Tag Archives: Riley Schofield

Council depot, Church Road

Council depot that had its main entrance on Church Road, east of Church Place. Shown on this OS map of 1953 as Corporation Depot, this site is now the housing estate of Morland Close.

1953 OS map

Parts of the north wall along Love Lane remain, and an entrance, now bricked up, can be seen at the junction with Edmund Road.

Photo taken April 2016

New Articles
Norwood News – Friday 06 March 1931

FIRE AT COUNCIL DEPOT.

Mitcham Fire Brigade were called on Tuesday morning to an outbreak at the Council’s depot in Church-road. When they arrived with their appliances, they found the surveyor’s motorcar was ablaze. It transpired that an explosion, caused by a petrol leak in the carburettor, had started the fire. The brigade quickly extinguished it, and saved Mr. Riley Schofield his car, only the fabric being damaged.


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

1940 : Removal of tramway rails

From the minutes of the Mitcham Borough Council, volume 6, 1939 to 1940

58. REMOVAL of TRAMWAY RAILS. – The Borough Engineer submitted the following report: –

February 13, 1940.

REMOVAL OF TRAMWAY RAILS

The Ministry of Transport have asked whether the Council will agree to the removal of the tramway rails from London Road and Croydon Road. The price payable will be 8 per ton, less the cost of removal, which will result in a favourable balance, which will be carried to the classification accounts, and I recommend the Committee to agree. The length of tramway rails involved is 12,000 yards in Croydon Road and 2,760 yards in London Road.

Yours faithfully,
RILEY SCHOFIELD,

Borough Engineer and Surveyor.

Resolved, That authority be glven to the Borough Engineer as recommended.

1944 : Bath Road Condemned but still Inhabited

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 24th November, 1944

BATH ROAD CONDEMNED BUT STILL INHABITED

When Will The Huts Come?

The Job is Urgent in Mitcham

Deplorable Conditions

Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve, K.C., is Lord Woolton’s Chief of Staff in connection with the repair of bombed houses in the London area. Recently he paid a visit to the Town Hall.

Where he ought to have gone was Bath-road, Mitcham.

A member of our editorial staff – most appropriately, perhaps a young woman member – has been there, and her description of what she saw may be a spur to Sir Malcolm, the Mitcham Council, and all concerned.

When I visited Bath-road I asked the people there if they would prefer to live in the Baths Hall, which the Housing Committee, on the suggestion of the Housing Manager (Miss B. Thrupp) recommended should be turned into a hostel.

Their “No” was unanimous.

They do not want a glorified shelter life.

Many were under the impression that they could not remain there during the day, and said that night shelter alone was no use to them. I understand that the people were to be allowed to remain there if they wished.

Now, owing to lack of support, it seems unlikely that the hall will be opened as a hostel, though at the time of writing the committee’s decision is not public.

What are the conditions in Bath-road?

All the houses there are condemned. And rightly so. For even in its best days Bath-road was never a health resort. Now it is utterly desolate.

Like War Derelict Area.

It is like a deserted battlefield, grey, derelict, and very quiet; an apparently uninhabited place. There was no sign of life as I entered it. Ruined houses, most of them open to wind and rain lay on either side. Here and there attempts had been made to board up doors and windows, but most gaped open to disclose broken walls and piled-up rubble. Yet amid the ruins of these houses I estimate that over sixty men, women and children are living in conditions that can be best described as mediaeval. Often the only way of telling if a house is occupied is by a thin column of smoke that rises from the ruins.

I had thought the place deserted, and then I counted nine columns of smoke.

It came as rather a shock to know that behind these grey, silent walls so many families were living. Few have any lighting apart from lamps and candles.

Drains have been blocked by rubble, so that there is no proper sanitation.

There is not one room in the road that is wind- and water-proof. These conditions have existed since July.

Suddenly, at the far end of the road, a child appeared. She went to the door of a broken house, and as she called a woman appeared and sold her potatoes. It was Mrs Gibbs. She told me she lived there with her daughter. She showed me a room lighted by a fire and a little light from a boarded window. The walls were wet and laths showed in the ceiling.

Children’s Voices

“We sleep in an Anderson, but about 3 a.m. are usually so cold that we get up and come into the house,” she said.

“A lot of people live in the houses opposite,” she told me. I knocked on the loose door of one of them, and as there was no answer, walked into a narrow, damp passage. The stairs were broken, the front room a mass of rubble and broken rafters, but from the back of the house came children’s voices.

