Tag Archives: River Graveney

1879 : Beating the Bounds

From the Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 31 May 1879, via the British Newspaper Archive

PERAMBULATION OF THE PARISH OF MITCHAM.

On Ascension Day, May 22nd, and the day following, was witnessed in the parish of Mitcham the now almost obsolete practice of “Beating the bounds of the parish,” which had not taken place since 1835, although a dispute as to boundary occurred in 1847 which was settled by the now fashionable means of arbitration. The arrangements having been kept somewhat secretly, prevented the assembling of so large a concourse of people as might have been expected, the weather being on the first day all that could be desired. We understand that there bad not been a general invitation to the parishioners to attend, but it extended only to the clergy and parish officers. But before giving any further details of the day’s proceedings it may interest many of our readers to give a short account of perambulations in general, and that of Mitcham in particular.

It is stated in Shaw’s Guide to parish law, published upwards of century ago, that “The boundaries of parishes being now settled by custom care is and ought to be taken to preserve them by annual perambulations, which should be kept up at the usual time, and the boundaries of the parishes so carefully viewed and settled in them as to leave no room for any doubt or contest about them. In the times of Popery these perambulations were performed in the nature of processions, with banners, handbells, lights, staying at crosses, &c., and therefore, though such processions were forbidden by the injunctions of Queen Elizabeth, yet by the same injunctions, the useful and innocent parts of perambulations were and are still retained.”

The earliest account that we can find of a perambulation of the parish of Mitcham is obtained from the oldest volume of Churchwardens’ accounts, which covers a period from 1653 to 1680, for in the accounts for the year 1662, the following item occurs: —“ Pd for our dinner and the boyes att our perambulatinge 7s. 2d.” Whether the boys underwent the bumping and whipping generally understood to take place upon those occasions, to indelibly impress the doubtful and difficult parts of the boundary in the juvenile mind, is not here stated, but in the year 1663 is this entry, “Expended on those who went perambulatinge in the Rogation weeke for victualls and drinke the sum of £1 0s. 4d.” and again under date 1670, “ Expended at the perambulacon on those that went ye bounds of ye Pish, £3 2s. 2d.” In the year 1673 the the description of the fare provided upon these occasions is more fully expressed thus for meat, drinke, and cheese, for those that went the perambulation.” No further mention is found of the matter until 1678, when “Expended at the perambulacon on Holy Thursday £3 0s. 0d. for horse hyre that day, 1s.” These items distinctly prove that perambulations of the parish were much more frequent in the 17th than 19th century. Passing over a few years we find that these gatherings did not always pass off quietly as could be wished, as is shown by the following extract from the minutes of a vestry held 20th June, 1731 :- “It is the opinion or the parishioners now in vestry assembled that the churchwardens, against whom actions are brought by William Farrer, Esq., Henry Downs, clerk, Thomas Green and Osmond King, For going in their perambulations on Ascension Day last thro’ a place called the new grounds formerly taken out of Mitcham Heath, ought to bee indemnified by the parish from all costs and charges that shall arise concerning the same.” The foregoing is followed by resolution passed at a vestry held on Sunday, 27th of same month, that “It is the oppinion of the parishioners that Mr. Peter’s be employed to make a case concerning the perambulatious, &c.” The bounds were also ordered to be walked in 1771 and 1772. With the following two entries from the churchwardens’ accounts we shall close our notice of the ancient perambulations of the parish:- “3 May, 1733, Paid for the dinner, wine, bread, beer, cheese, &c., when Mr. Hatsell and the churchwardens, with a great number of the other inhabitants of Mitcham, went the whole perambulation of the parish of Mitcham, £6 19s. 5d.” The Mr. Hatsell here mentioned was the Rev. William Hatsell, eldest son of Sir Henry Hatsell, Baron of the Exchequer. He was instituted vicar of Mitcham 13th July, 1724, and resigned 13th January, 1733-4. “23 May, 1724, To the Wid Boddison was due to her late husband for drink at the perambulation 3 May, 1733, and left unpaid, 10s. 6d. Paid for the dinner, wine, bread, beer, cheese, &c., when the churchwardens, and great number of the parishioners of Mitcham went again the perambulation on the south side of the parish, taking in all Mitcham Common as usual, together with the 80 acres called new grounds, antiently taken out of Mitcham Heath, £6 10s. 0d.”

