Tag Archives: library

Joseph Owen

Born 1880, Sheffield, Yorkshire.

Married 1908 to Susannah Young in Colchester.

In the 1911 census, Joseph Owen, aged 31, lived at 11 The Crescent, Westmead Road, Sutton, Surrey, with his wife Susannah, 31, and their son Arnold, 1. His occupation was civil engineer and surveyor with the London County Council.

A public family tree on Ancestry.com says that he went to Canada between 1912 and 1915 and worked for the Canadian Pacific Railways.

On his return he lived in Ashbourne Road, and took part in starting the North Mitcham Improvement Association in 1919, as told in its history, written by A.H. Bailey:

Mr Joseph Owen, of 89 Ashbourne Road, came to Mitcham in the early days of the war, from Canada; he had, however, lived in the neighbourhood before going abroad. He was one of the parents of the Association. He added to his great abilities as a civil engineer remarkable enterprise and push. To him, more than anyone else, was due the acquisition of land and erection of Halls for the Association.

An Electoral committee was formed, Mr Owen was nominated, the ward was canvassed as it had never been before for a local election and Mr Owen was returned on a poll of 838 against 428 for the party ticket. His majority considerably exceeded the total votes cast for a victor the previous April.

Mr Owen’s municipal career was brilliant; he became Chairman of the Highways Committee and remained in that office during the years that Mitcham developed at its greatest rate. He pressed for public baths and, but for him, Mitcham would not have had the public library when it did. Mitcham has its quota of ratepayers only; but Mr Owen resolved the problem by giving the site and half the cost, he also presented Sherwood Park Recreation Ground to the Council and endowed a bed at the hospital.

Incidentally it may be mentioned that the Library was largely Mrs Owen’s design. Mr Owen reached the Chair of the District Council and was a County Councillor. Mr Owen, who in his private capacity, was responsible for the building development of what are now the Long Thornton and Pollards Hill Wards. The Majestic Cinema was erected largely by the efforts of the first N.M.I.A. Councillor.

Later he took up residence at Pentlands, St Georges Road, Mitcham.

In 1926 he started the Tamworth Park Construction Company.

He put up the cost of the Mitcham Library, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 03 July 1930:-

LIBRARY GIFT.

By the munificence of Councillor Joseph Owen the “village” is to have a public library. He has given a site for one in London-road, opposite the Holborn Schools, and is willing to pay the cost of the building, less only the amount expected to be obtained from Government grant. The sketch plans, drawn up by a local firm, provide for a figure extension when required, even, perhaps, to the addition of a museum. Mitcham is changing so amazingly rapidly that a place for storing tangible hits of its history—in picture, photo, wood, metal, stone — is due in the interests of future generations.

In the 1939 register he lived at 20 Beeches Walk, Carshalton.

He died in 1943, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 4th February 1943

Death has claimed Mr. Joseph Owen former Chairman of Mitcham U.D. Council. He gave the borough its public library site, and. provided about half the cost of the building. Sherwood Park Recreation Ground was another gift. With Mrs. Owen, he endowed a bed in the Wilson Hospital. For a time Mr. Owen was a representative of Mitcham on Surrey Comity Council. He developed housing in Mitcham and was chiefly responsible for the town getting an up-to-date cinema theatre.

20 Beeches-walk, Carshalton, Surrey, died 21 January 1943 at Kingslea Nursing Home, Mulgrave Road, Sutton, Surrey.

Probate Llandudno 12 July to Susannah Owen widow and Arnold Courtney Owen, chartered civil engineer. Effects £8,760 1s. 1d.

Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995

1889 : Mr Bidder and Surrey County Council

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 05 January 1889

MR. BIDDER AT MITCHAM

On Friday evening in last week a meeting convened by the Colliers Wood, Singlegate, and District Ratepayers’ Association was held at the Singlegate Board School, Merton-lane, when Mr. G. P. Bidder, Q.C., delivered an address on the new County Council. Mr. Gibson was voted to the chair, and there were also present the platform Mr. G. P. Bidder, Mr. C. Dungate, and Mr. F. D. Sandell.

