Council housing estate built 1954+ on land south and west of the level crossing at Tamworth Lane.
The architects were Collcutt & Hamp, J. Liversedge & Co. were the consulting construction engineers, Mr. H.A. Sandford, M.A. was the consulting electrical engineer and E.C. Harris and Partners the quantity surveyors. Source: Borough Engineer’s Report, 8th September, 1952, as publsihed in Mitcham Borough Council minutes, page 223, volume 19.
Merton Memories Photos
c. 1954 Being built – as seen from railway line
c.1956 Block being built – roof section carried by crane
A completed block seen from railway line
A completed block front view
Two completed blocks
Old peoples’ cottages and a completed block
The land was bought by Mitcham Borough Council using a compulsory purchase order. These council minutes describe the land plots bought, and from whom.
From the minutes of the
Thursday 2nd July 1953
Laburnum Road Site: Acquisition of Land
The Town Clerk submitted the District Valuer’s reports of the terms of compensation provisionally agreed, subject to the approval of the Council and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, for the acquisition, under the terms of the Mitcham (Laburnum Road) Compulsory Purchase Order, 1952, of the freehold interest in the undermentioned land required for the development for housing purposes of the Laburnum Road site.
Land owned by Co-operative Wholesale Society Ltd.
5.030 acres approx. of land at Laburnum Road, together with the house known as “Nursery Cottage” and the derelict house adjoining, and also 0.105 acre of land at Laburnum Road, including the building and timber yard known as “The Garage.”
Land Owned by The Misses L.L. and N.A. Allen, as Executors and Trustees of Rebecca Allen, deceased.
0.084 acre approx. of land at Laburnum Road, including the four cottages known as 1,2,3 and 4, Railway Cottages.
Land Owned by Mizen Bros.
0.138 acre approx. of land at the rear of No.s 1-4, Railway Cottages, Laburnum Road, with a frontage to Eastfields Road.
Resolved, That the terms of compensation provisionally agreed be approved by the Council; that authority be given for the acquisition of the land in accordance with these terms; and that the Common Seal of the Corporation be affixed to any necessary documents.
Railway Cottages and Nursery Cottage can be seen on the 1952 OS Map:
The largest plot, roughly triangular, and owned by the Co-Op, had Nissen Huts on it at the time of the purchase. They can be seen in this aerial photo from 1952
Railway Cottages and Nursery Cottage can be seen top left of this photo
The names of the blocks of flats, and old peoples’ cottages, were suggested in January 1954.
From the minutes of the
7th January 1954
Laburnum Road Estate
The following is a suggested name for the four blocks of flats on the Laburnum Road Estate: –
Addition, names are required for the four blocks of aged persons’ dwellings and it is recommended the following names be given to them: –
Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 20 1953-54, page 535.
(i) That the following names be given to the four blocks of flats in the Laburnum Road Estate:
(ii) That the names recommended for the four blocks of aged persons’ dwellings be approved.
Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 20 1953-54, pages 538.
From Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser
8th July 1954
HOMES OF THEIR OWN AT LAST
First tenants move into town’s newest estate
166 NEW HOMES BY MARCH
THE first tenants moved to Mitcham’s newest estate — Laburnum Road — over the week-end. About a dozen families went into the top-floor flats and maisonnettes of Laburnum Court which is the first block to be completed.
Many had spent years in one and two-room flatlets. Then, after three years or more on the waiting list, they were told by Mitcham Council: ” We have a home for you.” Over the week-end they moved into their bright new flats and maisonnettes, where there are built-in cupboards, large rooms, water heaters, and other amenities they have not known during their married lives.
Eventually the estate, due to be completed by March, will consist of 54 three-bedroom, 84 two-bedroom, and 12 one bedroom flats and maisonnettes, as well as 18 two-storey cottages for old people.
This week the lifts operating from the yellow-tiled entrances to the block were not operating, but the new tenants did not mind climbing four flights of stairs to their homes.
One was Mrs M. L. Gaterall who, with her husband and three children aged from six years to 18 months, had been living in a two-room flat in Kennington, three storeys up. Their chance to move into a decent home came after three years on Mitcham Council’s housing list.
THREE YEAR WAIT
On Monday. Mr R. W. Hayward, a printer’s assistant, moved into one of the maisonnettes with his wife and baby. They had been living in one room in Colliers Wood and they too had been on the waiting list for three years.
Their new home has a living room, modern kitchen, bathroom and two bedrooms. From their back windows they can look out across the roofs of houses in Lammas Avenue and Barnard Road to Commonside East and the common.
Mrs. Hayward had one objection to her new home — in the maisonnettes there are no balconies on which children can be left to play in the open air. They will have to be taken by their mothers down to the lawns which will be laid between the blocks of flats when the estate is finished.
Her husband was pleased with the kitchen. “With all the built-in cupboards, there has been no need to buy any furniture for that room, at least,” he commented.
HAD TO MOVE
Another family who have moved into one of the three-bedroom flats are Mr. and Mrs. E. E. Came and their son and daughter. Another son is still in the Army. They lived in Fortescue Road, but the owner wanted the house. After a year on the waiting list they have been able to move. “It costs us a little more, but it is worth it,” declared Mrs. Came. “The rooms are much larger so that we can lay them out properly and make them look nice. And,” she added, “there is a bathroom.”
In the blue and cream kitchen there is a built-in dresser, larder, broom cupboard, airing cupboard, and an electric immersion heater. In the hall is a gas-heated drying cupboard.
All the new flats and malsonnettes have composition tiled floors width can be polished.
At present, about 180 men are working on the estate, building the remaining blocks of flats, maisonnettes, and old people’s cottages. Their work has not been easy.
While digging the drains, workmen found pieces of old cars, tins, bed-steads and dustbins deep below the surface. At one spot they had to cut a trench through a large area of broken glass. In another place they found a 15-ft. wide stretch of sleepers lying across the path of a deep trench, three feet below the surface. They had to saw, hack and tear their way through the tough wood.
From Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser
4th February 1954
Their names will not be forgotten
Names noted in national and local affairs are honoured by Mitcham Council in the names given to the new blocks of flats on the Laburnum Road Estate and the Baron House Estate in London Road, Lower Mitcham.
The late Mr. Sydney Gedge, of Mitcham Hall, a one-time Member of Parliament and constructor of Mitcham Park, is remembered in Gedge Court on the Baron House Estate opposite his old home. Mitcham’s first Mayor, then Ald. Jack Fitch, and Mr. J. R. Beaumont, also a former Mayor and alderman, are commemorated in Fitch and Beaumont Courts on the Laburnum Road Estate.
The other blocks of flats are named Laburnum Court and Penfold Court (on the Laburnum Estate), Fenning Court and Baron Court (on the Baron House Estate).
The Housing Committee and council also approved the names recommended for the four blocks of dwellings for old people on the Laburnum Road Estate. They will be called Lea Cottages, Ryves Cottages, Campbell Cottages and Overhill Cottages.
Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Borough Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre
at Morden Library.