, who died at Dartford.

She was a daughter of one of the best known Lords of the Manor of Mitcham, Mr. James Bridger, celebrated in Victorian times as a lavender grower and the owner of one of the “physic gardens” by which the village of Mitcham aided the medical faculty of those days. His farm spread from behind the “Swan” public house in London Road to Tooting Junction.

Lavender Avenue and Lavender Grove on the Borough Council housing estate keep the public in mind of the rural glories and industries of the past.

The late County Councillor J. D. Drewett wrote in “Old Mitcham”: “Mitcham lavender and peppermint oils had a world-wide reputation. The largest was at Messrs. Bridger’s, next to the Swan Inn, which remained in operation till the revolution in cultivation occurred in Mitcham. Smaller distilleries were at Tamworth Farm, at Beddington Corner and Sutton . . . The Manor House (near the ‘Swan’) occupied by Mr. Bridger stood well back from the road, and was always redolent of peppermint and lavender essences emanating from the still-rooms actually inside the house. It was the stopping place for coaches to Epsom races and horses were changed there.”

LOVE AND LAVENDER

Opposite the Manor House was “The Chestnuts”, the residence of the Armfield family, one of the many well-to-do families that found pleasure in living in the Mitcham of half a century and more ago. “The Chestnuts,” now a block of flats at the corner of Locks Lane, was then a mansion of Georgian type completely isolated in its own extensive grounds, and Locks Lane, a real lane, bounded the southern side of the grounds. Graham Road and all about there was a part of the estate.

Miss Bridger and Mr. Frederick Armfield fell in love and soon after their marriage they left this district. In June, 1908. Mr. Armfield died at the age of 47. He was buried in Mitcham Parish churchyard.

GIFT TO PARISH CHURCH

In 1937 Mrs. Armfield visited Mitcham to present to the vicar (then the Rev. C. Aubrey Finch) a silver communion cup and paten for use in the church. It was inscribed, “In memory of the Bridger and Armfield families, June, 1937.” Both families were ardent supporters of the Parish Church. Mr. Bridger was one of the wardens for many years. The funeral service for Mrs. Armfield was conducted by the Rev. G. Lubbock, Vicar of Mitcham.

The Chestnuts is at what became known as Renshaws Corner.


In the Index of Wills and Administrations of 26th March 1947, she left £1,905 9s. 2d. to Dorothy Kathleen Atlee, spinster. In 2015 values, this amount is around £75,000.

Source: Ancestry


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

“WHY CALL NEW FLATS MAINWARING COURT?”
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

“200 FAMILIES IN NEW FLATS
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.