MITCHAM SHOP BLAZE
MAN RAN TO FIRE STATION IN HIS SOCKS
Family’s Narrow Escape
“The Home-made Pie Shop” on Mitcham Fair Green was burnt out in the early hours of Monday morning. Mr. Bryant, his wife and child, who occupied rooms above, had to rush Into the street partly clad. They had a narrow escape from being cut off by the flames, which blazed up the front of the shop to their bedroom window. A milk roundsman called the Fire Brigade from the point near the Jubilee Clock Tower. They were just leaving the station at five minutes past three when Mr. Bryant rushed in give the alarm. He had run all the way, quarter of a mile or more, his socks. The brigade gave him a lift back to the shop. Chief Officer W. Lawson, who was in charge, entered the shop to make sure no one was left on the premises, which were then well alight. The shop, which was partly matchboarded, was loaded with stock, all of which was destroyed. A good deal of the Bryant family’s furniture was damaged. Mr. H. J. Clarke, the proprietor of the shop, and also of “The Home-made Cake Shop” next door, told The Advertiser that he was awakened by Mr. Bryant. The flames were then leaping up the front of the pie shop. It was a big blaze. There was an exceptionally heavy stock in both shops owing to the war scare. The damage was considerable. The two shops, both small, are at the corner of the Nag’s Head forecourt, opposite the Conservative Club. They are among the older properties on the Fair Green.
Mitcham’s fire brigade was a volunteer service until 1920, when Albert Wells was appointed Chief Officer. He introduced retaining fees for the chief and sub officers at each station, and remunerations for drills and call-outs for the firemen.
Stories from the British Newspaper Archive
The Volunteer Fire Brigade.
—The annual test drill of the brigade took place on Wednesday evening, when the men mustered in full force and arrived at the tanyard, Beddington Corner, with their engine punctually at six p.m., and in about three minutes got to work with one jet. To this was shortly added another, junction being made in the hose about ten yards from the engine ; another connection was rapidly made from the engine with additional hose, and three powerful jets of water were concentrated on point where an imaginary fire was raging. A correspondent who witnessed the drill is of opinion that from observations made and the excellent espirit de corps shown the men, that this, as an entirely volunteer brigade, in a position to cope with any emergency which may arise in the vicinity. An essential point with men who give their time and labour gratis is having confidence in their leader, and this the Mitcham men certainly have in Superintendent A. R. Harwood. The following members of the committee were present to witness the proceedings, viz., Mr. S. Wells (chairman), Mr. Harwood, sen., Dr. Love, Mr. Sampson, and Mr. S. Love.
Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 23 February 1889
The Mitcham Volunteer Fire Brigade.
— The committee of this brigade entertained the members to dinner on Wednesday evening, at the Old Nag’s Head, Upper Mitcham. Mr. Wells, the chairman committee, occupied the chair, and Mr. A. R. Harwood, the superintendent of the brigade, the vice-chair. There were present Messrs. W. R. Harwood, Dr. Love, F. G. Sampson, R. M Chart. S. Love, and W. Jenner, members of the committee, and the brigade with the turncock and call-boys. An excellent repast was put upon the table by Mr Tomlin, and served in his best style, to which ample justice was done. The usual loyal toasts were also given, with that of the brigade, committee, &c. and a most enjoyable evening was spent. During the evening some capital songs were rendered by Messrs Shepherd, Brown, Dill, Turner, and others.
Agricultural Express – Saturday 25 February 1893
—On Thursday morning a fire, which originated in a store used for frying fish, broke out at 2, Rock-terrace. The rafters in the chimney had caught alight, but the volunteer fire brigade were able to extinguish the flames with a few buckets of water. The house was occupied by woman named Patience Stone.
Robert Ellis of Elm Lodge bought the White Cottage on Morden Road in 1879 and sank an artesian well behind it. He set up a small factory and offices to sell mineral water from his “Raven’s Spring”. By 1882 the business had grown enough for him to move into larger premises at the “Ravenspring Works” in what is now called Western Road.
Source: page 96 Mitcham Histories: 10 Ravensbury by EN Montague
Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 17 August 1889 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required).
—On Saturday last Messrs, Ellis & Co., of the “Ravenspring,” Merton-road, gave their employees, to the number of about 30, their annual outing. Box Hill being the venue, as last year.
A start was made from the Old Nag’s Head about nine a.m. in the firm’s own vans, Mr. Tomlin, of that ilk, having undertaken to provide the “cusine” for the occasion, and himself accompanying the party, which was under the able management Mr. C. Dell.
On reaching Kingswood lunch was partaken of at the Red Lion. From there the journey was continued to Betchworth Clumps, where a halt was made to enable the party to enjoy the beautiful scenery thereabouts, from there on to the Wheatsheaf at Dorking was a most pleasant drive, and after indulging in cricket and various other games until dinner time the company sat down to the capital fare provided by Mr. Tomlin, everything being of the best and prepared the best style. It is needless to say the dinner was thoroughly enjoyed.
The afternoon was spent in various ways, and the party having been photographed en masse they returned to the Wheatsheaf and partook of a substantial tea, Mr. Sellman, the worthy host of that house, endeavouring by all means in his power to add to their enjoyment, and Mr. T, Saywers, of Morden, having joined the party, a most enjoyable time was spent.
After a pleasant drive home they reached the Old Nag’s Head about 10.40 p.m., well satisfied with their outing.
Mr. Ellis accompanied the party, the whole of the expense being borne by the firm.