Tag Archives: River Wandle

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.

1962 : 250 year old find in Ravensbury Park

From the Norwood News – Friday 5th October 1962

250-year-old Ravensbury Park find

WHILE reinforcing the banks of a backwater in Ravensbury Park, Mitcham, Mr. William Bloodforth, parks foreman, came across a large wooden pipe, which he believes is over 250 years old.

The section of the pipe which he uncovered is clamped together with six iron bands.

One theory is that the pipe, about two feet in diameter, was used to drain dye or bleach from a silk factory that might have been on the site where the rubber factory now stands, facing Morden Road.

If the pipe did carry dye it may have drained into the River Wandle about 600 yards away.

Mr. Bloodforth thinks this is unlikely as the backwater is higher than the Wandle bed.

A huge plane tree, ai least 250 years old, is growing in the path of the pipe which is only inches beneath the bed of the backwater.

“I shouldn’t think that the pipe was put there after the tree had been planted.” said Mr. Bloodforth.

It was while he was “riveting” the banks that his spade came across the wooden pine.

“I thought it was a coffin at first and was looking for the bones,” he said.

°It must have been here before the backwater. The mud, of course, has preserved it beautifully.” he went on.

The pipe may never have been discovered if Mr Bloodforth had not taken the opportunity to do the banks while the water is cut off due to the road works in Morden Road.

1889 : Mr Bidder and Surrey County Council

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 05 January 1889

MR. BIDDER AT MITCHAM

On Friday evening in last week a meeting ocnvened by the Colliers Wood, Singlegate, and District Ratepayers’ Association was held at the Singlegate Board School, Merton-lane. when Mr. G. P. Bidder, Q.C., delivered an address on the new County Council. Mr. Gibson was voted to the chair, and there were also present the platform Mr. G. P. Bidder, Mr. C. Dungate, and Mr. F. D. Sandell.

Among those present in the body the room were Messrs. C. Doughty, W. Clark. K. Fleming. S. Leonard, C. Elliott, C. Combes, W. H. Talbot, T. Allen, and G. PedwelL.

The Chairman having briefly opened the meeting, Mr. Sandell read letters of regret stating inability to attend from Messrs. W. P. Brown, F. S. Lcgg, Billing, and Thomson.

Mr. Bidder, on rising, said he felt great satisfaction in the invitation from the Ratepayers’ Association to attend a meeting of the electors who resided in that part the parish. and should not have come forward as a candidate it had not been for that invitation and request from several others whom he looked upon his best supporters. It had been said that was busy man and would not have time to attend the duties of county councillor, but that point was fully discussed at the Vestry Hall in week. He said if elected as councillor would do his best in that position. Referring to the Act, Mr. Bidder said there was no doubt it was the commencement new era, which it was difficult overrate ; in short, it was to transfer all the administrative and financial business of the county hitherto done by the justices at Quarter Sessions to the County Council. One the most important features in the new Bill was the representative principle wherein those who paid the county rates would in future have voice in the election the representatives. It was nothing whatever with politics. One thing necessary for a councillor was that he should have a certain knowledge of the neighbourhood represented. There was such a thing as having too local government, and he pointed out the fact that vestries were not the best kind of local government. With regard Mitcham, he did not think they had been fairly treated, for they ought have had two representatives, and he had tried for it, but was too late. Whoever was elected on the Council ought to make it his business to get that altered. It would be the duly of the councillors to be always on the lookout and keep their district in touch with the governing body. There were many authorities which now overlapped each other, for instance Boards of Guardians, Rural Sanitary Authorities, &c., and all these would be reorganised, so to speak, and subordinate to the County Council. Singlegate was a little on one side of Mitcham, and he did not know whether any of the justices knew the wants of that particular locality. There was no doubt it had suffered a great deal through inattention. Lunatic asylums, industrial schools, reformatories, county buildings, roads, bridges, &c., would come under the Council, also the granting of music and dancing licenses, and the administration of the Contagious Diseases (Animals) Act. The police would be under a joint committee of the Council and County Justices, and the appointment of medical officers would be done by the Council. Where the local authorities did not exercise their proper functions the Council would report them to the Local Government Board. The local authorities in many small places were not strong enough to overcome individual interests, and it was essential that they should have a body who could do so. The Rivers Pollution Act had been almost a dead letter, and nobody knew what had been put in the Wandle at different times, but this the Council would have power to deal with. Bills were often brought into Parliament which interfered with the public rights and were prejudicial to the county, and the Council would have power to oppose them. People had said that he did not take any interest in local affairs. He would just remind them that seven or eight years ago the London, Brighton, and Coast Railway Company wanted to straighten their line at Mitcham Junction, and for which they would lave required some 20 or 30 acres of the Common, when he with other gentlemen opposed the Bill, and it was thrown out. Several efforts had been made to take away water from the Wandle and the South-West Spring Water Compony wanted to take it to Lambeth. Then there was Croydon, with whom they had had three or four fights, and fortunately succeeded in them; and, lastly, Sutton, and they had also stopped them. Some other duties of the Council would be to arrange the electoral divisions and levy county and police rates. The County Councils altogether would receive a grant of £3,000,000 for the local taxation, which was very important, as Mitcham were about 7s. 9d. to 8s. in the £ for the year. They would have the issuing of Stock, which would materially decrease the rate of interest for their loans by something considerable, seeing that the county debt of Surrey was at present about £300,000. In conclusion, Mr, Bidder said he had not asked for a single vote, but if they thought he was the best man for the post they should elect him, and if not they should elect someone else.

