Rents of about £9 plus a week which will be charged on soon to be completed homes in the new Pollards Hill Housing Estate are being scoffed at by council tenants.
Tenants at present living in overcrowded conditions are being given the opportunity to move to future new homes on the 850-dwellings estate. However, the common reaction is ”These rates are too high by far – we can’t move unless they are brought down.”
The higher rents come in as a part of the rent structure for new tenancies – based on 210% of gross value on houses and 185% on flats – brought in by Merton Council.
Borough Housing Manager Mr A.A. Brown said 1,000 tenants had so far been invited to move into the new Pollards Hill Estate when their five and six person houses and flats become available.
“But the response of people interested in moving has been small,” he said.
Mr Brown was confident, however, that no flats or houses on the new development will be left empty when they were completed by the summer of 1971.
“I am sure they will be quickly occupied from the council waiting list.”
Among the existing tenants who have been given the opportunity of moving is 42 year old printer Mr John Uren.
Father of a teenage son and daughter, he would be entitled to move into a new 3-bedroom house from his four-guinea-a-week, two bedroom flat on the post-war estate at Pollards Hill.
“But I doubt I if I shall accept the offer – anyone who would pay £9 a week rent could just as well by their own new home,” Mr Uren said.
And Pollards Hill Estate tenants Association secretary Mr Dennis Small said these are not rents for ordinary council tenants at all – the council are only catering for people with big incomes. To pay the kind of rents the council asking for their new homes, a man would need to earn up to £40 a week.”
The new rents for a strongly opposed by the council’s labour minority. Said Councillor D.W. Chalkley, sole Labour representative on the housing committee: “With better handling of the housing account, these new tenancy rents could have been contained within the existing structure, which the Government would not have permitted to be raised.
“With such high rates, most people are quite naturally scared off.”
Merton’s letter inviting overcrowded tenants to move to Pollards Hill drew attention to the recently improved rent rebate scheme.
Prefer to pay
“But most tenants would prefer to pay their way rather than hope they will continue to qualify for rebates,” Councillor Chalkley commented.
“And, in any case, the present scheme where one council tenant subsidises another is wrong – it should be spread evenly amongst all ratepayers.”
Official opening of the first to five person houses at Pollards Hill will be carried out by Mitcham MP Mr Robert Carr, January 28.
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 19th February, 1960, page 7.
THE Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a friendly society who ban arguments about religion and politics at their meetings, were praised as “ pioneers ” by the Mayor of Mitcham (Ald. D. W. Chalkley) on Saturday.
He was speaking at the annual dinner at the Crown, Morden, of the order’s Mitcham and district section, who cover large areas of Surrey, South and South West London. About 178 people attended.
Ald. Chalkley said the order, 150 years old, had helped pioneer the welfare of Britain’s ordinary people and the idea that a sick man should be helped and not cast aside.
“ You have also pioneered the right of people to belong to organisations irrespective of race or creed — a thing people could well do to remember these days,” he said.
HOW IT STARTED
Earlier Mr. R. O. Early, past Grand Master, outlined the beginnings of the order. He said it started among farm labourers who used to meet regularly for a drink at a Midlands pub.
One night one of them was missing — he was ill. The others clubbed together to help him. When he was better they continued to keep the fund going in case others needed it.
“ It is now the richest friendly society in the world,” he said.
Mrs. L. M. Payne, Provincial Grand Master, proposed a toast to the Manchester Unity and Mitcham District. Chairman, past Provincial Grand Master, Mr. Harry Crossley, proposed the
Note: The Odd Fellows got their name because, at the beginning of the original scheme, it was thought strange that poor people should contribute to a fund for others.
For more on this society’s history, see their website.
In June 1972, this close was named after Miss B Thrupp, ex-Mitcham Council Housing Manager.
From the Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser, 15th September, 1955.
A LANDMARK familiar to thousands of Mitcham residents disappeared last Thursday with the felling of the 125 ft. high refuse destructor chimney at Phipps Bridge.
This was the first major step in clearing the area adjoining Homewood Road for Mitcham Corporation’s proposed £1,750,000 redevelopment scheme to house 636 families.
During the previous week-end, two steeplejack brothers Mr. Arthur Collard and Mr. John Collard. began work on what was for them the end of another chimney. By Thursday they had cut away half the 18-ft. wide base, leaving timber props in place of the 3-ft. 6-in. think brickwork.
At 2.26 p.m. the props, soaked in 20 gallons of paraffin, were set alight. As flames leapt high, the 21 year old chimney belched smoke for the last time. Nine minutes later, it heeled over with a muffled roar 460 tons of brickwork fell to the ground beneath a vast cloud of dust.