There, living in one room, with only the barest furniture, was Mrs Smith and her four children. Last week her husband went overseas. He is very unhappy about his family, especially as his wife is expecting another child in February. At present they sleep in the Tube.

“I want a place near so that my sister can look after me when the baby is born. I cannot go on much longer in these conditions and feel sure that if the Council officials could see what conditions are like here they would do something about it,” she said. She said she was one of the first on the list for huts.

The Universal Question

“When do the huts arrive?” she asked, a question I was asked by every family to whom I spoke. I was unable to give an encouragng reply, for only the day before the Borough Surveyor (Mr Riley Schofield) had said that it was unlikely that any huts would be available in Mitcham before Christmas!

Next door to Mrs Smith live Mrs Clark and her son, the latter home on sick leave from the Merchant Navy. Next to them is her son, Charles Clark. He, with his wife and five children, all sleep in an Anderson and live in a small draughty room. He, too, asked, “When do the huts arrive?” And with reason, for his wife is expecting another child.

Later, as I passed an apparently derelict house, a woman in a red coat appeared from a broken doorway. “Do you want to see us?” she asked, and going in, I found her 72-year old mother, Mrs Rachel Smith, having tea by candlelight. The room was dark, for all the windows were boarded up and furniture salvaged from other rooms was stacked round the walls. The front room was piled with rubble, the stairs were unsafe. The habited room is probably unsafe. “I cannot sleep here, for there is no bed, and so I go down the Tube. We cannot lock the room, and one night things were stoeln. I have lived here all my married life, and my thirteen children were born here,” she said.

Her daughter, Mrs Penfold, is expecting her husband, who is serving overseas, home at Christmas. “I have no home to offer him. What shall I do?” she asked.

Further down the road lives Mr Honey with six others, two of them are sick, in a tiny kitchen. They sleep in Andersons in what used to be their garden.

People living in similar conditions in Chapel-road and Century-road. They know that hundreds are in like plight, though I doubt if any borough can show a worse area than Bath-road. The people there seemed glad that someone, even if only a newspaper reporter, was taking an interest in them, though many of them showed disappointment when they found that it was “only a reporter” and not “someone from the Council.”

Several families said they felt that more would have been done if members of the Council had seen conditions for themselves.

When Mrs Smith learnt that Sir Malcolm Trustram Eve had been down to the Town Hall she said : “I wish he had come down here, then he would have known how badly we need those huts.”

Riley Schofield

Obituary from the Mitcham Cricket Club yearbook for 1978:

Riley Schofield who was made life member of the Club in 1956 was the Borough Engineer for nearly 45 years and made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough in 1960. He was a blunt Yorkshireman who loved cricket and was very useful to the Club especially with regard to anything appertaining to the Green and the square in particular.


Mitcham Cricket Club yearbooks are available on request from the Merton Heritage and Local Studies Centre at Morden Library.

1932 Lighting of Colliers Wood High Street

In 1932, Colliers wood was part of the Mitcham Urban District.

1934 OS Map - the boundary with Wandsworth Borough was just north of the bridge over the railway line, south of the junction with Blackshaw Road and Longley Road

1934 OS Map – the boundary with Wandsworth Borough was just north of the bridge over the railway line, south of the junction with Blackshaw Road and Longley Road

The council’s surveyor reported that the Gas Company’s chief engineer proposed using reflectors to increase the light from the ‘Windsor’ gas lamps in use, and that Windmill Road was to be used for a test. This road, across Mitcham Common, had no housing and without any lighting nearby would be a good way of assessing the effectiveness of this proposal.

For more on the Windsor type of gas lamps, see the William Sugg & Co. History website.

From the minutes of the Mitcham Urban District council
Volume XVII 1931 to 1932
Highways Committee
4th February, 1932
Pages 647 to 648

STREET LIGHTING, WINDMILL ROAD

The Chief Engineer to the Gas Company has now evolved a system of reflectors suitable to Windsor type lanterns, and is willing to demonstrate them free of charge in Windmill Road, and I have given him authority to carry out this improvement on the understanding that should they not prove satisfactory there will be no charge. The reflectors have now been fixed in position, but I have not yet had an opportunity of inspecting them at night, and will make a further report to the Committee next month.

The cost of fitting these reflectors on the six lamps is 24s., and the cost of conversion to double burners 12s., with an extra maintenance cost of £10 2s.

HIGH STREET, COLLIER’S WOOD.