The place of rendezvous selected on Thursday was the Goat Inn, situated about half-a-mile from Mitcham Junction, and punctually at eight a.m. the perambulation was commenced. Amongst the company present were the following:- Rev. D. F. Wilson, M. A., vicar, Rev. H. G. Dod, curate, Mr. Churchwarden Nobes, who bore his wand of office, the three overseers, viz., Messrs. W. R. Harwood (who carried a staff inscribed Mitcham Parish,” apparently a relict of long defunct bumbledom), S. Love, and J. Lewis. A few other parishioners and friends joined later on.

The arrangements for the day were principally under the direction of Messrs. E. and R. M. Chart, the latter of whom carried a ribbon map of the boundaries, upwards of 25 feet in length. The proverbial “boys,” six in number, especially told off for the duty, beat the various boundary posts and streams of water, &c., with willow wands. The “State” was represented by two policemen, who apparently enjoyed this somewhat novel form of duty.

Starting from the Goat Inn the party followed the river, leaving McRae’s tannery on the left, a man provided with waterman’s boots defining the boundary down the stream, but it was found advisable to take a punt where the water was particularly deep and muddy. Searl’s and Ashby’s mills were passed in due course, and the various boundary posts having been beaten by the boys after the Vicar had pronounced, whilst the perambulators stood bare-headed, “ Cursed be that removeth his neighbour’s land mark.” Entering the grounds of the late Mr. G. P. Bidder, the stream was followed to Rutter’s snuff mills, then through the grounds of Morden-hall, and past Phipp’s-bridge to Merton Abbey Station. Merton bridge was reached at 12.15 p.m., where a stick was floated under, the waterman being in mid stream ready to receive it as it came out on the other side.

The company then adjourned to the Six Bells for lunch, which was admirably served by Host Giles. The chair was taken by Rev. H. G. Dodd, the Rev. D. F. Wilson having left the party, but rejoined it later on in company with Rev. F. S. Legg, vicar of Christ Church, Singlegate, Mr. Churchwarden Nobes taking the vice chair. After all had done justice to the collation.

The Chairman rose and in a short but pointed speech proposed, “The Queen,” which the company heartily responded to by singing the National Anthem. The Vice-Chairman, in rising, said he had much pleasure in being present on that occasion. It was the first time he had walked the bounds of Mitcham, although he had done so in another parish. He spoke of perambulations being an ancient custom and alluded to Lord Nelson having resided at Merton, upon the verge of which parish the company were then assembled. After complimenting the overseers and Mr. Chart upon their excellent arrangements, he concluded by calling for three cheers for those gentlemen.

Mr. W. R. Harwood, in an appropriate speech, returned thanks for the overseers, and Mr. Chart, whom said they were all indebted.

The perambulations were again commenced, through the garden of the Six Bells, over part of what was once the Wandsworth and Croydon tramway, the boundary here being somewhat intricate, to the back of Child’s flour mill, and Byegrove-mead, where the new sewage works are in course of and up to the wall of Garrett Cemetery. The railway crossed in several places, the axe being used on the various boundary posts to show that none had been passed over. Some little time was spent in defining a small detached part of the parish, which being at last satisfactorily settled, the party made towards Tooting Junction, some of them going through a house that had been built over the parish boundary. Tooting Junction was reached at 4.30 p.m. and after crossing the garden of the house supposed to have been the residence of Daniel de Foe, the company separated, having had a somewhat tiring but agreeable day.

The weather on Friday morning looked very threatening, and heavy showers were experienced during the day, but nevertheless at a few minutes after 8 a.m. the Rev. H. G. Dodd, the overseers, and others arrived Tooting Junction, and immediately the perambulation was recommenced under the guidance, as before, of Messrs. E. and R. M. Chart. Following the course of the Graveney, a tributary of the Wandle, to Streatham-lane, where noted the bridge over the stream, called Roe Bridge,” which connects the parishes of Mitcham and Streatham, has a stone let the north side, bearing the Merchant Taylor’s arms, and inscribed, “This bridge was built at the cost of the Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, 1652.” Still following the river to the railway, which was crossed near Streatham Rifle Butts, the party proceeded to Lonesome, passing over the race course and leaving the stand the left. Here several posts put up by Croydon parish were duly marked with a cross. Passing through the wood to the extreme north east corner of Mitcham Common, which was reached at ll a.m., and at that point, the rain having cleared up for a short time, an enjoyable al fresco lunch supplied by Mr. Marchant, of the Horse and Groom, was partaken of. The common was then skirted to Beddington station, and after going down Beddington-lane for a short distance the fields were entered on the right, and a walk straight across country passing over the railway en route brought the company out of the plantation near Beddington Corner. Mr. Chart informed us that the enclosure of this piece of ground, about 80 acres in extent, was the cause of considerable litigation which was finally settled about 1816 by the Court of King’s Bench. The vicar here joined the party, and skirting the plantation, reached the post opposite the Goat Inn at 1 p.m., and against it “the boys” received the orthodox bumping, although of a mild description, which brought the perambulation to close.

