Tag Archives: Harry Mount

Mount Rovers F.C.

Football club, Mount Road and area.

From the Norwood News, 22nd July, 1960

MOUNT Rovers F.C. have decided in future the players’ shorts and socks will he provided by the Club to improve smartness on the field.

There are still one or two vacancies for good class players to join the club, whose first eleven is in the Premier Division of the Morden and District Sunday League.

The Reserve XI is the only second-strmg team to be placed as high as the first division of the same league.

Applications should he sent to the secretary, Mr. H. T. Mount,
7, Mount Road, Mitcham, Surrey.

From the Norwood News, 10th August 1962

Mount Rovers annual meeting

At Mount Rovers annual meeting at the Bath Tavern, Mitcham, the officers were elected as follows: Mr A. Hanney, chairman; Mr H. Mount, secretary; Mr A. Brier, assistant secretary; Mr E. R. Mount, treasurer.

Three teams will be put out next season, all competing in the Morden and District Sunday League.

A letter was read from the president (Mr G. Arnold) stating that he intended to award annually a trophy to the player or official whom by secret vote was deemed to be outstanding.

The secretary H. Mount suggested that a committee be formed to cater for any increase of membership that might arise in view of the area in which their football ground was situated (Phipps Bridge) being redeveloped. This was agreed.

1939 Harry Mount Remembers 1870s Mitcham


In the year 1870 about the same time that Maurice Maeterlinck was beginning to study water spiders in his grandfather’s garden, and my old friend Tom Francis was beginning to sit up and take notice in what was then the centre of Mitcham, I was doing likewise on the outskirts of the village in what is at present called the Phipps Bridge Ward.

To be correct, I slept about six feet within the Merton boundary on the bank of the brook that runs from the Wandle at Phipps Bridge till it joins the river again at Merton Abbey.

The stream at that time was clear running water which was used for drinking and cooking purposes by all people on each side of the brook.

On the Merton side there were old willow trees from which old Tom Sherman, the famous Surrey bowler, obtained many a splendid cricket bat. At certain periods the river gates would be opened and the brook flooded. When the water had abated, roach, gudgeon in great numbers and a certain quantity of trout could be easily caught. A twelve years old schoolgirl on one occasion waded into the stream and scooped up a fine trout in her pinafore, and one of the clerks at Harlands, the varnish makers, gave her half a crown for it. Mr. Robert Harland spent much of his leisure time near Phipps Bridge fly-fishing for trout.


My home was what would now be called a two-roomed wooden bungalow, but was then called for postal purposes, Rose Cottage. It was known locally as Rats Castle, and it did not belie its latter name, for many a night, while I was reading by candlelight I had one eye on the book and the other on a huge water rat under the table eating the crumbs.

I ought to say that there was only my father and me living in the cottage from the time I was nine years of age.

Mitcham in 1870 contained only seven thousand inhabitants, of whom it would be safe to say that five thousand of them were unable to read a book or newspaper. The Education Act was introduced that year, but had very little effect until some years after.

I first attended school at the National School opposite the cenotaph. The only thing I remember of that time is that we boys made wooden swords, and, dividing ourselves up, fought the Franco-German War in our playtime on the green.

One of us was lucky enough to have a tin sword in a scabbard, and he was made commander-in-chief, but of which Army I now forget. I was at that school only a few months, when the “powers that were” found out that I was Mertoner and sent me to the Lower Merton Schools, near Old Merton Church.

I stayed there till I was eleven years old, and then went as tearboy for my father, who was silk handkerchief printer at Littler’s factory, which is now owned by Liberty’s.


I do not remember learning anything at either school, as my father had been my teacher from a very early age. He had a “Book of Useful Knowledge,” with questions and answers, opening like this: “What is the World?” “The Earth we Live On.” “Who made It?” Our Great and Good God.” “Are there not many things in you would like know about?” Yes.” “ What is Bread?” and on, with hundreds of questions, which he would set me to learn a page at a time, and then put me through it with the book in his hand. I was also fairly good at arithmetic. Newspapers were very scarce in our neighbourhood in those days. Lloyd’s Weekly and the Police News were the standard of the reading public.

