Tag Archives: Mitcham Junction

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 ocnvened 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.

Flat Tops

Cottages that were near Tramway Terrace, on the west side of the Carshalton Road, south of Mitcham Junction station, as described by J.D. Drewett in his Memories of Mitcham, published in 1926:

Many old houses in Mitcham have disappeared — a row of old cottages stood behind the Goat Inn — only two remain. Of several old cottages on the farm lands of Messrs. Mizen, along Amoys Lane one remains. Rumbolds Farm — and many old cottages called the Flat Tops — also stood on this estate, and were demolished many years ago. The site of Tramway Terrace was an open garden with only one small cottage at the entrance to Amoys Lane. There was a small pond in front of the Flat Tops, and two wells in the gardens. The railway to Croydon crossed the road level, and had a small cottage for the gatekeeper’s use.

1867 OS map


Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.

Wavy Canopy Edge of Mitcham Junction

From an article called “Houses That Go With The Job”.

19560128-the-sphere-mij-wavy-canopy

Mitcham Junction is architecturally more conventional, with the Stationmaster’s house forming the block lying parallel with the down-line. A canopy with a wavy instead of the more usual jagged edge projects below the level of the upstairs windows, out over the platform.

Source: The Sphere – Saturday 28 January 1956 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

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.

Aspen Gardens

Road off west side of Carshalton Road, just south of Mitcham Junction station. This road then turns to the northwest, where houses are built on the west side, and numbered odd from 1 to 31. See aerial view on Bing Maps.

A house called Aspen Cottage was where this road now turns, as seen on this 1910 map. The road is named after this cottage.

1910 OS map

1910 OS map

Occupants of Aspen Cottage in 1901 were Henry Band, 67, his wife Martha, 54, their daughter Ellen, 34, and son Arthur, 25.

1953 OS map

1953 OS map