Tag Archives: Carshalton Road

Gunsite

An area of Mitcham Common that is south of the Mitcham Junction tramstop and railway station, east of the Carshalton Road, and is bounded on its eastern edge by the railway line between Mitcham Junction and Hackbridge stations, and on its southern edge by the scaffolding yards at the rear of the Corporation Cottages.

The area is called the Gunsite after its use during WW2 as an anti-aircraft installation, as shown on this 1955 OS map:

1955 OS map

This photo shows what remained of the site around 1961. The view is towards the west and the houses of Carshalton Road can be seen in the background.

c.1961 photo of the Gun site, where children often played. From Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-2

Photo taken around 1961 of the Gunsite. The houses in the background are on Carshalton Road. Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-1

The Gunsite was demolished in 1962/3.

Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th July 1962.

At last
—Gunsite
is to go

ONE of Mitcham’s biggest eye-sores, the Gun Site, Carshalton Road, Mitcham, is at last going to be cleared . . . at a cost of about £13,000.

Work on clearing the site is expected to start in about two months’ time.
The Ministry have approved a tender of £10,800 submitted to them from the Conservators and have further agreed to bear the cost of replacing trees on the site.

WELCOMED

A further cost of £2,000 fees will be included in the work.

This news is welcomed not only by Mitcham Common Conservators but by Mitcham Council and the public.

The Gun Site is one of the few remaining war relics in Mitcham and local people have been pressing for years to clear it.

The conservators hope to replace it with a grass landscape with trees.

Demolition of buildings on the Gunsite, around 1962/3. In the background can be seen a signal at Mitcham Junction Railway Station, and part of the Mitcham Golf Club building. Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mitcham_War_5-3

Currently, in 2020, the area shows no sign of its wartime use.

Information Board at the southern entrance to the Gunsite. Photo taken 22nd May 2020.

This board has no date and doesn’t mention the WW2 use of the area, however on the Conservator’s website, suggested walk no. 2, ‘Between The Tramstops’ (pdf) says:

… the area is known as the Gunsite because six anti-aircraft guns were stationed here during the second world war. The troop quarters were still present in the mid-1950s when they were used to house local people while new estates were being built in Mitcham.

The text on the info board:

Mitcham Common is a 180 site of Metropolitan Importance for nature conservation that is one of the most interesting and varied open spaces in south London. It supports a range of habitat types which include secondary woodland and scrub, ponds and other wetland features, together with large tracks of natural grassland and smaller parcels of the regionally important acid grassland and heathland habitats. Together these are home for a vast array of plants and animals many of which are locally rare. In order to maintain this biodiversity the Common requires active management which is undertaken by full-time staff assisted by local volunteers.

The Common is managed and regulated by the Mitcham Common Conservators who are a statutory corporation empowered under the Metropolitan Commons (Mitcham) Supplemental Act 1891.

For further information about the common or the conservatory contact :

The Wardens Office
Mill House Ecology Centre
Windmill Road
Mitcham
Surrey CR4 1HT
Tel: 020 8288 0453

Or visit: www.mitchamcommon.org

Mitcham Common is part of what is to become the Wandle Valley Country Park, and area of some 500 hectares of Metropolitan Open Space. the Park includes Beddington Park to the south, Beddington Farmlands landfill site and Thames Water Sewage Worksin the centre and the Common to the north. Work has already begun to develop the Park, ahead of the Beddington Farmlands site becoming available for open space in the future.

Note that the Metropolitan Commons (Mitcham) Supplemental Act 1891 is available to view on the Parliamentary Archives website.

News Items

Norwood News – Friday 06 January 1956

Gun-site families to change huts

The regrouping of families living at the gun site in Carshalton-road, near Mitcham Junction, will cost £1,000. The War Office, who want to clear up part of the site, have asked that the families should move into huts on the north side of the entrance road to the site. The condition of the huts the, people will move into is poor, say Mitcham Council. It is the conversion of the huts which will cost the money. Mitcham have agreed to the proposal on condition that the Ministry of Housing pay the cost of conversion.

Memories

Discussion on the Facebook Mitcham History Group led to these memories being recalled:

Carole said

… dad used to talk about the house opposite that had had its roof damaged and repaired so many times that they had V for victory in morse code in the tiles on the roof. Sadly, it was removed when re-roofed.

Eddie said

Happy memories as a kid playing there.

Isabella said

I was born on the gun site in 1947, lived there until 1954. I had a fantastic childhood growing up there.

Pat said

My brothers used to play there.

One night the whole of Pollards was out till 9pm looking for one of them ( he’d got carried away playing & forgot the time).

Another time my mum was cleaning under his bed & found a tin with hand grenades & bullets in it….she went with him to the police station and they had to have them blown up by the army. To say we’re lucky to be alive, is an understatement.

Terence said

I was born there in the old mess hut

Photos

Photo taken from a bench near the centre of the Gunsite area, looking west towards the Carshalton Road. Photo taken 18th May 2020.

