Tag Archives: pigs

1928 : Pigs starved to death

From the Norwood News of Friday 29th June 1928, via the British Newspaper Archive:


” The evidence is quite clear. You have been guilty of most appalling cruelty. All the magistrates are agreed that they never heard a more revolting case. You will have to go to hard labour for six weeks.”

Sir Arthur Spurgeon, chairman of the Croydon County Bench, made these remarks on Wednesday to XXXX, of 249, Church-road, Mitcham, who was summoned on four informations for, being the owner of ten pigs, he permitted and caused unnecessary suffering to them by unreasonably omitting to supply them with food and water at Batsworth-road Allotment Grounds on May 12.

Mr. E. B. Knight, prosecuting, said defendant was employed at the Mitcham Gas Works as a stoker, at a salary of £4 13s. 6d. per week. About three years ago he built some pig sties on his allotment plot at Batsworth-road, and began keeping pigs. On May 12, the sties were inspected by Mr. Rabbetts, the Council’s Nuisance Inspector, who found ten pigs in an absolutely starving condition. In addition, there were the remains of three other pigs which had died, or been killed, and the remains had been eaten by the other pigs.


In one sty there were a sow and two small pigs, and the carcase of a small pig with the back legs partly eaten away, and the skin and remains of another pig. There were six small pigs in the second sty, and the bones of another. In the third sty there was one sow. There should have been 14 pigs altogether. The carcases of three were there, but where the fourth was they did not know.

The great probability was that no food or water had been given to the pigs for about three weeks. They had been shockingly neglected. In the tub or tank there were potato peelings covered with scum not fit for pigs or anything else.


” It is difficult to understand,” added Mr. Knight, “how anyone could let these pigs starve to death in this unaccountable way. The whole of the stock had to be destroyed. Inspector Scott saw defendant, who told him that, some soap had got into the wash and given the pigs scaldings, which had upset them. A more callous indifference to the suffering of animals could hardly be conceived. When Inspector Scott asked defendant when he had last brought food, the reply was, “I do not know. I have been saving the wash from the house to save expense.”

The particulars given by Mr. Knight as to the condition of the pigs were substantiated by Mr. C. E. Rabbetts, chief sanitary inspector for Mitcham U.D. Council.

Inspector Scott also corroborated.


Mr. Richard Herbert Evans, a veterinary surgeon, said the pigs had been without food or water for quite three weeks. It was possible for the pigs to have killed the weak ones and eaten their carcases. The entire stock were in too weak and emaciated a condition to have been fit for human consumption, and would never have recovered. The five months’ old pigs, which should have weighed about 85 lbs., were only 20 lbs.; and the seven months, which should have weighed about 120 lbs., were only 30 lbs. The animals must have endured intense suffering.


Defendant said he could only put it down to a long run of bad luck, and to the fact he had been feeling very unwell. He had sustained big losses with pigkeeping, and became so depressed and worried that he did not know what be was doing. He was vary sorry.

On hearing the sentence, defendant exclaimed, ” I hope you will save me from prison for the sake of my wife and children.”

Sir Arthur: You should have thought of that before.

Pig Bins

From Mitcham and Tooting Advertiser
4th February 1954

Pig bins to be abolished

Waste food is now ‘unprofitable’

Kitchen waste is no longer to be collected in Mitcham, and the council’s street pig bins are to be removed.

Commenting on this at Thursdays meeting of Mitcham Council, Ald. C. A. Norris (Ind.) congratulated the Public Health Committee on their decision to abolish what he described as “the pig-bin nuisance, and the now unprofitable collection of kitchen waste generally.”


The committee made their decision after receiving a letter from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries stating that the Government had decided that the salvage of waste food by local authorities would in future be on a voluntary basis.

The Minister, the letter continued. was prepared to revoke individual directions for the salvage of kitchen waste should local authorities wish him to do so, although he hoped they would give the matter careful consideration before deciding to disband their waste food services.

1907 : Piggeries at the Holborn Union Workhouse

Shoreditch Observer – Saturday 12 October 1907

The Mitcham Piggeries.

The Mitcham Workhouse Visiting Committee reported that they had carefully considered the question of keeping pigs at that establishment, and having regard to the profits made during the past three years, and the useful employment provided for inmates of the house, they were of opinion that it was desirable to continue to keep pigs, and recommended “That the committee he authorised to re-stock the piggeries forthwith.”

