Tag Archives: Hall Place

1945 : Memories of 40 years in signal boxes at Mitcham Junction

From the Mitcham Advertiser, Thursday 11th October, 1945, page 1.

FIFTY YEARS ON RAILWAY

Golden Wedding Memories of Old Mitcham

Fifty years on the Southern Railway, and forty of them spent in signal boxes at and about Mitcham Junction, is the record of Mr. Arthur G. Funnell, of 32a, Mitcham Garden Village.

Yesterday (Wednesday) he and Mrs. Funnell celebrated their golden wedding.
Mr. Funnell reminded “The Advertiser” reporter that he signalled Queen Victoria’s funeral train through Mitcham Junction on its way from Gosport to Victoria. He also signalled the only royal train that ever was on the branch Croydon-Whnbledon line. It had on board the late King Edward (then Prince of Wales) and no less a person than the Kaiser of Germany. They had been to a review of troops on Wimbledon Common and were on their way to the Crystal Palace. The late Mr. W. Martin was stationmaster at Old Mitcham at that time.

“There was a big crowd of people all along the embankment of Mitcham Common when Queen Victoria’s train went through.” Mr. Funnell said, “and not a few to see Kaiser Bill go by.”

Mr. Funnell served under seven stationmasters at Mitcham Junction. “We had plenty of celebrated people round us in those days.” he sold. “The golf course on the Common, then in its prime, attracted everybody who was anybody in London. Including five Prime Ministers, Mr. Asquith, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Ramsay Macdonald and Mr. Winston Churchill, who, however, came before he rose to that high rank. Sir Harry Mallaby-Deeley was as good a player as any of them, and better than most. It was said.”

All sorts of queer things happened at Mitcham Junction, or thereabouts, during Mr. Funnell’s reign as signalman. A big barrel of red powder belonging to a local paint firm rolled off the platform one day in front or a non-stop train, which smashed it literally to dust. The engine, the driver and fireman, most of the passengers, a good length of the train and half the station were painted red and for half an hour a red mist hung about over a wide area, like a sunset reluctant to come to an end.

Mr. Funnell’s initiative led to the capture of several wrongdoers. From his lighthouse early one morning he saw several men being chased across the railway and the Common. He promptly telephoned the station staff, who bagged one.

On another occasion, going off night duty, he saw two sacks partly hidden near the station. He informed the police. Officers dressed as porters got into the brake van when the first train rolled into the Junction, and were not surprised to see two men soon follow them with the sacks. But the men were surprised when the “porters” grabbed them.

Mr. and Mrs. Funnell’s own home in Love Lane was broken into. They lived in it for forty years, till they were bombed out. The garden there was one of the sights of the village, for Mr. Funnell is a good gardener, with a passion for flowers. He has cultivated an allotment on the railway embankment at Mitcham Junction for over fifty years. The housebreaker in Love Lane was captured by Mr. Funnell himself, after a chase into Western Road. He happened to reach home as the intruder was leaving, with two watches and other articles.

“I began my railway life on the old London, Brighton and South Coast Railway,” Mr. Funnell said. He was born at Littlehampton and is now 74. Mrs. Funnell. who is 75, is a native of Mitcham. She was born in Church Road, and remembers the village when it was mainly a vast garden, glowing in the Summertime with all the colours of the rainbow.

Like all good Mitchamers, the whole family are interested in cricket. Mr. Funnell played regularly in the railway men’s team. His younger son, Bombardier George Funnell, is an excellent bat in the Mitcham first eleven. Mrs. Funnell still helps with the teas in the pavilion.

Lance-Corporal Arthur Ernest Funnell, of the Military Police, is their other son, and a married daughter lives at Worthing.

After being bombed from Love Lane, Mr. and Mrs. Funnell were bombed from the Garden Village for a time. The Garden Villagers were naturally among the first to congratulate them on their golden wedding day.

“We were married at Mitcham Parish Church by the late Canon Wilson.” said Mrs. Funnell.“ on the same day that Tom Richardson, the great fast bowler, was married at Beddington. In fact, we used the same carriage.”

Mr. Funnell retired from the railway eleven years ago. He looks back on his past at the Junction as the most colourful patch in his history. They were happy and pleasant days to him. When “The Advertiser” reporter left the house Mrs Funnell was making the golden wedding cake.

“Sometimes I still fancy I can hear old George Sawyer calling out the names of the stations.” said Mr. Funnell. George had a voice like Stentor himself. The late Sir Cato Worsfold declared that at The Hall Place, a mile away, he could hear George calling so plainly that every word was distinct.

1949 Demolition of Hall Place

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
20th May, 1949

Last Chapter In The Story Of Hall Place

The last chapter in the history of the Hall Place, Church-road, near Mitcham Town Hall, is now being written.

This week, the dust of demolition rises like the bursting of flour bags. Elizabethan type chimneys silhouette the sky, waiting their turn to tumble amid the debris.