We cannot conclude without commenting upon the orderly manner in which the proceedings were conducted throughout, and which reflected great credit upon all concerned.

The overseers expressed their determination place iron boundary posts at various points decided upon during the perambulation.

1917 : Flooding of the Links Estate

From the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury, 10th August, 1917, page 2:

THE FLOODS AT MITCHAM AND COLLIERS WOOD.

The aftermath of the floods at Mitcham, Tooting Junction and Colliers Wood is what was expected.

Those who remember the great storm of the early months of 1914, when Tooting Broadway, Mitcham Road and other parts of the borough suffered considerably from the flood,
are certainly justified in their expressions of disgust at the means available to prevent these floods.

At Seely-road, the tenants are up in arms, and are reported to have refused to pay their rent this week, owing to the damage done to their household goods through having 2ft.
to 4ft. of water in the ground floor rooms; feeling that action will enable their landlord to make a claim in bulk upon the proper authorities for compensation.

After the last storm, the tenants were assured that it would not be possible for the scenes of 1914 to reoccur, as proper pumping machinery was installed to meet future contingencies. Apparently, the great force of water lost week overcame the capacity of the pumping machinery and, getting the upper hand, the water flowed in all directions and did considerable damage.

The wood pavement in High street Colliers Wood, was torn up by the force of the water, and the Rural District Council’s men have been busy this week in relaying the road way; whilst, in all directions the gardens give evidence of extensive floods, and the open doors, of the cottages and houses affected show bare flooring which is gradually drying, now the water has subsided.

The river Wandle is a pretty old fashioned stream, passing through some of the sylvan beauty of Surrey (in ordinary times); but on the occasion of floods it becomes a strong torrent, and once it overflows banks, the surrounding property is soon presenting the appearance of a vast lake. Some explanation of the failure of the pumping machinery
awaited.

The river Graveney formed the north boundary, along with the railway line the south, of a golf course, as shown in this 1895 OS map:

1895 OS map

The housing estate built on this land was dubbed the Links Estate, being a reference to the golf links. By 1911, as this OS map shows, a number of roads with houses had been built. The river Graveney also formed the boundary between the London County Council and the Mitcham Urban District Council, which is why the letter below from Mr Popple of Links Road was forwarded on to the Mitcham council.

1911 OS map

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 109-112, Public Health and Burial Committee meeting of 11th September, 1917

FLOODING : LINKS ESTATE –

The Clerk reported that on August 1st there was a very abnormal rainfall, which resulted in the flooding of many houses on the Links Estate, in consequence of which he had received 31 complaints from owners and occupiers, together with claims to be compensated of varying amounts, a list of which he presented to the Committee ; that these had been duly acknowledged by him, pointing out that the flooding of their properties was due to the overflowing of the River Graveney, caused by the quantity of water discharged from the relief Sewers of the London County Council and the incapacity of the river; at the same time repudiating any liability of this Council for any damage arising therefrom.

The Clerk drew attention to a report made to him as Surveyor to the late Rural District Council recorded in Vol. XVIII., p. 485, of that Council’s Minutes, in which the danger of this flooding was anticipated and the action of the Rural Council in consequence thereof.

The Clerk also reported that he had forwarded copies of the complaints and claims to the Chief Engineer of the London County Council and had written him on the subject; further, that he had, with Mr. Drewett as Chairman of the Joint Sewerage Board
had an interview with Mr. G. W. Humphreys, the Chief Engineer, and had obtained from him a promise that he would take into consideration the practicability of adopting some temporary means preventing future floodings from the Graveney until some permanent work can be carried out, and that my letters and the complaints and claims should be laid before his Committee.

It was Resolved, That the Clerk’s report be entered in the minutes of this Committee.