Mr. John Bull, who said spoke on behalf of the working class, then put the following questions :

1. Was Mr. Bidder in favour of the parish lamps being kept alight all night, and also foggy nights?

2. The taking over of roads which ore partly occupied, and are not in sanitary condition, for instance Palestine-road?

3. That the River Wandle be protected where it was very dangerous, both for foot passengers and vehicles?

4. The appropriation of public places for public meetings.

5. That gas and water companies be under the control of the local authorities?

6. The establishment of a free library in Mitcham, where papers and books of all sections should be allowed free circulation?

7. That public meetings be held in open spaces provided they do not interfere with business traffic?

Mr. Bidder said he entirely agreed with all these suggestions, subject to each question being taken in a broad and comprehensive view.

Mr. F. D. Sandell then moved That Mr. G. P. Bidder is a fit and proper person to represent the parish of Mitcham on the Surrey County Council.”

Mr. W. H. Talbot seconded the motion.

Mr. Dungate supported, and said with all due respect to Mr. Harwood, who was the waywarden, there were some roads which were disgraceful. The lighting question he had often called attention to (cries of “Shame”)—but they had not yet got the lamps alight every night, and as to the stinking ditch in the Merton-road the Inspector to the Local Government Board had said it was necessary that it should be covered in. He (Mr. Dungate) had 60 feet frontage to that ditch, which he did not think was a great deal.

Mr. T. Allen, who said he had been a ratepayer for 42 years, said they were complaining of the high rates, and yet they wanted all these improvements. The ditch in question would cost £2,000 to cover in.

Mr. Dungate said it was quite true that an offer was made by the local authorities some time ago to pay half the expense of covering the ditch, but when they estimated it at twice the price for which it could be done for one should not fall in with their views.

Mr. Clark said Mr. Allen had assured him that it could be done for 15s. per foot. The resolution was then put and carried nem. con., and a vote thanks having been accorded to the chairman and Mr. Bidder the meeting closed.

Paul Bowness Memorial Gardens

A small memorial garden, dedicated to Paul Bowness, near the north end of Abbey Mills where the footpath on the west side of the river Wandle meets the Merantun Road.

This map is from the information display at the gardens.

map of Abbey Mills showing the location of the Paul Bowness Memorial Garden as near the Merantun Way

Photo taken 26th September, 2018

Underneath this display is the plaque:

Wandle Heritage
The Paul Bowness
Memorial Gardens

Paul Bowness was Chairman of the Wandle Heritage Trust. He died in 1998. His obituary was published online in a newsletter from 2000 by the Wandle Industrial Musem.

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.