Tag Archives: Bigsby

Mitcham Rubber Company

Rubber factory that was on the south side of Morden Road, as shown in this 1953 OS map.

1953 OS map

1947 aerial photo, looking south, from Britain From Above

The business moved from Mitcham in 1963 and the factory site is now a trading estate.

According to a comment on the Mitcham History Group on Facebook:

it was a big local employer in the 1950s and called workers back to work with an air raid siren.

Also from Facebook, the Leyland Historical Society, in requesting any local knowledge of the Mitcham Rubber Company, said:

Mitcham Rubber Company started in 1916 as a subsidiary of the Leyland & Birmingham Rubber Company, part of the firm that produced latex products before being transferred up to Leyland in 1963

Before 1916, the site was used by W.T. Bigsby varnish manufacturers.

News Articles

Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer – Saturday 9th September 1916

LEYLAND AND BIRMINGHAM RUBBER COMPANY

Presiding at the annual meeting of Leyland and Birmingham Rubber Company, at Leyland, yesterday. Mr. Robert T. Byrne said the past year’s profits were £67,239 after providing for excess profit tax, and £27,311 was brought forward. A final dividend on the Ordinary Shares of 10 per cent, was proposed, making 15 per cent, for the twelve months, and carrying forward £25,429. They recieved notice from the Government that from September 1 the works at Leyland and Mayhill, Glasgow, would be controlled under the Munitions of War Act. If they were not controlled many workmen of military age would be taken from them, but they will not now stand such risk. The directors had taken over the Mitcham Rubber Company with a view of capturing a special class of trade which was almost entirely done before the war in England, France, and Russia by the German and Austrian manufacturers. The report was adopted, and Mr. J. T. Goodie was re-elected director.

Birmingham Daily Post – Thursday 19th September 1918

PURCHASE OF THE MITCHAM RUBBER COMPANY.

They would remember that extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders of the Mitcham Rubber Company was held on June 19 consider the advisability of purchasing the balance of shares in the Mitcham Rubber Company, and letter setting out firstly the reasons for doing so accompanied the notice calling that meeting. The shareholders present at that meeting unanimously decided to purchase the balance of shares, so that the Mitcham Rubber Company was now the absolute property of this company. He proceeded to speak of the branches home and abroad. The home branches – namely, London, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, and the Palatine Heel Company — had again, he was pleased to say, done exceedingly well; the result of the trading the Mary Hill Works, Glasgow, had been highly satisfactory, and reflected great credit on the management there. The results of the branches abroad — Johannesburg, Calcutta, and Buenos Ayres — were satisfactory, notwithstanding the great difficulties which had contended with in the way of freight, and especially regard providing their branches with the necessary stocks — their works, as they must be aware, having been mainly employed in turning out requirements for the Government,

Birmingham Daily Post – Thursday 26th September 1963

Leyland Rubber – a recovery Leyland and Birmingham Rubber reports a gentle recovery from last winter’s recession in Britain, and “for the moment there seems to be good reason to expect It to continue/” That, and the continued development of the South African company, and the transfer of Mitcham Rubber’s production to Leyland seem to augur well for 1963/4.


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

1911 Letter to Fire Brigade from WT Bigsby and Sons

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council, 27th June, 1911

Report of the No. 1 Fire Brigade Committee.

Present:

Mr. A. Mizen (Chairman)

Mr. G. H. Barson
Mr. E. Birch
Mr. W. M. Bland
Mr. J. R. Chart
Mr. G. J. Dale
Mr. A. Dendy
Mr. J. D. Drewett
Mr. J. M. Leather
Mr. H. Mount
Mr. W. H. Parslow
Rev. R. Richman

Meeting held 27th June, 1911

The Committee beg to report the receipt of a letter of thanks from Messrs. Bigsby & Sons for the services rendered by the Brigade:

Dear Captain Jenner,

I take this, the earliest opportunity after the Coronation holidays, of thanking you on behalf of our firm for the splendid efforts you made in preventing the spreading of the fire at our premises. It was due in a great measure to the fact that both your No. 1 and No. 2 companies have apparently been in the habit of fighting fires at Varnish Factories that no greater loss occurred, and that you were able to limit the fire to the building in which the fire originally broke out.

We must certainly compliment you on having a most efficient staff under your control. We think that the Insurance Companies who carry our insurance have much to thank you for, as had it not been for the efforts of your Brigades, the remaining building of the block which contained a gum stock of £4,000 to £5,000, and about 60,000 gallons varnish, would most certainly have caught fire and nothing then would have saved them.

We therefore beg you to convey on our behalf our thanks to your fire committee and to each individual member of your brigades, for their efforts in putting out the fire last Wednesday.

Faithfully yours,

W. T. Bigsby & Son,
per J. A. Bigsby

Details of the fire were reported in the Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 24 June 1911:

MITCHAM VARNISH WORKS ABLAZE.
Workman Burnt to Death.

A fire with fatal results broke out at W. T. Bigsby Sons’ varnish works, Morden-road, Mitcham, on Wednesday afternoon. At about 1.30 a man named Ebenezer Symes, aged 49, years, who had worked at Bigsby’s 30 years, was pouring oil into one the varnish vats, to prevent boiling over, when the varnish overflowed upon him, setting his clothes in flames. Some comrades hastened to his assistance, and attempted to extinguish the flames by means of hand pumps.

Meanwhile the building had caught on fire, and alarms had been raised. The Fire Brigades of Mitcham, Morden, Merton, Carshalton, Sutton, and Wallington were all in attendance, but the building was practically gutted, the damage exceeding £2,000.

Symes, who was horribly burnt, was at first thought be dead, but he was, in fact, alive, and was conveyed to the Croydon Hospital. Here, the unfortunate man passed away on Thursday morning.


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