Tag Archives: Feltham Road

1961 : Eldest of 3 brothers at TW Palmer retires

THE unique service of three brothers to one firm has come to an end—with the retirement of 75-year-old Charlie Sears from T. W. Palmer, constructional engineers, Merton Abbey.

Charlie, senior erection supervisor, joined the firm 61 years ago. But able to keep him in touch with latest developments will be his two brothers who have no thought of retiring yet.

Brother Bill (aged 70), Park Road, Colliers Wood, and brother Frank (aged 72), Wilson Avenue, joined T. W. Palmer soon after Charlie.

Source : Mitcham News & Mercury, 27th January, 1961, page 9.

In the 1901 census, Charles Sears, aged 15, is living with his parents James, 41, and Elizabeth Sears, 42, at no. 3 Blue Houses, Christchurch; with his brothers, Francis, 12, William, 10 and sisters Mary, 4 and Annie 1.

In the 1911 census, he is 25 and living with his wife Clara, also 25, and their son of 2 months Edmund at 7 Stamford Terrace, Feltham Road. His occupation is listed as an Iron Worker in an Iron Foundry.

39 and 41 Feltham Road

Between Armfield Crescent and Feltham Road, with allotments on both sides, a pair of semi-detached houses, numbered 39 and 41.

The stone tablet on the front read

Carry Close Cottages
1894

News Articles

As 3,700 wait for Council Houses –
COTTAGES LIE EMPTY

‘A meeting place for vandals’

WITH 3,700 people waiting for council houses, Merton Council have been accused of wasting the accomodation they do have.

Residents in Feltham Road, Mitcham renewed their complaints this week about No. 39. They say the two semi-detached cottages could house two families but instead theylie empty and are fast becoming a regular meeting place for the area’s vandals.

Boards nailed across the windows have been torn aside and the glass smashed. The upstairs windows have become targets for stones and air rifles and inside doors hang from their hinges and plaster has been hacked from the walls.

But despite this the roof appears sound and, say the residents, the cottages could soon be made habitable again.

Mr William Adams, a retired baker, remembers them before they were taken over by the council: “They were beautifully kept and the gardens were a picture to look at,” he said.

“But since there have been council tenants living there it has gone down and down.”

HALF-WAY

Mr Adams’ complaint was not against council tenants in general but more against the housing department who used it as a half-way house.

They used it as emergency accommodation for people they could not give permanent accommodation. As a result families stayed there for only two or three weeks before getting proper council houses.

These short term tenancies meant the cottages often remained empty for weeks at a time. Last summer they were left for six weeks and the vandals moved in.

“TERRIBLE”

“It was terrible,” said 68 year old Mrs Daphne Adams. “We could see them smashing the windows and playing about inside and when we told them to go away they threatened us. More than once we had our own windows broken.”

So the council nailed the boards across the windows. Then in February this year they offered the house to 26 year old mother of two Mrs Marie Stewart.

The tenancy was to be a permanent one and Mrs Stewart was thrilled. She had been living in half-way houses for nine months.

But when she saw the cottage she refused point blank to move into it.

Broken bottles and rotting rubbish were piled against the front door. Inside there was no heating or running hot water. Light leads stretched to the floor and the outside lavatory was nailed up.

She went straight back to the housing department and with Communist candidate Miss Jean Geidart, told them just what she thought of it. “It’s a slum,” she said. “A tramps’ doss place.”

Since then she has been found somewhere to live, but the incident moved the council to declare the property unfit to live in and, in effect, leave it tho the vandals.

And the vandals have been quick to take up the invitation.

LADS AND GIRLS

“They are always about the place, larking about and lighting fires. Even the little children from St. Mark’s primary school go in there now. And late at night I’ve seen young lads take their girls in,” said Mr Adams.

He complained to his new Labour councillor, Mrs Vera Bonner and she has taken it up with the housing department. But until she has a reply she will not bring it up in the council chamber.

However the housing department know all about No. 39 Feltham Road. Indeed it has been a thorn in their side for some time.

The housing manager, Mr A. Brown has two choices: Do it up or knock it down. He realises it cannot be left as it is.

NOT QUICK

But until he knows what the Town Planning department propose for the land he cannot do anything and it is understood the planners have not been quick in making up their minds.

The surrounding land has been waste since the allotment scheme there was abandoned nand the site is ripe for development.

But there is no point in building on it if the Loop Road plan comes into operation in the 1980s. In that case it would be more profitable to redecorate the cottages and recoup the money in rent.

Everything hinges on the decision of the Town Planners and the housing department were still waiting on Monday.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 18th June, 1971.

Armfield Crescent

A curved road that runs from the London Road, north of the Mitcham Library, southwards to St Marks Road, with council housing built after the Second World War.

View of Armfield Crescent from Mainwaring Court, Paxton Court is on the left. Photo taken in 1968.

There were originally four blocks of flats, three on the east side and one on the west, housing in total approximately 200 families.

On the east side the blocks are named, from the London Road end, Elm Court, Mainwaring Court and Coningsby Court. The latter two are of the same design, in that they are mostly maisonettes with a downstairs of kitchen and living room with an upstairs of bedrooms and bathroom.