Among those present in the body the room were Messrs. C. Doughty, W. Clark. K. Fleming. S. Leonard, C. Elliott, C. Combes, W. H. Talbot, T. Allen, and G. PedwelL.

The Chairman having briefly opened the meeting, Mr. Sandell read letters of regret stating inability to attend from Messrs. W. P. Brown, F. S. Lcgg, Billing, and Thomson.

Mr. Bidder, on rising, said he felt great satisfaction in the invitation from the Ratepayers’ Association to attend a meeting of the electors who resided in that part the parish. and should not have come forward as a candidate it had not been for that invitation and request from several others whom he looked upon his best supporters. It had been said that was busy man and would not have time to attend the duties of county councillor, but that point was fully discussed at the Vestry Hall in week. He said if elected as councillor would do his best in that position. Referring to the Act, Mr. Bidder said there was no doubt it was the commencement new era, which it was difficult overrate ; in short, it was to transfer all the administrative and financial business of the county hitherto done by the justices at Quarter Sessions to the County Council. One the most important features in the new Bill was the representative principle wherein those who paid the county rates would in future have voice in the election the representatives. It was nothing whatever with politics. One thing necessary for a councillor was that he should have a certain knowledge of the neighbourhood represented. There was such a thing as having too local government, and he pointed out the fact that vestries were not the best kind of local government. With regard Mitcham, he did not think they had been fairly treated, for they ought have had two representatives, and he had tried for it, but was too late. Whoever was elected on the Council ought to make it his business to get that altered. It would be the duly of the councillors to be always on the lookout and keep their district in touch with the governing body. There were many authorities which now overlapped each other, for instance Boards of Guardians, Rural Sanitary Authorities, &c., and all these would be reorganised, so to speak, and subordinate to the County Council. Singlegate was a little on one side of Mitcham, and he did not know whether any of the justices knew the wants of that particular locality. There was no doubt it had suffered a great deal through inattention. Lunatic asylums, industrial schools, reformatories, county buildings, roads, bridges, &c., would come under the Council, also the granting of music and dancing licenses, and the administration of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act. The police would be under a joint committee of the Council and County Justices, and the appointment of medical officers would be done by the Council. Where the local authorities did not exercise their proper functions the Council would report them to the Local Government Board. The local authorities in many small places were not strong enough to overcome individual interests, and it was essential that they should have a body who could do so. The Rivers Pollution Act had been almost a dead letter, and nobody knew what had been put in the Wandle at different times, but this the Council would have power to deal with. Bills were often brought into Parliament which interfered with the public rights and were prejudicial to the county, and the Council would have power to oppose them. People had said that he did not take any interest in local affairs. He would just remind them that seven or eight years ago the London, Brighton, and Coast Railway Company wanted to straighten their line at Mitcham Junction, and for which they would lave required some 20 or 30 acres of the Common, when he with other gentlemen opposed the Bill, and it was thrown out. Several efforts had been made to take away water from the Wandle and the South-West Spring Water Compony wanted to take it to Lambeth. Then there was Croydon, with whom they had had three or four fights, and fortunately succeeded in them; and, lastly, Sutton, and they had also stopped them. Some other duties of the Council would be to arrange the electoral divisions and levy county and police rates. The County Councils altogether would receive a grant of £3,000,000 for the local taxation, which was very important, as Mitcham were about 7s. 9d. to 8s. in the £ for the year. They would have the issuing of Stock, which would materially decrease the rate of interest for their loans by something considerable, seeing that the county debt of Surrey was at present about £300,000. In conclusion, Mr, Bidder said he had not asked for a single vote, but if they thought he was the best man for the post they should elect him, and if not they should elect someone else.

