Rents of about £9 plus a week which will be charged on soon to be completed homes in the new Pollards Hill Housing Estate are being scoffed at by council tenants.
Tenants at present living in overcrowded conditions are being given the opportunity to move to future new homes on the 850-dwellings estate. However, the common reaction is ”These rates are too high by far – we can’t move unless they are brought down.”
The higher rents come in as a part of the rent structure for new tenancies – based on 210% of gross value on houses and 185% on flats – brought in by Merton Council.
Borough Housing Manager Mr A.A. Brown said 1,000 tenants had so far been invited to move into the new Pollards Hill Estate when their five and six person houses and flats become available.
“But the response of people interested in moving has been small,” he said.
Mr Brown was confident, however, that no flats or houses on the new development will be left empty when they were completed by the summer of 1971.
“I am sure they will be quickly occupied from the council waiting list.”
Among the existing tenants who have been given the opportunity of moving is 42 year old printer Mr John Uren.
Father of a teenage son and daughter, he would be entitled to move into a new 3-bedroom house from his four-guinea-a-week, two bedroom flat on the post-war estate at Pollards Hill.
“But I doubt I if I shall accept the offer – anyone who would pay £9 a week rent could just as well by their own new home,” Mr Uren said.
And Pollards Hill Estate tenants Association secretary Mr Dennis Small said these are not rents for ordinary council tenants at all – the council are only catering for people with big incomes. To pay the kind of rents the council asking for their new homes, a man would need to earn up to £40 a week.”
The new rents for a strongly opposed by the council’s labour minority. Said Councillor D.W. Chalkley, sole Labour representative on the housing committee: “With better handling of the housing account, these new tenancy rents could have been contained within the existing structure, which the Government would not have permitted to be raised.
“With such high rates, most people are quite naturally scared off.”
Merton’s letter inviting overcrowded tenants to move to Pollards Hill drew attention to the recently improved rent rebate scheme.
Prefer to pay
“But most tenants would prefer to pay their way rather than hope they will continue to qualify for rebates,” Councillor Chalkley commented.
“And, in any case, the present scheme where one council tenant subsidises another is wrong – it should be spread evenly amongst all ratepayers.”
Official opening of the first to five person houses at Pollards Hill will be carried out by Mitcham MP Mr Robert Carr, January 28.
Manton Way was a short road off the west side of Galpins Road, where Berkshire Way is today.
From the 1939 register there were four houses and the OS map of 1940, shows two houses on either side of the road.
Occupants in 1939
William KNIGHT, 51, professional musician
Edith E. KNIGHT, 44, housewife
Marjorie E. KNIGHT, 16, dressmakers apprentice
Ena Elsie LANE, 42, civil servant at the Ministry of Health
Thomas BOLTON, 57, butcher
Annie BOLTON, 50, housewife
Robert BOLTON, 19, commercial artist
Nancy V. BOLTON, 16, switchboard operator
Alfred William ALLEN, 45, scaffolder
Elsie May ALLEN, 45, housewife
Alfred Robert ALLEN, 14
After WW2, the Pollards Hill Golf Course was developed for housing and the roads were named after counties. Manton Way was extended westward and renamed Berkshire Way.
Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Alfred Robert Allen lived with his parents Alfred William and Elsie May Allen at 4 Manton Way, Mitcham. On his gravestone, his parents called him Bob:
In memory of Bob.
His smiling face is with us
Till we meet again,
Mum and dad
Manton Way was a short road, with only four houses at the time. It was off the west side of Galpins Road at the eastern end of the then Borough of Mitcham, with its boundary to Croydon. On the eastern side of Galpins Road were tennis courts and playing fields. At the southern end of Galpins Road was Mitcham Common.
Manton Way was at the edge of the Pollards Hill Golf course, and Bob Allen may well have crossed it on his way to Sherwood Park School, half a mile to the west.
Bob Allen died, aged 19, on 22nd January 1944, while serving with the 6th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment which took part in the landings at Salerno, in September 1943, in the Allied Invasion of Italy.
ALLEN, ALFRED ROBERT
Service Number 14280788
Son of Alfred William and Elsie May Allen, of Mitcham. Surrey.