The length of High Street, Collier’s Wood, is 970 yards, and is lighted by means of three-burner Windsor type lamps, eight of which are on the west side and twelve on the east side. The maximum distance apart is between the lamp at the corner of Cavendish Road to that opposite North Gardens, a distance of 80 yards; whilst the
minimum distance is 30 yards, this being the distance between the same lamp at the corner of Cavendish Road and that at the corner of Byegrove Road.

The length of the road in the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth, immediately adjoining the district boundary, is lighted by means of six-burner lamps fitted with reflectors, and is very well illuminated at this point, due, firstly, to the extra lamps being installed on the tramway refuge by Longley Road, and, secondly, to the close spacing and high power of the lamps, the maximum distance apart being 38 yards. In a length of 125 yards from the district boundary, there are 7 six-burner lamps. I suggest that alterations take place on the Mitcham side in order to tone the lighting down gradually. I propose that the second lamp be resited and converted to six-burner at a distance of 50 yards from the first lamp in Wandsworth, and the remaining lighting on the bridge approach would then be adequate.

In my previous report I proposed that a three-burner lamp be fixed to replace an obsolete type lamp opposite No. 216, and on further inspection, late one Sunday night, I suggest two additional lamps be erected, one midway between North Gardens and Cavendish Road, and one between College and University Roads on the east side. When these lamps are fixed I think the road will be reasonably well lighted.

I have prepared a plan and estimate of the cost of lighting the road in the same manner as the recently relighted Tooting High Street, where each lamp is fitted with six burners at a maximum distance apart of 50 yards. The capital cost of this scheme would amount to £230 and the extra annual maintenance cost would be £150. I cannot see that this expenditure is justifiable in any way.

If the reflectors on the lamps in Windmill Road prove satisfactory they could be fixed with advantage to the lamps in High Street, Collier’s Wood.

Yours obediently,
RILEY SCHOFIELD, Assoc. M.Inst.C.E.,
engineer and Surveyor.

Resolved

(d) Lighting of Windmill Road. – That the Committee consider this question at the next meeting, when an opportunity has been given to the members to observe the effect of the new system of reflectors.

(e) Lighting, Collier’s Wood. – That the Surveyor be authorised to replace the obsolete type of lamp opposite No. 216 with a new three-burner lamp, and that two additional lamps suggested by the Surveyor be also provided, and that if the reflectors prove satisfactory in Windmill Road this system is adopted in High Street, Collier’s wood.


Inflation adjusted costs:

1932 2016
12s. £37
24s. £74
£10 2s. £620
£150 £9,200
£230 £14,000

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

New Close

Built in 1936/7, a council housing estate originally of 95 houses and 3 flats.

Bought for £14,475 from Messrs Clarkson by Mitcham Borough Council for rehousing people made homeless by the Explosion, and for their slum clearance programme.

1935 New Close Clarksons Land sale to Mitcham

1935 Map of land bought by the Council

This 1952 OS map shows that the estate had its own fire alarm post (FAP), next to number 2.

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th May, 1936:

“Laying out of housing estate”

Reporting on the lay-out plan of New Close Housing Estate, the Borough Engineer, Mr Riley Schofield, said it allowed the erection of 135 houses. The density on the land purchased, viz. 9.70 acres plus one half of the width of Phipp’s Bridge road, and one half of the railway, a total of 11.149 acres worked out at 12.1 houses per acre.

A portion of the estate accommodating 36 houses might not be proceeded with, leaving 99 houses for immediate development.

It was proposed to erect a disinfection house, to be isolated in the south-east corner of the property.

The size of the houses provided for a living-room, scullery, W.C., and bathroom and larder on the ground floor and three bedrooms on the first floor and for the provision of a shed at the rear of each house. A proportion of the houses to have more than three bedrooms.

The Council approved the plan.

Housing Committee, Thursday, October 10th, 1935

LAND, PHIPPS BRIDGE.

-Messrs. Chart, Son and Reading reported that they had been in communication, on behalf of the Council, with Messrs. Clarkson for the acquisition of 9 1/2 acres in Phipps Bridge Road, and that the terms upon which Messrs. Clarkson were prepared to sell were, that the total sum to be paid for the land should be £14,475, and that of this sum £12,047 should be paid upon possession being given of 8 acres 0 roods, 5 perches, and that the balance of the purchase money should be paid on vacant possession being given of the remainder of the land either on the death of Mrs. Clarkson or earlier if Mrs. Clarkson ceases to occupy New Close House. The Town Clerk reported that these conditions had been referred to the District Valuer for his observations, and a report had been received from the District Valuer stating that he was prepared to support an application for a loan at this figure.