One of the oak trees in the wooded area at the south eastern corner of the Gunsite. Photo taken 18th May 2020.


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

Victory Day Parties

Victory Day Street parties – from Mitcham News & Mercury, May and June 1945

Almond Way
Bordergate
Bramcote Avenue
Caithness Road
Biggin Avenue and Camomile Avenue
Carshalton Road
Dalton Avenue
Dearn Gardens
Deer Park Gardens
Fernlea Road
Lavender Avenue
Love Lane
Manship Road
New Barnes Road
Pear Tree Close
Raleigh Gardens
Rodney Road
Steers Mead
Tamworth Lane

Almond Way

Almond Way

Biggin Avenue and Camomile Avenue

Biggin Avenue and Camomile Avenue had a joint party. These photos were kindly provided by Alison via the Mitcham History Facebook Group.

Biggin Avenue and Camomile Avenue

Biggin Avenue and Camomile Avenue

Outside no. 19, Biggin Avenue

Bordergate

Bordergate

Bramcote Avenue

Bramcote Avenue

Caithness Road

Caithness Road

Carshalton Road

Carshalton Road

Dalton Avenue

Dalton Avenue – photo kindly provided by Debbie, via the Mitcham History Facebook group.

Dearn Gardens

Dearn Gardens

Deer Park Gardens

Deer Park Gardens

Fernlea Road

Fernlea Road

Lavender Avenue

Lavender Avenue

Love Lane

Love Lane

Manship Road

Manship Road

New Barnes Road

New Barnes Road

Pear Tree Close

Pear Tree Close

Raleigh Gardens

Raleigh Gardens

Rodney Road

Rodney Road

Steers Mead

Steers Mead

Tamworth Lane

Tamworth Lane

Caesar’s Walk

Road that runs south westerly from Cranmer Road to the footpath alongside the tram line. On this 1932 OS map, the footpath is shown as Tramway Path.

1932 OS map

Road sign at corner of Caesars Walk and Cranmer Road. The Wilson Hospital can be seen in the background.

The name of the road refers to Sir Julius Caesar Adelmere who, it was believed, had a mansion on the site where the Wilson Hospital is now. In 1598 he entertained Queen Elizabeth I. From this the names of the roads off of Caesars Walk are related to that monarch.

However, Eric Montague, in his book Mitcham Histories:11 The Cranmers, The Canons and Park Place, page 70, says that local records indicate that Sir Julius’s residence was actually south of the Burn Bullock, on the London Road.

Sir Isaac Wilson had bought in 1926 the Cranmers and surrounding land that stretched across the South London and Sutton railway line to the junction of Cranmer Road/Willow Lane with Carshalton Road. He built the eponymous hospital, which opened in 1928, as well as the Garden Village. In between the two he developed Caesars Walk, Burghley Place, Cecil Place, Walsingham Road and Hatton Gardens.

Ad for number 29, on the corner with Walsingham Road, from the Norwood News – Friday 27th October 1933

MITCHAM COMMON

(7 mins, Mitcham Junction Station, 20 mins, Town); semi-detached freehold house; built 6 years; garage; 3 bed, 2 reception,bathroom. kitchenette; gas, e. l., hot water; re-decorated; excellent condition; £650. – Owner, 29, Caesars-walk. Mitcham.


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

Carshalton Road

Road that is the start of the A237 and runs south from the junction with Commonside West, Cedars Avenue and Croydon Road, heading towards Carshalton.

On the west side there is a junction with Cranmer Road and Willow Lane, and on the right just after this is the entrance road to Mitcham Junction railway station and the Mitcham Golf Club. The road goes over the railway and tram lines on a bridge that was rebuilt and widened in the mid 1950s. On the west side of the road and part of the southern slope of the bridge is an access road leading to Aspen Gardens. Further south from here, and set back from the western side of the road is a line of houses that were originally called Rumbold Villas and Tramway Terrace. They are separated by two roads Drake Road and Arney’s Lane. At Beddington Corner is the Goat pub on the corner with Goat Road.

After Beddington Corner, the road is now called London Road and the A237 continues to the A23 at Coulsdon.

Carshalton Road at junction with Croydon Road. The house was one of the Blue Houses. From a Percy Mayhew postcard, from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_19_1-19

The guide post (marked G.P.) that is on the south side of the tram line in this 1910 OS map is the one seen in the photo.

1910 OS map

The junction with Croydon Road was changed to a roundabout in 1955.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th February 1955

ROUNDABOUT

Work is to start soon on making a traffic roundabout at the busy junction of Croydon Road with Carshalton Road, on Mitcham Common.

The Transport Minister has approved a grant of up to £4,427 towards the cost of the roundabout. Coun. D.J. Hempstead, Highways Committee chairman, said last week that it was hoped that work would be speedily undertaken.

The bridge over the railway line was widened at the same time, the work having been started in 1939 but was interrupted by the war.