One number of the latter paper I shall never forget. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) had been very ill with typhoid fever, early in January. 1872, he began to recover and that week the “Police News” came out with a full page picture of the Prince’s bedchamber with a lovely female figure floating over the Prince’s bed and Old King Death with his scythe running out of the door. Underneath was the inscription :

“The Angel of Mercy at Sandringham.”

As a boy of nine it made a lasting impression on me.

Phipps Bridge was at that time truly rural district, with the exception of about six factories. There was a wide expanse of mint, peas, beans, liquorice and hay fields from Tooting Junction to Old Merton Church and from Merton High-street to Mitcham Cricket Green.

The Messrs. Littler’s were three brothers — Billy, Jimmy and Teddy. They were our employers and also our landlords and when there was no work they didn’t trouble us for rent. Billy Littler was a keen sportsman with a gun and would spend much of his leisure time shooting snipe and other birds in the fields surrounding Merton Abbey. The first job I remember doing was supplying beer (good beer at fourpence a quart) in a tin pot to the thirsty haymakers. I spent a very happy time during the years I am writing about.

My work as tearboy was to spread colour evenly on a sieve for the block to pick up and transfer it to the handkerchief.


Littler’s supplied the world with thousands of beautiful silk handkerchiefs and I have often wondered what the owners of these would have thought had they known that the beautiful colours were obtained through a solution of cow dung!

My next job was at Butler’s floorcloth factory, now enclosed with Messrs. Harland’s works, as a tearboy at six shillings a week.

Mitcham in the early seventies, with plenty of haymaking and other work in the fields during the Summer, was a lovely place, but in Winter when the factories were slack and there was scarcely anything to do in the field, life was very different. Had it not been for the soup kitchens in Mitcham and Merton, hundreds of children would have gone hungry very often. These kitchens were supported by charitable people who would dispense tickets with which a child taking a jug with a penny could get a quart of soup. With some bread it made a good dinner for a family. An unemployed man with family would have to walk to Croydon and break a bushel of granite stones and walk back with a four pound loaf under his arm and two tickets. One of the tickets would entitle him to a piece of meat from a butcher in High-street, Merton, and the other to some grocery in Lower Mitcham.


Rent was fairly cheap, a four room cottage being three and ninepence a week. One reason for the low rents was that many the houses were always empty and it did not cause a man much surprise to find that his next door neighbour had flitted to another part of the village during the night

After leaving Butler’s I went to Harvey and Knight’s floorcloth factory in Morden-lane, still as a tearboy at seven shillings a week, and as my father had gone to Lancashire, calico printing, and we had disposed of our home. I had to keep myself on that amount, paying two shillings lodging and washing, and feeding and clothing myself on the remainder.

I had no relations anywhere near me. While I was at Harvey and Knight’s the Russo-Turkish War started and the man I worked with, being unable to read, used to bring “Lloyd’s News” on Monday afternoons for me to read it to him. This continued week after week until the war ended. By that time I was quite familiar with “Plevna,” “The Shipka Pass.” “General Skobeloff and “Osman Digna.”

During that time I saw Mrs. Dempsey’s cow turned out of her field and a big floorcloth and linoleum factory built there by Daniel Hayward and Son of Newington Causeway, London. I started there as the first tearboy as soon it was ready and within a few weeks was linoleum printing, which was trade for eighteen years.


While there I got to know an Irishman who was foreman of the trowellers and floorhands. He possessed a watch but could only tell the time twice a day just on the stroke of six o’clock he would shout “Time, boys—upright and down straight.”

On one occasion he went into a building and shouted to the men aloft: “ How many of you up there?” “Three” came the answer. “Half of you come down,” he said.

So in 1878, dear reader. I will part company with you for the present and add that my life and motto are well summed up in the following lines:

In this world I’ve gained my knowledge
And for it I’ve had to pay,
Though I’ve never been to college
Yet I’ve heard that poets say—
Life is like a mighty river
Flowing on from day to day.
Men are vessels cast upon it
Sometimes wrecked and helpless lay;
Then do your best for one another
Making life a pleasant dream.
Help a worn-out weary brother.
Pulling hard against the stream.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Friday 04 August 1939 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Thomas Parsons & Sons, Ltd.