On the west side is Paxton Court which consists of single level flats only. All of these blocks had four or five storeys and so included lifts. The use of sloping tiled roofs served to hide the lift’s engine room from view.

Each flat had use of one shed, for bicycles and prams, which were grouped into rows at the back of the blocks. Paxton Court also had sheds in front of the block. A row of sheds that faced away from the flats were frequently vandalised and broken into, with their contents stolen.

Flats are numbered sequentially, and all except Paxton Court, have their own postcode.

Block Postcode Flat Numbers
Coningsby Court CR4 2JT 1 to 56
Elm Court CR4 2JU 1 to 47
Mainwaring Court CR4 2JW 1 to 56
Paxton Court CR4 2JY 1 to 27
Paxton Court CR4 2JZ 28 to 54

In addition there are eight houses, originally for old people, called Armfield Cottages, near the St Marks Road end. They have a postcode of CR4 2JJ.

A block of flats built around 2015 on the site of garages that were between Armfield Cottages and the playground was named Calico House and given the postcode of CR4 3FB.


The road is probably named from the Armfield family and their connection with the Potter and Moore farm near Figges Marsh. In 1859, Elizabeth, daughter of James Bridger, married John Armfield.

The housing site is also called Elm Nursery Estate, as it was originally a Mizen nursery. This name is preserved in a horse watering trough located in front of Coninsgby Court, at its southern end.

Photo taken 1st November 2017.

This council housing estate was developed in 1951/2. Flats were accessed via stairwells or lifts to communal balconies. In Mainwaring Court for example, the ground, second and fourth floors were in the main part of the block and had 12 flats each. On the ‘wings’ of the block were the ground, first and third floors.

Heating was by coal or coke fires in each flat, and a coal bunker was provided in the kitchen with access from the communal balcony. An example of the costs is shown from this extract from my mother’s diary, shortly after moving in to Mainwaring Court.

2nd January 1953, cost of living in a flat in Mainwaring Court

Rent was £1 13s. 10d, about 40% of the wages of £4 4s. Electricity cost £1 5s. 6d., gas (for cooking) 11s. 10d.

Kitchen sink in flat in Mainwaring Court. The coal bunker was under the draining board on the left. Photo taken c.1972

The blocks of flats on the east side of the road had grass areas at the back for children to play on. These were changed to numbered car parking bays, starting with Elm Court, in September 1974, as noted in my diary.

The bays were numbered sequentially from north, at the rear of Elm Court, to south, at the rear of Coningsby Court. As the numbers didn’t relate to flat numbers, e.g. there was one bay 20 and three flats numbered 20, this did cause some confusion with residents. I used two bays at one point, much to the irritation of my neighbours.

My Hillman Hunter estate in car parking bay 38, and my Singer Sunbeam estate plus Triumph TR62R motorcycle in bay 37. Photo taken in 1979.

Land to the east of between Armfield Crescent was kept for allotments, although later it was planned by Mitcham council to build a bypass road, the ‘Eastern Loop’ to run from the London Road around the centre of Mitcham. This didn’t happen, and in 1979 the land was cleared.

Northern section of allotment land behind Elm and Mainwaring Courts

Allotment land cleared between Mainwaring Court and Feltham Road.

Housing was built on this land from 1979.

View from 4th floor of Mainwaring Court of Feltham Road housing being built on former allotment land.

1979. View of housing being built on former allotment land behind Elm Court.


News Articles

From the Mitcham & Tooting Advertiser

3rd May, 1951

£180,505 borrowed by Mitcham Council over 60 years to build 103 flats and maisonettes on the Elm Nursery estate.

2nd August, 1951

“WHY CALL NEW FLATS MAINWARING COURT?”
Labour councillor Tom RUFF complains that the names chosen for the new blocks on the Elm Nursery estate have no relation to local history. He said that MIZEN would be better for Mainwaring Court and CAREY or CAREW for Coningsby Court. The POLE-CAREW family once owned land in Mitcham and Carew Road was named after them. The new flats were adjoining a road known locally as Carry Close, although it should be called Carey Close. Conservative councillor MINGAY said that the names chosen did have a connection with Mitcham.

See also Armfield Crescent Block Names.

8th September, 1951

“200 FAMILIES IN NEW FLATS
Elm Nursery scheme will be completed next Spring”

About 20 families have moved in so far, into Elm Court first. The first block, Elm Court, has 40 3-bedroom flats and 7 2-bedroom flats. The second block, Mainwaring Court has 56 2-bedroom flats as does the third block Coningsby. The fourth block, Paxton, will probably have a high proportion of 3-bedroom flats.

Mr & Mrs D.M. O’KELLY were among the first tenants in Elm Court. Mr G.C.A. PANNEL, caretaker for the whole estate, also moved in.

The rents for 2-bedroom flats in Elm Court are £1 12s. 6d. and £1 17s. 6d. for the 3-bedroom flats.

The flats include special drying cupboards and electric water-heaters.