As reported in the Mitcham & Tooting Mercury of 1st December, 1916, at the Military Service Surrey Appeal Tribunal, Mr J. Latham, varnish maker:
appealed for Mr Orange (38). He was engaged at colour grinding, and they were only half through a contract. They also did work for the Indian Government. A little investigation showed that Mr Orange was really a good “oddman,” and the firm had not another oddman like him. Mr Orange also was quite sure it was impossible for himself to be replaced. It had been tried with old men of 65 and even with feminine material, but the thing could not be done.
The appeal was disallowed, and Mr Orange had to go by 31st December. He was conscripted on 10th December 1916 to the Royal Flying Corps.
Born in Rotherhithe, he was listed in the 1911 census as living in 5 Albert Terrace, Palestine Grove, with his wife Eliza, 33, daughter Florence, 9, and a son, also called Joseph, aged 7.
96 Church Road, near corner with Fox’s Path
Listed as a varnish factory in the 1963 Borough of Mitcham List of Factories.
Eric Montague, in his book Mitcham Histories: 8 Phipps Bridge, page 79, said that he interviewed the works manager in 1966. The manager told him that he had heard it said that the work was originally mostly during the winter months and so local Gypsy and other casual workers were employed.
Montague goes on to say that the gates to the firm had written on them Established 1842, which he doubts.
Clip from Merton Memories, photo reference Mit_Work_Industry_8-1 taken 4th April 1974
Text of ad:
Important to BUILDERS and PAINTERS.
Genuine White Lead, 31s. per cwt.
Linseed Oil, 2s. 2d.; Turps, 2s. 10d. per Gallon.
Fine Oak Varnish, 7s. 6d. per Gall.
Dry and Ground Colours, Brushes, &c, &c, for Cash, at
G. PURDOM’s, 20, Kings-road, Chelsea, S.W.
Every Article requisite for the Trade at Wholesale Prices.