Tag Archives: Mulholland Close

Mulholland Close

Road on the Eastfields Housing Estate, built in 1972 on land formerly occupied by Pain’s fireworks factory. The name should have been Milholland after the then current director of Pain’s, but the council got the spelling wrong.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury
29th December, 1972

Council boob and a tribute back-fires

When Merton Housing Committee named a road on the new Eastfields Estate, Mitcham, after a local businessman they meant it as a compliment.

But the compliment back-fired when someone in the housing department got the name wrong.

And the man in the middle of the mess is annoyed that his name has been taken in vain now for over five months.

The road should have been Milholland-close – after Mr Philip Milholland, director of Pain’s Wessex Fireworks Ltd who had a factory on the site for 100 years.

But when the sign went up it read ‘Mulholland’ – and went un-noticed for several months.

Mr Milholland said this week : “I am annoyed. They should have got it right and I hope they are going to put it right. I have written to the housing department pointing out the mistake.

I didn’t even realise they had named this close after me until an old works manager of mine who lives in the area saw the sign and told me they had got it wrong.”

At first the housing committee decided that as local residents had been used to living in Mulholland-close for several months it would be wrong to change the name.

Housing Manager Mr A. A. Brown said: “I think it was because they thought people had possibly got used to it and even had notepaper printed with the address. Now however the matter has been referred back to the committee.:

Explaining the mistake he said: “It was a mistake of someone in the department and I think it happened because Mulholland is such a usual name and Milholland isn’t. We are very sorry.”

James Pain and Sons, Ltd.

Firework factory, off east side of Acacia Road, that came to Mitcham in 1872. The company was taken over by the British Match Corporation in 1960 and transferred its factory to Salisbury.

The Eastfields Housing Estate was built on the site. The roads were named Clay Avenue, Moore Close, Mulholland Close, Pains Close, Potter Close and Thrupp Close.

Clip from Merton Memories Mit_Work_Industry_6-3 copyright London Borough of Merton.

The offices were at Renshaw Corner until after WW1.

Clip from Merton memories photo Mit_Work_Industry_6-1 of

See also the entry on Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.

News Articles

MATCH FIRM DO DEAL IN FIREWORKS BRYANT and May, chief operating subsidiary of the £30,750,000 British Match Corporation, is in the take-over field again.

It has acquired Waeco Ltd., whose main products are fireworks and marine distress equipment and a range of smoke pesticides and fungicides.

This company has two factories near Salisbury and a third has recently been acquired at Cambourne to provide room for further expansion.

British Match, which has been carrying out an energetic diversification programme, already owns two firework firms, James Pain and Sons, of Mitcham, and Octavius Hunt, the Bristol makers of sparklers and Bengal lights.

Its other interest, besides matches, range from man-made timber to boxes, steel wool and ticket issung machines.

Source: Newcastle Journal – Tuesday 22 May 1962 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Elephant frightener

AT the firework and distress & signals makers, James Pain, they have just finished a consignment of 6,600 gross fog signals — and one of their purposes will be to frighten elephants.

They are part of an annual consignment to Nigeria where fog signals are used for a great variety of purposes on the railways.
They are most useful in frightening elephants and other animals from the tracks.

The Eastfields factory has also completed special smoke signals for a film to be made about the Jordan Army.

Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 27th January, 1961


Three-quarters of group sales were again made overseas, mainly in the Commonwealth and South America. In the home market competition was intense; higher sales of SWAN VESTAS offset lower sales of other British matches. Bryant & May’s new match factory in Glasgow, though relatively small, is the most modern in the world.


As consumption of matches is static, other interests are hems expanded or acquired. A new £2.5 million ‘WEYROC’ factory is to be built near Annan. Packaging, pulp mouldings, ticket machines, steel wool, scourers and wire products are other main interests in the U.K. In total. 26.4%, of the group profit was earned outside the match industry compared with 14.6% last year. James Pain, the firework makers, joined the group in June 1960.

Source: Birmingham Daily Post – Monday 29 August 1960 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)


Lloyd’s List – Monday 07 September 1874

Miscellaneous notes on staff.

from marriage banns 14th June 1905 – Alfred Albert Henry COOPER, 27, living at Eastfields, assistant manager firework factory, father William COOPER, firework maker. In 1911 and 1925 he lived at 5 Langdale Avenue. Died December 1950 in Bognor Regis.

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