Tag Archives: Singlegate

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.

Nine schools in big reshuffle in 1960

From the Mitcham News & Mercury, 20th May, 1960, page 1.

NINE SCHOOLS IN BIG RESHUFFLE

A DEVELOPMENT plan to provide an academic stream in all Surrey secondary schools
will start next year. Nine Mitcham schools will be affected, five of which will be closed.

The scheme was due to be started early next year and completed by 1966, but too little
money was allocated by the Ministry of Education, and the completion date will not be for some years.

Top priority on the list is Gorringe Park Secondary Boys School. As the present building
is needed for the primary pupils, new premises will be built.

The boys from Rowan Road Secondary School, which is closing, will be transferred to the
new school, where it is planned to run one academic, one technical and two general courses.

TO BE ENLARGED

Rowan Road Secondary girls will have the entire school building, at the moment divided between the boys and girls school. They will have one academic, one home economics and two general courses.

Pollards Hill Secondary School will be enlarged. It Will take six instead of four entry classes each year and will have one academic, one commercial and four general courses.

Western Road Boys’ School will close and the girls will take over the entire building. With an academic and a commercial course there will be two general courses.

Singlegate Boys’ School will close, and open in a new building on a new site with one academic, one technical and two general courses.

Fortescue Girls’ and Links’ Girls’ schools will both be closed.

Merton Memories Photos
Fortescue Road School in 1925

Gorringe Park School (6 photos)

Pollards Hill School : Football coaching in 1955

Rowan Road School (10 photos)

Western Road School in 1954

1846 death of physic gardener William Newman

FATAL ACCIDENT AT MERTON

A painful sensation has been occasioned in the village of Mitcham, Tooting, and Merton, by the death of Mr William Newman, of Mitcham, the well-known medical herb-grower.

On Tuesday morning, about 8 o’clock, some men in the employ of Mr B. Drewett, of Lower Tooting, were at work in a field near the single gate, at Merton, when they heard the smothered report of a gun. About 11 o’clock, business calling them to the farther end of the field, they perceived the body of a respectably dressed man lying across a ditch, with a recently discharged fowling-piece lying by his side.

The roof of the right side of his skull was blown completely off just above the ear, and the brains lay in the ditch a few inches apart from his head.

The men immediately procured assistance, and conveyed the deceased, who was recognized as Mr Newman, to the Victory Inn, Merton-lane.

It appeared that the deceased had left home early in the morning to shoot over his fields, and from the position in which the body was found, there is no doubt that whilst he was in the act of leaping the ditch, which is six feet wide, his foot slipped, and as he fell the trigger caught the hedge, and in a moment the deceased was hurried into eternity.

The deceased was 62 years of age, and has left a numerous family well provided for.

An inquest was held yesterday upon the body by Mr Carter, and a verdict of ‘Accidental Death’ returned.

An inquest was held on 3rd December 1846: cause of death Accidental Death

Source: Morning Advertiser – Thursday 03 December 1846 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)

150 year old Cottage

7th May 1956

The 150 year old stone cottage from which Singlegate, Colliers Wood, acquired its name, is still standing. It is on the site of Walter Mays Ltd., the cork specialists in Byegrove Road. The cottage was built in 1803, when the Surrey Iron Railway was started. The railway ran from Ram Field, in Wandsworth, to Croydon. It ran through Summerstown, and crossed Colliers Wood High Street diagonally at Cavendish Road, and a single gate was put across the railway at the junction with the street.

The gate-keeper lived in the single-storey cottage, which is believed to be built with grey flint-stones from the ruins of Merton Priory. The roof of the building collapsed after the railway ceased to be used in 1838, but it was repaired in 1900. This roof lasted until three years ago. The cottage was originally called the stone cottage, and the whole of Colliers Wood was known to local inhabitants as Singlegate, even until the turn of the century.

