Tag Archives: Tom Francis

Walpole’s Stores

General stores that was on the north side of Western Road, as it met Upper Green West and the Nag’s Head pub.

The name Walpole’s Stores can be seen twice on the front of the building and on its right hand side wall.

Walpole’s Stores

older view of the stores when in use

In the 1896 and 1901 directories, Walpole Brothers is listed at Upper Mitcham. In the 1904 street directory, George Walpole is listed as grocer, but not in the 1911 directory.

Referred to as The Broadway Stores by Eric Montague in the book Old Mitcham.

The newspaper articles below are via the British Newspaper Archive

News Articles

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 09 June 1906

MITCHAM
RAILWAY FRAUD

— George Walpole, of Walpole Stores, The Broadway, Upper Mitcham was summoned by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway Company, at Tower Bridge Court, for railway fraud. He pleaded gullty.

— Mr. Austen, who represented the railway company, said that there was a special examination of tickets at London Bridge, and defendant tendered the fare from Queens-road Station, Peckham. After he had been questioned, he said to Mr. Sumner, the chief ticket inspector, ” I can see you are determined to find out. I joined the train at Mitcham Junction without a ticket, and on arriving here and seeing you were examining all tickets, I tendered the fare from Queens-road, thinking it would be all right.’

Defendant expressed sorrow, and was fined 20s. and 23s. costs.

From this news article, it would seem that the Western Road/Upper Green West was known as the Broadway, Upper Mitcham, whereas the Broadway, Lower Mitcham was that part of London Road south of the White Hart.

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 10 March 1906

NO LIGHT.

George Walpole, of the Broadway, Upper Mitcham, was summoned for driving a cart without a light at London road on Feb. 16th.

— P.S. 26 W gave evidence, and defendant, who admitted the offence, was fined 2s. and 4s. 6d. costs.

Croydon Guardian and Surrey County Gazette – Saturday 27 December 1902

WANTED (after Christmas) a strong, respectable GENERAL; age 20 to 25; clean and willing; knowledge of cooking required; good references. Apply, Mrs. Walpole, Broadway, Upper Mitcham.

George Bennett, postman

Cartoon by Collingsby of George Bennett exhibited in 1879

George Bennett, a postman, born o 18th November 1851. Besides being a postman George kept the Little Wonder stationery, tobacco and confectionery shop at Fair Green. He also caned chairs, did a bit of photography, and repaired bicycles. In his leisure time George ‘did a bit of running in local sports’, and was a sergeant in the Volunteers. On his retirement from the postal service, which he had joined ‘at 5.30 a.m. November 18th 1869 and left after 48 years service ‘at 7.30 p.m. November 17th 1917′.

George Bennett became a beekeeper, partly because he had been informed that bee stings were a cure for rheumatism. According to George, the cure worked. At 95 years of age he was still active, exhibiting honey, wax and bee material at local shows. Tom Francis observed that it either said much for the cartoonist’s ability that people who knew George Bennett in the 1940s could still recognise him in a drawing made some sixty years before, or else ‘said more’ for the virility and vigour of the veteran himself.

From Tom Francis’s notes on slide 61.

Tom Francis

Mitcham News and Mercury 28th August 1953

Mr. THOMAS FRANCIS, head of a family of four generations, died at his daughter’s home at
Warlingham on Saturday.

He was 81.

Born over his father’s shop in London-road, Mr. Francis lived in Mitcham for nearly 80 years, until he retired in April, 1951. Mitcham past and present was his lifelong interest. He was a member of the old Parish Council, a former chairman of Mitcham Civic Society and a former president of the Chamber of Commerce. He was a vice-president of the Civic Society.

Mr. Francis left his own memorial — an extensive collection of historical Mitcham slides, which he presented to Mitcham Borough Libraries. The Francis collection were largely taken from his own negatives, which dated from about 1890. Of the slides, many were taken by the wet-plate process, about 1865-70 by a professional photographer named Drummond and a number made by John R. Chart. A few were gals to him by old friends and some were given by photographers.

FIRST CAMERA

The first camera Mr. Francis’ used for his hobby was of the mahogany box type with a rackwork lens —the type once in common use by beach photographers. In the old days he played regularly in the Upper Mitcham v. Lower Mitcham cricket matches, and when the Wednesday XI was revived in 1925, there were few matches he missed. Between the wars he and his son Tom both used to play.

During the last war he was injured when his house was bombed and later, as a result, he had to have an eye removed.

“He was Mitcham. He lived for Mitcham.” said Mr. Stephen Taylor, on employee of his for many’ years.

Mr. Francis was on the Committee of Wilson Hospital from its foundation and until the hospital was taken over by the State.

He received part of his education at the Mitcham Lodge College, next to London-road Schools, Dr. Smith was the principal. Later he went to the Quaker School at Saffron Walden in which he was also a member of the Society of Friends.

His memory was a treasury of local recollections, both of characters of Mitcham village days and of incidents of village life.

From his childhood he could recall being taken for drives in broughams and wagonettes. One of these ended with the vehicle being stuck in a pond in Morden-road. On other occasions a drive took him through water about a foot deep at Hackbridge.

Other memories were of Quaker meetings at the Mitcham Manor House, cycling expeditions with Alfred and Ernest Mizen, and of Mitcham Fair, when performing bears were on show.

In his youth the “Old Squirt,” the village fire engine was kept in a cage on Lower Green, where the Town Hall now stands.

The business in London-road which bears the name Francis, was started by a Mr. Fitt in 1830 and was taken over by Mr. Francis’s parents in 1870. He began in the business in 1886.

His Quaker funeral at the Cricket Green Methodist Church on Tuesday was attended by the Mayor of Mitcham (Coun. E. E. Mount), Ald. and Mrs. T. L. Ruff, Mr. S. Chart (former Town Clerk), Dr. A. H. Shelswell, Mr. C. J. Farrell (Div. Education Officer), Mr. H. J. Dorrett (Rotary Club), Mr. Dick Gifford (chairman of the Civic Society), Messrs. R. Culmer, J. Pillinger and F. Cole (Mitcham Cricket Club). Mr. S. Taylor (Horticultural Society), Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Bailey, Mr. W. Dalton and representatives of the Society of Friends School at Saffron Walden.