Booklet published in New York in 1918 of products offered by W.J. Bush & Co., who had a factory in Batsworth Road, Mitcham.
From the Norwood News of Friday 29th June 1928, via the British Newspaper Archive:
PIGS STARVED TO DEATH.
`APPALLING CRUELTY’ AT MITCHAM.
STOKER SENT TO PRISON.
” The evidence is quite clear. You have been guilty of most appalling cruelty. All the magistrates are agreed that they never heard a more revolting case. You will have to go to hard labour for six weeks.”
Sir Arthur Spurgeon, chairman of the Croydon County Bench, made these remarks on Wednesday to XXXX, of 249, Church-road, Mitcham, who was summoned on four informations for, being the owner of ten pigs, he permitted and caused unnecessary suffering to them by unreasonably omitting to supply them with food and water at Batsworth-road Allotment Grounds on May 12.
Mr. E. B. Knight, prosecuting, said defendant was employed at the Mitcham Gas Works as a stoker, at a salary of £4 13s. 6d. per week. About three years ago he built some pig sties on his allotment plot at Batsworth-road, and began keeping pigs. On May 12, the sties were inspected by Mr. Rabbetts, the Council’s Nuisance Inspector, who found ten pigs in an absolutely starving condition. In addition, there were the remains of three other pigs which had died, or been killed, and the remains had been eaten by the other pigs.
LEGS PARTLY EATEN.
In one sty there were a sow and two small pigs, and the carcase of a small pig with the back legs partly eaten away, and the skin and remains of another pig. There were six small pigs in the second sty, and the bones of another. In the third sty there was one sow. There should have been 14 pigs altogether. The carcases of three were there, but where the fourth was they did not know.
The great probability was that no food or water had been given to the pigs for about three weeks. They had been shockingly neglected. In the tub or tank there were potato peelings covered with scum not fit for pigs or anything else.
” CALLOUS INDIFFERENCE.”
” It is difficult to understand,” added Mr. Knight, “how anyone could let these pigs starve to death in this unaccountable way. The whole of the stock had to be destroyed. Inspector Scott saw defendant, who told him that, some soap had got into the wash and given the pigs scaldings, which had upset them. A more callous indifference to the suffering of animals could hardly be conceived. When Inspector Scott asked defendant when he had last brought food, the reply was, “I do not know. I have been saving the wash from the house to save expense.”
The particulars given by Mr. Knight as to the condition of the pigs were substantiated by Mr. C. E. Rabbetts, chief sanitary inspector for Mitcham U.D. Council.
Inspector Scott also corroborated.
” 3 WEEKS WITHOUT FOOD.”
Mr. Richard Herbert Evans, a veterinary surgeon, said the pigs had been without food or water for quite three weeks. It was possible for the pigs to have killed the weak ones and eaten their carcases. The entire stock were in too weak and emaciated a condition to have been fit for human consumption, and would never have recovered. The five months’ old pigs, which should have weighed about 85 lbs., were only 20 lbs.; and the seven months, which should have weighed about 120 lbs., were only 30 lbs. The animals must have endured intense suffering.
Defendant said he could only put it down to a long run of bad luck, and to the fact he had been feeling very unwell. He had sustained big losses with pigkeeping, and became so depressed and worried that he did not know what be was doing. He was vary sorry.
On hearing the sentence, defendant exclaimed, ” I hope you will save me from prison for the sake of my wife and children.”
Sir Arthur: You should have thought of that before.
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 15th January, 1960, page 1.
Explosion hurls vat top through roof of factory
ACID IS SHOWERED OVER HOMES
And two boys at play are covered
Acid showered over homes in the Batsworth Road, Mitcham, area on Friday after an explosion in a factory nearby.
The explosion hurled the top of a vat through the factory roof. A stream of acid followed and firemen were called to hose it from homes and the street.
The factory is W.J. Bush, synthetic chemists, Batsworth Road, scene of an explosion in 1933 whiched wrecked and damaged nearby homes, and killed a child. People in the neighbourhood have never forgotten it.
Friday’s explosion remains a mystery. The fac†ory would make no comment.
It happened in the evening as Mr Albert Bowdery, who lives nearby, went to buy some tobacco.
“I heard the bang and thought at first that a tower was going to fall, then I saw something rush through the roof.
“I hurried back indoors and called to my daughter-in-law: ‘Quick, the children.’ We ran with them into the road. It would not take much to make this old building collapse.”
Mr Bowdery’s daughter-in-law Violet, has two young children – John and Linda.
Mr Bowdery said: “The explosion reminded people of the 1933 incident. They are always a bit worried about the factory.
“We don’t know what goes on there.”
The shop of greengrocer Mrs L. Langridge was covered in a “sort of white wash.”
“We are still cleaning up. A pair of my overalls are ruined. We could not let the children play outside.”
A nearby butcher, Mr J. Stopher, said: “The sanitary people inspected my goods, and, to be on the safe side, I have handed over a quantity of lamb, although it was not contaminated as far as we can tell. The damage was done to the outside of my shop.”
An elderly painter said: “We worry about the factory because many of us remember the tragedy of 1933.”
Soon after the explosion Michael Fullick and his brother Norman went out to play. They became covered in the acid.