Although the line was described at the time of building as a “ vast and important concern ” it was not successful. The wagons, which carried goods only, were drawn by horse or mule; the introduction of the steam engine, however, rendered it obsolete. The London and South Western Railway Company bought it in 1844 and later sold it to the London and Brighton Railway Co. In 1846 the railway was finally abandoned.

Source: Mitcham Advertiser, Thursday, 7th May 1956

1877 : The School Board Election

10th February 1877

The School Board Election.
Stormy Public Meeting.

– On Thursday a public meeting of the ratepayers of the parish, convened by Mr. T. Allen, was held Lower Mitcham schools. The room was filled in every part, and the proceedings were of the most uproarious character. It is simply impossible to give any adequate idea of the stormy nature of the meeting, but all that determined interruption, personal and insulting remarks, loud laughter, groaning, and shouting, could do towards making it a “good old” election meeting was persistently carried out.

The election is to take place on Thursday next, and there have been ten gentlemen nominated for the seven seats, viz., Messrs. Allen, Wade, Harwood, Wilson, Nobes, Coles, Hooper, Bridger, Legg, and Nicholls, Mr. Czarnikow being the only member of the present Board who declined to stand. About half-past eight Mr. Henry Wood was voted to the chair.

– The first candidate who addressed the meeting was Mr. Allen, who commenced by stating that he was a labouring man, and proceeded to object to a distinction being made between such men as himself and those described as “gentlemen” in the nomination papers. He entered into a tirade against the expenditure of the School Board, and stated his detestation of what he described as the “ iniquitous system” that was being carried out. He attacked the Board on many points as to harshness until one might have thought that the School Board for Mitcham was a veritable modern “ Court of Inquisition.” Mr. Allen also directed the flashes of his eloquence against the Act of Parliament itself.

– After a time Mr. Nobes rose and asked whether the speaker was right in going away from his subject as he had. This was the signal for uproar, roaring and shouting becoming the order, or rather the disorder, of the day. Ultimately, the chairman ruling that Mr. Allen was in order, certain of the meeting addressed themselves to Mr. Nobes and shouted “Turn him out.” Mr. Allen continued his speech and expressed his belief that nothing further should be imparted to the children than reading, writing, and arithmetic up to compound addition. The patience of the audience becoming somewhat exhausted, he was greeted with cries of “time,” when he coolly informed his hearers that he would only detain them “ten minutes longer.” The remainder of his observations were not listened to so attentively as the rest, various interruptions taking place. One individual especially devoted himself to personalites, amid cries of “order,” “turn him out,” &c. This gentleman having been silenced — for a time — the other end of the room was the scene of some disturbance, something having occurred to tickle the fancy of this part of the gathering. Upon Mr. Allen resuming his seat, he was greeted with cheers and demonstrations of an opposite nature.

– Mr. Wade followed, and rendered an account of his stewardship during the past three years. He said the Board had endeavoured to carry out the Act of Parliament with flrmness but gentleness. He touched upon the word “gentleman,” so complainingly alluded to by Mr. Allen, and advised the meeting to take no notice of the term. He explained the action of the School Management Committee, challenging anyone to say that they had treated persons coming before them with anything but courtesy. The individual previously referred to here caused some amusement by remarking that the Queen’s Speech ought to have been read. A gentleman in the audience appealed to the Chairman to silence this obnoxious person, whereupon the latter proceeded to the spot where the gentleman was seated, and, so it is said, requested him to fight. Of course the gentleman again appealed to the Chairman. A scene of confusion ensued, a number of the candidates and some of the audience remarking that if the Chairman could not keep order they would leave the meeting. The difficulty was in some degree surmounted by the disturber spoken being accommodated with a seat on the platform, where — for a time — he behaved himself much better. Mr. Wade, upon continuing, referred to the fallacy of the statement that the children were in danger of being over educated, and quoted figures in support of his remarks. Mr. Allen then rose and asked several questions amid some laughter and disturbance. and having obtained replies, went on to address the meeting again.