Paint factory that was at 92 Church Road. Closed in 1964 when it the company was taken over by Donald Macpherson. Telephone number was MITcham 4444.

clip from 1954 aerial photo on Merton Memories, reference Mit_​Buildings_​57-2 and copyright London Borough of Merton

News Articles
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 14th February, 1964, page 1

Macpherson’s take over Parson’s
‘Redundancy is possible’

A THREAT of redundancy hangs over some employees of local paint firms Donald Macpherson and Thomas Parsons, it is revealed this week.

For on January 31 negotiations for Macphersons to take over Parsons were completed and now the redundancy threat is clear.

Manager Mr. C. J. Flynn said this week that redundancy was possible although the firm would take every consideration and do everything possible for their employees.

He said it was impossible at this stage to say how many people may be redundant.

In a statement the chairman. Mr. R. P. Chester. says: “We shall give every assistance to all potentially redundant staff in obtaining other employment which will include reasonable time off without loss of pay so that they may attend potential employers for interviews and so forth.”

Wherever possible, Mr Chester said, alternative employment will be offered at other Group factories and where necessary assistance will be given with expenses.

He added: “It is realised that without loyal and keen staff a company cannot succeed and we therefore hope that the thought which has been given to the position to each employee of Thos. Parsons will prompt their present employees to continue to serve the new company in the loyal and true way that they have served the old.


We regret the need to close these works and we are very concerned with the way in which this closure will affect some employees. However, we will do all that we can to ensure that the hardship to employees is as little as it can be.”

And in a statement to Parsons employees the chairman of the old company said some redundancy was inevitable.

He said the directors and shareholders of Parsons would have wished to retain the business within the Parsons family but the difficult trading conditions experienced over the past few years together with the greatly increased competition in the paint trade has made this impossible.

Parsons, which was founded in 1802, are providing money which will enable a special redundancy payment to be made to employees whose services are terminated.

They are also setting up a trust fund out of which it is intended to continue the payment of ex-gratia pensions to existing pensioners and also to make payments in due course to staff who have had long service with the company.

Our City Editor writes:

Terms of the take-over of Thomas Parsons and Sons by Donald Macpherson were that Thomas Parsons formed a new company to which they transferred all the paint business, goodwill and all necessary assets and liabilities of Parsons.

The net assets of this new company amount to £325,000.

Macpherson acquired all the assets of this new company in exchange for 427,984 ordinary stock units of 5s.

these new units will rank pari passu with the existing ordinary stock, except for the final dividend of 12 per cent, recently declared in respect of the year to October 31, 1963.

The bid was first announced on November 7, 1963.

From the Mitcham Advertiser
3rd June 1954


A party of 31 pensioners, wives and widows from Messrs. Thomas Parsons, the Mitcham paint firm, went to Bognor on Saturday for their annual outing. The firm provided tea, chocolates and cigarettes. With them was Councillor E. E. Mount, Deputy Mayor of Mitcham, who is chairman of the works’ social committee.

From the Mitcham advertiser
30th November, 1950, page 5


Firm of world repute

Known all over the world for their paints, varnishes and colours, Messrs. Thomas Parsons and Sons. Ltd., of Church Road, Mitcham, will next year celebrate their 150 years of existence as a business. For the greater part of that time the firm have had their main factory in Mitcham, and the total number of employees is nearly 500.

Well equipped modern factories are also established in Dublin and Glasgow. In the firms service are 55 men whose years of labour exceed 1,760. One of them, Mr. W. H. Pantling, who has just completed 50 years at the Church Road factory, stepped into the limelight at the
firms first dance and cabaret held in the Baths Hall on Friday. He made a speech before the Mayor and Mayoress, the directors and about 300 fellow employees, who loudly applauded him.