Mr. John Bull, who said spoke on behalf of the working class, then put the following questions :

1. Was Mr. Bidder in favour of the parish lamps being kept alight all night, and also foggy nights?

2. The taking over of roads which ore partly occupied, and are not in sanitary condition, for instance Palestine-road?

3. That the River Wandle be protected where it was very dangerous, both for foot passengers and vehicles?

4. The appropriation of public places for public meetings.

5. That gas and water companies be under the control of the local authorities?

6. The establishment of a free library in Mitcham, where papers and books of all sections should be allowed free circulation?

7. That public meetings be held in open spaces provided they do not interfere with business traffic?

Mr. Bidder said he entirely agreed with all these suggestions, subject to each question being taken in a broad and comprehensive view.

Mr. F. D. Sandell then moved That Mr. G. P. Bidder is a fit and proper person to represent the parish of Mitcham on the Surrey County Council.”

Mr. W. H. Talbot seconded the motion.

Mr. Dungate supported, and said with all due respect to Mr. Harwood, who was the waywarden, there were some roads which were disgraceful. The lighting question he had often called attention to (cries of “Shame”)—but they had not yet got the lamps alight every night, and as to the stinking ditch in the Merton-road the Inspector to the Local Government Board had said it was necessary that it should be covered in. He (Mr. Dungate) had 60 feet frontage to that ditch, which he did not think was a great deal.

Mr. T. Allen, who said he had been a ratepayer for 42 years, said they were complaining of the high rates, and yet they wanted all these improvements. The ditch in question would cost £2,000 to cover in.

Mr. Dungate said it was quite true that an offer was made by the local authorities some time ago to pay half the expense of covering the ditch, but when they estimated it at twice the price for which it could be done for one should not fall in with their views.

Mr. Clark said Mr. Allen had assured him that it could be done for 15s. per foot. The resolution was then put and carried nem. con., and a vote thanks having been accorded to the chairman and Mr. Bidder the meeting closed.

Events of 1932

From the Mitcham News & Mercury of 6th January 1933

It can be safely said of Mitcham, as of the majority of other places, that few regretted the passing of 1932, with its times of severe depression, but that everyone is looking forward confidence to enjoying better times in 1933. An important event early in the year was the decision of the Council for a petition for the incorporation of Mitcham as a borough. During the year Mitcham Common Conservators sanctioned public golf on the Common, and decided not to allow Sunday football. A new Rotary club for Mitcham was inaugurated in February, and in April Mr Joseph Owen gave £4,025, in addition to the site, for a public library. In November the new super-swimming baths were opened. The wedding of Mr Isaac Wilson, J.P., to Miss Elsie Evans, former matron of Wilson Hospital took place in October. The death-roll included Dr A.W. Harrison, Mrs S.J. Mount, the Rev. Alfred Grove, curate of the Parish Church, and Mrs Roberts, wife of the Rev. W.K.Roberts, vicar of St. Marks Church.