The present Hall Place, described as a “village mansion,” was built in 1707, and many historical features were lost with later additions. For two hundred years it was occupied by the Worsfold family. Sir Cato Worsfold died just before the last war, and the family vacated the house.

Sir Cato had a humorous story to tell in connection to tell in connection with his home. In 1745, when the Young Pretender’s troops were marching on London by way of Mitcham, the Worsfold in residence called his employees together, and delivered a patriotic speech calculated to stir the most sluggish breast.

They stood and listened with flails, scythes and billhooks. But, somehow, they weren’t moved as he expected them to be. Then, the master of the house brought out three barrels of his best October brew. That did the trick.

Instructions have been given for two archways at the Hall Place to be left standing. One was erected from masonry brought from Merton Priory.

These two reminders of the past will add to the appearance and tone of the new building for the Mitcham County Secondary Boys’ School, which is scheduled for the site.

Illingworth

Sir Richard Illingworth, chief baron of the Exchequer to Edward IV. In 1511 he directed to be buried at the ‘Lady Chapel’ in the church of Mitcham.

His son, also called Richard, lived at Hall Place.

The family owned a number of properties in Mitcham.

Source: Eric N Montague’s Mitcham Histories: 12 Church Street and Whitford Lane page 45


From the Surrey Coats of Arms:

ILLINGWORTH of Mitcham.
Arms: Argent a cross flory Gules between three escallops Sable.
From brasses in Mitcham Church to Richard Illingworth, (d.1511), and to Ralph Illingworth, (d.1572). (SAC xxx 94)
But at (SV1530), William Illingworth of Mitcham, is recorded, possibly in error, as bearing Argent a fess flory and counter flory Gules between
three escallops Sable. *

* Crest. Burke gives for Illingworth, of Surrey: Within a crescent Argent a cock crowing Sable. (BGA)

Building Plans Approved 19th Century

From Croydon Rural District Authority Minutes

4 April 1895:
– additions to Killick’s Lane Board School

16 May 1895 plans approved:
– coach house & stable, Baron Row, Mitcham Dr. Ferrier Clarke

11 July 1895:
– stable, Lock’s Lane E. Thumwood

22 August 1895:
Messrs Mizen, Eastfields, to erect two cottages at Manor Farm, Westfields

17 October 1895:
– Messrs Typke & King to build a lab at the Crowned Chemical Works, Mitcham
– Mr JD Drewett to erect two cottages in Killick’s Road

10 June 1897:
Warehouse at Phipps’ Bridge road by Harland & son

10 June 1897:
10 houses in Graham rd by Mr HJ Vile of 4 Crieff Rd, Wandsworth

8 July 1897:
– Mr G Pitt of Mitcham to erect a cottage in Church rd Mitcham
– Mr J Burges, Norman rd, Merton to erect a butler’s pantry at the “Cedars”, Mitcham

21 October 1897:
– Mr JM Pitt of Mitcham to erect four houses Gladstone rd, Mitcham

4 November 1897:
E. Pearce of 264 Brixton rd, to erect stable & coach house at Graham rd, Mitcham

6 January 1898:
Mr CF Woodward of Graham avenue to erect four cottages in Church rd., Mitcham

20 January 1898:
RA Bush, Hall Place, Mitcham to erect four pairs semi-detached villas in Church street, Mitcham

17 March 1898:
Perry & Reid of 9 John Street, Adelphi for erection of new public house “Buck’s Head”, Mitcham

20 April 1899:
Chapman, FC houses Fortescue Road
Mitcham & Cheam Brewery co. – offices, Lower Mitcham

14 May 1899
New road at Miles Road, Mitcham was approved in November 1898 at 36ft wide, but bye-laws had since changed to 40ft; committee decided not to insist on wider width as plans were approved before the change.

25 May 1899:
Taylor & Kinsett – six houses Pitcairn rd.
J. Wilson – 37 houses Gorringe Park, Mitcham

13 July 1899:
Taylor & Kinsett – 14 houses Pitcairn rd.

27 July 1899:
Chapman, FC – 2 houses Fortescue Road, Mitcham
W.M. Thompson for S Gedge – 6 houses, Mitcham Park Estate

27 September 1899:
– Dell, J – 2 cottages King’s Road, Mitcham
– Cruwys, R – shop, London Road

12 October 1899:
Geo. Pitt – new road, Century Road & 22 cottages on same
– Mr Dalton – 4 houses (8 tenements) Robinson Road

26 October 1899:
GH Stephenson – 3 shops & 12 cottages Miles Road
– J Tuckett – 11 houses (each 6 flats), Park & Robinson Road

9 November 1899:
Taylor & Kinsett – 18 houses Pitcairn rd.

14 December 1899:
– Moses & Carver – 6 houses Graham Road
– Fortescue & co. – 4 houses Marian road
– Mann, Crossman & Paulin – addition to Gladstone House, Mitcham

8 February 1900:
– G. Lawrence – 3 houses (4 tenements) Fortescue Road
– A. Dendy – 2 cottages Manor Farm, Upper Mitcham


Minutes of meetings held by the Croydon Rural District Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.