The following letter was read from the Local Government Board asking for the observation of the Council on a complaint of Mr. Popple, of Links Road, as to the flooding.

It was Resolved, That the action taken by the Clerk be approved and that the Local Government Board be made acquainted with the facts, and that they be requested to urge upon the London County Council the necessity for providing for the adequate capacity
of the River Graveney to discharge the volume of water brought into it.

Local Government Board,
Whitehall, S.W., 1,
15th August, 1917

Sir, –

I am directed by the Local Government Board to forward to the Mitcham Urban District Council the enolosed copy of a letter which has been addressed to the Board by Mr. H. Popple, 96, Links Road, Tooting, S.W.17, and I am to request that the Board may be furnished with the observations of the Council upon the subject of this communication.

I am Sir,
Your obedient Servant,
F. J. Willis,
Assistant Secretary.

96, Links Road,
Tooting, S.W. 17.
4th August, 1917.

The President of the Local Government Board,—

I beg to bring to your notice the shocking conditions existing on the Links Estate, Tooting, London, S.W., Parish of Mitcham.

This estate is composed of a large number of 5-roomed houses tenanted by respectable working people. A very large percentage of the male population is away serving with the Colours.

Whenever a heavy downpour of rain is experienced on this estate the roads become flooded, the water in many cases surging up through the drains. In some instances the flooding only occurs in the roadway, and even in this case an offensive sediment remains which creates
disease. In other cases the whole of the neighbourhood is turned into a huge lake, varying from inches to 3 or 4 feet deep. This latter has happened twice during the past week, and three times within a month. About a month ago a petition was sent to the local Borough Council, Mitcham, but nothing has been done in the matter except talking. Talking does not assist in such matters, and I am, therefore, appealing to you in the interests of health. Such conditions are disastrous in many ways; the damp conditions prevailing and the
offensive sediment deposited by such floods being a huge source of danger to the community. There is a very large Council School on the estate, and the children passing to and fro after such floods must inhale the germs created by the dried offensive sediment. Again, a small child slipping out unnoticed from one of the houses, might easily be drowned.

The damage caused is also very great, as the majority of the male population being away the women left are unable to lift the heavier furniture, and it is generally recognised that a piano or such article standing in about a foot of water is not going to improve. Further, the male population left have devoted their spare time to cultivating
vegetables in accordance with the desire to produce as much food as possible, and it is heartbreaking to see such labour wasted by the vegetables boing washed away by the flood.

I am placing the case in your hands, confident that you will see that proper redress will be given if such lies within your power.

I might add that I lived six years in the neighbourhood before any suggestion of this kind occurred, the first flooding taking place on June 14th, 1914. I believe the cause to be primarily as follow:-

About 1912, the L.C.C. were granted power by Act of Parliament to lay a 4ft. storm-sewer to carry off the London storm water and discharge it into the River Wandle. This sewer does not discharge into the river Graveny at Colliers Wood. This being but a brook, such
a volume of water being discharged into it is already heavily taxed, holds up the water with which it is already charged, causing it to overflow and thus turn our estate into a gigantic lake. Thus it happens that many thrifty men who have purchased property in this
neighbourhood and are away serving their country are having their little all ruined in order that the L.C.C. or whoever is responsible, might save a few pounds.

I should be pleased if you yourself or a reliable inspector would visit my house and the surrounding neighbourhood and note the state existing.

There are hundreds who could fully endorse my letter, and I therefore ask you in my name and in the name of the others who are not here to ask for themselves to see that the matter receives proper and immediate attention.

I am, Sir,
Yours faithfully,
(Signed)
H. POPPLE.

Mr. Councillor Laing reported that on the occasion of the flooding referred to Mr. Cusden loaned his horse and van for conveying persons to and fro through the flood.

It was Resolved, That a letter of thanks be sent to Mr. Cusden.

It was moved by Mr Drewett and seconded by Mr Bland, and Resolved, That the Council be recommended to give special consideration to the serious conditions created by heavy rainfall and

Report from the Town Clerk, Robert Masters Chart, from the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 133-4, meeting of 25th September, 1917

FLOODING : LINKS ESTATE.—

The Clerk reported that he had replied to the letter of the Local Government Board of August 10th, in accordance with the instructions of the Finance and General Purposes Committee, as follows :—

Sept. 12, 1917.

