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.
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)
From the phone book
In the 1896 street directory, listed as John Jacob Schweizer, varnish manufacturer.
From the minutes of the
Town Planning and Development Committee
31st October 1968
1266. COCK CHIMNEY WORKS, BATSWORTH ROAD, MITCHAM
– 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.