January

2 Frederick Thomas Mansfield (18) of Homewood Road, Mitcham, electrocuted at butcher’s shop in Church Road

12 Mitcham Council decide on petition for incorporation

15 Death of Mrs Florence Edith Trevelyan Juster, wife of Mr John Juster, undertaker, High Street, Colliers Wood, aged 59

18 Funeral of Mr Walker T. Davis, of Penge Road, South Norwood, an old-time Mitcham cricketer.

18 Death of Dr. Arthur William Harrison, of Park Road, Colliers Wood, aged 64

28 Mr and Mrs William White, of 144, High Street, Colliers Wood, golden wedding

February

7 Death of Mrs Mary Florence Downing, wife of Mr H. P. Burke Downing, a distinguished church organist of Colliers Wood

15 Death of Mrs Sarah Jane Mount, wife of Mr Harry Mount, J.P., of Church Road, Mitcham, aged 67

15 Inauguration of new Rotary Club for Mitcham

19 Death of Mr B C Moore (18) of Tynemouth Road, Mitcham, a promising footballer and cricketer

24 Death of the Rev. Alfred Grove, curate of the Mitcham Parish Church; aged 40

March

5 Funeral of Mr L. White, for 29 years chief sanitary inspector at Mitcham

29 Mitcham and Tooting Football Clubs amalgamate

April

15 Robbery of £660 from workmen’s hut at Figges Marsh

18 Death of Mr W R Boon, of Tamworth Park, aged 96

26 Mr Joseph Owen’s munificent gift of £4,025 towards Public Library, including site

26 Election of Mr W Carlton, J.P., chairman of Mitcham Council

May

3 Public golf course on Mitcham Common sanctioned by Conservators

June

1 Mitcham New Congregational Church in London Road, dedicated and opened

5 Mr Stanley G Barrows (31), an auxiliary fireman, found gassed at Edmund Road, Mitcham

6 Mr Ernest Burnell (52), of Prussia Place, Nursery Road, Mitcham, found hanging

18 Foundation stone laid of headquarters of 10th Mitcham (Christchurch) Scout Group, by Sir T. Cato Worsfold

22 Death of Mrs Jane Theresa Lewington, of the Catholic Presbytery, London Road

July

3 Mitcham Catholic’s procession

6 Record show at Mitcham Floral and Horticultural Society

13 Mrs Miriam Victoria Moore, aged 35, and her daughter, Denise Olive Moore, aged six, found gassed at Caesar’s Walk, Mitcham

18 New police boxes opened

26 Councillor S.L. Gaston created a Justice of the Peace

August

8 Mrs Sophie Garrett, aged 62, found murdered at Love Lane, Mitcham. Her husband, John William Garrett, aged 56, afterwards found guilty but insane

14 Marriage of two dwarfs at St Barnabas Church. Miss Dorothy Kathleen Griffiths, of Thirsk Road, Tooting Junction, 3ft. 10ins., and Vivian Pascoe, of Hammersmith, 4ft.

18 Mr and Mrs F. Jones, of Melrose Avenue, diamond wedding

18 Death of Mr George reynolds, an old showman at Mitcham Fair; aged 79

30 Destructive fire at Hill Farm, Bishopsford Road

September

18 Fire at Grosvenor Model Laundry, Colliers Wood, damage estimated at £1,200

October

4 Farewell and presentation to Mr F.C. Stone, head master of Lower Mitcham Boys’ School

November

2 No Sunday football on Mitcham Common decision by Conservators

12 Death of Mrs Roberts, wife of the Rev W. K. Roberts, vicar of St. Marks Church, Mitcham

28 Opening of Mitcham’s new super-swimming baths and dance hall

December

5 Mr and Mrs Isaac H. Wilson entertain Rotary Club of Mitcham

7 Opening of Shaftesbury Society’s meeting place in Gladstone Road, Mitcham

16 “Mercury’s” exclusive announcement of Mitcham’s first cinema, the Majestic

18 Mr and Mrs R. J. E. Wiss, of 89 Caithness Road, Mitcham, diamond wedding

22 Destructive fire at Bond Road, six cottages involved

23 Mr and Mrs A. E. Knight, of 339 Church Road, golden wedding

23 Mr Ronald Arthur Keeble (20), fell 80ft. to death from dome of Eyre Smelting Works, Colliers Wood

Library

157 London Road

Opened in 1933. Built by Joseph Owen’s Tamworth Park Construction Co., architects were Chart, Son and Reading.

From the Mitcham News and Mercury, 21st April, 1933:

MITCHAM’S PUBLIC LIBRARY

The Last Word in Structure and Equipment

Following close upon the opening of the new Mitcham Swimming Baths, another notable public event is near at hand. The new public library is now practically completed, and will be ready for opening as soon as Mrs Joseph Owen returns with her husband from their Egyptian tour. They are due back on May 5, and the opening ceremony is to be performed as soon as possible after that date.

The exterior of the building is finished, and the internal arrangements are being pushed forward with all speed. It will be the last word in structure and equipment.

