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)

William Harland & Son, Ltd.

Aberdeen Road, SW19

Varnish & Enamel

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


Merton Memories Photos

1920 Enamel Department
1920 gum running workshop
1920 coke fires heating boilers
Aerial photo

T.W. Palmer & Co., Ltd.

309 and 371 Church Road, Merton SW19

clip from Merton Memories, image reference Mit_Streets_A_CHU_13-7 copyright London Borough of Merton

Listed as Constructional Engineers
in the 1963 Borough of Mitcham List of Factories,
(Available at Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.
Reference L2 (670) MIT)

In the 1939 electoral register, Thomas Walter PALMER of 371 Church Road is listed as libing at 123 West Side, Clapham Common.

The company’s booklet Palmer’s ABC of Fabricated Steelwork listed the products fabricated :


Angle Frames
Angle Curbs
Arch Bars
Ash Hoppers


Baffle Plates
Balustrading, Stair and Balcony
Basin Supports
Beams, Simple and Compound
Bench Supports
Boiler Platforms
Bolts, Purpose Made
Boot Scrapers
Bridge Bearings
Buckets, Tipping, Dumping, etc.
Buildings, Complete Structural Framework
Builders’ Ironwork
Bunkers, Plate


Cable Supporting Steelwork
Caisson Steelwork
Canopy Frameworks
Cantilever Brackets
Cat Ladders
Ceiling Supports
Chassis Frames
Chequer Plate Covers
Chequer Plate Framing
Chimney Bands
Chimney Step Irons
Chutes, Plate
Civil Engineering Temporary Steelwork
Clothes Posts
Columns, Solid Steel or Tubular
Column Guards
Column Moulds
Constructional Steelwork
Conveyor Structures
Coupling Boxes
Crane, Beams
Crane, Jibs & Booms
Crane, Structures
Crane, Rails
Curbing, MS or CI
Cutting Edges


Dock & Harbour Steelwork
Door Frames,
Doors, Fireproof
Doors, Hinged
Doors, Sheeted
Doors, Sliding
Doors, Wicket
Down Pipes & Clips
Duct Covers
Duct Framing


Electric Cable Supporting Steelwork
Escalator Trusses
Expansion Joints, Bridge & Road


Fencing, Mild Steel or Wrought Iron
Fender Brackets and Fittings
Field Gates
Fire Escape Staircases
Fire Escape Ladders
Fire Resisting Doors
Flanges, Plate
Floodlighting Towers
Flower Boxes, Plate or Sheet
Foundation Bolts
Fruit Enclosures
Furnace Steelwork


Gates, Mild Steel or Wrought Iron
Gates, Tubular
Girders, Simple, Lattice and Compound
Gratings, Pavement
Guard Bars
Gutter, Brackets and Straps


Handrailing, Mild Steel
Hay Barns
Hoist Frames
Hook Bolts
Hoppers, All Types


Incinerator Steelwork
Ironwork, General Builders’


Jetty Iron and Steelwork


King Rods


Ladders, Mild Steel or Wrought Iron
Lift Cages
Lift Components
Lift Structures
Lighting Brackets
Line Pole Steelwork
Liner Plates


Machine Guards
Manhole Covers & Frames
Manhole Ladders
Masts, Steelwork
Mat Well Frames
Mechanical Handling Steelwork
Mooring Rings
Moulds, Plate or Sheet


Netting Stakes


Oven Steelwork
Overhead Crane Structures


Parapet, Bridge Railing and Fencing
Partitions, Mesh or Sheeted
Pavement Gratings
Pedestrian Guard Rails
Pile Driving Caps and Leaders
Pile Frames
Pile Shoes
Piling Gantries
Pipe Supports
Pipe Brackets
Pipe Bridges
Pipes, Plate
Pipe Saddles
Plate Rolling and Bending
Platework, Riveted or Welded
Platforms, Railway Awnings and Canopies
Pole Lighting Equipment, Railway
Portal Frames
Power Stations, Structural and General Steelw
Pressure Vessels
Profiling, Gas
Purifier Box Covers


Quarry Plant Steelwork


Radiator Brackets
Rafts, Mild Steel
Railing, Mild Steel & Wrought Iron
Railing, Tubular
Reaction Tanks
Refuse Chamber Doors
Refuse Chutes
Refuse Hoppers
Ring Bolts
Road Form Stakes
Roof Straps
Roof Trusses
Rope Standards
Runway Beams and Supports
Rush Barriers


Safety Bars
Safety Cages
Safety Rails
Scraper Mats
Screens, Mild Steel or Wrought Iron
Screens, Wire Mesh
Screwed Rods
Self-Supporting Chimneys
Sheeting Rails
Shin Bar Railing
Shuttering, Plate
Shuttering, Tunnel
Signal Structures, Railway
Sink Supports
Sliding Doors
Smoke Pipes
Smoke Plates
Solid Steel Columns
Solid Steel Handrailing
Spiral Staircases
Splice Plates
Spray Booths
Stable Fitments
Staircase Balustrading
Stanchions, Simple and Compound
Standards, Solid Forged
Standards, Tubular
Step Irons
Storage Racks
Storage Sheds
Straps, Mild Steel or Wrought Iron
Structural Steelwork


Tanks, Plate and Sheet
Tank Saddles
Tennis Court Surrounds
Threaded Rods
Tie Rods
Trailer Framework
Tree Guards
Trench Covers and Framing
Truck Frames
Tubular Columns
Tubular Gates
Tubular Handrailing
Tubular Structures


“U” Bolts


Ventilator Ducting
Vessels, Plate and Pressure


Wall Plates
Wall Ties
Washer Plates
Welter Tower Structures
Water Treatment Steelwork
Weather Cravats
Weed Screens
Weir Plates
Welded Structures and Platework
Wharf Iron and Steelwork
Wicket Gates and Sweeps
Wicket Doors
Wind Tunnels Steelwork
Window Guard Bars
Wire Mesh Screens

From Surrey History Centre:

The company was set up in 1894 by T W Palmer, R H Alderman and Alfred Botting, who found themselves unemployed when a company of fencing suppliers, for which they worked, had to close. All three were members of the Baptist Church in Victoria Road, Clapham.

Operating from a rented basement in Victoria Street, Westminster, the three men purchased and fixed themselves wire fencing, sailings and gates and very soon moved on to making their own iron standards, pillars and gates. By 1901 they were able to purchase a site in Merton which became known as the Merton Abbey Ironworks. The fencing business was eventually made into a separate company, called the Victoria Fencing Co Ltd, in 1919 and the original company branched out into steel constructional engineering projects of a wide variety. Among these were some of the pontoons used in the Mulberry Harbour Scheme for the D day landings in Normandy in 1945, the London County Council’s Hyde Park Corner Marble Arch development, the Elstree Film Studios, the Avonmouth oil boom, a power station at Dekhelia, Cyprus, Kingston upon Thames railway bridge, and various factories, iron stairways, railings and gates.

In 1966 the Greater London Council redevelopment plan included a proposal to reallocate land in Merton including the T W Palmer site, from industrial to residential purposes. In spite of objections raised this resulted in the compulsory purchase of the site and the closing down of the company and selling of plant in 1969.

Source: Surrey History Centre

10ft Guillotine

10ft Guillotine

Circular Saw clipped

Circular Saw clipped

Drawing Office

Drawing Office



Main Office Block

Main Office Block

Main Structural Shop

Main Structural Shop

Plate Flanging Machine

Plate Flanging Machine

Plate rolling

Plate rolling

Radial Drill Boring

Radial Drill Boring

Template floor

Template floor


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