Ancestry.com. UK, Memorial Books WWI and WWII, 1914-1945.
Original data: Sayers, William Charles Berwick, ed. Croydon and the Second World War: The Official History of the War Work of the Borough and Its Citizens from 1939–1945, Together with the Croydon Roll of Honour. Croydon, England: The Croydon Corporation, 1949.
Born 29th October 1924, in Fulham. Lived at 387a London Road, Croydon. Educated Sherwood Park School, Mitcham. Clerk. Died in Italy, 22nd January 1944. Buried Military Cemetery, Minturno.
Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
In his will he left £241 1s. 8d. to his mother Elsie May Allen.
The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1376C
No. 4 Manton Way
Alfred William Allen, born 20th May 1894, (builders) scaffolder labourer.
Elsie May Allen, born 17th September 1894, housewife.
When the Pollards Hill Golf Course was developed for housing after WW2, Manton Way was extended and renamed Berkshire Way. Other roads in this development were named after counties.
Maps are reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland.
Born 1880, Sheffield, Yorkshire.
Married 1908 to Susannah Young in Colchester.
In the 1911 census, Joseph Owen, aged 31, lived at 11 The Crescent, Westmead Road, Sutton, Surrey, with his wife Susannah, 31, and their son Arnold, 1. His occupation was civil engineer and surveyor with the London County Council.
A public family tree on Ancestry.com says that he went to Canada between 1912 and 1915 and worked for the Canadian Pacific Railways.
On his return he lived in Ashbourne Road, and took part in starting the North Mitcham Improvement Association in 1919, as told in its history, written by A.H. Bailey:
Mr Joseph Owen, of 89 Ashbourne Road, came to Mitcham in the early days of the war, from Canada; he had, however, lived in the neighbourhood before going abroad. He was one of the parents of the Association. He added to his great abilities as a civil engineer remarkable enterprise and push. To him, more than anyone else, was due the acquisition of land and erection of Halls for the Association.
An Electoral committee was formed, Mr Owen was nominated, the ward was canvassed as it had never been before for a local election and Mr Owen was returned on a poll of 838 against 428 for the party ticket. His majority considerably exceeded the total votes cast for a victor the previous April.
Mr Owen’s municipal career was brilliant; he became Chairman of the Highways Committee and remained in that office during the years that Mitcham developed at its greatest rate. He pressed for public baths and, but for him, Mitcham would not have had the public library when it did. Mitcham has its quota of ratepayers only; but Mr Owen resolved the problem by giving the site and half the cost, he also presented Sherwood Park Recreation Ground to the Council and endowed a bed at the hospital.
Incidentally it may be mentioned that the Library was largely Mrs Owen’s design. Mr Owen reached the Chair of the District Council and was a County Councillor. Mr Owen, who in his private capacity, was responsible for the building development of what are now the Long Thornton and Pollards Hill Wards. The Majestic Cinema was erected largely by the efforts of the first N.M.I.A. Councillor.
Later he took up residence at Pentlands, St Georges Road, Mitcham.
In 1926 he started the Tamworth Park Construction Company.
He put up the cost of the Mitcham Library, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 03 July 1930:-
By the munificence of Councillor Joseph Owen the “village” is to have a public library. He has given a site for one in London-road, opposite the Holborn Schools, and is willing to pay the cost of the building, less only the amount expected to be obtained from Government grant. The sketch plans, drawn up by a local firm, provide for a figure extension when required, even, perhaps, to the addition of a museum. Mitcham is changing so amazingly rapidly that a place for storing tangible hits of its history—in picture, photo, wood, metal, stone — is due in the interests of future generations.
In the 1939 register he lived at 20 Beeches Walk, Carshalton.
He died in 1943, as reported in the West Sussex Gazette – Thursday 4th February 1943
Death has claimed Mr. Joseph Owen former Chairman of Mitcham U.D. Council. He gave the borough its public library site, and. provided about half the cost of the building. Sherwood Park Recreation Ground was another gift. With Mrs. Owen, he endowed a bed in the Wilson Hospital. For a time Mr. Owen was a representative of Mitcham on Surrey Comity Council. He developed housing in Mitcham and was chiefly responsible for the town getting an up-to-date cinema theatre.
