Tag Archives: Church Road

Henry Woods, pig dealer

Henry Woods, and sons, had a large piggery off the west side of Church Road, on the allotments shown in this 1910 OS map, north side of Batsworth Road.

1910 OS map

Although not named as belonging to Henry Woods, that these allotments were used for piggeries can be seen in the swine fever notice from 1915:

Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser – Saturday 27 March 1915
Image © Reach PLC. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

In the 1904-1905 street directory he is listed as pig dealer in Locks Lane, although this may have been his residence as his family later occupied houses in what was later called Eastfields Road.

Henry WOODS, pig dealer

2, Mrs Emma SCHMIDT, laundress
James FLEMMING
Charles WELLER
Clement BELCHER
Richard TOOGOOD
Edward THUMWOOD, carman

These photos were taken at the piggeries off Church Road, and, although the date is not known, they were taken before 1922, when Henry Woods senior died.

Henry Woods senior is second from the left, and George E. Woods on far right.

Henry Woods senior is first on the left, and George E. Woods is second from the right, with piglets.

Henry Woods is first on the left, with his hand on he horse, and George E. Woods is second from the right.

The following biographical information is kindly provided by a descendant, who has also supplied photos from the family collection.

Henry Woods was born in Walworth in 1854. His Father Charles was born 1819 in Andover and was an Agricultural worker who moved to London and ended up doing one of the worst jobs in the world working in one of the tanneries along the South of the Thames.

Henry lived with Jane Harriet Billam who was born in 1858 in Lambeth. Jane’s family are listed as possibly Horse Traders. Why they decided to move to Mitcham is not known, but they seem to have become successful quite quickly.

Rose E Woods, born 1910, and daughter of George E Woods had said that Jane Billam ‘Held the Purse strings’ and would hold money in a purse hidden in her petticoats. By all accounts she was a formidable woman who George E Woods had a strained Mother/Son relationship with. At one point he left the family and went to Canada. He came back met and met Rose Bridger who was friends with Elizabeth Woods and they became engaged. In Canada he signed The Pledge and wouldn’t have alcohol in his house.

His extended family lived in Rosemary Villas, Eastfields Road.

Woods family group. Back row, 4th from left Rose Woods with her husband George E. Woods behind her, with his hand on her right shoulder. Third row, 2nd from the right is Elizabeth Hepworth nee Woods, with her husband, 1st from right, George Wheldon Hepworth. Second row, 2nd from right is Henry Woods with his wife, 1st from right, Jane Billam.

News Articles
Islington Gazette – Thursday 03 March 1904

A COACHMAN’S INJURIES

William Hetherington, coachman, 49, St. Helena place, Clerkenwell, v. Henry Woods, farmer, Lock’s-lane, Mitcham.

Claim for £50, as damages in respect of personal injuries received. Mr. Green was counsel for plaintiff, and Mr. Ward for defendant. The case came before a jury. Plaintiff stated that on August 11th last he drove a traveller to the Broadway, Wimbledon. His horse and brougham was standing outside a jeweller’s shop whilst the traveller was making a call, when a drove of pigs belonging to defendant came along the road. On reaching his brougham one of the pigs broke away and rushed underneath his horse’s legs. This caused the horse to take fright, and in trying to prevent it from bolting he was thrown down. – The brougham passed over him, and two of his ribs were fractured, causing his detention in the local hospital for 17 days. John George Field, who witnessed the accident, described the pigs as “a pretty ordinary lot., except one.” This one broke away, and on the drover smacking the whip, the pig squealed and dashed underneath the horse’s legs. He himself bad been a drover, and did not think the right means were used for getting the runaway pig back to the drove. It ought to have been lightly touched on the side of its head instead of being struck on the back with a whip.

Mr. Ward — Are you an expert in pig driving?
— No; I understand driving them.
Is a whip, and not a stick, the proper thing to drive pigs with?
— I have driven them with a whip and stick.
Then it is a matter of taste? Mr. Green
— Not so far as the pigs are concerned. (Laughter.)
Mr. Ward — Which do you think a pig would like best?
— You have asked me something now.
Is it not customary for a drover to use a whip?
— In nine out of ten cases they do.

Mr. Green — Did the cut from the whip make the pig squeal?
— Yes.
Did it sound like “There is nothing like leather? ”
— (laughter)
— No ; it was a short snappy squeal.

For the defence, it was stated that plaintiff had left his horse and was looking in a shop window when the pigs came along. Neither of the pigs broke away as stated by plaintiff. In fact, they had all passed before the horse moved. Defendant said he saw the horse starting off and he shouted to plaintiff. who was still looking in the shop window. Plaintiff made a run for the horse, and caught his foot in the reins, which were partly on the ground. This caused him to fall, and the brougham went over him.

Continuing his evidence, defendant said he worked for his wife, who carried on the business of a pig dealer. He had no interest whatever in the business.

Mr. Green thereupon applied for an adjournment, and asked leave to add defendant’s wife as a defendant. If plaintiff recovered a judgment against the present defendant be would not get the slightest benefit from it.

The Judge said he had no other course than to adjourn and accede to the application.

Addressing the jury, his Honour said :—

” I am sorry to have to bring you here again, but I know you are as anxious as lam for justice to be done. It is one of those cases in which the wife is said to be the owner of this business. I suppose that in a short time all our wives will be carrying on business and we shall be in the position of servants, happy in the fact that we are all free from legal lability.”

(Laughter.)

The jury then left the box.

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

Love Lane

Following the road as it is currently numbered, it starts as a footpath off Church Road along the eastern side of the parish churchyard, and continues to Western Road.

