Tag Archives: Swain’s Lane

Crusoe Farm Dairy

Clip from undated photo on Merton Memories, reference Mit_​Work_​Industry_​15-1, copyright London Borough of Merton.

From the Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail – Wednesday 24th May 1922, via the British Newspaper Archives.

Romance of a Dairy.

A descendant of Capt. Cook, the explorer, and the oldest inhabitant of Mitcham, Mrs Taylor, aged 96, has died in the house in which she established a one-cow dairy 55 years ago. Mrs Taylor named her dairy “Crusoe Farm Dairy.” There is a local tradition that Daniel Defoe once lived at Tooting Hall, close by.

In a few years Mrs Taylor built up one of the largest milk businesses in South London. It is still carried on under the same name. Up to last Christmas Mrs Taylor was active and in full possession her faculties.

This OS map from 1895 shows Crusoe Farm and Tooting Hall.

1895 OS map

The 1911 census shows Elizabeth Taylor, aged 84, widowed, address: Crusoe Farm, Arnold Road Tooting Junction, Mitcham. She was born in Modbury, Devon and was married 41 years and had 5 children, of which 3 were still alive in 1911. Only one other occupant is shown, her son John Henry Taylor, 52, carpenter.


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

Robinson Lane

Described in the 1891 street directory as in Tooting Graveney and being from Robinson Road to Mitcham Road.

The London Road south of Tooting railway station was called Mitcham Road possibly as far south as Tamworth Farm. Although not shown as Robinson Lane on this 1894 OS map, the road to the east of the railway line that leads to Swain’s Lane may be it.

1894 OS map

1894 OS map

There are 10 houses, arranged as two terraces of five houses each, on the south side with one house on the north side, as described in the 1891 street directory:

NORTH SIDE

Henry Taylor, cowkeeper

SOUTH SIDE

10, Daniel Quinton
9, Mrs Brockwell
8, John Richard Smith
7, Thomas Henry Parsons
6, Mrs Bentley
5, Alfred Nunn, grocer
4, Richard Pocock
2, Thomas Burge
H. Nicholls, market gardener

The 1896 Kelly’s London Suburban Directory lists Harry Nicholls as a market gardener in Robinson Lane.

Occupants in 1901 Kelly’s London Suburban Directory (Vol. II: Southern. Part 1: Street & Commercial Directories), listed as Robinson Lane, Mitcham Road:

Harry Nickolls, market gardener
5, Alfred Nunn, shopkeeper

The 1915 street directory no longer has a Robinson Lane, and the occupants of Swain’s Lane, from London Road, were:

SOUTH SIDE

Frederick Nicholls, market gardener (Swain’s Farm)
Reginald Rainger, poultry farmer (Rose Cottage)
5 George Green, laundry

It is possible then that, between 1901 and 1915:

a) the Mitcham Road south of Tooting railway station to Tamworth Farm was renamed London Road; and
b) Robinson Lane was renamed part of Swain’s Lane and the house numbers were changed to suit.

Swains Lane was later renamed Swains Road.


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