RAISED £25,000

Mrs. George Parsons, director of the company since 1934, received the Mayor and Mayoress and the other guests, and presided throughout the evening. She is the only daughter of Sir Alfred and Lady Newton. The late Mr. George Parsons was born in Mitcham in 1864. He died this year aged 86. For years Mr. and Mrs. G. Parsons lived in London Road, Lower Mitcham, in a house adjoining the railway and now the Labour Hall. Both are remembered for their active
interest in the Parish Church.

Mr. G. Parsons was the second son of Thomas and Emily Parsons, and a grandson of the George Parsons who, in 1802, joined the firm of William Wood varnish manufacturers of Long Acre, London He was as educated at Croydon and in 1881 started work in the factory at Mitcham. On the death of his father in 1884 he became co-partner and owner of the business with his elder brother, Thomas.

During the first world war he raised over £25,000 in aid of the Fulham Homes for disabled ex-Service men by organising an exhibition of war models in the Parsons showrooms in Oxford Street, London.

Departmental heads present included Mr. O. C. Williams (secretary and general manager), and Mr. J. A. Downie (works manager).

Part of the story of the progress of this celebrated Mitcham firm was related by the Mayor (Aid. T. A. East) during an interval in the dance and cabaret programme. He congratulated the firm and Mr. Pantling.

The organising committee of the function were Mrs. I. Blake, Messrs. A. Marshall. (secretary and M.C.), and R. C. Sutton, and Coun. E. E. Mount, whose father, the late Coun. Harry Mount, was also with the firm for many years.

1937 ad from Flight Magazine

1937 ad from Flight Magazine

Text of ad:


Enamels – Paints
and Varnishes
and aerodrome buildings
to British Standards
Institution and Air Ministry

Makers of varnishes & fine colours since 1802

315-317 Oxford Street, London, W.
Works: Mitcham, Surrey

Mayfair 0742 (six lines) 3647 (two lines)
Telegrams: “Varjap, Phone, London”

Members of the Society of British Aircraft Constructors

Mr Thomas Parsons, of Mitcham, and of Parsons and Sons, varnish manufacturers, 40, Long-acre, who died at the Laurele, Woodside, Wimbledon, on November 1st, aged 41, left personal estate of the net value of £19,600 8s. and £23,163 5s. 2d. gross.

Source: Surrey Mirror – Friday 08 February 1901 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required).


The will (dated April 6, 1871), of Mr. Thomas Parsons, late of No. 40, Long-acre, and of No. 6, Baron-Grove, Mitcham, varnish manufacturer, who died Oct. 18 last, has been proved by Mrs. Emily Parsons, the widow, the value of the personal estate in the United Kingdom amounting to over £34,000. The only persons benefited by the will are the testator’s wife and children.

Source: Surrey Mirror – Saturday 03 January 1885 from the British Newspaper Archive.

Might be related:
Norfolk Chronicle – Saturday 12 September 1778

JAMES PARSONS, at his MANUFACTORY, Stratford, near Bow Bridge, sells Tar and Turpentine, and makes Pitch, Rozin; Oil of Turpentine, Oil of Tar, Varnish of Pine, and Oil of Fir for mixing with White Lead. and has been many Years used his and has been many Years used in his Navy for paying Ships’ Sides and Masts : It is the best, cheapest and neatest Preparation for preserving from Decay all Timber Buildings, Gates, Rails, &c. &c. exposed to Weather; it preserves the Colour of the Timber, and new Work pay’d with it requires no other Paint. Iron Pallisades, &c. pay’d with Varnish of Pine, are prevented from Rust. One Gallon will pay 144 square feet. OIL of TAR is an effectual Remedy against the Fly and Scab in Sheep, and the Mange in Dogs: It is used for softening Rigging. OIL FIR mixes with White Lead and gives beautiful Gloss, it is an elegant Paint for the Inside of Houses, and the best Preservative for the Bottoms of Boats, or any thing else where a fine White is required. Varnish Paints of different Colours ready prepared.

The will of Mr. Thomas Parsons, late of No. 40, Long-acre, and at No. 6, Baron-grove, Mitcham, varnish manufacturer, was proved on the 3rd inst., the estate in the United Kingdom amounting to over £34,000.

Source: Cheltenham Chronicle – Tuesday 30 December 1884 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Varnish, Paints and Cellulose Solutions

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