The thanks of Mitcham inhabitants are due largely to Mr Joseph Owen, “The Pentlands”, St George’s Road, Mitcham, for the handsome library. He started the project by generously giving the land for the site, following up this by contributing handsomely towards the cost of building the library. As managing director of Tamworth Park Construction Co., who have erected the magnificent structure, Mr Owen has practically given his services as clerk of works under the direction of the architects, Messrs. Chart, Son and Reading, of Mitcham.

This week one of our representatives was conducted over the building, and the details were fully explained. As most people are aware, the library abuts on London Road, opposite Holborn Schools, and is quite close to the new baths, and also to the new super-cinema now in course of erection.

The building is 60 feet wide by 66 feet long. The front part consists of two stories, with a flat above the librarian, also the lending library and newspaper room. The rear portion is a one-story building, comprising a part of the lending library, the librarian’s office and reference department. A balcony extends right round the reference library for the purpose of storing the volumes. The reference library itself is 36 feet by 25 feet, and the lending library the 66 feet by 25 feet. The latter also embraces a junior library or juvenile section.

Multi-coloured brick with stone facings is observed throughout the building materials. Over the main entrance are the words, “Mitcham Public Library” nearly carved in stone work, with stone cornice. Three steps lead to the approach, and two pillars are conspicuous, with high railings as a frontage.

AUSTRIAN OAK DOORS

The doors of the library are of Austrian Oak, with handsome patent glazings. On the right hand side of the entrance hall provision has been made for a large oak notice board and and electric clock. The newspaper room, 20 feet by 17 feet, is on the left of the vestibule.

On the right, proceeding down the hall, is the lending library, and the space for the attendant is so and adroitly arranged as to command a view of the entire room. The librarian’s private office is here, and on the left the reference library. A feature of the latter section is the names of various cathedral cities on raised panels, worked in gilt letters on the sides of the skylights.

The decoration scheme throughout use old ivory colouring, the walls in the hall being neatly panelled. A distinctive feature of the furnishings is that of Austrian Oak. Electrically lighted, with the most modern heating arrangements, the library is up to date in every respect.

NO DETAIL OVERLOOKED

Mr. K.G. Hunt, the librarian appointed by the Mitcham Urban District Council, is very proud of the new building, as is it embraces the very latest ideas to please the users as well as the staff. No detail has been overlooked to make it perfect, and the arrangements are the last word in library buildings.

The Dewey decimal system of classification has been adopted.

“The work of preparing the library has gone forward in two stages,” said Mr Hunt. “Stage one, consisting of supervision of installation of fittings, purchase of miscellaneous requirements, book selection, and creation of administrative and filing machinery. Stage two, ordering and preparations of books for issue, installation of books on shelves, preparation of typewritten catalogues, etc., with the appointment of staff gradually as the developments of the work progressed.”

The initial stock of the new library consists of:

Lending Department, 10,000 volumes, estimated cost £2,250;

Reference department, 1,500 volumes, estimated cost, £750;

Junior department, 1,000 volumes, estimated cost £200;

Total, £3,200.

“I hope as soon as the library is opened,” added Mr Hunt, “to get into touch with all the local societies of an educational character, and also to go gather material for historical records of Mitcham.”

Most popular books in 1937

Merton Memories Photos

1934
1937 staff
1937
1966 when extension built
1966 view from Armfield Crescent
1987

Aerial Photos
1952
1952

Most Popular Books in 1937

Most popular books in 1937:
the seven most popular novels were

  1. The Citadel
  2. Gone With The Wind
  3. The Count of Monte Cristo
  4. The Stars Look Down
  5. Busman’s Honeymoon
  6. Lost Horizon
  7. The Good Earth

the six most popular non-fiction works were:

  1. Edward VIII
  2. Gibbon’s Catalogue of Postage Stamps
  3. Seven Pillars of Wisdom
  4. Inside Europe
  5. The Fool Hath Said
  6. Catalogue of Postage Stamps