1954 OS map showing the start of Love Lane at Church Road

Eric Montague, in his book, 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane, chapter 6, said that Love Lane almost certainly dated back to the Middle Ages as it served as the access lane to strips of land that stretched north of it. These strips were around a furlong, or 22 yards, in length, and the layouts of roads such as Frimley Gardens and Rodney Road to Fox’s Path, another access lane.

Entrance to Love Lane from Church Road. Photo taken when four 3-bed houses were being built on this corner by the Beaver Housing Society in 1996/7, which is now numbered as 82A Church Road.

In Love Lane, the houses with even numbers 2, 4 and 6 are on the right in the first part of the footpath, then 8, 10 and 12 are round the corner as the path heads east.

Then there is a block of four houses numbered 14, 16, 18 and 20, that have a datestone identifying it as Laburnum Cottages.

LABURNUM COTTAGES W. F. 1853

This block can be seen on this 1866 OS map:

1866 OS map

After this block the footpath ends, and on the left is a terrace of 6 houses, numbered 1 to 11. This has a name plate in the middle, partially obscured by a drainpipe, which says ‘Hope Terrace’.

Opposite this terrace are houses built around 1983, as planning permission MER170/83 was granted on 21st April 1983. They are numbered with suffixes.

Next to these houses on the right side of Love Lane is a three storey block of 12 flats called Frimley House, which has numbers 22 to 44. Possibly built late 1930s or post-WW2 as the block is not shown on the 1933 OS map.

Opposite Frimley House, and past Hope Terrace, are two pairs of semi-detached houses, numbers 11A and 15, 17 and 19. Next to 19 is number 21, a detached house that is on the corner with Frimley Gardens.

After this the roadway turns right into Church Place but Love Lane continues as a footpath until Edmund Road. On the right can be seen the remains of the entrance to the council depot.

Breeze block filling where entrance to depot was. Photo taken 20th April 2016.

Past Harwood Avenue, the next houses on Love Lane are a pair of semi-detached on the left numbered 23 (Hope Cottage) and 25 (Rose Cottage). This is the only remaining pair of such cottages from those that were built in the early 19th century. The 1896 street directory describes walking from Church Street to Western Road, i.e. in a easterly direction, and the occupants were:

Samuel BEALES (Hope Cottage)
John HUSSEY (Rose Cottage)

23 and 25 Love Lane. Photo taken 21st May 2020

Rose Cottage was the childhood home of William Henry SLATER, who emigrated to Australia in the late 1850s where he was one of the founders of the Mitcham township, now a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.

This is followed by a terrace of 12 houses, numbered 27 to 49, which has the nameplate in the middle of ‘Douglas Cottages’. These were built in the first decade of the 20th century according to Montague., and were numbered 1 through 12, from west to east. In the 1915 directory Stewart Daniel SLATER, florist, is listed at no. 12.

1954 OS map

After Douglas Cottages is currently a nursery school, built in the early 1960s after a pair of semi-detached cottages, numbered 55 and 57, called Dent’s Cottages, was demolished. The Mitcham News & Mercury had an article in the 2nd September 1960 issue: 132-year old Love Lane cottage to come down.

Further along on the left hand side, after Dearn Gardens, are two detached houses that are set back from the road side at an angle, number 75 and number 77, the latter of which may have been called Glendene when it was occupied by George Victor DEARN, who developed Dearn Gardens.

75 Love Lane with its arched chimney stacks. Photo taken 21st May 2020

Next is a 3-storey block of 6 flats, numbered 79, 81, 83 and 79a, 81a, 83a. After which is a block of 2 houses, 85 and 87, with a third added on, number 89.

Corner of Love Lane and Taffy’s How shows no. 85, 87 and 89 Love Lane. Photo taken 15th July 2020

Houses numbers 103 to 121 were built in 1934 as part of the Pear Tree Close estate.

An older terrace of 4 houses, numbered 123 to 129, north of the corner with Westfield Road, dated from the 1880s, as are the similar houses on the north side of Westfield Road, according to Montague. The 1910-1911 street directory lists these houses as Knapdale Villas, with these occupants:

1, Frederick NEWSOM
2, Thomas ARTHUR
3, John HINCKLEY

A photo from around 1970 on Merton Memories, incorrectly labelled as Gladstone Road, shows these houses with their original slate roofs.

From Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Streets_D_LEW_29-2

From the current footpath that leads to the Glebe Path and Queen Anne’s Gardens, on the right hand side of Love Lane northwards, were 6 pairs of semi-detached houses, five of which can be seen in this aerial photo from 1937.

1937 aerial photo from Britain From Above. Love Lane is on the right. Detached houses from right to left shown are numbers 100/102, 104/106, 108/110, 112/114, and 116/118.

Numbers 100/102 arent shown on this 1954 OS map, so may have been destroyed in the war. All six were demolished by the end of the 20th century and replaced by houses and bungalows.

1954 OS map

This 1910 OS map shows all 6 of the semi-detached houses.

1910 OS map

In the 1925 street directory, these houses were numbered from the Western Road end, from 1 sequentially to 12.

1, William John UPTON
2, John BICKNELL

3, John CARRETT
4, George William SLATER

5, Samuel Henry BATEMAN
6, Arthur Goodwin FUNNELL

7, Mrs GEORGE
8, Henry James STEERS

9, Hoseph George WHITE
10, Henry DEARN

11, Hames Joseph GRACE
12, Leonard George FORTNAM

In the 1898 street directory, no. 6 was also known as Ivy Cottage and no. 7 as Jasmine Cottage.


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