Tag Archives: Commonside East

Sergeant Maurice Malfin

Maurice Lionel Valentine Malfin was born in 1906.

He married Vera Evelyn Tomlinson in 1934.

They lived at 193 Commonside East, Mitcham.

He served with the 1st Queen Victoria Rifles, service number 1863437.

He was captured in 1940 during the Siege of Calais, when the British Expeditionary Force evacuated at Dunkirk. The British Army Casualty Lists 1939-1945 refer to his regiment as the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (Queen Victoria’s Rifles).

Referred to in the Mitcham News & Mercury from 13th October, 1944 as having attended a meeting of the Borough’s Prisoner-of-War Relatives’ Association at the Town Hall. He had been a P.O.W. in Stalag 2D.

From the Norwood News – Friday 31 October 1941

Prisoner’s Parcels Being Received

Friends of Sergt. Maurice Malfin, Queen Victoria Rifles, whose home is at Common Side East, Mitcham, and who was taken prisoner at Calais last year, will be interested to know that he is still keeping well, and has been moved from Stalag 21 B to Stalag 21 A. The news is contained in a letter received this week by his wife, Mrs. V. E. Malfin, who believes that the new camp (Stalag 21 A) is situated somewhere in Poland, although her husband makes no mention of his whereabouts in the note. It was dated in August, and also contained a snapshot of himself taken with two others. Neither, from their uniform, appear to be comrades of the same regiment, however. The photo is, unfortunately, not suitable for reproduction.

Mrs. Malfin does not know whether her husband has just been one of the lucky ones, but he has been getting “prisoner parcels” through the Red Cross fairly regularly. He has received at least three parcels sent personally by his wife, and the cigarettes and books are definitely arriving.

Sergt. Malfin, who is 35 years of age, was “missing” for four months last year before news of his safety was received.

He died in Brompton Hospital on 15th July 1965, leaving £1,472 to his widow. In the 1965 eelectoral register they were still at 193 Commonside East

1944 : A War Prisoner’s Story

From the Mitcham News & Mercury from 13th October, 1944

GIVES COMFORT TO FRIENDS

You have Nothing to
Worry About

UNIQUE MEETING AT TOWN HALL

Mothers and wives of Mitcham men who have been Prisoners of War in Germany, some of them for over five years, crowded round Sergeant Maurice Malfin, Commonside East, Mitcham, when he attended a meeting of the Borough’s Prisoner-of-War Relatives’ Association at the Town Hall, on Saturday. They were eager to get news of life in the prison camps and were glad of the opportunity of talking to a man who had so recently been an inmate of one.

The story of how Sergeant Malfin returned to this country after being in German prison camps for five years has already been told in the “News and Mercury.” Then he sent a message to cheer the relatives of men who are still out there. on Saturday he repeated it.

“If you have relatives in Germany or Poland, you have nothing to worry about. They are all doing reasonably well,” he told the Association.

He had to answer many questions about the food in the camps. That the men were well fed was due entirely to the Red Cross, he said.

“Since January, 1941, with the exception of three weeks, I have received a Red Cross food parcel every week,” he said. “In addition, we got plenty of potatoes by fair means or foul, mostly foul. The Germans did not give us much food, and without the Red Cross we should have been sunk.”

He compared his own camp, 21D, which is still the home of several Mitcham men, with Mitcham Common. It housed 15,000, and took an hour to walk round it. It was a good camp and had a first-class library containing thousands of books.

Replying to a question about examinations, Sergeant Malfin said the men could sit for any examination they like, and a number had qualified for various professions while in the camp. Sports, games and theatricals were organised.

“You should see some of the Tommy girls on the stage out yonder. You could not tell the difference between them and West-End chorus beauties except that they are a bit skinny around the back,” he said.

He paid tribute to the Poles, who, he said, had often risked their lives to give them food.