On the east side of Carshalton Road, south of the railway station, was a WW2 anti-aircraft gun site. It was cleared in the early 1960s.

1955 OS map showing the Gun Site.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 13th July 1962:

At last – Gunsite is to go

One of Mitcham’s biggest eyesores, the Gun Site, Carshalton Road, Mitcham Common, is at last to be cleared at a cost of about £13,000.

Work on clearing the site is expected to start in about two months time.

The Ministry have approved a tender of £10,800 submitted to them from the Conservators and have further agreed to bear the cost of replacing trees on the site.

WELCOMED

A further cost of £2,000 fees will be included in the work.

This news is welcomed not only by the Conservators but by Mitcham Council and the public.

The Gun Site is one of the few remaining war relics in Mitcham and local people have been pressing for years to clear it.

The conservators hope to replace it with a grass landscape with trees.


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

Morfax Social Club Sports Ground

A sports ground that included a club pavilion that was east of the Corporation Cottages, opposite the Goat pub on Carshalton Road. It was last used by the factory Morfax, which was in Willow Lane.

Its address was Sports And Social Club Of Morfax, Carshalton Road, Mitcham CR4 4HN

This OS map from 1954 shows the outline of the pavilion building and the extent of the ground eastwards towards the railway line.

1954 OS map

Bing Maps has an aerial view of what is left of the clubhouse and ground.


There are 7 Planning applications on Sutton Council’s website:

90/P0448 : Granted 26 Jun 1990
Erection of single storey rear lounge extension to clubhouse.

86/P1340 : Granted 10 Mar 1987
Erection of changing rooms.

MER/1286/85 : Granted 4 Apr 1986
Erection of extension to existing club room.

MER/745/85 : Granted 20 Sep 1985
Extension of changing rooms.

MER/920/84 : Granted 31 Jan 1985
Erection of extension to club building involving demolition of existing buildings, to provide new servery, food preparation and beer storage areas.

MER/469/81 : Granted 13 Jan 1983
Retrospective application to erect a single-storey building for use in connection with the football club.

MER/468/81 : Granted 29 Sep 1981
Retrospective applcation for the erection of a standing encosure for spectators on northern site of the Fisher Football Club, Carshalton, Mitcham.

Air Raid shelters in 1948

Mitcham Borough Council minutes, volume 15, 1948-49, page 95 :-

The Borough Engineer submitted the following report: –

December 3, 1948.

To the Chairman and Members of the General Purposes Committee.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Air Raid Shelters.

In accordance with the instructions of the Committee I give below a list of shelters which have not yet been demolished :—

  • Morden Road (Deer Park Gardens).
  • Commonside West.
  • Commonside East.
  • Manor Road.
  • Rowan Road.
  • Figges Marsh S.
  • Figges Marsh N.
  • Manship Road.
  • Moffatt Gardens.
  • Cranmer Road.
  • Fair Green.
  • Carshalton Road.

Home Office sanction to the making safe of the shelters has just been received and negotiations are proceeding with the contractors, Messrs. J. Sullivan, Ltd., whose tender (in the sum of £603 15s.) was forwarded, in July, to the Home Office for approval.

Personal note: I remember in the mid 1960s the air raid shelters at the southern end of Figges Marsh and on the north side of Cranmer Road near the junction with Carshalton Road.

Grove Lodge Garage

Grove Lodge Garage was described in a news item on page 1 of the 24th February, 1933, Mitcham News & Mercury, as being at Tramway Path, near Mitcham Station, and kept by Frank GUYATT, builder and contractor.

BIG BLAZE AT A GARAGE
Fighting the Flames in the Snow
Factory Saved

Considerable damage was done by a fire which broke out shortly before six o’clock on Saturday morning at Grove Lodge Garage.

The discovery was made by Mr George Potter, of London Road, who informed the police, and they summoned the Mitcham Fire Brigade..

Chief Officer Albert O. Wells promptly turned out with one engine and a complement of men. The other engine, also fully manned, followed shortly afterwards. There was a blizzard of snow at the time, and the firemen experienced great inconvenience. They found a large corrugated iron building ablaze from end to end. Plenty of hose and a good supply of water enabled the firemen successfully to cope with the outbreak and keep it from spreading. The direction of the wind helped them.

The Damage

The garage was burnt out, two motor cars and a miscellany of goods, machinery, etc. being destroyed, running into several hundreds of pounds. The fire attacked a neighbouring factory, but this was saved, though police and willing helpers salvaged a valuable quantity of chemical food stored therein to make sure the fire did not affect it.

The firemen were handicapped by many tons of burning rubber refuse in the buildings, which caused dense fumes. Several tons of copies of the Talmud (Jewish books of law), which were unfolded and unbound, caught fire and were destroyed.

At one time the blaze was so terrific that it was actually seen by a milkman in Carshalton Road, two miles away.

Nobody was hurt, and the firemen left after several hours’ hard work, during which they had the satisfaction of saving some very valuable property.

The chemical food referred to may have been Lactagol.