20 Beeches-walk, Carshalton, Surrey, died 21 January 1943 at Kingslea Nursing Home, Mulgrave Road, Sutton, Surrey.
Probate Llandudno 12 July to Susannah Owen widow and Arnold Courtney Owen, chartered civil engineer. Effects £8,760 1s. 1d.
Source: Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995
Architects, whose work included these housing estates :
For more on Collcutt and Hamp, see Scottish Architects website.
From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 20th May, 1960, page 1.
NINE SCHOOLS IN BIG RESHUFFLE
A DEVELOPMENT plan to provide an academic stream in all Surrey secondary schools
will start next year. Nine Mitcham schools will be affected, five of which will be closed.
The scheme was due to be started early next year and completed by 1966, but too little
money was allocated by the Ministry of Education, and the completion date will not be for some years.
Top priority on the list is Gorringe Park Secondary Boys School. As the present building
is needed for the primary pupils, new premises will be built.
The boys from Rowan Road Secondary School, which is closing, will be transferred to the
new school, where it is planned to run one academic, one technical and two general courses.
TO BE ENLARGED
Rowan Road Secondary girls will have the entire school building, at the moment divided between the boys and girls school. They will have one academic, one home economics and two general courses.
Pollards Hill Secondary School will be enlarged. It Will take six instead of four entry classes each year and will have one academic, one commercial and four general courses.
Western Road Boys’ School will close and the girls will take over the entire building. With an academic and a commercial course there will be two general courses.
Singlegate Boys’ School will close, and open in a new building on a new site with one academic, one technical and two general courses.
Fortescue Girls’ and Links’ Girls’ schools will both be closed.
Merton Memories Photos
Fortescue Road School in 1925
Design Award For Pollards Hill Estate
Mitcham’s Pollards Hill Estate has won a major architectural award for Merton.
The £4 million complex of 562 houses and 288 flats has already aroused great interest among local authorities and architects.
And this week Merton’s Borough Architect, Mr Bernard Ward, revealed that his architects have been given the South East Region Award of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Mr Ward, Borough Architect of Merton since 1965, regards this as one of the highlights of his career. But it was, he emphasised, a team job from five men in his department.
“I am very pleased. It’s quite an achievement as there are only 13 regions throughout Great Britain to which the Institute make their awards.”
He believes the award has been made on the basis that Pollards Hill houses a large number of families without the architects having to resort to high-rise blocks to do it. Those who have visited the estate since it was completed have been surprised at the spacious surroundings in which so many people can be accommodated.
This was his team’s objective when they first presented their ideas to the council’s Housing Committee four years ago.
“We wanted to build an estate which was mainly composed of houses and not flats. They said that if this could be done then it would be ideal. So
we went ahead,” explained Mr Ward.
There was plenty of head scratching, thinking and discussing among his staff before the final design was produced.
“A lot of designs hit the waste paper basket before we came up with the right one,” he explained.
Both Mr Ward and his team were aware that the huge tower blocks built by many
local authorities in the past were neither pleasant to look at nor to live in. But there was the council’s long housing waiting list to consider.
Both had to be taken into consideration before the final plans for Pollards Hill were produced.
Once this had been approved, there were few architectural problems.
“The only problem we had was to do the job within the budget for the project,” he said.
Altogether the team worked on the design for four months. They were a good team he said. It was a pity that most of them had now left Merton and gone their separate professional ways in the last two years.
But the experience they had in the design of one of the first estates where homes have been provided for 100 persons per acre would, he believed, stand them in good stead in their present jobs.
When the first tenant moved in on January 28, 1971, Pollards Hill was regarded, in architectural circles, as almost unique.
Merton Council had managed to house hundreds of families while adding to the quality of the environment. This is not achieved by many local councils in their battle to reduce housing lists.
The estate borders South Lodge-avenue, where previously there had been hundreds of prefabs, built as temporary post-war accommodation for bombed-out families.
Now, the long streamlined honeycomb of houses and flats which stretch up to the borough boundary is an attractive replacement.
The award is to be presented at a special ceremony at Merton Town Hall in October.
Source: Mitcham News & Mercury, 8th September, 1972 page 1