Resolved. That the Council be recommended to purchase the site at the price quoted, and that application be made to the Minister of Health to sanction a loan of £14,600 for this purpose.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 1 1934-35 pages 980-1

Finance and General Purposes Committee
Tuesday, 21st July 1936

8. Nameing of New Street
– That in lieu of “New Close” suggested in the report of the Housing Committee, the name of “Jarrow Road” be substituted.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 2 1935-36 page 841

Highways, New Buildings, Lighting and Public Works Committee
Thursday, October 14, 1937

New Close Estate.
-It was Resolved, That his worship the Mayor be asked to hand over officially the New Close Housing Estate to the Housing Committee on Saturday, October 23.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 3 1936-37 page 1065


November 12, 1937

New Close Housing Estate

– The Borough Engineer reported that he had received a quotation from the Wandsworth Gas. Co. for the carcassing required for 95 houses and 3 flats for gas services, amounting to £176 12s., and that he had also received an offer from the company to supply 98 slightly used reconditioned gas cookers at the reduced price of £5 each.

Resolved, That the quotation and offer submitted by the Wandsworth Gas Co. be accepted and the order placed accordingly.

Source: Proceedings of the Council and committees, Mitcham Borough Council, Volume 3 1936-37


From the minutes of Housing Committee
11th December 1947
page 151

PIGEONS

The tenant of 36, New Close, has erected a 15-ft. long pigeon loft without first having first obtained the Council’s permission. I shall be glad of the Committee’s instructions.

I am, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Your obedient servant,
B. THRUPP
Housing Manager

Resolved – That the tenant be instructed to remove forthwith the pigeon loft which has been erected without permission.


The name ‘New Close’ can be traced back to the 17th century. Deeds published in the Harvard Law Library mention a lease from that Richard Garth for ‘New Close’.

Lease, 1633, January 19. 8 Charles I. 1 Item : parchment ; 42 x 58 cm.

SUMMARY:

Lease between Richard Garth, esq., of Morden (Surrey) and Dame Dorothy Capell of Morden of a new brick house in Morden, with all out houses, barns, etc., with 1 adjoining close called “the Marsh Close,” containing 5 acres, another called “New Close,” containing 5 1/2 acres, another called “Great Parkelandes,” containing 13 acres, another called “Little Parkelandes,” containing 8 acres, another called “Grube Close,” containing 3 acres, and another called “Water Dens,” as now it is enclosed, containing 8 1/2 acres; except and always reserved all woods, timbers, and trees now standing, etc., with all hunting, for 21 years (if she live so long) from last Michaelmas, at the annual rent of £30 5s. Signed: Dorothy Capell.

WITNESSES: Edward Straynge, James Grantham, William Mathewe.

NAMES: I. Garth, Richard. R. Capell, Dorothy, Dame. III. Straing, Edward. IV. Grantham, James. V. Mathew, William.

SUBJECTS: I. Deeds—England—Surrey. 2. Deeds—England—Morden. 3. Surrey (England)—Charters, grants, privileges. 4. Morden (England)—Charters, grata, privileges.

Source: Harvard Law Library, though this text is no longer online
Retrieved: 2007
This text can also be seen online as part of a Google Books search.


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

How Coal Gas is Made

From
Mitcham News & Mercury
12th May, 1933

“The Manufacture of Gas” was the subject of a very interesting address given, at the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Mitcham, held on Monday at the “White Hart” Hotel, Mitcham.

The speaker, was Rotarian Edward Pellew-Harvey, of the Wandsworth and District Gas Co., and a member of the Mitcham Club, and he explained that the art of coal gas manufacture is considerably over a century old.

After dealing with the history of the production of coal he said that at the present time In the United Kingdom alone there are some 1,700 separate concerns promoted for the manufacture a gas. Of these 931 are operated under statutory powers, some 619 being owned by companies and 313 by local authorities. The capital employed by the statutory concerns is approximately £140,000,000. The total annual production of gas in the United Kingdom is approximately 300,000,000,000 cubic feet, which is distributed to 8,000,000 individual consumers through 40,000 miles of street mains.

MITCHAM’S RETORTS.