– Mr. John Harwood, the next candidate, waived his right to speak, and the Rev. D. F. Wilson next occupied the platform, and was received with cheers. He gave particulars as to the vast increase in the number of children receiving instruction during the last few years, and expressed bis helief that the work of the School Board had been a success. (Cheers, applause, and hisses.)

– Mr. Nobes, the next speaker, was received with cheers. He referred to the term ” gentleman ” harped on so much throughout the evening, and expressed his conviction that it was very ungentlemanly on the part of Mr. Allen to bring forward the subject so prominently as he had done. (Hear, hear.) With regard to the charge of harshness he would give £20 to any local charity if any ratepayer could say that he had used a harsh word to them in connection with the duties of the Board. (Mr. Allen – l did not mean you). As to the charge of extravagance, this was also unjust, as although the Board might have made some mistakes, they had never spent money carelessly. (Hear, hear.) He also announced that he had written to Mr. Blake to withdraw his name from the list of nominees. This statement was received with regret by the audience, and Mr. Allen expressed his conviction that Mr. Nobes was a gentleman, a voice from the audience confirming this statement in treble notes, amidst some laughter. Mr. Allen again attempted to speak, but the audience by this time not being in a temper to submit to any further infliction, met him with hisses and cries of “Chair,” ” We don’t want to hear you all night,” &c., until Mr. Allen, after remaining on his legs some time, was obliged to resume his seat, but eventually rose again and made other remarks.

– Mr. Coles, who was received with deafening cheers, commenced by making a further reference to the word “gentleman.” He also spoke of the necessity that had existed for the establishment of a School Board. He told the meeting he wanted to play a solo while on that platform, although he had noticed that while other speakers had been there, Mr. Allen had been indulging in a kind of double bass behind. (Laughter.) Proceeding humorously and effectively to combat some of the arguments of Mr. Allen, he alluded to circumstance to which the latter had referred, when he (the speaker) had told him he was showing his ignorance. In the course of his remarks he expressed his belief that Mr. Allen, on the occasion in question, was like a “maniac. ”

– Mr. Alien rose, and, in excited manner, demanded to know whether this was gentlemanly conduct, but Mr. Coles having apologised, rather spoiled his victory, by designating that gentleman as a “madman.” (Load laughter.) When the speaker concluded Mr. Allen rose once more, but was met with cries of “Question,” Sit down,” “Chair,” &c. Ultimately he sat down again, and Mr. Coles also resumed his seat amidst applause.

– Mr. J. P. Hooper also addressed the meeting, defending the action of the School Board. He did not think also that Mr. Allen could produce any proofs of extravagance.

– Mr. Allen once again assumed an upright position and asked a question, which was answered, and Mr. Hooper also explained at what standard children could be exempted from attendance at schools.

– Mr. Allen rose and yet again put further questions, and two or three times more endeavoured to address the meeting.

– Mr. J. Bridger was not able to be present.

– The Rev. F.S. Legg, in the course of his remarks, stated that he came forward as a candidate for the district of Singlegate. He referred to his practical experience of schools, expressing his sympathy with the children, parents, and teachers. He was listened to attentively and applauded.

– Mr. Nicholls shortly addressed the meeting, promising that if elected he would do his best for the ratepayers.

– Upon his resuming his seat, person in the room wished to ask question of Mr. Allan, and upon receiving permission, came forward and, with true sarcasm, enquired of that gentleman whether, if were elected, would work with the Board would have a Board of his own? (Loud laughter.) Shortly afterwards the meeting concluded, having lasted till close upon eleven.

Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 10 February 1877 from the British Newspaper Archives (subscription required)

The Mitcham School Board Election. The polling took place Thursday. For some weeks past there has been a considerable amount excite ment prevalent the parish. The supporters of the various candidates have been animated in the discussion of their particular friends’ good qualities, and the advantages that were likely to accrue to the parish should they be elected. But very little ill-feeling, however, seems to have been engendered. Printer’€™s ink does not appear to have been very much used, the candidates’ addresses and one or two other manifestoes being the only outward and visible evidences the contest which was going on. The uproarious meeting of Thursday week certainly contributed in large degree to give the parishioners interest in the election, in fact the gathering has been one of the most lively subjects of conversation during the week. The shop windows of the town were the principal – almost the only – means of displaying the addresses of the various candidates, and it was a noticeable fact that in most places the utmost impartiality was observed, most of the shopkeepers exhibiting the addresses of all, without respect to party. On the day the election a stranger would not have been struck with any particular stir in the parish, in fact nothing but the aforesaid bills was observable to lead to the conclusion that so important an event as a School Board election was transpiring. The voting took place at three stations, situate at the Lower Mitcham Board Schools, the School Chapel, Upper green, and the Board schools, Merton-lane, and every arrangement was made the returning officer to ensure the proper carrying out of the privilege of voting. During the morning and afternoon the voters were comparatively few and far between, but in the evening, between the hours of six and eight, more animation was to be noticed, and close upon the hour for closing the poll there was some amount of rush.€ The utmost diversity of opinion existed with regard to the names of the three unfortunate candidates who would be at the bottom of the poll, and on enquiry of certain of the local celebrities different persons were mentioned as likely to be thus left out in the cold shade of defeat. One or two opinions, however, were generally prevalent. The Vicar was considered certain of election. Mr. Allen was confidently pointed to as being the candidate who would head the list, and Mr. Nobes was generally believed to be sure re-election. We heard it surmised that Messrs. Wade, Nichols, and Harwood would the defeated candidates, and others, again, would state their doubts as to the re-election of Mr. Hooper. The Singlegate people made considerable efforts secure the election the Rev. Mr. Legg and Mr. Nobes, calling upon the parishioners to give four votes to the former and three to the latter. The remaining candidates came in for their share public gossip. But few the gentlemen who had been nominated were noticed during the day, although most of them, should think, presented themselves at the polling books at different times to give their own votes. We heard of one the candidates, certainly the most energetic, riding about in a cart, from which at various spots delivered addressee to the electors, but this information cannot vouch for, although we think it a likely move on the part the individual referred to. The counting of the votes took place on Friday (yesterday), and the following were the numbers polled :-

Elected

Mr. Allen 1006
Mr. Legg 704
Mr. Wilson 589
Mr. Nobes 559
Mr. Nicholls 532
Mr. Wade 374
Mr. Hooper 362

Rejected

Mr. Coles 359
Mr. Harwood 213
Mr. Bridger 148

On looking at the above figures the first feature which particularly strikes one is fact that Mr. Allen has no less than 302 votes in excess of the gentleman whose name appears second. This result must be attributed to Mr. Allen’s personal popularity amongst a section of the parishioners, and perhaps in some degree to a feeling of dissatisfaction which exists amongst a portion the parish at the doings of the late Board, although it is—or ought to be well known that they are blamed for carrying out that which they could in no way avoid. The ratepayers, it would appear, expect great things of Mr. Allen. We earnestly hope they may not be disappointed.

Mr. Legg’s friends have certainly exerted themselves to place him in the position he occupies.

With regard to Mr. Wilson’s position other result was expected. Against this gentleman and Mr. Wade a dead set has been made by some of the inhabitants, and they were apparently censured for doing that which the very Act of Parliament lays down, and the entire Board has sanctioned. It is therefore matter for satisfaction that both gentlemen have been returned.

Mr. Nicholls we do not know, but apparently he is well known of the parishioners.

Mr. Hooper is the last elected candidate, and what is rather remarkable he has only received three votes above the next lowest, Mr. Coles, who with Mr. Harwood and Mr. Bridger are the rejected candidates.

By this election four members of the old Board will retain their seats, while new blood to the extent of three members will be imported. Two of the rejected candidates were members of the Board which has lately ceased to exist.

Source: Croydon Advertiser and East Surrey Reporter – Saturday 17 February 1877 from the British Newspaper Archive (subscription required)