The chairman (Alderman J. R. Beaumont) received a cheque for £27 and 3s. from Mr H. A. Penny, raised by a competition at the “Three Kings” Hotel. Mrs Walls handed him £1 15s.

After the meeting women whose menfolk are still in Stalag 21 D showed photographs of their sons and husbands and asked if he could identify them. Sergeant Malfin recognised Private Harry Powell, whose home is in Langdale Avenue, Mitcham, and who had been a prisoner for over four years. Although he did not know Rifleman Cyril E. King, Swains Road, Tooting Junction, he picked out another man on the photograph, who turned out to be one of Cyril’s chums.

Three Kings Road

No longer exists. It was a road that was on the east side of the Three Kings Pond and connected Commonside East to Commonside West. In around 1982 it was removed and this connection was replaced by an diversion of Commonside East and a roundabout.

Source: Merton Council planning application number MER494/82, which was granted 9th September 1982 :

The diversion of Commonside East involving construction of new carriage way, construction of roundabout on Commonside West, closure of Commonside East/West junction to vehicular traffic, narrowing of part of carriageway of Commonside East and stopping up of Three Kings Road.

1953 OS map of Three Kings Road

This photo, from around 1974, of a Metropolitan Police Recruitment day shows the road on the right.

A recruitment drive showing some of the specialisations available once 2 years probation was complete. Dog unit, motorcycle unit, underwater search unit etc.

Note also the route of the footpath that connected Cold Blows to Lavender Walk. This was an ancient path connecting the west and east fields. The path is now diverted to before the start of the Beehive Bridge incline.


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

79 Commonside East

Currently residential, but was a newsagents shop. In the 1954 phone book, the occupant was A.G. HENDRA, listed as confectioner & tobacconist.

This property is the left hand one of three, as shown in this photo, taken from the Beehive Bridge. To the left of number 79 is the footpath Lavender Walk.

clip from Merton Memories photo reference Mit_Transport_2-3

1955 OS map

Next door at number 85 was S. BARTON, grocers, in the 1954 phone book. In the above photo, was it called Mitcham Stores to avoid confusion with Barton’s Stores in 1, Kings Parade, Wrythe Lane, Carshalton? (Also in the 1954 phone book)

In this clip from a 1974 photo, the shop is owned by D.G. BAKEWELL

Image courtesy of Collage - The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1974 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk


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

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.

Mitcham Workhouse Wall

The last part of the crenellated wall from the Mitcham Workhouse on Mitcham Common has been demolished. This clip from the Tom Francis collection, available on Merton Memories, is from 1895 and shows the wall when the site was occupied by the Woodite company.

Clip from Merton Memories photo 33222, copyright London Borough of Merton.

These photos were taken on 5th July 2017, in Windmill Road, near the corner with Commonside East:

The Manager of Mitcham Common said in July 2017:

It’s my understanding that the remaining wall is unstable and will shortly be demolished and replaced by a wall and fence design very similar to the one that exists along the southern and eastern boundaries of The Meadows estate.

As far as I’m aware there was no condition placed on the planning consent which required the developer to maintain the extant crenellated wall.

The new wall was photographed on 6th September, 2017:

1961 : Publicans welcome new betting laws

Publicans welcome the new laws

MITCHAM publicans welcome the new betting and gaming laws allowing small bets to be placed on bar games.

But some point out that it merely makes legal something that OH been going on for years.

Licensee of the Red Lion, Colliers Wood, Mr. Frank Clements, said this week: “I am all for it. We will now be able to organise whist drives and housey-housey for money.

“What I do think is ridiculous is that you can’t place a bet on a horse in the bar. To do that you have to go outside.”

Licensee of the Beehive, Commonside East, Mitcham, Mr. A. Pays, said it would clear up a lot of underhand practices.

Mr. William Lewis of the White Hart thinks it will make little difference to his customers. “What I am against,” he said “are the one arm bandits (slot machines).”

source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th January, 1961, page 1.