The following is briefly, he added, the process of gas making. The coal is placed in numerous hermetically sealed fire clay or silica containers called retorts which are heated to a temperature of approximately 2,000 degrees F. by a mixture of furnace gas and air, which circulates round the retorts. There is practically no limit to the number of retorts used. At the Mitcham Works there are 192 working continually, each retort containing 12 cwt of coal, which remains in the retort for 12 hours, after which all the gas has been extracted from the coal, and approximately 9 cwt of coke left. Another charge is placed in the retort, which again remain for a period of 12 hours. From the foregoing figures it will be seen that at the Mitcham Works approximately 200 tons of coal per day are used for gas production.

Subsequently the gas is drawn away by means of a rotary pump, called an exhauster, through a series of condensers, which cool the gas to atmospheric temperature, and in so doing a portion of tar is recovered in the form of the dark thick liquid which is well known. From the condensers the gas travels through a series of cast iron or
steel rectangular vessels known as scrubbers, where, by washing, the ammonia is released, the final liquid, consisting of water and ammonia, being termed ammoniacal liquor.

A POISONOUS GAS.

From the scrubbers the gas passes through a series of cast iron boxes filled with oxide of iron, or ferric oxide, which extracts the sulphurated hydrogen. This gas being a poisonous one, has by law to be totally eliminated from the finished gas. The gas cleaned and purified, is now ready for use by the consumer, and is then metered and stored in the gas holder until required.

One ton of coal carbonised at a gas works yields coal gas, and the following main by-products, which in turn yield many valuable constituents. By distilling chemically the various oils contained in crude coal tar the following products are obtained: Dyes, perfumes and essences, explosives, chemicals used in medicine and surgery, such as anaesthetics, antiseptics and disinfectants; aperients, laxatives and emetics; photographic chemicals; wood preservatives, benzol, etc.

The cost of soot to the nation is tremendous. Manchester’s laundry bill, for instance, is £290,000 a year more than it would be if the air were clean. During heavy fogs, intensified by smoke, traffic is disorganised; in 27 days of fog during recent rears the ‘buses lost 400,000 working miles. But the damage which is most obvious to the general public is that done to our buildings. Soot and acid in the air involve the country in an expenditure of about £120,000 a year on the repair of Government buildings alone. It Is estimated that in London the financial loss due to smoke is nearly £7,000,000 a year.

Britain’s brightest days in recent years continued the speaker, were during the coal strike of 1926, when the air became clearer and purer than it has been observed within living memory. The fact is worth recalling, for today of the 33,000,000 tons of coal burned in Britain every year for domestic purposes about 3,200,000 tons pollute the air in the form of smoke and soot.

Smoke and soot are easily preventable, and the responsibility for polluting the air lies with each citizen. By taking advantage of the use of a smokeless fuel we can individually set a example, and to that extent give the sun a sporting chance of transmitting to us its health-giving rays. It is now a well-established fact that the ultra-violet rays of the sun, which are essential to our well-being, are shut up by the smoke clouds which hover continually over our big cities. On every square mile of our large towns there is a continuous soot fall, amounting in some cases to an annual deposit of hundreds of tons.

EMPLOYMENT GIVEN.

The magnitude of the industry may be judged by the following figures:

113,000 people are regularly employed in the gas industry;
the capital invested in the industry is about £200,000,000.
18,000,000 tons of coal are carbonised annually in British gas works;
the production of this coal gives employment to about 67,000 mine workers;
10,000,000 consumers regularly use some 1,000 million therms of gas a year;
50,000 miles of mains carry this fuel unfailingly to them;
7,000,000 British housewives cook by gas;
three out of every four doctors all over the country use gas fires;
four out of every five nursing homes and three out of
every four hospitals use gas for heating;
altogether the medical profession accounts for about 100,000 gas fires;
3,000 trades use gas for an average of seven processes in each;
the by-products obtained yearly from British gas works include 12,000,000 tons of coke, 120,000 tons of sulphate of ammonia, 215 million gallons of tar.

The speaker concluded by inviting the members of the club to visit the gas works at Mitcham on May 27.

Rotarian C. H. Parslow tendered thanks to the speaker for his excellent address and on behalf of the club accepted his kind invitation to visit the works of the gas company. Rotarian Riley Schofield presided, in the absence of the president, Rotarian Isaac H. Wilson, who was attending the Rotary Conference at Scarborough in company with the two vice-presidents, Rotarians Gauntlett and Cole.

The chairman welcomed guests from Wallington and Croydon Clubs.