Tag Archives: Raleigh Gardens

John Baptiste Rompel

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 11th September, 1914

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 11th September, 1914

Text of ad:

J.B. ROMPEL, watchmaker, jeweller, and optician,
3, Central Market, London Rd., Mitcham
(opposite old address)

JOIN OUR CLUB. Full particulars in application.

The Central Market was opposite the Parade, between Raleigh Gardens and Tom Francis’s shop London House.

He was listed in the 1915 commercial directory as a watch maker in the ‘high street’, London Road. The full name was given in the 1911 commercial directory. He is listed in the 1925 street directory as watchmaker at 3 Central Market. In electoral register of autumn 1926, this address was changed to 278 London Road, when that road was renumbered. His last entry at this address was in the 1934 electoral register. See also his ad in 1929 Where to shop in Mitcham.

From Ancestry:

He was born in Hessen Nassau, Prussia (Germany) on 13th September 1872, as Johannes Baptiste Rompel. His parents were Johann and Barbara Rompel. He was naturalised as a UK citizen in 1911.

He married Nellie Louise Court on 8th March, 1903, at the parish church. His wife was born in Oxford, and she lived at 12 High Street. Her father was William Court, confectioner. His father, deceased, Johann Carl Rompel, was a veterinary surgeon. John Rompel was living at 42 Kings Road, Mitcham, when he married.

John Rompel died on 26th December, 1935, aged 63, at Kingston hospital. His home address was 4 Melrose Avenue. He left £1,563 1s 9d. to his wife. Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to £100,000 in 2018.

His wife died on 19th March 1954, aged 74. She left £1,813 in her will, which is around £50,000 in 2018 values. Her probate record shows she was living at 4 Melrose Avenue, Mitcham, and died at Grange Nursing Home, Morden. She left her money to Cecil Howard Mason, departmental head.

In 1915, his shop was approached by an angry crowd protesting at the sinking of the Lusitania.


Early last evening a crowd, which gradually swelled until about 8 o’clock, when it
numbered several hundred persons, assembled at the Fair Green for the purpose of
expressing indignation at the recent murders on the high seas.

Proceeding in the direction of the Parade, the crowd halted in front of the jeweller’s
shop tenanted by Mr. J. B. Rompel, a naturalised German.

Their attitude was distinctly menacing, and but for the presence of a large force of
Special Constabulary they would, no doubt, have vented their feelings in no unmistakable manner. After some jeering and hooting the police dispersed the crowd.

With the exception of one man, whose head was cut with a stone, no damage or
injury took place.

Source: Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 14th May, 1915.

Durham House

Built c. 1722 and demolished 1971/2.

Eric Montague, in his book Mitcham Histories : 7 The Upper or Fair Green, Mitcham, chapter 7 says that the building was used by the Conservative Club from 1890 up to its demolition.

1970 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library - http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

1970 Image courtesy of Collage – The London Picture Library – http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk

Two concrete block buildings were built on the site. Currently (2016) the Iceland supermarket occupies the site of the original Durham House next to Fair Green Court, and a second concrete block, next to Raleigh Gardens, is occupied by the Mitcham Conservative Club. In 2018, the bar and function room were refurbished as the General Giles Social Club.

2009 photo.

2009 photo.

undated photo of the Fair Green shows Durham House on the left

undated photo of the Fair Green shows Durham House on the left

1921 aerial photo shows Durham House bottom left

1921 aerial photo shows Durham House bottom left

An advertisement to let of 1872 describes the house as a:

capital FAMILY RESIDENCE, in substantial and good decorative repair … containing six bed-rooms, two dressing-rooms, dining and drawing rooms ; water and gas laid on; large garden, walled in, perfectly private

News Articles

1891 funeral of William Garraway tells of when his father bought Durham House.


Funeral of Mr. William Garraway.

— On Monday last the funeral of Mr. William Garraway, of Kennington, Surrey, who died, as announced in our obituary column of last week, on the 11th inst. from bronchitis, in his 80th year, took place at Mitcham. The deceased gentleman was interred in the old part of the churchyard between the grave of his brother, Mr. George Garraway, and that of his father and mother. The coffin was of polished oak with brass furniture, and the plate bore the following inscription in capitals : William Garraway, second son of Abel and Amelia Garraway, of Mitcham, Surrey, and grandson of Daniel and Elizabeth Garraway, of Croydon, Surrey. Born Reigate, August 6th, 1811 ; died at Kennington, March 11th, 1891.”

The burial service was read by the Vicar (the Rev. D. F. Wilson), and a muffled peal was rung both before and after the service. The mourners were Mr. R. Garraway Rice, F.B.A, barrister-at-law, Mr. John Forsey, Mr. John Rogers, end Mr. J. D. Bartlett. Mr. William Garraway in early life studied for the medical profession at St. Thomas’s Hospital, but relinquished it without qualifying.

His father, Mr. Abel Garraway, who was for many years resident owner of Durham-house, Upper Mitcham, now the Conservative Club House (which his father, Mr. Daniel Garraway, had purchased of Lieut.-General Giles Hibbert about the year 1808), will be well remembered by the older inhabitants as a gentleman of literary tastes, who took considerable interest in parochial matters. Mr. Abel Garraway was quite one of the old school, always wearing a frilled shirt front and dress coat, and he usually carried silver knobbed cane. He left Hackney to reside at Durham-house, Mitcham, in the year 1841, but died at Glebe Lands in the latter parish in his 79th year on the 11th of January, 1860, having removed there some few years previously.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 21 March 1891 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

Note that Montague says the surname was Stibbart, not Hibbart.

Harriet Slater worked as a servant to Abel Garraway when he lived at Glebelands House.

Merton Memories
c. 1850 engraving
undated drawing

clip from Merton Memories photo 30928

clip from Merton Memories photo 30928 copyright London Borough of Merton

A stone with the inscription A.G. 1809 is now on display behind the bar at the General Giles Club. It had been in the Conservative Club office.

photo taken 8th October 2018

The initials are likely to be Abel Garraway, whose father Daniel bought the house from General Giles Hibbert in 1808, as referred to above in the news item on the 1891 funeral of Abel’s son William.