The Rev. G. Smith asked what had become of the pigs which had been destroyed. He was told that they had been buried in the ground under cultivation.

The Chairman said he had been informed that they were buried on the farm and covered with lime.

The Rev. G. Smith considered it very wrong thing to do. They would probably be dug up, and the disease was likely to spread again.

The Chairman said the pigs were unlikely to dug with one or two spade’s deep, and they were covered with lime.

Mr. Herbert-Burns, Chairman of the committee, said the hole was not kept open to put the whole of the pigs in.

Mr. Walmer understood that if a person died from small-pox and was put under the earth the body would he purified, and it would surely purify pigs.

The Clerk ascertained the gross profit, from which they had deducted the amount received outside for the sale of wash. For the year ending Lady-day, 1905, there was loss of £2 6s. 5 1/4d. In 1906 there was profit of £130 15s. 6d. in 1907, the profit received was £194 16s. 10d., making a total of £323 5s. 11d. The actual cost for wash was £82 12s., leaving net profit of £240 13s. 11d. on the three years’ trading.

Mr. Bolton was still the opinion that they ought to discontinue the keeping of the pigs. They should know whether it was intended to rebuild the piggeries and what was to spent re-stocking. For the sake of £6O per year to in for expenditure of £300 to re-build and re-stock was in his opinion not wise course. He was of the opinion that the old pigs did die of swine fever, and did not like the idea of re-stocking the piggeries that had housed the deceased animals.

Mr. Bassett moved that the report should referred back in order that an estimate of the expenditure might prepared. He did not think they should he such had managers as to keep pigs without a profit.

Mr. Warmer considered they ought to get £200 or £250 profit out of the pigs. If he were ten years younger he would get something out of it.

Mr. King seconded the amendment, but considered that special committee should be appointed to deal with the farm.

Alderman Enos Howes said they had the facts that the pigs did not pay. It was an instance of municipal trading. They could not produce the results of private enterprise.

Mr Garrity said he had to confess he went down to Mitcham supporting the abolition of the piggeries. They were told that they ought to be making £200 out of the pigs ; last year they made £194 and the year before that £120 15s. 6 1/4d. Even in their bad year they only lost £2 5s. 6 3/4d. The farthings came before the Committee and were discussed with all solemnity. (Laughter.) Prior the committee meeting he discussed the matter with Ald. Miller, and he learned that a man only a stone’s throw from the workhouse had made a fortune out of pig-keeping. The question of the proper management was not against the piggeries. The cost of new piggeries was of vital importance.

Mr. Walton said it came as surprise to him after what their friends had said about the loss, to hear the report from the clerk. He was in sympathy with the statement that the management needed re-organisation. They were impressed with the cleanliness and good condition of the piggeries, and he doubted if they would have to spend a five pound note to improve them.

Mr. BOUTON said there was a general expression of opinion to pull down the present piggeries and build fresh places with every sanitary convenience. It would he a failure to put fresh pigs into the old stys.

Mr. Berther thought it would be well if they appointed a special committee to consider the whole question.

The amendment was then put and carried. A notice of motion for the appointment of a special committee has been handed in by Mr. Bolton.

1909 Pig Slaughtering in Miles Lane

From the minutes of the Mitcham Parish Council of 25th January 1909

The following letter from the Clerk to the Croydon Rural District Council was read :—


Dear Sir,


I am directed to forward the subjoined copy of a resolution passed by the District Council at their last meeting, and to ask that you will bring the same before the Parrish Council.

Yours truly,

R. M. CHART, Esq., Clerk of the Mitcham Parish Council.

” The Medical Officer reported that in the course of Mr. Rabbetts’ inspection of the Piggeries on the Mitcham Allotments he found two pigs had recently been slaughtered and dressed in a shed belonging to Mr. William Sayers, who resides at 1, Clifton Cottages, Miles Lane, Mitcham. The shed was constructed of wood with concrete floor, and had a copper in it for heating water, which was obtained from a surface well close to the Piggeries. Mr. Rabbetts cautioned Mr. Sayers against using this shed as a slaughterhouse a few months ago, when he found that a pig had been slaughtered there. The Committee directed the attention of the Mitcham Parish Council be called to the circumstances, with a view to the prohibition by them of a continuation of this practice.”

1) Miles Lane, now called Miles Road, is shown in this map of 1910

1910 map

1910 map

2) Before 1915, Mitcham was part of the Croydon Rural District Council.

