Tag Archives: Park Place

1973 : Park Place Saved – Brenley Doomed

From Mitcham News & Mercury, 14th December 1973, page 1.

Park Place Saved – Brenley Doomed

Storm over the ‘Stately homes’

TWO of Mitcham’s “stately homes” have become the centre of the preservation storm. One has just been temporarily reprieved but the other is doomed for demolition.

Saved – for a while at least – is Park Place, once a highly desirable mansion set in parkland off Commonside-west. The council are reconsidering their earlier decision that it is not worth preserving.

Doomed is Brenley, a Victorian villa, off Commonside-east, at present used as a children’s home.

The Social Services Committee are to bulldoze ahead with their plans to pull it down, despite strong Tory claims led by councillor Mrs Iris Derriman, that this is expensive and needless destruction.

Councillor Peter Casey led the so far successful battle to save Park Place.

“I know the building is not of considerable architectural merit but it is on the supplementary list of these buildings and is in a conservation area.”

Although the majority of objections to its preservation had been on the grounds of costs and that it was not worth saving, he felt it had a certain character and could possibly serve the borough as offices.

“I know that the Greater London Council feel that it should be preserved,” he said.

Councillor Alan Jones angrily pointed out that if the GLC felt that strongly about the building then “they should dig their hands in their pockets and pay for it.”

WASTE

“It was strongly felt by the committee concerned that on all grounds it was not worthy of retention. There is no useful purpose in retaining it. It will be a sheer waste of time.”

The Education Committee who are currently using Park Place as a storage centre for equipment, agreed to reconsider their decision.

But Brenley, a smaller house had its death sentence confirmed by Social Service Chairman Miss Sheila Knight, who swept aside Tory pleas that so much money had been spent on its interior, including central heating that, as Councillor Mrs Derriman claimed, “you are pulling down a perfectly good building.”

“I agree we have spent a lot of money on Brenley but this is the trouble – we could go on spending money in attempts to get it up to the standard it should be for modern child care thinking.

“I think it is time to take a more realistic look at the situation – the present house parents who have given long and devoted service are nearing a well earned retirement and then we are going to have difficulty in attracting the kind of young married couple we need to run this children’s home.”

For despite the council’s efforts to modernize the interior it was still not up to a standard which would give the couple privacy when they were off duty.

A modern building would answer the needs both of the children in care and the family needs of those who looked after them.

Councillor Mrs Iris derriman remembered the recent demolition of The Croft, another old Mitcham villa used by the council as a nurses’ home until it was pulled down earlier this year.

“Now we are talking about removing another perfectly good building. What on earth are we doing? Brenley is a very pleasant building,” she said.

Albert Thomas Till, Medical Officer for Health at Mitcham

16th July 1936. Dr Till, with the Mayoress, Mrs Davies, at a ‘Welfare Centres ‘ garden party at Park Place. Clip from Merton Memories photo, reference Mit_​Hospitals_​4-1

In the 1935 Medical Directory he is listed as living at 43, Mitcham Park.

In 1924 he obtained his degree as Batchelor of Medicine / Batchelor of Surgery and a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene; and post-graduated with Dental Public Health in 1931 at the University of London. He was a Fellow of the Royal Institute of Public Health, and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

He was the Medical Officer at the Mission Hospital in Mahamba, Swaziland; and the Resident Medical Officer at the Victoria Hospital in Damascus, Syria.

He authored Dental caries in native children, published in the South African Medical Journal in 1927; Some observations on influenza in 1933 and Liquid paraffin, a cause of loss of weight in children, in 1934, both in the Journal of State Medicine.

He was appointed Mitcham Medical Officer for Health in 1937.

Injured during bombing raid on 12th November, 1940, at 31 Mitcham Park, he died the same day at Wilson Hospital. He was 40 years old.

From Norwood News – Friday 15 November 1940, page 2:

Obituary
TRAGIC DEATH OF DR. TILL
Medical Officer of Health at Mitcham

THE tragic death of Dr. A. T. Till, Medical Officer of Health for Mitcham, has cut short a promising career at the comparatively early age of 40 years.

He was a native of South Africa, and came to Mitcham 3 1/2 years ago, when he was temporarily appointed for six months’ trial to succeed the late Dr. Fegen, who then was a part-time officer of health. By the end of his term, Dr. Till had given such complete satisfaction, that be was unanimously given the full-time post of medical officer. That he justified that confidence is recognised everywhere. Year by year he endeared himself more and more to the Council, his colleagues, and the ratepayers generally, and he came to be regarded as one of the most popular of Mitcham’s public servants. Unostentatious at all times, Dr. Till wielded a great influence throughout the borough, and improved the health services to a remarkable extent.

A prominent Council official paid him this tribute: “Dr. Till was a first-class officer,” he said. “Exceedingly capable, and most popular with the whole of the public services. Ever ready to give advice, it could be absolutely relied unon. The Council has lost one of its best and most conscientious officers.”

A sad coincidence is that normally he would have been on duty elsewhere on the night of his death, but he had arranged an exchange with a professional colleague. During the war period, Dr. Till had been in charge of the ambulance and first aid posts. In addition to his ordinary duties, and he worked unceasingly for the benefit of the public services.

The Mayor (Ald. E.J.D. Field) is calling a special meeting of the Council for to-morrow (Saturday) to pay tribute to Dr. Till’s memory, and to place on record an appreciation of his services.

Dr. Till leaves a widow and daughter to mourn their irreparable loss.

Commonwealth war Grave Commission casualty record.

In his will, he left £909 3s. 7d. to his widow Emily Annie Till (around £50,000 in 2019 values).

Sources:
Wellcome Trust; London, England; Collection: The Medical Directory, 1935; Reference: b21330724_i13766260