Tag Archives: factory

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.

Hancock, Corfield and Waller

Imperial Works
Morden Road

Litho Printing on Steel and Metal Sheet Processing

Borough of Mitcham List of Factories,
Town Clerk’s Department,
July 1963.
Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT

From the ‘brewery trays’ website (link not working 27/12/2018):

WWI ‘The Great War Years’ 1914 – 1918
In 1914 business was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I. Much of HCW Ltd’s continued success during this period was not due to tray manufacturing. Metal printing was put on hold and for the next four years the Imperial Works produced millions of items for the British Forces. One of the biggest successes, and HCW Ltd’s speciality, was water-bottles which were pressed on the machines which had previously produced showcards and waiter trays. These same bottles were then covered in khaki by the factory’s considerable female labour force who became disrespectfully known as “the sewing party”.

Current company contact
21 High Street
Ewell Village
Surrey. KT17 1SB

Tel: 0208 394 2785

From Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History – 1914 Who’s Who in Business

HANCOCK & CORFIELD, Ltd., ColourPrinters (Posters, Showcards, &c.). Imperial Works, Mitcham, near London.
Hours of Business: 8 a.m. to 6.30 p.m.
Established twenty-three years ago to take over the patent rights from the Embossed Metal Tablet Co., Gray’s Inn Road, E.C., for Printing and Embossing Metal for advertising purposes, and in 1904 acquired the business of Messrs. Waller, Willis & Co., Colour Printers.
Incorporated as a Private Limited Company.
Directors: John Corfield (Managing Director), Reginald Corfield, William Henry Waller.
Premises: Large Factory with floorage covering about three acres at the Imperial Works, Morden Road, Mitcham.
Staff: 300.
Branches: Glasgow, Birmingham, Belfast, Manchester, Den Haag, Holland, and Australia.
Specialities: Artistic Colour Printing on Metal, Aluminium and Paper, Steel, Iron, Tin, Zinc, &c. Are Manufacturers of Embossed Iron Advertisement Tablets, General Printing and Lithography. Are well known for the excellence of their work, and for the introduction of novelties in designs. Specialize in all Advertising Novelties.
Connection: World-wide. Contractors to H.M. Government (Admiralty, War Office, Post Office).
Telephones: Nos. 1202 and 1203 Wimbledon.
Telegraphic Address: ” Corfield, Mitcham.”

From the Imperial war Museum online collection:

Watney’s© IWM (Art.IWM PST 4651)

Dunlop Cycle Tyres
Dunlop Cycle Tyres© IWM (Art.IWM PST 13686)