Tag Archives: Riverside Drive

Lance Corporal George Philpott

from the Mitcham News & Mercury, 6th October, 1944, page 1:

Lance-Corporal George Philpott, Riverside Drive, London Road, Mitcham, a tailor’s cutter and trimmer at Gieve’s, Piccadilly, before the war, now wields a blacksmith’s hammer at Suez, and has Egyptian strikers, whose only language is Arabic, at his anvil.

In peace-time he was a keen motor and polo cyclist, and hoped to get a job as despatch rider when he joined the Army, but they sent him to Longmore to train as a blacksmith. Later, he worked at Wilmot, Newport and London. While working at the Albert and King George V docks London, he claims to have had a wonderful time, because he was so near home, and able to visit his father and brothers frequently.

Of his job Lance-Corporal Philpott says: ”It’s interesting work, and I quite like a change, but I shall go back to my own trade after the war. Only, maybe, If I get absent-minded, I might begin to cut clothes with a hammer and chisel.

DANGER AT THE DOCKS

“We came to the Middle East in May, 1942,” he said,” and I was posted straight to Suez, where we are now. When the push was on a detachment of us went to Mersa Matruh and Tobruk, to work on the docks there. We repaired cranes and installations destroyed by the Germans before they left. There were air attacks when we were at Tobruk and at Benghazi. Most of the troops were quartered outside the town, but we got the full benefit, because we had to stay right on the docks, and whenever a ship came in, the attacks were redoubled.”

Lance-Corporal Philpott is in charge of the blacksmith’s shop for his present Company, and has Egyptian strikers at his anvils. Language is something of a difficulty but he has picked up enough Arabic to make himself understood, and he can give measurements in Arabic. Work is hard and the climate difficult, being very hot, indeed, in summer; but pressure is less than it was when the Allies were invading Sicily. Then the Company worked long hours, and nobody got any off-day during the week.

“My Army experience has been interesting,” he says. “I have seen things I shall never forget. I do not regret my Army service for a moment.”

BROTHER THERE, TOO.

His brother, Frank, is also in the Middle East. He too was a keen motorcyclist, and was more fortunate than his brother, for he became a despatch rider. Their younger brother, Ronald is a member of Mitcham Army Cadet Corps.

KEEN CYCLIST

L-Cpl Philpott, a member of Tooting Cycling Club, was one of the club’s top scorers. He played in their bicycle Polo team and holds several medallions awarded for his part when the club won competitions. His brother, like his father, is a keen racing cyclist, and won several prizes on the road; he held the 25-mile record of the Tooting Cycling Club in 1931, his time being 1 hour 3 minutes 53 seconds.

The 1939 Register shows the occupants of 62 Riverside Drive:

James I Philpott, born 19/02/1881, Newsagent’s Warehouseman
Florence A Philpott, born 28/02/1884, housewife
George Philpott, born 31/01/1910, Uniform – Tailor’s Trimmer
Esther F Philpott, born 28/07/1911, Packer – Confectionery
Grace Philpott, born 17/06/1912, Packer – Confectionery
Gladys Philpott, born 13/07/1915, Chain Store Supervisor

Source: The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1372H

A relative on the Facebook group Mitcham History wrote “As he and his brother Frank volunteered for service, they both thought that their skills in civilain life would be put to use. Instead they were both posted to North Africa. George was trained as a blacksmith, somewhat different to a military tailor! He was posted to the London Docks to repair cranes, then was shipped out with them.”

Howard’s Brookfields Estate

Advertised in 1938:

Charming but inexpensive homes are to be found in Mitcham and none are more attractive than those on Howard’s Brookfields Estate which is situated on the London Road. Buses pass the end of the estate’s own concrete roads, linking Acton and Belmont.
Only three minutes away from the estate is Mitcham (Southern Railway) Station, with its frequent services to Tooting, Croydon, Wimbledon, and thence to all parts of London, and not more than ten minutes walk is Mitcham Junction Station from which leave many fast trains to the London Termini.

Despite such accessibility, however, the estate retains something of that quiet peace which more and more home-makers are seeking beyond the whirl of London.

It is with the benefit of such surroundings that the houses on this estate have been erected : their sound construction, labour-saving design and attractive appearance are in keeping. Leasehold (99 years), the prices range from £625 (total weekly outgoings approximately £1 5s. 2d. including repayment ground rents, rates and water) for centre houses, to £650 (£1 5s. 11d. weekly) for end houses, and £675 (£1 6s. 11d. weekly) for semi-detached houses. Freehold, the prices are £795 (£1 6s. 6d. weekly), £825 (£1 7s. 3d. weekly) and £850 (£1 8s. 5d. weekly). There are three types of houses, from which purchasers may choose.

Fundamentally, however, these houses are constructed to the one well-considered design. With a drawing room (12 ft. 9 ins. by 11 ft. ins.) and a dining room (12 ft. 11/2 ins. by 10 ft. 3 ins.) a pleasant hall and a kitchen (10 ft. by 6 ft. 9 ins.), upstairs three bedrooms, two large and one small with bathroom and separate w.c. supply the accommodation which the average family finds most convenient.