Minutes of meetings held by the Mitcham Parish Council are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

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

Batsworth Road

Road that currently connects Church Road (opposite Foxes Path) to Belgrave Road. On the south side of the road is a trading estate.

Previously the south side was the site of industrial works and the north side allotments with piggeries.

1910 OS map. The Distillery was W.J. Bush. Batsworth Road today continues to Belgrave Road across where the distillery was.

The connecting road to the south of the distillery was also Batsworth Road as shown in this 1952 OS map:

1952 OS map

E.N. Montague in ‘Mitcham Histories: 8 Phipps Bridge‘, page 12, says that the Batsworth name can be traced back to the 13th century as the name of an enclosure of land. ‘Long’ and ‘Short’ Batsworth fields are mentioned in the sale of the estate of James Moore in 1852. They were part of the ‘Blacklands’ near Phipps Bridge, the colour alluding to the richness of the soil.

Mitcham, Surrey.

— To Capitalists, Market Gardeners, Medical Herb Growers, Agriculturists, and Others.

— Valuable Freehold and Copyhold Properties, nearly all land-tax free, comprising the Second Portion of the Estates of the late James Moore, Esq.

MESSRS. CRAWTER are favoured with instructions by the Devisee in Trust for Sale, to OFFER, at AUCTION, at Garraway’s Coffee-house, Change Alley, Cornhill, London, on WEDNESDAY, August 11 next, and following day, at
1 precisely each day, in 41 convenient Lots (giving Votes for the County).

Consisting of about 71 Acres of very Superior FREEHOLD and COPYHOLD LANDS, and PREMISES, situate dispersed in the Parish, lying near the Church, and in Church-street, and on the high road from Mitcham to Morden; also in Blacklands Fields, near Phipps Bridge, Long and Short Batsworth. Half Furlong, East Fields, &c., all accommodation land of first-rate quality, and in a high state of cultivation, capable of growing crops of every description, but particularly adapted for growth of medical herbs — (for which lands were used by the late proprietor), and market garden crops,
for which the locality has been long noted, with several eligible building frontages, in a healthy, populous, and improving neighbourhood, surrounded by, and adjoining to, good roads, only 8 miles fr London and 3 from Croydon Market-town, with a prospect of railway communication in the ensuing year, and the right to enfranchise the copyholds. N.B. — Possession can be had at Christmas next.

Particulars can be had 10 days before the sale of T. E. Pe????,
Esq., solicitor, 12, Mecklenburgh-square at Garraway’s; and the
King’s Head and Buck’s Head, Mitcham; the Greyhound and Cock Inns, Sutton; principal Inns at Tooting, Merton, Carshalton, Epsom, and Croydon; and of Messrs. Crawter. surveyors, land agents, &c., 7, Southampton-buildinga, Chancery-lane, and Cobhatn, Surrey. A competent person will be employed to show the lands.

Cock Chimney Factory

Photos on Merton Memories

Newspaper Articles etc.
Road stopping up order in the London Gazette Publication date:12 May 1988 Issue:51331 Page:5634

1960 : Explosion showers acid over homes

1928 : Pigs starved to death

1915 : Swine fever outbreak

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


A 1915 outbreak of swine fever gives clues as to where the piggeries were. See London Gazette which mentions the same piggeries as this notice by Surrey County Council:
19150326 Swine Fever
This notice mentions five piggeries in Mitcham affected by swine fever:

  1. Westfield Farm, Western Road, in the occupation of John Cornwall
  2. Seale’s Piggeries, off Lewis Road
  3. Reader’s Piggeries, off Lewis Road
  4. Batsworth Road Allotment Garden
  5. Church Road Allotment Garden

Westfield Farm can be found in the 1915 Kelly directory as being just north of Fountain Place on the west side of Western Road.1910 Westfield Farm map

William Henry Seale, of Orchard Villa, Lewis Road, was bankrupt in 1915.

The location of the Lewis Road piggeries can be obtained from the 1915 Kelly’s Directory, as it describes the properties as from Church Road and after Oakwood and Ashtree Avenues. The 1910 OS Map can be used with an overlay to see theses avenues today and as there are only two properties on Lewis Road in 1910, the piggeries can be identified.
1915 Lewis Road Piggeries

This photo of pigs in the 1950s was taken in Batsworth Road and the tanks in the background are on the W.J. Bush factory.
Batsworth Piggeries1910 Batsworth Road map