“When we found out we gave them baths immediately,” said mr F. Fullick, licensee of the Bath Tavern.
Firemen were given rubber gloves when they arrived at the factory. A works chemist gave them advice on how to deal with the spilt sulphuric acid.
Show Cards, etc.
Borough of Mitcham List of Factories,
Town Clerk’s Department,
Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT
Listed in the 1930 Commercial Directory:
Permo Co. Ltd. (The), show card mfrs. Belgrave rd. T A ” Permo ; ” T N 2933
Company was registered 29th May, 1926, directors were:
Mr. H.G. Thompson, The Elms, Peckham Rye Park
Mr. H.L. Thompson, Ashbourne, Netherley Road, Honor Oak
Mr. L.F.B. Thompson, The Elms, Peckham Rye Park
to take over the business of manfacturers of showcards and advertising novelties.
Source: Croydon Advertiser, 5th June 1926.
Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
A terrace of houses built near the crossroads of two field paths. One path went from the parish church, north-westerly across the fields; the other ran east to west along Fox’s Path.
This OS map of 1866 shows where these two paths met, and, while Rock Terrace is not actually named, the buildings outlined in red may well be it.
Later, the terrace was extended and the road was named Belgrave Road, with the path leading to the church being called Belgrave Walk.
Earliest reference found so far in the newspaper archives is for an auction of 9 houses in Rock Terrace.
Freehold ground-rent of £21 per annum, arising from nine houses in Rock-terrace, Mitcham — £115.
Source: Morning Advertiser – Wednesday 29 August 1866 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)
This 1910 map shows the outline of houses in Belgrave Road. Given that Batsworth Road was laid on the original path from Fox’s Path, then the 9 houses referred to in the auction may well have been the whole terrace.
- 1873 : Guy Fawkes Orgies
- 1876 : A Drunken Woman
- 1879 : Alleged Assault
- 1879 : Coffee and Club Room
- 1879 : 14 days in jail for stealing a hayfork
A major event was the Explosion of 1933.
King George V Silver Jubilee Celebrations in 1935
Merton Memories Photos
A local landmark in Batsworth Road, off Church Road, Mitcham. It is possible it may have been built in mid 19th century. The land was sold to London Borough of Merton in late 1960s, and the area is now occupied by a trading estate.
The firm of Donald Macpherson occupied the site until 1969, and the chimney had their brand ‘Foochow’ in letters running down the side of the chimney. Macpherson was started in 1884 as a paint, varnish and Chinese lacquer business, based in Manchester. The company’s telegram address was ‘Foochow, Manchester’.
Macphersons Trade Paints became part of the Crown Paints Group in 2008.
The chimney was first mentioned in Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 17 August 1889 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)
Fatal Fall from a Chimney.
—An inquest was held at the Mortuary on Saturday last before Mr. R. D. Muir, deputy coroner, and a jury, concerning the death of Thomas H. Haslam, 25, Cow Cross-street, St. Luke’s, an engineer’s fitter. It appeared that on the previous Thursday the deceased, with a labourer, was sent to some repairs to what is known the “Cock” chimney at a varnish factory in Church-lane, and, having engaged lodgings at 15, Holmwood-road, proceeded to inspect the shaft.
Having ascended to some considerable height, deceased by some means lost his hold and fell with great force to the bottom.
Medical aid was summoned, and the man removed to his lodgings, where expired the same night.
The jury having viewed the body and having heard the medical and other evidence, and the Deputy-Coroner very carefully summed up, a verdict of “Accidental Death” was returned.
Donald Macpherson co. Ltd., Cock Chimney Works, Mitcham (paint manufacturers), require the following clerical staff: 2 Invoice Clerks. Order Clerks, Shorthand-Typists, Telephone Operator; good post-war prospects, possibility of advancement. Please reply to the above address or telephone for appointment, Mitcham 2963.
Source: Surrey Advertiser – Saturday 13 January 1945 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)
From the phone book
In the 1896 street directory, listed as John Jacob Schweizer, varnish manufacturer.
From the minutes of the
Town Planning and Development Committee
31st October 1968
1266. COCK CHIMNEY WORKS, BATSWORTH ROAD, MITCHAM
– The Borough Surveyor reported that the Cock Chimney Works, which occupied four detached sites in Batsworth Road and Chapel Road comprising a total area of approximately 1.56 acres, had been offered for sale to the Council. He explained that the works were situated in an area allocated primarily for industrial use in the Initial Development Plan, but which had been re-allocated primarily for residential use in the First Review of the Plan now before the Minister of Housing and Local Government. He reported: —
(i) that the works were within an area at present being studied with a view to environmental improvement and adjoined other property which had been purchased by the Council, or its predecessors. for ultimate redevelopment for residential purposes;
(ii) that, to implement planning objectives in the area, the acquisition of the works had to be firstly considered from a town planning point of view and secondly as a prospective housing site; and
(iii) upon the estimated cost of acquiring other properties in the neighbourhood to form a viable site for residential redevelopment and on the likely housing gain which would be achieved.
Resolved – That the Borough Surveyor be authorised to negotiate terms for the purchase of the Cock Chimney Works and requested to report further to a subsequent meeting.
Source: Minutes of Proceedings of the Council and committees, London Borough of Merton, Volume 5 1968-69, page 806
Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Borough Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.