Here, in fact, are homes that are in no way pretentious – but are lastingly comfortable, and well equipped. There is the fitted kitchen for instance. With walls and floor partly tiled, with notably complete cupboard and larder fittings, folding table, sink cabinet with two teak drainers, and the all-important enamelled “Ideal” boiler and enamelled gas copper.

Then there are the attractive tiled fireplaces in the drawing and dining rooms and the sensible electric panel fires in two of the bedrooms. There is the heated linen cupboard, and tiled bathroom with enclosed panelled bath, fitted with mixer and hot shower. Numerous gas, electric and radio points assure the maximum of convenience throughout.

Nor has that thoughtful planning stopped short at the house itself; not only are there good paths already made, but at the back is a brick-built coal bunker. Space for a garage is included in the garden. What is more, these homes have the very great advantage of being guaranteed brick construction throughout. With no road charges, legal charges or other extras, this estate of 200 homes is meeting the requirements of a great number of careful purchasers.

The estate was built on the site of the Brookfields Nursery. An ad in the 1929 town guide has

Mitcham Lavender

J.N. CHESHIRE

Nurseryman and Florist

Brookfields Nursery
463 London Road

comprising 9 acres on the Banks of the River Wandle

Wreaths and Bouquets made to order
Telephone No. 2244 Mitcham

John Norkett CHESHIRE is listed as Market Gardener at the same address in the 1930 and 1938 commercial directories.

1932 OS map showing the Brookfield Nurseries

This 1938 map shows the estate taking shape:

1938 OS map


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

Riverside Drive

Road off east side of London Road, and north of the River Wandle.

The Royal Mail postcode search shows 86 addresses with postcodes CR4 4BR for 1 to 69 odd, CR4 4BU for 2 to 74 even and CR4 4BW for 76 to 112 even. The road also includes the day care Jan Malinowski Centre at no. 114 and Wandle House at no. 10.

The road is part of the Brookfields Estate built in 1937/8. The developers had proposed the name Coronation Grove but received objections to this by purchasers. The developers then sought advice of the council, suggesting alternatives Laurel Grove, River Way, Rivermead Avenue, Orchard Gardens and Riverside Drive. The council chose the latter. Source: Minutes of the Mitcham Borough Council, volume 4 1937-38, page 453.

The other road of this estate, Brookfields Avenue, retains the name which came from Brookfields Cottage, which was near Wandle Grove (later called Wandle House). Source: Mitcham Histories: 6 Mitcham Bridge, The Watermeads and The Wandle Mills, chapter 6.

1910 OS map


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

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

Charles Catt and Son Furniture in Western Australia

From the Mitcham and Colliers Wood Gazette, 12th September, 1969, page 5.

Mitcham Family Who Went To Western Australia

Now Among Leading Furniture Manufacturers

A former Mitcham cabinet maker, who migrated to Western Australia in 1961 from Riverside Drive, Mitcham, now owns one of the leading quality furniture manufacturing businesses in the State capital, Perth.

Mr. Charles Catt, 59, his wife Grace and their son Roy, run the firm Charles Catt and Son, whose reputation for making quality furniture has been founded on the West Australian hardwood, jarrah – once thought only suitable for railway sleepers or timber construction work. However they have made it fashionable to have jarrah wood furniture in the home and now export it to other parts of Australia.

Mr. Charles Catt left his son behind in London when he went to Australia, so that he could complete his diploma course at the London Furniture College. When Roy arrived a few months later he started work for a large manufacturer, but became frustrated at the lack of opportunity to do design work. So at a family conference it was decided they
would set up in business for themselves.

FIRST FACTORY

Mr. Catt said, “Our first factory was a converted shop with about 800 square feet to work in. Our first job was to build cupboards and built-in wardrobes, and although we lost money on that job we established a reputation for quality which we have retained ever since.”

From that small start they were able to begin manufacturing Roy’s designs. He said, “We were fortunate that when we began there was a general demand for better furniture. We joined the Guild which is dedicated to raising standards and improving design.

“At the first show we were awarded first prize, and it was rather
embarrassing as we only had the small workshop and could hardly cope with the subsequent orders.”

Since then the family has had two other factories including the present one, which occupies 5,100 square feet at Willeton, an outer Perth suburb. It has showrooms,
offices, a well-ventilated workshop area and an amenities room for the staff.

As a cabinet maker, Charles converts Roy’s designs from the drawing board and makes them into working drawings for the men in the factory. Grace does the office work and the administration, a side of the business she enjoys.

Roy lives at Swanview Terrace, South Perth, which is just around the corner from his mother and father who live at Stanley Flats, Mill Pount Road, South Perth.

The whole family like Australia, and the three children – Roy, Gillian and Graham – are all married to Australians.

See also biography of Charles Catt at Design and Art Online website. According to the Western Australia Museum Welcome Wall website, Charles died in 1979 and Grace in 2002.