Tag Archives: Chapel Road

1973 Life is hell for the forgotten residents of Chapel Road

The view from the houses in Chapel Road

The view from the houses in Chapel Road

From the Mitcham and Collier’s Wood Gazette, January 1973

Life is hell for the `forgotten’ residents

PEOPLE living under the shadow of redevelopment in Chapel-road, Mitcham, claimed this week that the area was being over-run with rats. And they protested that empty houses in the area were a target for vandals.

“We all had a letter last September telling us that the council were buying the houses under a compulsory purchase order and that we were to be rehoused” said 59-years-old Mrs Beatrice Tee.

“But since then—nothing. Just rumours. We live on rumours while the road and our homes go to rack and ruin.” She said several tenants had moved out leaving a row of empty homes which were making life hell for the people who were left.

“The children play in them and break the windows. In one, they dislodged a pipe and water was pouring out of it for nine weeks.”

Her neighbour Mrs Daisy Reeve, aged 51, has lived in Chapel-road for 31 years. “We wonder whats going to happen to us. The council seem to have forgotten this road—even the dustman neglect us and we are lucky if we get our rubbish collected once a fortnight.” she said.

Pensioner Mrs Annie Blackburn, aged 83, has lived in Chapel-road for 50 years. “We had loads of rats running along the road last week. This street seems to have become a dump for everyone to leave their rubbish.” she said.

Agents for the houses are Fair Bedford of Southall, “we appreciate that the tenants are in a difficult situation and we would like the council to take the houses over as soon as possible. The owner is in the same state of uncertainty as the tenants” said a spokesman.

Chapel-road lies within an area due to be developed by the Greater London Council ex-plained Merton’s Deputy Town Clerk Mr Geoffrey Norris.

“We are acquiring the property on behalf of the GLC and at the moment are waiting for a date for a public inquiry from the Department of the Environment” he said.

“We expect this be to in April and it is likely that a decision will be made in the autumn Redevelopment will then start.”

He said he would look into the complaints.

Cock Chimney Factory in Batsworth Road

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.

1945 ad

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)

aerial photo from 1947 and 1952 OS map

aerial photo from 1947 and 1952 OS map

Merton Memories Photos
JJ Schweizer

From the phone book



In the 1896 street directory, listed as John Jacob Schweizer, varnish manufacturer.


1912 to 1914

1915 Heyl phone

1915 and 1916


1919 to 1921







From the minutes of the
Town Planning and Development Committee
31st October 1968


– 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.