The deputy borough engineer, Mr. W. B. W. Wignall, and a number of Mitcham councillors, including the chairman of the Housing Committee, Aid. D. W. Chalkley, watched the chimney crash down a few yards from their feet.
And from his New Close home which overlooks the site Mr. Tom Good, now in his seventies, saw the end of the chimney he had helped to build.
“It was a perfect drop.” said Mr. Arthur Collard. With him was Alec, his 13 year old son, “who always comes to watch the interesting jobs.”
Built in 1934, in the last year of the old Mitcham Urban District Council, the chimney and destructor cost £9,869. A council spokesman told “The Advertiser” afterwards: “It would probably cost three times that sum to build at present-day
The destructor was last used at the beginning of 1953. The amount of refuse handled by the corporation had grown so much that it was decided to tip all refuse on Mitcham Common.
Electric and Gas Meters
Borough of Mitcham List of Factories,
Town Clerk’s Department,
Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT
U.G.I. METERS DIVISION
(Proprietors: Smith Meters Ltd.),
S W 16.
SUM LOCK OPIRATOR
HOLLERITH PUNCH OPERATOR
Hours: 8.45 am. to 5.30 p.m.
Monday to Thursday.
8.45 a.m. to 5 p m. Friday.
Please apply :
Tel. Pollards 2271.
(Bus Nos. 118 and 130 stop at works.)
At Smith Meters Ltd., Rowan Road, the production manager,
Mr. John Allan, said that production had come to a halt.
“The factory is completely stopped,” he said.
“ We employ 2,000 and almost every one is on strike. A very
small number have come to work, and this is insignificant.
“ There were pickets outside this morning, but there was no
bother. This is a national strike,” he added.
Source: Mitcham News and Mercury, 17th May, 1968 page 1
NEW CENTRE FOR THE HAPPY FACTORY
Mr. Norman Smith, chairman of Smith Meters Ltd., Rowan Road, at the opening of the firm’s new dining and recreation centre last week, said: “This building is a sign of the great success the firm has had over its many years.”
The centre incorporates a small hostel, two dining-rooms, a central kitchen and a confectionery kiosk.
A plaque on the first floor landing was unveiled by Mr. R N. D. Bruce, Chairman of the South Eastern Gas Board, who performed the opening ceremony.
Afterwards the 50 guests toured the new block. In the kitchen much interest was shown in the modern equipment, among them automatic potato peelers and mashers, electric dish washers and the latest cooking ranges.
The party, which included Mr. Robert Carr, M P. for Mitcham. Alderman D. Chalkley, Mayor of Mitcham, Mr. T C Battersby, president of tho Institution of Gas Engineers, and members of the Board of United Gas Industries, also toured parts of the main factory.
At the luncheon held in one of the new dining-rooms Mr. Smith said the success of Smith Meters had grown from the fact there was always a happy atmosphere in the factory. “We believe in looking after our staff well, giving them good food and good working conditions.”
He reminded his audience of the early days of the company. “When it was first started,” he said, “there were only a handful of people on the staff. The week’s wages for all the staff were similar to one man’s weekly wage today.”
Mr. Smith paid tribute to those responsible for building the new block. It is a very fine building and the architect and builders should be praised.”
Smith Meters factory in Rowan Road, Mitcham, is one of a large group of factories connected with United Gas Industries Ltd.
The Rowan Road premises are the headquarters of the U.G.I. (Meters) division which controls factories in Belfast, Edinburgh, Exeter, Leicester, Manchester, Kennington and Dunblaine. There is also a factory in New Zealand.
Smith Meters was founded in 1834 and established in Snow Hill, in the City of London, moving to Kennington in 1865. In 1929 an additional factory at Mitcham was built.
The company now employs about 2,300 people, 1,750 of them at the Rowan Road factory.
Among the products made by the division are gas and electricity meters, coin switches, and food processing and catering equipment.
Source: Mitcham News and Mercury, 18th May, 1962 page 15
Smith Meters was in the Lonesome area of the Mitcham Urban District, as can be seen on this 1933 map.
Aerial photos from 1947:
Kenneth Marsh, who served in the RAF at end of WW2, worked for the Department of Energy and eventually was based at the United Gas Industries (UGI) in Rowan Road. He was responsible for certifying the accuracy of gas meters made there and at nearby Smith Meters.
1959 mayor of Mitcham. Born 11th May 1913, died 1987, aged 74.
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 22nd May, 1959:
Housing Committee chairman in 1972, as stated in this clip from Mitcham News & Mercury, 16th June, 1972:
Merton Memories Photos
Chalkley Close, off St Marks Road, is named after him.