Sir,

In reply to your letter of the 16th August, enclosing a letter addressed to the Local Government Board by Mr. H. Potter, drawing the attention of the Board to the Flooding of houses on the Links Estate, Tooting Junction, in this Urban District, which letter was laid before the Public Health Committee of tho Council yesterday, I am directed to
state as follows:—

1. The River Graveney at the locus-in-guo forms the boundary between this District and the County of London. The London County Council contend that this portion of the river is under their jurisdiction as being scheduled as a Sewer in the Metropolis Management Act of 1855, although this Council do not admit the contention. The outfall of this river is into the River Wandle at Mitcham, and is the natural outfall for this area.

2. The London County Council have from time to time constructed overflows from their Southern Area Sewers into the River Graveney, the last of these being constructed in or about 1913, and is 4ft. in diameter. The late Rural District of Croydon at that time pointed out to the London County Council the probability of flooding of, and damage to, property that would ensue unless proper provision was made for increasing the capacity of the river to accommodate the volume of water that would be discharged when, in times of storms, these sewer overflows were brought into action.

3. The view expressed by the late Croydon Rural District Council in 1913 have been realise on two or three occasions, notably on June 29th, and again on August 1st of this year. On the former occasion the Medical Officer of Health and Sanitary Inspector reported to this Council that although considerable inconvenience and some damage was caused to the occupiers, no nuisance injurious to health was occasioned.

4. Numerous complaints have been received from owners and occupiers, and some claims for compensation, to all of whom a reply has been given that, whilst this Council regrets the occasion, they repudiate any liability for damage or responsibility for the flooding, having provided an efficient service of soil sewers and surface water sewers for the drainage of the Links Estate; at the same time, they have forwarded copies of the complaints and claims to the L.C.C. engineer, and a deputation from this Council have interviewed the Chief Engineer and urged upon him the necessity of providing a more effective outfall for the River Graveney.

5. Having regard to the fact that the present unsatisfactory condition has been brought about by the L.C.C. in order to relieve the Southern portion of their district from flooding to the prejudice of this Council’s District, this Urban Council trust that the Local Government Board will urge the L.C.C. to take immediate steps to provide an adequate outfall for the River Graveney.

Yours obediently,
Robert M. Chart

From the Mitcham Urban District Council minutes,
Volume 3, pages 165-6, Council meeting of 23rd October, 1917

FLOODING OF LINKS ESTATE

The following letter was read from the Chief Engineer of the London County Council:-

LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL,
Engineer’s Dept.,
County Hall,
Spring Gardens, S.W., 1.
9th Oct. 1917

dear Sir,

RIVER GRAVENEY

As promised on the occasion of your call here on the 7th ult., I have considered the question of carrying out temporary works for the prevention of the overflowing of the River Graveney at the Links Estate. After inspection of the river and the adjacent land which had been flooded in recent storms, I am afraid that the work in a nature of a temporary expedient would prove to be ineffective to cope with such an influx of water as has been at times experienced this summer.

I am, however, about to place the whole matter before the Main Drainage Committee of my Council.

Yours faithfully,

G. HUMPHRIES,
Chief Engineer.


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

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.

Seely Road

Road south of the river Graveney, hence in the Urban District of Mitcham.

The owner of the land was Sir Charles Seely, after whom the road is named. He leased the area to the Tooting Bec Golf Club. When developed for housing, the area became known as the Links Estate, links referring to golf links.

1911 OS map showing western end of Seely Road

1911 OS map of eastern end of the road

From the minutes of the Croydon Rural District council
Volume XII 1906 to 1907
Highways and New Streets and Buildings
20th October 1906
Page 447

Application no. 4095 by Eastman Bros. for 42 houses, Seely Road, Links Estate


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

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

1903 Change of the boundary with Tooting

From the tenth century, shires, or counties such as Surrey, were divided into administrative areas called Hundreds. (In the Danelaw this division was called a Wapentake).

Mitcham was in the Wallington Hundred. Tooting was in the Brixton Hundred. The boundary between the two was the River Graveney.

With the formation of the County of London (1888) and then the Borough of Wandsworth (1899), parts of the parish of Tooting-Graveney were in Mitcham because of this river boundary.

So in 1903 the railway line was chosen as the new boundary and the area north of it went to Wandsworth Borough and the south of it to Mitcham.

After 1903, Tooting Junction Railway Station became part of Mitcham, as did Finborough Road and Tooting Old Hall.

Source: page 36 Mitcham Histories: 2 North Mitcham, by EN Montague.