Tag Archives: Church Road

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, all demolished by the end of the 20th century and replaced by houses and bungalows.

1910 OS map

From the 1896 street directory the occupants, in houses numbered from 12 down to 1 heading north, were:

12, William Talbot WALLIS
11, Edward WAINWRIGHT
10, Henry DEARN
9, Miss Susan WOOLSEY, dress maker
8, John STEERS
7, Edward FOSTER (Jasmine Cottage)
6, Thomas RYOTT (Ivy Cottage)
5, James CURRELL
4, George James GREGORY
2, Joseph PRIOR
1, Robert Edward SLATER


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

Sergeant Thomas Oakley Burgess D.F.M.

Thomas Oakley Burgess was born in the last quarter of 1919, and in the 1939 Register his parents, Thomas Henry and Bertha Emily Burgess, lived at 73 Church Road, Mitcham.

As Leading Aircraftsman, Thomas Oakley Burgess, service number 551290, he served with 12 Squadron R.A.F., and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal in 1940.

BURGESS, Thomas Oakley. 551290 Leading Aircraftman, No. 12 Sqn. (Imediate)
L. G. 21/6/1940. Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. Air2/4097.

On 19th May 1940, L.A.C. Burgess was Wireless Operator/Air Gunner in Battle L.5536 of which
Pilot Officer J.J. McElligott was pilot and 580646 Sergeant B.C. Long was Observer. The aim on this mission was to bomb troops de-bussed in the area Mont Cormet – Neuf Chatel – Chateau Porcein – Ecly – Germaincourt – Fraillcourt. At 11.10 hours, the pilot had just dropped his bombs on the village of St. Fergeaux and was turning for home when the Battle was attacked by six Me.109’s about four miles South West of Ighel. They were engaged by the rear gunner and the Air Observer opened fire on three of them with the third gun as they passed underneath the Battle. The Me.109’s made further attacks and the rear gunner continued to engage them. By this time, the pilot had been severely wounded in the right shoulder and arm and the port tank was on fire, but he managed to bring the aircraft down about six miles South West of Juniville, an area occupied by the French. L.A.C. Burgess, who was admitted to hospital with shrapnel wounds, told Sergeant Long, the Air Observer, that he was sure he had shot down one Me.109. The crew were cared for by Lieutenant Cambourne of the 7th Demi Brigade, Cuirassee. Sergeant Long was interviewed late by a French Colonel at Neuf Lize who told him that it was certain that one Me.109 had been brought down and that he thought a second had crashed some distance away. This evidence has been confirmed through the French Mission. The pilot of the aircraft died of the wounds received in this action but the Air Observer was unhurt. It is considered that L.A.C.
Burgess showed a great courage in sticking to his gun, though probably already wounded, and
skill in disposing of one, and possibly two, of the enemy in the face of such superior odds.

2nd June, 1940.

Gloucester Citizen – Friday 21 June 1940

THREE AIRMEN OF TWENTY WIN D.F.M.

The exploits of three 20-years-old airmen who have been awarded the D.F.M. were described in an official announcement last night.

The men are Corporal James Anthony Drummond. of Salisbury; Leading Aircraftman Thomas Oakley Burgess, of Mitcham, Surrey; and Aircraftman 2nd Class Edward Joseph Evans, who was born at Ironside, Salop.

Corporal Drummond engaged a large formation Messerschmitt 109’s, shot down one and damaged others. Leading Aircraftman Burgess and Aircraftman Evans, both of whom are wireless operator-air gunners, also fought superior forces of Messerschmitts. Each brought down one and damaged others.

Burgess received shrapnel wounds. All three are described as having shown great courage and skill.

Squadron Leader Cyril Elton Kay, O.B.E., Royal New Zealand Air Force, has been awarded the D.F.C., was announced last night.

Squadron Leader Kay, in extremely difficult conditions and in face of heavy opposition, bombed and machine-gunned important targets in the forests south of Bourlers and Abileux in a night raid this month.

The announcement speaks of his daring, determination and outstanding ability.

As Sergeant he was a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner with 12 Squadron when he died on 7th July 1941, aged 21. His Wellington aircraft type II, number W5360, was shot down and crashed at Kervel-en-Guilers, France. All of the crew died.

Norwood News – Friday 26 September 1941

Mitcham D.F.M. Reported Killed

Sergt T. D. Burgess, R.A.F., Church-road, Mitcham, who was awarded the D.F.M. for bravery and who was decorated by the King in March, is now reported killed.

Note that his middle initial is given as ‘D’ instead of ‘O’.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.